Sony Music USA have just cancelled the release of the Thriller DVD Audio album. This new format was to be released later this fall. The product was actually ready (see related item below in this section).
However, it has finally been decided that this release would be too close to the new album. The release of Michael's first DVD Audio album is therefore postponed.
Besides, Sony Music and Michael are currently considering the possibility of releasing the new album in the DVD Audio format soon after the regular CD/Cassette/Mini-disc configurations are out.
03/10/1999 Michael Attends Religious Service in New York
"I loved it. I loved it. It touched my heart," said Michael Jackson after attending the Simchat Torah service at the Carlebach Shul synagogue in New York on West 79th Street on Friday night, October 1st.
The New York Post reported that the King of Pop was invited to attend the service by his friend magician Uri Geller.
"He wanted to see how Jews celebrate from the musical point of view and from the point of view of happiness," said Geller, who presented Michael with a 60-pound stone taken from Mount Sinai in Israel.
Rabbi Schmuely Boteach was the guest rabbi for the service. He is a friend of Geller, and the magician introduced Michael to him two months ago.
"He's a very special person." Rabbi Boteach said. "He's so humble and gentle. His concern for people in pain is genuine. He's been truly mistreated in his portrayal." Boteach added that Michael told him: "I'd love to go to synagogue to see a service."
"Michael has been to a Bar Mitzvah, said Boteach, which he completely enjoyed. I said, 'The best time to go is tonight because it's a Jewish festival.'"
05/10/1999 Quote from Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie was recently interviewed by English Record Collector magazine. Asked about his collaboration with Michael Jackson on the song "We Are The World", he said:
"We wrote that song in three hours. I'd throw out a line and Michael would come back with a greater one!"
06/10/1999 Quote from Marcel Marceau
In February of 1996, legendary mime Marcel Marceau granted an interview to HIStory Magazine. Here is an excerpt of that article where Marcel Marceau talks about the HBO concert he was to do with Michael in December of 1995:
"The rehearsals for the concert went remarkably well, actually. I was there for them all: there were about 20 dancers doing these really rowdy moves. Michael Jackson was surrounded by a number of dancers, black dancers, what you could call street dancers essentially. Watching these dance numbers made a real impression on me: they were an expression of angst through the medium of violence and rowdiness. Michael chose to intertwine the poetry of Childhood into these dances.
From the very beginning, he wanted me to display, in this song, the yearning of his youth. There is, in particular, a passage where he talks about pirates, of conquest and kings. To make the transformation from a pirate to a king on stage, there is only mime. There are various elements of attitude for this; mime is, after all, an art of metamorphosis. It's difficult for a dancer to do so. A mime would do it through attitude.
When Childhood begins, Michael is on the left-hand side of the stage and I'm on the right. He begins to sing, and then the camera swings toward me. I mime the themes to the song. When he says he's searching for his childhood, I run in place. The images come through very powerfully; mime is a way of condensing concepts and images..."
07/10/1999 Quote from Bryan Loren
In April of 1998, Black & White Magazine interviewed Bryan Loren, a producer that worked with Michael on many songs, including "Superfly Sister" and "Mind Is The Magic". Here is an excerpt from that interview.
"First time I worked with Michael was in 1989. He was barely starting to record the Dangerous album. We did 20-25 songs together. Although none of them appeared on the album, it is safe to say that my influence can be felt on Dangerous. The songs on that album are reminiscent of what Michael and I did together.
'Superfly Sister' is one of the songs we recorded back then. That song has always been one of my favorites. As a matter of fact, Michael and I produced it 50-50. Michael wrote the lyrics by himself but I came up with the title. I remember giving Michael a tape with the basic track, from there we wrote the melody together. A few days later, Michael came back with the lyrics to the song, and we basically recorded it right away."
08/10/1999 Quote from Thalia De Costa
Thalia De Costa, MTV US' newest VJ, recently told YM magazine about her favorite CD.
"It's Michael Jackson's HIStory! she said. The King of Pop's best. Nothing rocks like Don't Stop Til You Get Enough! "
08/10/1999 Debbie Rowe files for Divorce
Debbie Rowe filed for divorce today in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The papers cited irreconcilable differences.
Spokesman Howard J. Rubenstein released a statement saying that Michael and his wife ``mutually agreed to end their marriage. They remain friends, and they ask that the public respect their desire not to further comment or speculate upon the reasons for their decision."
10/10/1999 Quote from Jimmy Jam
James Harris III, a.k.a. Jimmy Jam, is one of the most famous producers in today's R&B music. With partner Terry Lewis, he produced some major tracks for the King of Pop, among them: "Is It Scary," "HIStory," "Scream" and "Tabloid Junkie." In 1995, Jimmy Jam was interviewed by HIStory Magazine about his working experience with Michael Jackson. Here is an excerpt from that exclusive interview.
HM: -When you're in the studio, you probably don't pay attention to the time. But what kind of hours did all of you put in?
JJ: -Sometimes we'd look up and it would easily be 3 or 4 in the morning. There were days when Michael would leave the studio at 3 a.m. and be back in action first thing the next day.
HM: -You guys probably got hungry working those late hours. What kind of munchies did Michael have in the studio?
JJ: -He loves those Ricola cough drops! Michael even used them to open up his voice. He'd put two of those in a cup of hot water and drink it because he says it helps keep his voice clear. He also loves sunflower seeds and Frosted Flakes! One night he told me and Terry that he was gonna show us how to grub on some Frosted Flakes. He ordered some milk and threw those flakes in a bowl and it was "on" after that!
13/10/1999 Millennium Concerts
Michael Jackson's assistant confirmed today to the press that Michael Jackson won't be performing the Millennium concerts planned in
Sydney and Hawaii on December 31st 1999.
Both shows have been postponed.
The King of Pop has decided to concentrate his efforts on his new album.
He is also considering the project of a new world tour production for next year.
14/10/1999 New Planning
Sony Music and Michael Jackson have set a new planning for the release of the album.
Michael has three months and a half to finish the recording of his new album. He is now expected to turn in the tapes of the album on January 31st 2000 at the latest.
A first single is planned for a release by the end of February, and the album should hit the streets by late March.
15/10/1999 No Authority
No Authority, MJJ Music's boysband act, are planning on releasing their second album on January 25th 2000. It will follow up on their debut album Keep On, released in 1997.
17/10/1999 Jackie and Michael
In an interview with New York magazine, book designer J.C. Suares talked about Jackie Kennedy-Onassis' relation with Michael Jackson.
J.C. Suares worked on the design of Moonwalk and accompanied Jackie to meetings with Michael on several occasions. In this interview, he remembered the time when Jackie was editing Michael's memoirs.
"After months of negociations, it was announced that Doubleday had secured a deal for Michael's memoirs. Michael celebrated by taking Jackie on a guided tour of Disneyland. Shortly before the publication of the book in the spring of 1988, Michael kicked off the US portion of his world tour in Kansas City and invited Jackie to be in the audience. When illness kept her home in New York, Michael arranged for a special phone hookup so she could listen to the concert live. Whenever there was a break, he would dash into the wings and shout How'm I doing? into the phone."
Moonwalk reached No.1 on the New York Times best-selling list. It marked Jackie's biggest commercial success to date and the beginning of a friendship between the former First Lady and the King of Pop.
18/10/1999 Statement from Marcel Avram
"We have just been informed that the planned Michael Jackson Shows in Sydney and Honolulu will be postponed to next year.
Michael Jackson has decided to complete recording of his long-awaited new album.
The King of Pop is conceiving a brand new show including songs from the new album, new videos, a new choreography ready for the year 2000.
We respect Michael Jackson's decision and are looking forward to this spectacular project.
We believe that under the given circumstances this was the right decision. We look forward to the realisation of this and other great projects under our direction.
Kindest personal regards.
Mama Concerts & Rau, Marcel Avram."
19/10/1999 Quote from Marc Anthony
New Latin sensation Marc Anthony was recently interviewed by the US newspaper Daily News. Here is a quote from that article where the young American singer talks about the King of Pop.
"Michael Jackson sent me a note saying he loves my voice. I cherish that, but I don't believe it, you know what I mean? There will be a time, maybe 10 years from now, to sit down and reflect on those things. I can't do it now."
21/10/1999 Studio 54
The King of Pop rarely has the opportunity to visit nightclubs and enjoy the mood of inner-city nightlife. However, in the fall of 1977, when he was filming "The Wiz" in New York City, he got his share of nightclub life as he spent numerous nights in the hottest club in town: Studio 54.
At Studio 54, Michael experienced the life of a wild party on many occasions, surrounded by show-biz icons like Stephanie Mills, Mick Jagger or Andy Warhol.
He even learned to be a DJ and ran the party several times. Some rare footage shot at Studio 54 shows Michael enjoying himself on the dancefloor, laughingly saying: "It's like a show here! It's really escapism."
Michael's experience of nightlife in New York was surely inspirational in many ways and may have shaped the sounds and rhythms of the Off The Wall album.
This was a rare occasion for Michael Jackson to observe a certain style of life, quite far from his.
New York Post columnist Liz Smith remembers the golden days of Studio 54 in the late 70's: "It was a tale of greed and excess and drug invincibility and sexual ignorance and irresponsibility. And it was fun."
21/10/1999 Quote from Mavis Staples
In December of 1994, American soul singer and former Staples Singers leader Mavis Staples was quoted by News Services as saying:
I used the make-believe word shum-mon in my song Heavy Makes You Happy before Michael Jackson used it in Bad. It was a way of being slick while singing the words come on. I remember my mother called me and said, Mavis! This little Michael Jackson is using your word! I was not angry at all. It makes me feel good and lets me know that they are listening.
22/10/1999 Quote from Wayne Isham
Famous for filming the You Are Not Alone short film, Backstreet Boys' I Want It That Way and Ricky Martin's "Living La Vida Loca , video director Wayne Isham was interviewed by Black & White Magazine in 1998. Here is an excerpt from that interview.
"The warmth displayed in the You Are Not Alone video is for real. The shots in the last scene were done without Michael and Lisa Marie knowing it, literally off-camera. Michael never at any point indicated that this was a marketing thing. It was more personal than that. The nude scenes were Michael's idea. I thought it was ballsy and honnest; you can't get any more open than that. They're saying, Here we are, you want to see us? I didn't look at it as a marketing thing. I thought it was a statement.
The funny thing about my relation with Michael is that I did one of my first jobs serving as an electrician on the Billie Jean video!
He was great to work with. When you actually talk to Michael he really is a normal guy; there's just a lot of layers to go through. And Lisa's got a great sense of humor. They're both no-nonsense kind of people.
24/10/1999 Quote from Jimmy Jam
Producer Jimmy Jam was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly" in June of 1995 about his collaboration with partner Terry Lewis on Michael's HIStory album. Here's a quote about the genesis of "Tabloid Junkie":
"We were gonna call it Tabloid Jungle, because we felt like the tabloids were the hunters and Michael the prey."
25/10/1999 Quote from Jeremy Lubbock
English orchestra conductor Jeremy Lubbock has produced orchestral arrangements for major artists in the pop world. He worked with the King of Pop on several occasions. Black & White Magazine recently interviewed Jeremy Lubbock. Here is a quote from this gentleman musician:
"I think I've worked with everyone, seriously. But my most memorable recording session remains Michael Jackson's Smile from the HIStory album. Great songs, great artist, painless!"
"Smile" was recorded at the Hit Factory in New York in 1994. Michael recorded the song live in the studio with a complete orchestra. "The take we did that day was amazing and perfect" remembers Bruce Swedien, Michael's sound engineer, in an interview with Black & White. "But Michael is such a perfectionnist that he insisted on recording his vocals again the next day."
25/10/1999 Thriller - Limited Edition
Sony Music has just issued a second Michael Jackson album in their "Nice Price" collection. After Off The Wall, released last summer, here comes Thriller.
The Thriller album is now available in a digipak limited edition. The packaging is different from the regular CD but the product doesn't offer any special features.
The Thriller Limited Edition Digipak pressing is available from Sony Music in the USA and Europe only.
26/10/1999 Quote from Sean Penn
American actor Sean Penn was recently interviewed by Marcus Baram for the "Rush & Molloy" column. One of Penn's comments concerned the King of Pop.
"Michael gets along very well with Marlon [Brando]. Marlon sometimes gives him acting tips. Michael has a video tape of Marlon offering him acting lessons around the time he was filming the 'Thriller' video. Last time I saw Michael was in February of 1998, Marlon and I visited him at his ranch outside Santa Barbara."
27/10/1999 Stolen Tapes
MJJ Communications released a statement today to the attention of the media world.
"Several 'home' videos of Michael Jackson and his children, filmed while they were at the Neverland Ranch during the 1998/1999 Christmas/New Year Holiday and while in their hotel suite at Disneyland Paris in July this past summer, were recently stolen in France. Shortly after the theft, an anonymous caller demanded $100,000 for the return of the stolen tapes.
Images from the tapes recently surfaced in Los Angeles and Jackson's legal counsel took immediate action to prevent the publication of the photographs taken from the stolen videos. Jackson's long-time litigation counsel, Lavely & Singer, issued a stern warning to any would-be publishers of the stolen videos or any photographs taken from the videos: 'Any photographs or videotape which might be offered to the media depicting Michael Jackson and/or his children over the holidays at Neverland Ranch or at Euro Disney are stolen and should not be published by any entity. Jackson is the sole and exclusive owner of the copyright in and to the stolen home videos and any photographs made therefrom. Any entity which publishes any portion of the stolen videotapes or any photographs taken therefrom will be subject to an immediate action by our client for, among other claims, copyright infringement,
violation of rights of privacy, misappropriation of rights of publicity, and
conversion, in which Jackson will seek substantial damages, and all attorneys fees and costs incurred in pursuing any such action.' "
The Billed Bladet, a tabloid newspaper from Denmark has just published photos from Michael's video footage that was recently stolen in Paris, France (see corresponding report below).
The address and website of the Billed Bladet tabloid is:
1506 Kbk. V
Fans are welcome to demonstrate their appreciation.
31/10/1999 New Song with R. Kelly
R&B producer and singer R. Kelly was recently interviewed by German music channel VIVA. He discussed his previous experience with the King of Pop on "You Are Not Alone" and went on to mention that he proposed another song to Michael for his new album, a track titled "Cry".
A complete transcript of that interview with R. Kelly can be found at www.mjifc.com
(This information courtesy of the Michael Jackson Internet Fan-Club)
31/10/1999 Otto Awards
Next week, German #1 Youth Magazine "Bravo" will ask its readers to select the world's best artists to receive the Otto Awards.
Michael Jackson was honored with several Otto Awards throughout the years.
The Otto Award is prestigious and the King of Pop appreciates it enough to list it in his HIStory album booklet among the many prizes he received.
In order to show your support for Michael Jackson in the Otto Awards election, you may vote for him next week.
Send a postcard with "Gold for Michael Jackson!" on it to:
P.O. BOX 20 03 40
German fans can also place their vote by calling the Bravo-Otto-Award hotline:
(0190) 49 93 03
Details about this election will be included in the next issue of "Bravo" (#45), out November 3rd.