Michael Jackson, Captain EO and the business of conquering the world – Part 4- RS

By The Last Tear (Lou)

 

“They demand that, and they want you to do this.

They think that they own you, they think they made you.

If you don’t have faith, you go crazy []”

(Michael Jackson, Rolling Stone interview 1983)

In part 3 of this blog, a crucial fact was mentioned: by the end of the 70’s and the beginning of 80’s when the music industry was again deeply in crisis, it found its savior in Michael Jackson.

At that time, CBS who had signed a contract with all the Jackson brothers (minus Jermaine; read all the details about this in part 5 of this blog) was the leader in the industry and in order to save both itself and the entire industry, it made a vital decision; it opened “the golden gate” to a Black artist who was already a very well-known star and who had the capacity to sell not only to Black audiences but also to White.

An alliance was made between two basically opposing parties; on one side a money-hungry company that only craved for millions of $ to refill it’s bank accounts and safe boxes and on the other, Michael Jackson, a young African American who wished to break down racial barriers and open a wide path for those who followed.

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As we mentioned in the last blog, CBS’ move was not welcomed by all the barons, both inside the music industry and even outside of it. There was a discomfort about this decision which was not uttered immediately but became more and more obvious. No doubt some of the owners of the industry and even powerful outsiders wondered who Jackson really was and if he would understand the meaning of concepts like “boundaries”, “limits” and “knowing one’s place”.

Referring to the matter of “boundaries” and “limits”, we should probably quote none other than Bob Jones, Jackson’s Black publicist who in 1993 was interviewed by Carolyn Bingham at Sentinel (published on September 2nd, 1993). Jones was a man who believed in “the system” and respected the “White man” rules (This interview took place a short while before the 93 case. Find the whole article at the end of the blog in Append 1):

“I came to work for Michael in December of 1987 and have not regretted it one bit. And I thought having worked with the Supremes, the Temptations, the Commodores, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops–all of those people who were a part of the Motown stable–that I had seen it all. That I had seen everything America had to offer.

“All of a sudden, we went to the first out-of-the-country date. We went to Rome, Italy, and we played the Coliseum in Rome to 55,000 people. We did three nights at 55,000 persons per show. It was mind-boggling. I had never seen anything like this. To see zero blacks there. It was mind boggling, and to see that one black man had drawn all these people in to see this show, I was awe struck. We not only played Rome, we played touring Italy. We went to Paris, France, and the audiences kept growing, and we went to London, England, and played five nights at Wembley Football Stadium at 72,000 persons a show. All coming out to see this one black man. I saw white folks passing out and fainting and all of this sort of stuff, and I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it, and it really frightened me.”

[] “Because I’m aware and a believer in the system … when you sit back and know that you can take the president and our mayors and our governors and put them all in a stadium together, and you can’t draw 20,000 people, and to see a black man draw these kind of people, I became frightened, because I know how this system operates.”

[]

“They are frightened. The system becomes frightened if they see a black man with this kind of power, and especially a black man that they don’t have total control over. That they have not given a white woman and who doesn’t have the white babies and the monies going back into the white system. A black man who is basically clean, that they can say nothing about, who neither smokes nor drinks.

“The system is not ready to conceive of this and who ( Michael) is like a pied piper to white youth. Who if he decides to make a statement or take sides in situations, I’m sure the same system would remove. It becomes detrimental to what the system in America, in the world, is all about. Nobody but the Pope has followings like this.”

We go off on another tangent, try to make him crazy. They try to do everything. The system would rather praise Elvis Presley, who we all know was a drug addict. They make every excuse in the world rather than say this man was a drug addict. He died from an OD of drugs. If they could just come back to the same sober fact.

Jones feels Michael is in a league of his own, “He doesn’t deteriorate his body, his health. He’s a clean-liver, and if they could, I’m sure they would–well you read the press reports–they try to make him weird. They find Michael Jackson with a marijuana cigarette, forget all the other stuff, they’d destroy him.

“Anything that the system can’t control, it does not allow to exist. We’re not all of those who have dared challenge the system. I’m a firm believer, we live in a society that is programmed–these people are walking idiots, programmed idiots. That idiot box tells us what to buy, when to go–it’s football time so come watch your television show–and the couch potato goes plop. It’s amazing how man no longer uses his mind to think, and the system is aware and the system knows it. So they take advantage of it. In politics. In everything else.” []

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As we know, Jackson was a successful star before signing with CBS; therefore the tabloids had already treated him according to their “standard procedure”. They had spread rumors and questions about for example his sexuality as early as the middle of 70’s. Soon they came up with other rumors about his voice and his appearance.  

During slavery and feudal times, artists were owned by their masters and were often treated badly. Even in the 21st century, almost nothing has changed. The tabloids, the media and their owners treat artists as their “possessions” and rape their privacy and their lives as they see fit.

The tabloids especially try to influence the general public, allowing their readers to believe that they all “own” artists and therefore it is “their right” to treat performers and artists just as they wish.

Some recent examples to illustrate the subject:

FOR one usually so stylish, Beyonce got it VERY wrong at the Met Gala in New York last night.

[] But the former Destiny’s Child star’s knicker-flashing, Shirley Bassey-inspired dress earnt her top spot on our list of faux pas.

Although the yummy mummy looked in fabulous shape, the sheer mesh dress embellished with sequins and boas looked more cruise ship than red carpet. (from The Sun)

13 Mar 2012 – The National Enquirer takes disingenuous headlines to new height this week: “SHOCK WEDDINGS! – RIHANNA & JLO: The Biggest Mistakes

21 May 2012 – RIHANNA is in a desperate life-or-death battle with liver damage caused by years of boozing and out-of-control partying, sources tell The

16 Oct 2012 – RIHANNA wants to boost her bust – because, according to a source, her abusive ex-beau Chris Brown said she’d be “totally hot” with bigger

FOX News: Ban Lady Gaga’s Lesbian Filth ‘Telephone’ Video

Justin Beiber hides out in a gay club (from The Sun)

A gay sex doll apparently modelled on teen popstar Justin Beiber has hit the market for the just £20 (from The Sun)

In September 22, 1977, Jet published an article where Jackson denied the rumors that were circulating about him with this title:

Michael denies Sex Change; Says He Is Not Gay And Did Not Swim Nude With Tatum

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At the beginning of the 80’s, when Jackson got “inside” the industry and was being paid even more than the White stars, the rumors became more intense and the trash more systematic. The aim of all these attacks was to disfigure and dehumanize the artist. But their ultimate goal was to damage Jackson’s popularity which would decrease his sale capacity and his power.   

One of Jackson’s opponents is the well-known music industry magazine, Rolling Stone. Besides the English tabloids mostly but not only owned by News Corporation, the American National Enquirer is another well-known tabloid that has spread several rumors and lies about the artist. Before looking closer at Rolling Stone, let us talk a short while about the National Enquirer.

For a long read, please review for example these articles 1 and 2 .

In short, the National Enquirer or Enquirer is an American supermarket tabloid published by American Media Inc. It was founded in 1926 by William Griffin in New York. After several ups and downs, in 1953, Generoso Pope Jr who allegedly had received money from the Mafia bought the paper. Several years passed. In 1988, Pope died and his tabloids came under new ownership, the modern American Media. In 1990, AM bought the tabloid Star from Rupert Murdoch and that consolidated the AM group which later bought even the Globe and the National Examiner.

In March 1984, the Enquirer published an article – The Amazing Appeal of Michael Jackson – that could be seen as a “good” article; however with a closer look, it has also a purpose other than saying “nice” things about the star.

It singled out the artist like a rare almost surreal “phenomena” compared with other performers; in order to” help” the readers to “understand” the star, the article consults specialists and psychiatrists who explained why Jackson was successful!! You would almost wonder if the tabloid wished the readers asked themselves: “Could Jackson be real?” Or “Isn’t he too good to be true?”      

National Enquirer 3/6/1984 Charlene Tilton MICHAEL JACKSON Raquel Welch The Amazing Appeal of Michael Jackson; 3 Stars Tell You How to Keep Fit:

Among the good things that were said in the article about Jackson, there were some key words and phrases that the Enquirer tried hard to forge with Jackson’s name. We know how these words were later used against the Star:

His Peter Pan like innocence, he’s wholeness innocence and naïve little-boy qualities …, Like a modern-day Peter Pan … without ever growing older, …   

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 In the same year, in April, the Enquirer published another article about Jackson but this time, no psychiatrist was needed!

The tabloid took care of its own nasty business and gave us a sickly picture of Jackson as a “strange”, a “wired” and a “bizarre” person. Obviously the “article” is a copy and paste that had manipulated Jackson’s words by displacing them from their original contexts. Some years later, Martin Bashir used the same technique of manipulating and displacing words and caused the 2005 trial against the star (more about this in other posts). Here are several quotations from the Enquirer:

NATIONAL ENQUIRER

Date: 4/10/1984
Article: “MJ: The Real Me Nobody Knows”
CoverPic: 4 1/2″x3 1/2″ photo of MJ in sunglasses from Grammy Awards

Sometimes I wake up and hate I’m in real life. I’m just not like other people anymore. I feel strange around normal people. I totally identify with Peter Pan. … I’ll dash off to a school yard – just to be around the kids. … I believe strongly you should be married before you get into any of that heavy stuff. … is real motherly to me…. I love her – perhaps she will marry me one day.

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Two years later, Enquirer came up with the “oxygen chamber” tale and other similar stories followed on.

Now let us talk about Rolling Stone magazine. There are several good sources that tell us the story of this paper. One of them is an article published by en ex editor of RS, David Weir, in Salon  in 1999 (you find this article in Append 2).

In short: in 1967, Jann Wenner founded this two weekly magazine that was and is devoted to music, liberal politics and popular culture, in San Francisco, California. He is still the chief editor. Even though RS recognized Black music and Black artists, they were treated always as a “subsidiary”, the “trivial” part of the industry. Rolling Stone was heavily criticized by different musicians and artists. Two quotes from the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Stone on this matter:

Rolling Stone magazine has been criticized for reconsidering many classic albums that it had previously dismissed and for frequent abuse of the 3.5 star rating. Examples of artists for whom this is the case include, among others, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, The Beach Boys, Nirvana, Weezer, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Outkast and also Queen []

The 2003 Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time article’s inclusion of only two female musicians resulted in Venus Zine answering with their own list entitled, “The Greatest Female Guitarists of All Time”[]

David Weir’s article about Jann Wenner is interesting and here are some extracts from it:

Just this much above the bustle of midtown Manhattan, feet propped on a table, leaning back and grinning his infectious grin, Jann Wenner is exactly where he wants — and deserves — to be []In contrast, all around this room and the ones adjoining are photos of him shoulder-to-shoulder with his crowd — Jann with Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bob Dylan; Jann at the White House; Jann with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Jann with the significantly taller Attorney General Janet Reno (“I had to do that one. She’s such a star”) []

It’s strange, but if the entire cultural explosion from the 1960s could be drawn down to just one guy, it would be this compact energy ball right here — the quintessential baby boomer, our own Peter Pan, a chubby adolescent who would never grow up []

These days he oversees three successful magazines (Rolling Stone, Us and Men’s
Journal), and if that doesn’t provide enough fodder for Wenner-watchers, there are plenty of other angles for the wags to whisper about — his much younger boyfriend, designer Matt Nye; his many Hollywood buddies, including David Geffen, Barry Diller and Richard Gere; his longtime business partner and now ex-wife, Jane, and their three sons; and the accouterments of his success — the Hamptons mansion, the driver and car, the jet and the private Idaho retreat, for summers. []

What made Jann — and Rolling Stone — successful was the power of rock‘n’ roll combined with his personal ruthlessness and the opportunism, including kindness, that wealth allows []

One of the critical elements in Wenner’s success was that he knew not only how to develop and exploit talent, but also when and how to dump it. Every Rolling Stone writer and editor, photographer and designer has a bucketful of Jann tales, how the outbursts, the abuse, the breakups, the firings came down. When Jann turned heartless on you, he played that part
better than anyone else []

His voice rapped out orders in a rapid-fire delivery, made even more so in those early years by his heavy cocaine habit. Staffers often worried that Jann was overdoing powder (and later alcohol), especially when he’d tend to be missing at important moments. Sometimes, though, it wasn’t the mind-altering substance that was to blame, but Wenner’s pure fear of being onstage []

One-on-one, however, Jann was a master at exerting personal power. He knew how to charm anybody who came into his orbit. He stalked the objects of his greatest affection, and used the magazine to gain access. Thus did he get cozy with John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Jackie Kennedy, the royalty of the age. But once Jann got to know these stars, he cared about them, not as a fan but as family, just as with his staff. And then, just as with the staff, he’d fight with them and drive them away.

The stars often accused Jann of going back on his word, of betraying them, of lying. But usually he would cajole his way back to their sides, where he’d extract another interview from them, another deal, yielding yet another wave of accusatory charges and countercharges. Have Jann, have drama []

At the beginning of 2000’s, two journalists, Matt Taibbi and Michael Hastings, joined Rolling Stone and have published some relevant articles especially in economics and politics. Taibbi has also published two strong articles about Jackson’s 2005 trial where most of the truth has been said. You find the first article at this page and the other one at Redblackghost blog.

Unfortunately for Taibbi, he had used the racist term “Jacko” in the title of the first article mentioned above. Even though some media defend the use of this term by saying that it is an abbreviation with no racism behind it, respectable English dictionaries also give another definition and recognize the racist origin of this word. If we do not wish to confuse people, why would we then use this word with a double meaning? One would hope that Matt Taibbi would have revised his writing and replace the abbreviation with the correct name of the artist. It is just simple as that!  

In 1979, Jackson’s spokesperson sent a protest letter to Rolling Stone’s chief editor about the cover of the magazine which rarely portrayed Jackson (or other Black artists). Here it is the answer of the editor, Jann Wenner (information copied from the blog http://rhythmofthetide.com/):

November 27, 1979

Dear Norman [Winter]:

Michael Jackson has, in fact, been on the cover of ROLLING STONE, contrary to your statement in your recent letter to me.

We would very much like to do a major piece on Michael Jackson, but feel it is not a cover story.

Best,

Jann S. Wenner
Editor & Publisher

cc: Walter Yetnikoff

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Read more from the blog http://rhythmofthetide.com/ in the matter of Rolling Stone and Jackson:

At this point in time Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough and Rock With You had both recently been released as singles from his Off The Wall album and both had charted at number one.

Joe Vogel recently spoke about Michael’s feelings about Rolling Stone’s rejection and how he had been told that black musicians had never sold well on the cover of the magazine. That opinion seems reflected in how many cover stories have featured him in total versus other white musicians of his status:

Jackson was well-aware of this history and consistently pushed against it. In 1979, Rolling Stone passed on a cover story about the singer, saying that it didn’t feel Jackson merited front cover status. “I’ve been told over and over again that black people on the covers of magazines don’t sell copies,” an exasperated Jackson told confidantes. “Just wait. Some day those magazines will come begging for an interview.”

Jackson, of course, was right (Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner actually sent a self-deprecatory letter acknowledging the oversight in 1984). And during the 1980s, at least, Jackson’s image seemed ubiquitous. Yet over the long haul, Jackson’s initial concern seems legitimate. As shown in the breakdown below, his appearances on the front cover of Rolling Stone, the United States’ most visible music publication, are far fewer than those of white artists:

John Lennon: 30

Mick Jagger: 29

Paul McCartney: 26

Bob Dylan: 22

Bono: 22

Bruce Springsteen: 22

Madonna: 20

Britney Spears: 13

Michael Jackson: 8 (two came after he died; one featured Paul McCartney as well)

Is it really possible that Michael Jackson, arguably the most influential artist of the 20th century, merited less than half the coverage of Bono, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna?

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In February 17, 1983, before the Enquirer and other tabloids, Rolling Stone magazine published an article about Jackson that is another example of how the tabloids worked together to dehumanize the star. In fact, we will need to review 4 more articles published by RS in 1984, in 1987, in 1992 and even in 2009.

The first article: Michael Jackson : Life In The Magical Kingdom, By Gerri Hershey | Rolling Stone | From Issue 389 — February 17, 1983 (Please read and judge it yourself here http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/threads/123573-The-Michael-Jackson-Interviews-Thread )

The main purpose of this article is to establish that Jackson had “two personalities”; the one who tells us this “truth” in the paper is Steven Spielberg whom RS believed to be not only a “friend” of Jackson but also an authority inside-outside the industry. Apart from this “confession”, we also read several times that Jackson was “in total control” of his artistry and his life.  

Even we, ordinary people with an ordinary level of intelligence, have several facets/ characters/ individualities! How could it be that Jackson who according to RS and the very same article was a very talented musician and businessman has had only two personalities? But of course, the article is not after understanding Jackson’s personality; it is rather after associating it with mental disorders!

The next step that the article takes is to plant in the reader’s mind how Jackson’s “weird” and “strange” personality takes over the “good” one (if there was any). How does it do it? By giving a grossly exaggerated description of the artist and his life style just like the Enquirer!      

Some quotes from the article:

[] He ducks, he hides, he talks to his shoe tops. Or he just doesn’t show up. He is known to conduct his private life with almost obsessive caution []
[] the living room. It is filled with statuary. There are some graceful, Greco-Roman type bronzes, as well as a few pieces from the suburban birdbath school. The figures are frozen around the sofa like some ghostly tea party []

 He is so nervous that he is eating — plowing through — a bag of potato chips. This is truly odd behavior [] In fact, Katherine Jackson, his mother, worries that Michael seems to exist on little more than air. As far as she can tell, her son just has no interest in food. He says that if he didn’t have to eat to stay alive, he wouldn’t.

Cartoons are flashing silently across the giant screen that glows in the darkened den. Michael mentions that he loves cartoons. In fact, he loves all things “magic.” This definition is wide enough to include everything from Bambi to James Brown. “He’s so magic,”

“I’m a collector of cartoons,” he says. “All the Disney stuff, Bugs Bunny, the old MGM ones. I’ve only met one person who has a bigger collection than I do, and I was surprised — Paul McCartney. He’s a cartoon fanatic. Whenever I go to his house, we watch cartoons. When we came here to work on my album, we rented all these cartoons from the studio, Dumbo and some other stuff.[]

Wow! We find out that Paul McCartney was /is a collector of cartoons! Should we call him “weird” too?

For his own protection, Michael has rigged himself a set of emotional floodgates, created situations where it’s okay to let it all out. “Some circumstances require me to be real quiet,” he says. “But I dance every Sunday.” On that day, he also fasts.
This, his mother confirms, is a weekly ritual that leaves her son laid out, sweating, laughing and crying. It is also a ritual very similar to Michael’s performances.[]

He says he talks to his menagerie every day.”I have two fawns. Mr. Tibbs looks like a ram; he’s got the horns. I’ve got a beautiful llama. His name is Louie.” He’s also into exotic birds like macaws, cockatoos and a giant rhea.
“Stay right there,” he says, “and I’ll show you something.” He takes the stairs to his bedroom two at a time. Though I know we are the only people in the apartment, I hear him talking.
“Aw, were you asleep? I’m sorry….”
Seconds later, an eight-foot boa constrictor is deposited on the dining-room table. He is moving in my direction at an alarming rate.
“This is Muscles. And I have trained him to eat interviewers.”[]

“You Know what I also love?” Michael volunteers. “Manikins.”
Yes, he means the kind you see wearing mink bikinis in Beverly Hills store windows. When his new house is finished, he says he’ll have a room with no furniture, just a desk and a bunch of store dummies []
“He pauses, staring down at the living-room statues.
“That’s what it is. I surround myself with people I want to be my friends. And I can do that with manikins. I’ll talk to them.” []

On an impulse, he decides to drive us to the house under construction. Though his parents forced him to learn two years ago, Michael rarely drives. When he does, he refuses to travel freeways, taking hour-long detours to avoid them. He has learned the way to only a few “safe” zones — his brothers’ homes, the health-food restaurant and the Kingdom Hall.[]


“I wake up from dreams and go, ‘Wow, put this down on paper,’” he says. “The whole thing is strange. You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face. And you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry, I just didn’t write this. It’s there already.’ That’s why I hate to take credit for the songs I’ve written. I feel that somewhere, someplace, it’s been done and I’m just a courier bringing it into the world. I really believe that. I love what I do. I’m happy at what I do. It’s escapism.” []

 “You have no idea what’s really on their minds. That’s why it’s going to be so hard for my son to get a wife.” Michael is aware of, if not resigned to, the impossibility of that task. He might like to have children in the future, but says he would probably adopt them. For now, he has only to walk into one of his brothers’ homes and he’s instantly covered with nephews. He says he gets along with children better than adults, anyhow: “They don’t wear masks.”
Kids and animals can nose their way into Michael’s most private reserves.[]

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After this interview and other tabloid articles, Jackson who was tired of the misinterpretations and the manipulations gave an interview with Ebony on December 1984. If you have already read the first part of these posts, then you have seen this interview; otherwise click on this page to find it.

The 1984 Ebony interview begins with this paragraph:

The Michael Jackson Nobody Knows

By Robert E. Johnson

The White media’s Michael Jackson, portrayed mostly through gossip, rumors, hype, and sometimes slander, is not the Michael I have watched and reported on since he emerged from the anonymity of the steel town of Gary, Indiana in 1970. That Michael Jackson – the Michael Jackson nobody knows – is warm, sensitive, vibrant, keenly aware of the mysteries of life and the wonder and magic of children. Several months ago he told me that he was tired of the wave of lies in the White press. What he said then was reflected in the extraordinary and revealing statement he issued at a press conference through his manager, Frank Dileo []

In the coming years, Jackson continued to be successful. He became more and more disgusted by the tabloids; he decided to withdraw and to let his spokespeople take care of the media. Because of these two reasons the tabloids got angrier. Consequently, their “Jackson” became sicker and more exaggerated.

During 1985-87, they “diagnosed” him with body dysmorphic disorder while the real Jackson was in fact suffering from the injuries sustained in the Pepsi accident as well as from vitiligo and lupus. In 1986, Enquirer came up with the “hyperbaric oxygen chamber” idea and a while later with the “elephant man” tale. All the nicknames mostly invented by the British tabloids were created.

Let us go back to reviewing the RS articles.

Next paper is published on March 15, 1984, Trouble in Paradise? Michael Jackson, An exclusive look inside a musical empire, By Michael Goldberg and Christopher Connelly (you find this article in the end of this post in Append 3).

The writers seem to be lost in the millions of $$$ that Jackson had earned and the millions of music copies that he had sold. They could not make up their mind on how to trash the star. So they describe the Pepsi accident, they add the problematic Don King and the disturbances around him; they highlight Joe Jackson’s struggle and fighting comments as he tried to save his position as the manager of the group etc.  Suddenly, the writers ask what would happened if Michael who was still in control of his life and his art, were to fail?!

The third article was published on September 24, 1987 by Michael Goldberg and David Handelman and was called “Is Michael Jackson for Real?” (Please read it here http://grigutza-dugheana.blogspot.se/2009/10/michael-goldberg-david-handelman.html)

In this article, we find again several of the first article’s themes; Michael Goldberg who also wrote the second article mentioned above and who seemed to be lost in Jackson’s millions of dollars, wakes up in this one. The paper works tirelessly to paint an odd artist. We read more and more about his “double personality”. Then the article gives the impression that the artist is “nothing” himself and his success is because of others: his lawyers, his managers, the big music industry boss, Pepsi, etc Soon, the writers get angry and almost curse all these people for the support they gave to the “bizarre” star as well as for all the money they were making together  (Dileo’ and Branca’s presentations in the article: “… a 220-pound, five-foot-two cigar-chomping cross between Colonel Tom Parker and P.T. Barnum.” and “The boyishly good-looking Branca is one of the top entertainment lawyers in the world.”)

 The article rejoices in the idea that Jackson probably would never again sell as much as he did with Thriller because he had to compete with himself (that was when BAD album came in the market).

Also they use a new trick; they quote phrases from some of Jackson’s friends and colleagues like Stevie Wonder, Dileo, and Quincy Jones which appear to be against Michael! They get mad at Martin Scorsese who had called Jackson a perfectionist and a “sympathetic and sweet and open” person while they had worked together shooting the BAD video.

The “elephant man”, the “oxygen chamber” and the surgery stories are repeated at least three times in different paragraphs of this article. They hoped that repetition would create the impression of the truth in the reader’s mind.

While discussing “Man in the Mirror” a song that RS article calls the album’s “message” song, the writers add these statements:

[] the confusion Michael feels when he sees “kids in the street, with not enough to eat.” He decides that “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways…If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.”

For the most part, Michael’s own lyrics — about groupies, fast cars, romance, sex and murder — don’t seem based on personal experience; rather, they seem secondhand, as if he had learned about these things from movies, TV, other songs or his associates.

The writers, conveniently “forget” that Jackson came from the poorest part of American society. The family, comprising 11 people, was packed into a little house with not enough to eat; their neighborhood was a “standard” Black quarter where people were struggling everyday with poverty, hunger, crime, drugs, etc.

They also “forget” that Michael had to work at a very young age with his brothers to earn money for the family.

As a Jehovah witness, Jackson who believed deeply and truly in God and in the Bible, went door to door in different neighborhoods to promote his beliefs. His personality was forged by his harsh childhood and also by his belief in taking action to change the wrong. He would not wait passively for the change to come by itself. He would not give in when he believed he was right.       

Not a single word was mentioned in the article about Jackson’s humanitarian and charity works which was substantial at that time and which was a demonstration of how Jackson was aware of issues on a global scale! Instead, the star and his closest colleagues are described as “money-hungry liars” who “use” other’s misery to fill their pockets!   

A few quotes from this paper:

 In March 1986, Frank Dileo, John Branca and Pepsi president Roger Enrico completed Michael’s second Pepsi deal for $15 million. Up front. In exchange Pepsi would get to sponsor Michael’s world tour (which includes putting its logo on his tour book), and Michael would make two commercials, which could air for up to a year []

Perhaps because Michael was financially scorched during his years at Motown (the Jackson Five were only paid 2.7 percent royalties and weren’t allowed to write their own material), Michael Jackson has set out with grim determination to become the ruler of an immense business empire.

His publishing concerns alone are worth perhaps $100 million. Besides the Beatles songs, Michael holds copyrights to countless hits by acts ranging from Little Richard to A-ha. He’s particularly fond of his Sly and the Family Stone copyrights, and he has his eye on the James Brown catalog. “A great song is like a great piece of art,” says Branca. “Any art collector buys based on a love of art. Michael approaches it in that way.”

Though sources close to Michael claim the singer makes the final decisions on all major business deals, he does rely heavily on Branca and Dileo, and rewards them well for their efforts. Clinching the ATV and Pepsi deals earned Branca and Dileo a $120,000 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur each. “Michael,” says Branca, “inspires loyalty and teamwork.”
The boyishly good-looking Branca is one of the top entertainment lawyers in the world. A partner in the powerful firm of Ziffren, Brittenham and Branca, he has executed many of Michael’s most savvy maneuvers. Branca, 36, is extremely bright, egocentric and ambitious, all qualities that have endeared him to Michael.[]

The comparison is not so farfetched: Michael, in fact, likened himself to E.T. in one of his last interviews. “His story is the story of my life in many ways,” Michael said. “He’s in a strange place and wants to be accepted… He’s most comfortable with children… He gives love and wants love in return, which is me. And he has that super power which lets him lift off and fly whenever he wants to get away from things on earth, and I can identify with that.”

But now E.T. Jackson wants to come back to earth, and wants a huge reception. To facilitate that, he, Dileo, Branca and CBS are orchestrating a marketing and promotion blitz so grand that it is a phenomenon itself. The game plan seems almost identical to that of Thriller. the choice of first single, the hard-rock guitar solo on another, the street-gang video, the Pepsi ads, the special TV events and the expensive long-form videos (also planned are “The Way You Make Me Feel,” to be directed by Pepsi-commercial director Joe Pytka, and “Speed Demon,” a Claymation piece by Will Vinton). Dileo says he hopes to release “nine or ten singles” off the album — in other words, every cut. Only one thing is certain: by the end of 1988 everyone should be so sick of Michael Jackson they’ll wish he takes ten years to make his next album.

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And now the fourth article, another written by Michael Goldberg:

Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” Mind

The making of the King of Pop
Michael Goldberg
Posted Jan 09, 1992 12:00 AM

Please read this article at Lipstick Alley http://www.lipstickalley.com/f227/michael-jackson-rolling-stone-1992-a-247243/

After a long and quite detailed description of Neverland, the writer explains how incredible and unrealistic everything was at that place. He adds and insists upon it that Jackson lived more and more in his fantasy world and had become himself an unreal man – who would not grow up – otherwise he would not have built such a place and called it home.

The article describes Neverland as a “no rules” place. We remember how some of these biased descriptions about Neverland were used in 2003-05 trial against the star. Perhaps you remember the first RS article where Jackson tells the journalist that he liked mannequins; the writer presented this information in such a way as  to suggest another sign of Jackson’s “ailment”. In 2005, Gavin Arvizo and his brother borrowed this story, among the others, from the tabloids to build a web of false accusations against Jackson.

However, at the end of the Neverland description, Goldberg admits that Jackson could not spend much time in his home because of his endless projects and works. One wonders how a “strange” man who “lived in a fantasy world” could materialize so many prime projects and could become such a successful businessman.

Later in the article, Goldberg gets lost again in Jackson’s artistry, figures and numbers and quotes several positives words in favor of Jackson! But before that, he attacks Jackson on two occasions: The King of Pop title and the Black or White track. He is not happy with Fox, Black Entertainment Television and MTV for having accepted and using the KOP title over and over again!

We know what the tabloids have always said about the KOP title but here is wthat happened: in 1989 Jackson was recognized as the King of Pop, Rock and Soul because of his huge achievement in music industry. No surprise if those who have attacked the star did not like Jackson being called the KING!

As to the Black or White song and video – the lyrics and the panther dance with its social and political messages – were a revolutionary act in the beginning of the 90’s. It almost seemed that every Black slave, every Indian and every man who had been unjustly killed on the Earth, was screaming through Jackson’s words, moves and his dance. The establishment and the media viewed the song and the film as “a threat” and chose to ban it by calling it “violent” and “provocative”. However, millions of viewers in every corner of the world watched the video.

At the highest point of his career and popularity, Jackson did not forget his beliefs; as a recipient and a bearer, he was there not only to entertain but to deliver a message.

In some paragraphs, Goldberg mentions Jermaine Jackson and his song Word to the Badd. We will not discuss yet Jackson’s family; this work has to be done separately in other blogs.  

Other tabloid thoughts that Goldberg tries to forge with Jackson’s name:

–          He spends too much money on his videos and songs! We remember how in the coming years the tabloids generalize this subject to all areas (Martin Bashir’s doing in this matter was enormous) and described Jackson as a “careless” person on “the verge of bankruptcy” who “had ruined himself” by his extravagant expenditure.

In the truth, many of Jackson’s business projects were sabotaged after 93 (we will study these in parts 6 and 7) by his enemies. And the star had to defend himself against several false allegations – from plagiarizing lyrics and music to criminal activities– by engaging several lawyers which cost him a fortune.   

–          His “sexuality”, his “face transformation” and his “skin color change as a sign of denying his origin”, this package as a whole is there and is discussed in the article.

–           And of course the eternal question about how the artist would be able to compete with himself and his Thriller. He adds that Jackson tried to overcome this “problem” by “repeating” himself, by taking old tracks and re-using them again. But he contradicts himself immediately by admitting that Dangerous album was a successful one!

It seems that Goldberg has abandoned the “two personality” idea. He partly gives in to Jackson and says that the star “hides” behind “his world”; “we don’t know who he really is”. The only thing that we know for sure is:

There is one thing we know for certain about the real Michael Jackson: He is an extraordinarily talented man with a gift for creating music that people all over the world love. Jackson should put more faith in his talent. That, more than anything, accounts for his more than twenty years of stardom.

The act of planting doubt – the thing that Goldberg is doing in his article – is another tactic that has been used by some of Jackson’s contesters. Unknowingly, Lisa Marie Presley let herself be used by Rolling Stone (read later when we talk about the last RS article) in the work of creating doubt about Jackson. This is what Oprah Winfrey has done several times while talking about Jackson’s innocence, “I don’t know”, “I cannot be sure” etc.   

 

We saw how from the beginning of the 80’s until the beginning of the next decade, Jackson’s adversaries inside the music industry, outside the art world and their media worked towards dehumanizing the star.

It seems that Rolling Stone magazine likes and flirts with this beautiful and very masculine Jackson from the year 1992.

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However the clown-puppet-phantom they present to their readers is actually this one

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The “weird” and the “sick” person who’s creation was completed at the beginning of the 90’s was just one step away from being a criminal too.

It is a fact that American Media (the Enquirer), News Corporation (ex NOTW, the Sun …) and Rolling Stone magazine are unconnected and would not perhaps collaborate easily with each other; however even groups and corporations in competition may have common interests. It appears that Jackson was and still is a common target for these people.

Besides the media named above, there were and are others who have slandered Jackson. But as initiators who set the standard and gave guidance to the others, the honor goes to the above mentioned parties!

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The last Rolling Stone article to be discussed here is Michael Jackson: What Went Wrong written by Brian Hiatt (with Additional reporting by Andy Greene, Steve Knopper and David Wild) and published on July 30, 2009 after the tragic passing of the star (please read the article at RS : http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/michael-jackson-what-went-wrong-20090730#ixzz2ElUMEeUv )

The reasons we need to review this article are twofold; firstly, to follow up the long RS anti Jackson tradition. Secondly, it appears that this article is one of the main sources used by Randall Sullivan who recently published a book about Jackson called Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson.

Actually, you can choose to either read this article and watch some of Mr. Thomas Mesereau’s videos on You Tube (Mr. Mesereau was the attorney who defended Jackson in 2005. There are several videos on You Tube where he talks about the 2005 trial and the 93 accusation) or to read Sullivan’s book (around 600 pages + 200 pages notes).

Let us read some quotes from the R S article and you will get the picture:

The only positive phrase about Jackson in the entire article is this one “Jackson, one of the world’s richest and most talented people”. Other quotes, however, are not sympathetic.

About the nose: The tip of it — actually a prosthetic — flew across the floor, [] Crew members ran after it. “There was a hole, man, a little hole right where the tip of the nose should be, a perfectly circular opening,” says a source who was in the room that day. “It was kind of disgusting. I felt bad for the guy. Another source says that [] would sometimes abandon the prosthesis altogether, showing up at meetings with a bandage over the hole. He had clearly had at least one nose job too many. “

About the bleaching: Despite his denials, he also had his skin bleached, though friends say he did it as a means of dealing with the skin disease vitiligo, which would have otherwise left his skin blotchy. [] Though Jackson would say that he was proud of being black, he took pains to keep his skin looking as pale as possible. At an inaugural concert for Bill Clinton in 1993, Stevie Nicks remembers, one of Jackson’s aides asked to borrow some makeup from her. “I was using a light Chanel foundation,” she says. “Michael sent back a note to say thanks, but the shade wasn’t light enough for him.

Jackson was oblivious to how his appearance came off. When he showed up in 1991 with ghostly-pale skin in the video for “Black or White,” he had absolutely no sense that listeners might apply the title to his own life. “Look at the guy’s face, and I mean that in a very sad way,” says a music-industry source who worked with Jackson. “If he didn’t see that, why would he see the irony in that title?”
 

About the addiction: addicted to prescription painkillers [] a mix of OxyContin, Demerol and Xanax (The Last Tear: the source of this information is the famous Marc Schaffel another shark who was after Jackson’s money. He is one of Sullivan’s main sources).

About being not human and a criminal: by the beginning of this decade, he had begun to look not just androgynous or racially ambiguous but hardly human.[]

Outside of the world of show business — where he was savvy enough to become the world’s biggest singer and make a business move as brilliant as buying the Beatles’ publishing catalog — Jackson’s self-image was pathologically distorted. “He saw himself as a child; he really, really did,” says the music-industry source who worked with him. “It was dangerous. I don’t think he had the appropriate boundaries that an adult would have with a child, because he didn’t see himself as an adult. Was he having these sleepovers? Absolutely. He didn’t deny it, he said there’s nothing wrong with him sleeping with boys. In the course of that, might there have been fondling? Probably, I don’t know, I wasn’t there. But the point is his state of mind was really like a child, he was a peer to these kids. I know that disgusts a lot of people, and I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but I’m saying as a fact, that that really was his state of mind.”

“The music-industry source”!!!! Does this music-industry man have a name too? Why does  he think that he is above the law? The same law that judged Jackson in 2005 and found him not guilty. 

About Lisa Marie Presley: In May 1994, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, who acknowledged to Rolling Stone nearly a decade later that she had doubts about his innocence. “Did I ever worry?” she said. “Of course I fucking worried. Yeah. I did. But I could only come up with what he told me. The only two people that were in the room was him and that kid, so how the hell was I going to know? I could only go off what he told me.”

We have some questions for Lisa Marie Presley: If you were so “fucking worried” why did you after your divorce almost lived with Jackson again? Why did you follow him, why did you cry in his arms and wanted to have a child with him?

In Hiatt’s article the 1993 accusation and the 2005 trial are mentioned and the words “molestation” and “pe….lie” are repeated several times to make sure that the readers would not forget to link them with the star’s name.

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Gerry Hershey, Michael Goldberg, Christopher Connelly, David Handelman, Fred Goodman (we will read his articles in the next part), Brian Hiatt and Randall Sullivan are all Rolling Stone magazine ex editors; they were all Wenner’s right hand men and are bound together – a fraternity, a brotherhood and a gang that follows some rules. It seems that one of the rules is slandering Michael Jackson.

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Let us talk a short while about Sullivan’s book which he wanted to be a “new phenomena”!

Sullivan is known as an investigative journalist and has written several books. An ex atheist who succeeded some years ago in finding God and Catholicism at the Vatican; he also claims to have experienced apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje. Alongside his 3 marriages and 2 divorces, Randall Sullivan appears to enjoy fame and fortune. Some time ago he decided to write a biography about Jackson and he assured Mr. Thomas Meserau – one of his sources-that this book would do justice to the star and would tell of his innocence.

Mr. Mesereau who was and still is tired of the media’s manipulations and lies probably thought that another Aphrodite Jones had come to tell the truth and put an end to the slander. This is surely why he defended Sullivan and his book. However, taking a closer look, it appears that Sullivan has deceived him, just like Martin Bashir deceived Jackson.

 On one hand, as an ex RS editor, Sullivan had to honor the old code and on the other, he had the support of Mr. Mesereau who trusted him. What did Sullivan do? He borrowed tabloid stories like Hiatt’s but minus the molestation and the ped…lia paragraphs and added to this Mr. Mesereau’s facts and discussions. He created a PARADOX that no one had done before! And for that he must be “honored”!

According to the Free Dictionary, the word paradox means:

1. a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement that is or may be true religious truths are often expressed in paradox

2. (Philosophy / Logic) a self-contradictory proposition, such as I always tell lies

3. a person or thing exhibiting apparently contradictory characteristics

Etc.

While reading Sullivan’s book, the reader is constantly amazed at how one sentence contradicts the next one; one paragraph or one chapter contradicts the next paragraph or the next chapter. It is like exploring in a lost world where nothing could be found. That would explain the name of the book Untouchable!! And the poor reader would soon give up and soon forget the facts about Jackson and the truth. Well, this is at least one of Sullivan’s  purposes for writing the book!

If you have enough patience to read the entire book, you will find a more or less accurate description of some of Jackson’s fans who run websites or blogs. How Sullivan has gotten this information one wonders!? There is only one possible answer to that: the tabloid elements have approached the fans and have gathered information. Did they also send spies inside to identify people? Some bloggers have complained that their computers had been hacked.

Now who is after who?

Jackson’s fans did not support this book which is not a surprise. Consequently, the sales figures are poor. Sullivan and the publisher are not happy and need to put the blame on someone! They have found their scapegoat: Jackson’s fans! This is not the first time that the media has blamed Jackson’s fan base and will not probably be the last time either!

An article published in Oregon Live  and another one  published recently in The New York Times accuse Jackson’s fans for “swarming unjustly” Sullivan’s book. Please read the answer written by some of Jackson fans to NYTimes.

The Oregon and the NYTimes articles use also Mr. Mesereau’s endorsement of Sullivan’s book as an argument to condamn the fans.

Now, we have to ask ourselves what is going on. Are Sullivan and Co. really surprised that Jackson’s fans did not like this book? Or is this only a trick to tease the fans and to create fights among them?  

It appears that Jackson’s contesters, the tabloids and their owners, have understood that every person in this large world-wide fan base represents $$$$!

They have also understood that some people such as Mr. Mesereau and Mrs. Jones as well as certain website owners and bloggers, are key people in this community. In order to divide and ultimately conquer this powerful community – something that Jackson’s contesters have always hoped to do – they planned to cut Mr. Mesereau’s bound to this community which would eventually lead to internal fighting with disputes among members causing fan groups to fall apart.

But none of this has happened! It appears that the fan base has also learnt his lesson and would not be tricked easily!

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While writing this blog, an attempt to re-write the history has taken! The New Yorker published an article on January 4, 2013 questioning Thriller and its sales record of one hundred million!

 The Estate of Jackson has given an answer to this:

We understand that loyal MJ fans are reacting to the article that appeared in the New Yorker questioning the sales of Michael’s “Thriller” album. Let’s state this for the record: “Thriller” has sold MORE THAN 100,000,000 ALBUMS WORLDWIDE. In addition, the number of singles sold cannot even be tallied. It is far and away the largest selling album in record industry history which, ironically, the same reporter noted in the December issue of the same magazine. Quite frankly, we are unaware of the credentials of the blogger in the New Yorker, and point out that it is his opinion only, and not based on the facts of the extraordinary 30-year sales history of Michael’s masterpiece.

– John Branca and John McClain, Co-Executors, The Estate Of Michael Jackson

MJOnline
The Official Online Team of The Michael Jackson Estate™
http://tl.gd/kn7btd

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Please accept our apologies for not being able to remodel the blog as we promised! We are also sorry for not following our schedule! Our next post will focus on the conflicts that Michael Jackson had to face in the 80’s. While researching this matter, we came to the conclusion that this post should come first .

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Append 1

Los Angeles Sentinel

9/2/93

By CAROLYN BINGHAM

Entertainment Editor

Do you believe in prophesy? I do. Now more than ever. Everyone is party to the fate that has befallen the legendary Michael Jackson recently, but no one, but perhaps Michael himself, feels it more than Bob Jones, vice president, MJJ Productions, Michael’s right arm.

This didn’t start out to be a piece in defense of the famous pop icon, nor when the interview was taped, were either Bob Jones or myself aware of the charges that would soon be leveled against the young superstar. We talked Wednesday, Aug. 18, three days prior to Jones accompanying Jackson on his now infamous world tour.

It started out to be a “what’s he really like” piece, but in light of recent events rearing their ugly head, I felt the public had a right to know Jones’ foreboding. He was a frightened man, but not in the way you’d suspect. Uncannily, although most probably, his fears were realized when he himself was least undupable. But herein lies Jones’ prophetic statements which in my naïveté, I thought his anxiety unfounded. After all, how could you stop the wake of Michael Jackson. But in his wisdom, he knew the inevitable. A curse came with Michael’s kind of stardom. A curse where he was damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t.

In a roundabout fashion, Jones took me back to his first days on the job in Michael’s camp. Prior to that he worked public relations for Motown and prior to that public relations with the famous firm of Rogers and Cowan Public Relations.

“I came to work for Michael in December of 1987 and have not regretted it one bit. And I thought having worked with the Supremes, the Temptations, the Commodores, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops–all of those people who were a part of the Motown stable–that I had seen it all. That I had seen everything America had to offer.

“All of a sudden, we went to the first out-of-the-country date. We went to Rome, Italy, and we played the Coliseum in Rome to 55,000 people. We did three nights at 55,000 persons per show. It was mind-boggling. I had never seen anything like this. To see zero blacks there. It was mind boggling, and to see that one black man had drawn all these people in to see this show, I was awe struck. We not only played Rome, we played touring Italy. We went to Paris, France, and the audiences kept growing, and we went to London, England, and played five nights at Wembley Football Stadium at 72,000 persons a show. All coming out to see this one black man. I saw white folks passing out and fainting and all of this sort of stuff, and I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it, and it really frightened me.”

I sat perplexed in Jones’ office by his diffidence, but now I see the farsightedness in his statements. “Because I’m aware and a believer in the system … when you sit back and know that you can take the president and our mayors and our governors and put them all in a stadium together, and you can’t draw 20,000 people, and to see a black man draw these kind of people, I became frightened, because I know how this system operates.”

Now for the prophecy.

“They are frightened. The system becomes frightened if they see a black man with this kind of power, and especially a black man that they don’t have total control over. That they have not given a white woman and who doesn’t have the white babies and the monies going back into the white system. A black man who is basically clean, that they can say nothing about, who neither smokes nor drinks.

“The system is not ready to conceive of this and who ( Michael) is like a pied piper to white youth. Who if he decides to make a statement or take sides in situations, I’m sure the same system would remove. It becomes detrimental to what the system in America, in the world, is all about. Nobody but the Pope has followings like this.”

We go off on another tangent, try to make him crazy. They try to do everything. The system would rather praise Elvis Presley, who we all know was a drug addict. They make every excuse in the world rather than say this man was a drug addict. He died from an OD of drugs. If they could just come back to the same sober fact.

Jones feels Michael is in a league of his own, “He doesn’t deteriorate his body, his health. He’s a clean-liver, and if they could, I’m sure they would–well you read the press reports–they try to make him weird. They find Michael Jackson with a marijuana cigarette, forget all the other stuff, they’d destroy him.

“Anything that the system can’t control, it does not allow to exist. We’re not all of those who have dared challenge the system. I’m a firm believer, we live in a society that is programmed–these people are walking idiots, programmed idiots. That idiot box tells us what to buy, when to go–it’s football time so come watch your television show–and the couch potato goes plop. It’s amazing how man no longer uses his mind to think, and the system is aware and the system knows it. So they take advantage of it. In politics. In everything else.”

Jones intimate alliance with the standout superstar follows Michael Jackson for 30 years. He was there representing James Brown, and that was during the hey day of James Brown, when he had put out such records as ‘Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,’ and he was the number one black man in America. I began to work on the Motown account. Among the acts that e Jackson Five first debuted their act in Los Angeles. He worked for Rogers and Cowan Public Relations when they were handling all the Motown acts.

“I worked at Rogers and Cowan and learned from some of the best. At that time Rogers and Cowan was had the James Brown account. We had a party one night for James at The Playboy Club when it was on Sunset Boulevard. It was for an artist called Randy Crawford and a group called the De Felise Trio (excuse spelling). They were recording for James Brown’s sub label. “And we had a big press party at the Playboy Club which was from 6 to 9 p.m. At nine o’clock the same night, there was a party that Rogers and was also having at The Daisy Club to introduce a new group called the Jackson Five. So the people came to the party that I had for James, and then about 8:30-8:45, we shut down and everybody rushed over to The Daisy to be there for the debut of this young group that Motown was introducing. And that was the first night that I met The Jacksons and the first night that I saw them perform.

“I was still at Rogers and Cowan at the time, but I worked on The Jackson Five account also. I was covering all their interviews, etc. That was the beginning of my association with The Jacksons, and even though I was working at Rogers and Cowan, I would tour with The Jacksons when they toured on their first tour dates.”

That was the introduction of a lifelong cultivation of friendship between Jones and Michael. Of the juvenile Michael, Jones states, ” Michael was always a devilish little kid. He loved to play games and loved to run in your room and see what you had in there or if you had a beer or something in there because he was gonna go and tell the whole tour about it. He loved to pillow fight. He always loved animals and rodents and things like that. Actually, I don’t like rats and never have, and he had pet snakes, and I don’t like snakes, so he always made it a point to run me around. Rats and snakes, that was enough to get me out of that room and as far away from him as I could.”

You can take sides if you chose to, and everyone has an opinion. I’ve met Michael, and I chose to believe the best about him. I saw his compassion and his loving kindness towards children. Yet, although I chose to believe all things, I know all things are not expedient for me. But Jones has lived with Jackson upwards of 30 years, and if there was an inkling towards misbehavior on Michael’s part, he would have gleaned it, or Michael is a darn good actor at espionage.

In ending this first of a two-part story on Jones’ long association with Michael, and what happens when mega-minds converge, let me end on Jones’ words and Jesus’ and not Michael’s detractors for we’ll all have to wait until the final verdict is in. And then will we even know the thing-in-itself, Jones’ above statements make it abundantly clear, can we ever be really sure? Jones told me, “God has given him some kind of gift, and he ( Michael) believes in sharing that gift. And he realizes that there is something that God has given him that is special, and that is the reason he does and shares with the kids and the youth the way he does.” Truth. God knows. Michael has always let his moderation be known to all men.

And in the immortal words of Jesus, “Let he who is without sin among you, cast the first stone.”

PART 2

One would assume creating a legacy for the eminent Michael Jackson is one easy task. Just sit back and let Michael do his thing. Not so, says Bob Jones, vice president, Communications and Media Relations, MJJ Productions, whose job it is to never let the superstar’s name die in the embers of oblivion, as has been the fate of many that have gone before him.

Bob Jones is mighty in battle for that cause, just as dynamic at what he does as Michael is potent in his performances and songs.

Jones as a dynamo, helps Michael, the diplomat, deal with the rigors of superstardom, while keeping Michael’s name going long after the superstar has ceased and deceased. It is Michael who makes the headlines, but Bob Jones who manufactures them.

Jones says, “There is an important factor that Michael feels. Michael has studied and read about all the legendary performers. He studied their mistakes, and he knows one thing, that if we don’t create a legacy, there will never be one for us. “Because until Natalie sang ‘Unforgettable,’ Nat Cole was forgotten. Sammy Davis–it’s only been four years–and you don’t hear anything. Sammy was the greatest, and he kissed a__ whenever he had to, to try to hold on to make you like him, and even though he was dying of cancer, he had to go out there, work around the world. “Whereas when theirs (whites) go down, they give them a talk show or something, so they won’t have to go through those struggles. There is none of that for us. When those football players come off that field, they either go to a cigarette company, a beer company or a whiskey company. That’s it. Otherwise it’s over. The white boys get announcers on television. There’s a whole new career that’s for them. It’s not for us, and my thing is to try to create a legacy for Michael.”

To date Jones has been successful at Michael’s bequeathal building, albeit even with the fame of Michael, Jones has hit snags in the way to immortalizing Jackson. Jones was able to get the renaming of the auditorium at the school Michael went to, to the Michael Jackson Auditorium. Jones has created awards such as The Boy Scouts coming out with a Michael Jackson Award, BMI Publishing has a Michael Jackson Award, as does Jack the Rapper, “To keep the name going. Because,” Jones says, “if you don’t darling, do you realize the greats that have gone down that have been black. You don’t hear anything about these people. It’s over for us once we are done. And if we don’t place your name on a building or your name somewhere …”

It isn’t an automatic given to assume Jones’ job is cushy. “It isn’t automatic,” he explains to me. “I’m working right now to try to get them to rename the elementary school Michael went to the Michael Jackson School. First they said, you’ve got to be dead. Why do you have to be dead? Your contributions are done while you’re alive.”

Jones also bears the brunt of the trouble with the mural in Hollywood which they have been working towards more than three years. “We started over three years ago with the Hollywood Arts Council. They approached me about doing a mural for Michael Jackson. Then some red necks out of the woods said no we want Orson Wells. Anything but a black man up there on that wall. So it’s that kind of thing. Look, racism is alive and well and festering here in Los Angeles. I don’t fool myself.”

Jones came to inherit his job by a long arduous path. He got into the journalism business while attending USC. There he was a big fan of the late Walter Winchell and Louella Parsons. And he saw all the Hollywood parties going on and wanted to attend them. He started out by writing a column about kids in high school for the California Eagle, and that didn’t last long, and then he moved over to the Herald Dispatch where he was a writer and entertainment editor at the height of that publication. After syndicating his Hollywood column to more than 80 black newspapers, a little down the line he met Bobby Darin, who was quite an entertainer during those early days, he says.

They became fast friends, and that association would lead him to his next job as a publicist for Rogers and Cowan Public Relations. Jones had tried to secure a job at Motown earlier, but he says, “Now mind you, I had applied to Motown before going to Rogers and Cowan, and as typical of what we sometimes go through, I guess I didn’t qualify until I was accepted by Rogers and Cowan.”

From Rogers and Cowan, Jones went to Motown and thought he would die there. But as fate would have it, Michael Jackson called him one day after the release of “Bad.” Jones skeptical, they met, and Michael asked him what it would take to bring him on board, and Jones told him. Michael only had one stipulation, “He said, ‘you got the job as long as you handle telling Berry Gordy and not have me having any problems with Berry Gordy. We have a good relationship.’ I said Okay,” and Jones proceeded to make the transition from Motown to Michael’s camp.

Jones tells me that Michael was always a very, very inquiring mind, who wanted to know what was going on and who wanted to delve deeper of how things worked. “Perhaps,” he says, “a great degree of his success today is based on the fact that he had an inquiring mind, and he wanted to know and he wanted to explore and find out what was going on above and beyond his brothers.”

The Michael Jackson mystique and mania, Jones says he thinks is food to Michael Michael’s ego. “It’s soothing to know that God has given him this kind of a strength, and he doesn’t misuse or abuse it in the wrong manner.” Jones tells me of firings when people on Michael’s staff take advantage of the fans. Jackson doesn’t tolerate it.

Jones credits Michael Michael’s mother for much of the talent that Michael absorbed. “They don’t give his mother enough credit. They didn’t have a television during those early years back in Indiana, and they lived in what amounted to a box. And the mother liked country music. They’d have hootenannies and sing, because it was the way they entertained themselves, and that was what brought them along and developed this great thing. At least there was a togetherness. That everybody participated. I think it was the beginning of the end of that togetherness within the family.”

Jones says Michael is very close with his mother and tries to be close with his family, but it becomes difficult. “It becomes very difficult,” Jones emphasizes.

When I ask Jones is Michael a shrew businessman? he replies, “He’s a kid at heart, but he knows what he wants, and I have the good fortune that he knows me over the years. I don’t have to be a hand-holder.” He goes on to say that Michael doesn’t like entourages, and Michael’s very private. Jackson wants to be by himself.

Jones find himself being the bull fighter in Michael’s arena. Jones fought to have the Oprah Winfrey interview advertised in Ebony and Jet and on BET. During those face-offs, Jones found himself saying, “Wait a minute, let’s back up. Oprah may not care, but that’s the reason I’m here. I care. And it’s most important. Michael Jackson is black, first and foremost.”

Besides acquiring certain properties for Michael’s private collection and handling all facets of the awards shows, it is Jones who goes to the black book stores and buys hundreds of black books at a time so that Michael knows who the black inventors are, so he knows who the black composers are.

“He has been educated about his people,” Jones says, “Those things are important, because if you don’t know where you came from and who you are, you don’t know where you’re going. And he knows, and he tells me all the time, ‘Bob don’t give up. Never give up, never say no,’ he says. ‘That’s what the system wants you to do is to say no and give up.’ And he says, ‘I never give up. I never disbelieve that it can’t happen.’” Jones says he has been around the entertainment industry for 40 years, but Jackson has taught him things, “and it causes me to continue to grow.”

Of Michael and Jones’ activities on his behalf, Jones states, “He’s a gentle … one of the nicest–he doesn’t use curse words. It’s like, because when I know what a dog-eat-dog world it is out here, thank God that he has me and a few others like me to fight off the lechers, because there there, and I’m able to become that alter ego and say go to hell. Because you won’t believe the propositions that come here.

“He is truly the nicest, and if there is anything such as being God-like, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t believe in thinking bad thoughts. That’s why I am suspicious of most of them who come through here, because everybody has an agenda, and it’s either to get over or something, and we live in a society of that.

The society we live in is ruthless, and it’s all the buck and nothing else, and that’s what America’s become. When I look at him ( Michael) I say, ‘It’s good that God chose you.’ That’s the way I look at it. It’s good that God chose you.”

 

Append2

http://www.salon.com/1999/04/20/wenner/

Tuesday, Apr 20, 1999 09:25 PM +0200

Wenner’s world

The evolution of Jann Wenner: How the ultimate ’60s rock groupie built his fantasy into a media empire.

By David Weir

Topics: Entertainment News

Just this much above the bustle of midtown Manhattan, feet
propped on a table, leaning back and grinning his infectious grin, Jann
Wenner is exactly where he wants — and deserves — to be: in the midst of
the bustle without necessarily having to rub any shoulders he doesn’t want
to rub. In contrast, all around this room and the ones adjoining are photos
of him shoulder-to-shoulder with his crowd — Jann with Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bob Dylan; Jann at the White House; Jann with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Jann with the significantly taller Attorney General Janet Reno (“I had to do that one. She’s such a star”).

Beyond the door to his office suite stretches the bustling Wenner Media
headquarters (“almost the size of a football field,” he says with characteristic immodesty), where the young,
the slender and the hip march about in platform shoes performing the
mundane tasks of running Jann’s empire.

This is where the music went. It’s strange, but if the entire cultural
explosion from the 1960s could be drawn down to just one guy, it would be this compact energy ball right here — the quintessential baby boomer, our own Peter Pan, a chubby
adolescent who would never grow up.

Wenner was an entrepreneur long before it was cool. And if, as the venture
capitalists like to say, entrepreneurs usually have only one good idea, at least his was a doozy. Wenner was, to put it plainly, the star-fucker who always traded up — the
ultimate name-dropper who finally became a bigger name in the tabs
than many of the stars he worshiped.

These days he oversees three successful magazines (Rolling Stone, Us and Men’s
Journal), and if that doesn’t provide enough fodder for Wenner-watchers, there are plenty of other angles for the wags to whisper about — his
much younger boyfriend, designer Matt Nye; his many Hollywood buddies, including David Geffen, Barry Diller and Richard Gere; his
longtime business partner and now ex-wife, Jane, and their three
sons; and the accouterments of his success — the Hamptons mansion, the driver and car, the jet and the private Idaho retreat, for summers.

Jann’s long, strange trip here, to the center of his own conspicuous universe, began
a continent away and three decades ago, in a rundown warehouse in the old
printer’s district in San Francisco’s South of Market area, a few short gestational months after the
Haight-Ashbury’s Summer of Love in 1967. There, Rolling Stone magazine, which would
become the voice of a generation, was born. Until the moment issue No. 1 launched, Jann had been just a frustrated wannabe, one of the guys jumping
around the margins of the action, crashing the performances, handing out
fliers, hanging on outside the doors of the stars.

From a separate group of would-be entrepreneurs across town, according
to Robert Draper’s detailed history, “Rolling Stone Magazine: The
Uncensored History,” Wenner stole a mailing list and a corporate name
(Straight Arrow Publishing) to get off the ground. But nobody doubts that
the editorial concept came directly out of Jann’s own music-crazed soul.
The idea was unique for its time: Instead of the puff pieces expected from
a trade magazine, Rolling Stone would cover rock ‘n’ roll for what it was,
the most powerful cultural and political force in a time of widespread
social tumult. The magazine would take risks, and run stories no one else
was willing to cover. Jann recognized that a new social order was forming,
with music as its binding energy.

Wenner’s mentor in this new world of publishing was an older music critic
named Ralph Gleason; most of the money for the risky venture came from the
family of his wife, Jane Schindelheim Wenner, a dark-haired, fine-boned
beauty who was rarely seen at the magazine, but whose presence was always
felt in its formative years.

What made Jann — and Rolling Stone — successful was the power of rock
‘n’ roll combined with his personal ruthlessness and the opportunism,
including kindness, that wealth allows. He was unparalleled in his
generation of magazine editors as a spotter of talent, and for creative types of a certain age and temperament, Jann will always be considered
the magic-maker. He embraced the ideas and generated the excitement; he
untapped his writers’ best work. He untapped everybody, loosened the words,
made the sap flow. That was part of his pure genius as an editor.

In the early years, when 20,000-word pieces were not uncommon in the
magazine and it was his job to edit them, Jann often seemed to lose
interest and stop reading a few paragraphs into a piece. Nonetheless,
his mark was always there. The headlines, the ledes, the art, the display
type — much of that was Jann. His skill at positioning a story, the way he
drilled to the sweet spot — those were his gifts. He didn’t really write
or line-edit with distinction himself. He was the man who hired the writers and
the editors, the designers and the photographers. He spotted you and he
spotted your story. Before long, he was the keeper of the story.

One of the critical elements in Wenner’s success was that he knew not only how to develop and exploit talent, but also when and how to dump it. Every
Rolling Stone writer and editor, photographer and designer has a
bucketful of Jann tales, how the outbursts, the abuse, the breakups, the
firings came down. When Jann turned heartless on you, he played that part
better than anyone else.

The brand names of Jann’s once and former stars is impressive: Hunter S. Thompson, Lester Bangs, Chet
Flippo, Joe Klein, Tim Cahill, Tom Hayden, David Harris, Cameron Crowe, Joe
Eszterhas, David Felton, Tim Ferris, Ben Fong-Torres, Howard Kohn, Jon
Landau, Dave Marsh, Annie Leibovitz, Greil Marcus, Grover Lewis, Abe Peck,
John Morthland, Paul Scanlon, Marianne Partridge, John Burks, Timothy
White, Sarah Lazin, Charley Perry, Michael Rogers, Roger Black, Ed Ward,
Charles Young, Christine Doudna, Harriet Fier — and that list could go on
and on to embrace dozens more. (I, too, was one of Jann’s stars for a while — between 1974 and 1977, I
wrote a dozen or so long investigative stories for the magazine, half the
time as a freelancer and the other half on staff as an associate editor.) Not all of these people were fired, of course; increasingly, as the years went by, the talent got fed up with Jann’s antics and just quit.

Either
way, as Rolling Stone went forward with the business of seducing each
new group of 16-year-olds, the genius of
Jann’s ruthless content strategy gradually became apparent. No matter how
spectacular one group of staffers might be, they all shared one problem from which there is no escape — they grew older. Everybody, that
is, except Jann himself. His petulant fits and rages actually seemed frozen
at an age considerably south of 16 — think “terrible 2″ and you’ll
get the idea.

By 1977, Jann decided he’d outgrown his hometown, and he took his whole San
Francisco hippie show to New York, the main media stage. Ten years after
the Summer of Love, the magazine had survived countless financial and
personnel crises that might have sunk it, much as they sank all the other
start-up rags from the ’60s. But the tyrannical boy king had stayed atop his throne, always
seducing another wave of talent, closing bigger ad accounts, just barely
holding it all together. Now he would become rich.

In New York, Jann hit gold. Soon he was a regular in the celebrity
pages, grinning ear to ear, escorting Jackie and Caroline Kennedy to a
party. There he was, throwing the party for the Democratic
convention in New York. There he was in a movie, playing himself
(“Perfect,” with John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis), and he wasn’t
half-bad, though the movie’s story line made a travesty of Rolling Stone’s
editorial standards. (“It must be difficult making the transition from
editor to actor,” I gently suggested during a visit just before the film
launched. “Not really,” Jann answered. “Not when you have so much natural
talent.”)

Jann’s bluster was all part of the package. It is hard to imagine a more
shielded — what psychiatrists might call “defended” — personality from a generation that has embraced
therapy and the human potential movement. Clearly, his childhood in a
family where neither parent had time for him had left its mark. Not long
after he was sent away at the age of 12 to the Chadwick School, which
Robert Draper characterizes as an orphanage for rich kids south of Los Angeles, Wenner’s
parents divorced. Neither parent called to take him back, and Jann’s
version later of the custody battle between his parents was that
neither of them wanted him. At Chadwick, he added another “n” to his
birth name, Jan, and went his own way away from the family that didn’t want
him.

Though he always exhibited the wounds of an abandoned child, with
insecurities that were painfully obvious (he would cover part of his face
with his hand when talking to you, and he almost always kept a table
between himself and anyone else who was around), he also early on
demonstrated a powerful ability to empathize with an entire generation that
felt betrayed by its parents. This was, after all, a generation that
simultaneously rebelled against the Vietnam War and a host of constrictive
social arrangements and gravitated to the one force that bridged racial and class lines — music. Jann really could trust his own wounded instincts as he proceeded to capture the Zeitgeist of the age.

His short, muscular body zoomed around the magazine’s
office; if you didn’t look quickly, you’d easily miss him as he passed. Though he
surrounded himself with taller people, he
didn’t like to look up at anyone, so most meetings were held at something
approximating room-length, or at least everyone else had to be sitting.
And despite his insecurity, he never had much
trouble making eye contact, and there always seemed to be a
conspiratorily mischievous glint in his large, lovely blue eyes. His voice
rapped out orders in a rapid-fire delivery, made even more so in those
early years by his heavy cocaine habit.

Staffers often worried that Jann was overdoing powder (and later
alcohol), especially when he’d tend to be missing at important moments.
Sometimes, though, it wasn’t the mind-altering substance that was to
blame, but Wenner’s pure fear of being onstage. During a hastily arranged
news conference following the Patty Hearst/Symbionese Liberation Army
exposi that Howard Kohn and I co-authored in 1975, for example, Jann was
nowhere to be found. Reporters from virtually every national and local
media outfit in San Francisco clamored for an explanation of how the
magazine had gotten this scoop, but Jann was too nervous to appear before
them himself. We were told later that he had hidden under a table, vomiting,
while avoiding the media.

One-on-one, however, Jann was a master at exerting personal power. He
knew how to charm anybody who came into his orbit. He stalked the objects
of his greatest affection, and used the magazine to gain access. Thus did he
get cozy with John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Jackie Kennedy, the
royalty of the age. But once Jann got to know
these stars, he cared about them, not as a fan but as family, just as
with his staff. And then, just as with the staff, he’d fight with them and drive them away.

The stars often
accused Jann of going back on his word, of betraying them, of lying. But usually he would cajole his way back to their sides, where he’d
extract another interview from them, another deal, yielding yet another
wave of accusatory charges and countercharges. Have Jann, have drama.

His blow-ups with Lennon were especially legendary, yet when Lennon was
murdered, according to Draper’s book, Jann was inconsolable; he raced
across town to the Dakota and stood across the street with a sorrowful band
of other fans, crying in the rain. Later, without telling anyone, he
stopped the memorial issue of the magazine as it was headed to the
printer and hand-scribbled in tiny letters a final message in the fold:
“John, I love you I miss you you’re with God I’ll do what I said ‘Yoko hold
on’ — I’ll make sure, I promise XXX Jann.”

By the mid-’70s, the stars of other, somewhat imitative media hits
started gravitating to Jann’s side. As “Saturday Night Live” came into
being, Jann and Rolling Stone developed a synergistic relationship with
actors like John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. One time, in advance of a visit
to the magazine’s offices, a large package arrived for the Blues
Brothers. When a curious staffer poked at it, sure enough, white powder began to leak from inside.

At Jann’s Victorian mansion in Pacific Heights in San Francisco,
Saturday nights were sometimes the excuse for him to show off new toys, like
an early large-screen TV set on which he displayed the
first episodes of “Saturday Night Live” to staffers juiced on Remy Martin,
coke, scotch, bourbon, marijuana, cigars and other substances hard to
recall now, let alone the following morning. Outside, in Jann’s driveway, the
painfully insecure and brilliant photographer Annie Leibovitz would leave her
cameras in her car. Hours later, after stumbling outside only to discover her car had been broken into and her
cameras were gone, Annie would come back in, crying. Jann always laid out the cash for new ones.

When certain staffers’ birthdays came around, the staff passed a hat,
and when enough cash had been collected, the lucky one’s present was
procured — a nice big bag of cocaine. It was normal practice for an editor
stopping by the staff darkroom to sniff a line or two while
checking over photos for upcoming feature story layouts.

One thing this account of partying obscures is how
hard the people who built Rolling Stone worked. The magazine was
published biweekly, but throughout the early years, few of its editors
and designers had any substantial publishing experience. Just like today’s
Web pioneers, this was a new generation creating new media — if we’d
fit in to what already existed, we wouldn’t have been there. As a
result, some pretty funky production standards and long hours were the norm. It wasn’t uncommon to work around the clock the
last few nights before we shipped an issue. Those of us who wrote the main
articles often stayed at the magazine night and day until we got our long,
tortured manuscripts into their final form.

Jann’s own work rhythms helped set the pace. He was, to put it lightly,
a “night person.” He rarely even showed up at the office until afternoon, and
then normally it was with a dark growth of beard and some kind of hangover. As the night wore on, however, Jann kicked into high gear, sometimes
with assistance. As other people began to fade, his energy seemed to pick
up, allowing him to break down any creative resistance to his ideas the
rest of us might have had.

When the magazine moved to New York, where politicians were the celebrities, Jann was instantly at
their sides. In one of his few long-term moves, he hired William Greider,
whose analytical columns have kept at least one strong political voice as a
continuous part of the magazine’s mix to this day. (“Hell, I even agree
with him 80 percent of the time,” Jann said recently. “And that’s pretty good.”)
In 1993, Wenner and Greider landed an exclusive interview with newly
installed President Clinton, another ’60s kid refusing to age, whom
Jann instantly adored — even today he considers Clinton “an amazing man,
he’s so smart.”

Jann’s personal life was always on the edge, of course, just like
Clinton’s, though the orientations were different. Nobody seemed to be able to figure out his marriage with Jane. It was,
euphemistically, an “open” marriage; rumors of Jann’s bisexuality often
circulated, as did stories of Jane’s affairs, but somewhat like that
much-later celebrity couple — Bill and Hillary — Jann and Jane seemed
genuinely emotionally intertwined with each other, in ways too
mysterious for their friends and co-workers to unravel.

Finally, in 1995,
came Jann’s own Monica-like outing. Through a tortuous process some said
Jann himself had instigated (only to then try to suppress), Jann’s
homosexuality went public. He and his 20-something love, Matt Nye, a
clothing designer, were outed, and the press revealed that his long marriage
with co-founder Jane Schindleheim Wenner was over.

The Wall Street Journal chose this occasion to present a highly unusual
Page 1 report, complete with salacious details not normally presumed to
be of major interest to the business and financial communities, in order to
speculate that Jane and Jann’s breakup would throw the future of the
magazine empire into doubt.

Wrong. The empire survived the marriage, ’60s-style.

As an empire builder, Jann actually has a mixed record. To his credit, once he got Rolling Stone’s formula right, he was smart enough to not
try to alter it too much. Instead, he experimented with his rapidly expanding cash reserves
by starting or taking over other magazines — more than a dozen over the years. Most of those soon
failed, as is the nature of the business, or were sold off. Today just two
others remain — Us, which he says he plans to take weekly sometime over the next year to compete
head-on with People; and Men’s Journal, the
adventure magazine that duplicates Rolling Stone’s aesthetic in content aimed at the athletic baby boom male who has the time (and
money) to pursue outdoor adventures.

Wenner’s restless energy over the years has yielded more failed
experiments than almost anybody else in the business, yet he’s never
gambled anywhere near large enough a portion of the capital available to
him to put his essential project at risk. At the same time, one striking thing about Jann’s career is that, apart from
Rolling Stone, his success at recognizing other great innovative business concepts has
been negligible. When Bob Pittman showed up to tell Jann about his bright
new idea for a cable TV show called MTV, Jann dismissed his vision as
something that would “never” work. MTV, of course, became far bigger than
Rolling Stone could ever hope to be, and in the process breathed life back
into the moribund music business in many ways that benefited Jann and his
magazine enormously. But Jann himself had missed an opportunity.

Later, when Marc Andreessen came by to describe his brand new
World Wide Web idea — a browser and a company called Netscape — and to ask Wenner
to invest, Jann once again was dismissive. “I didn’t want to be the one to
lose a bundle on that,” he remembers, perhaps slightly chagrined now
that Andreessen’s net worth far exceeds his own.

Many others came to pay homage as well over the years. Wenner
particularly liked Louis Rossetto, the co-founder of Wired, but he figured Rossetto
would never succeed as a magazine publisher because he favored design
elements that obscured the text and refused to include “service-type
stories that would help people figure out how to use all this tech stuff.”
Rossetto, of course, went on to create one of the most important magazines
of the ’90s, Wired, before being dismissed by investors in favor of an
editorial team that has made the magazine more accessible and user-friendly.

There’s more than a little irony in the fact that most of today’s media pioneers,
all of whom would probably identify Rolling Stone as a model for building
their companies, operate out of the same brick-walled warehouses South of
Market where Jann birthed Rolling Stone, in the city Jann dismissed from
his rearview mirror as a “backwater” more than 20 years ago. Today, by
contrast, the “new media” entrepreneurs are creating wealth Jann could only
dream of.

Of course, at 53, Jann is not young or hungry anymore. These days, off
to one side in his office, on a small display table, sits a shrine to his
three sons, ages 13, 12 and 8. In a drawer are more shots — pictures of
their vacations together, photos of them climbing all over him, one big
Jann and three little Janns.

Now here is something radically different from the old Jann,
something fragile. Lines creep into his expression when he talks about his
children, of his concerns about how they may think of his sexual
orientation as they approach their own adolescence. All of a sudden he’s a
little vulnerable, not so sure of himself, maybe even a little scared.

But to get something, you have to give something up. To fall in love with someone much
younger, to leave the security of his long marriage, no matter how
unconventional it may have been, this had to take a toll on Jann. He’s suffered a loss, and
this has made him, finally, just maybe, start to do what everybody else in
his generation did — grow up.

He allows that this love of these children, this “unconditional love,”
is the very best thing in his life. This is his tender spot.

Things with Jane, he says, are “well” now, and that’s all he’ll say
about that subject. Jane has always owned about half of the company, but it
is perfectly obvious that the three smiling boys in these pictures are the
glue that now holds this particular family media empire together.

Talent comes, talent goes. The choreographer remains. The director. The
man who calls the shots. Jann has so completely and successfully lived out
his own story, complete with dramas of every kind, that he’s almost
graduated to the stuff of legend. Abandoned by his own parents, he became a
pseudo-parent to his staffers. He’d take us to the best clothing stores to
dress us for media tours, frown over our haircuts and stuff extra money
into our pockets. If something bad happened, Jann was reliably
compassionate. News of someone’s sick relative, or an accident, would send
him into tears, even while his hand reached for his checkbook. When Howard
Kohn suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm several years ago, and his
health insurance policy had lapsed, Wenner wrote out a very large check, no
questions asked, to help pay for the surgery that saved Kohn’s life.

But just as savagely, Jann could always turn on any of us, and
eventually he usually did. Once he’d driven everyone out of the company
except himself, and had achieved complete domination, he somehow seemed
to stay suspended in time. Lost in the ’60s. All of the rest of us
trailed away, little pieces of narrative, scenes really, from the earlier
parts of his movie, on to our own life stories.

Back here in Midtown, he’s the man. Producer, director, actor, writer,
editor, cameraman, casting, set, distribution house, financier, publicist,
everything. Owner of the franchise.

Jann’s world. Dig it.

Append3

Trouble in Paradise? Michael Jackson, An exclusive   look inside a musical empire (Rolling Stone,1984)
Rolling Stone March 15, 1984
Michael Jackson is about to embark on what may be the biggest tour ever. But   the struggle for power in the Jackson camp could lead to a major disaster.By Michael Goldberg and   Christopher Connelly
JACKSONS! JACKSONS! JACKSONS!The din inside Los   Angeles Shrine Auditorium is more than deafening. It is awesome,   all-engulfing: the adoring roar of 3000 fans. The reunited brothers are not   giving a concert; they are filming the final sequence of a TV commercial for   Pepsi-Cola. But that doesn’t matter. Because the real reason these people are   all here, clapping and hollering and heralding the arrival of a new musical   age, is Michael Jackson. Michael is now, quite simply, the biggest star in   the pop-cultural universe if not bigger than Jesus, as John Lennon once   boasted of the Beatles, then certainly bigger than that group, or any other   past pop icons. Michael is the man who has sold more than 25 million copies   of a single album, Thriller; the man who will surely sweep this years Grammy   Awards; the man who is about to embark with his brothers on what may be the   most phenomenally lucrative concert tour in entertainment history.And, if the truth be   told, Michael is also the only person who would probably rather not be here   tonight. A confirmed health-food disciple, he is endorsing a product he isn’t   likely to use (unlike his brothers, he apparently will not be shown swigging   Pepsi in the completed ad). And the man behind the commercial, the man who   set the whole thing up, is Don King, the boxing impresario and promoter of   the Jacksons upcoming tour. Michael doesn’t want to do the tour. He does not   trust Don King and would prefer to have nothing to do with King. So why is   the most popular performer in the world burying his pride and independence to   participate in this project?The answer is simple: He   is doing it for his brothers, for Tito, Jackie, Marlon, Randy and Jermaine.   Once they were Michael’s professional equals, but they’ve long since been   left in the dust of his dizzying drive to the top of the showbiz starpile.   This summer’s tour will be one last hurrah for them, one last blaze of cash   and glory; Michael is calling it the farewell tour and the final curtain. His   feelings for his brothers are naturally strong, and they seem to have been   exploited by his father, Joe Jackson. Joe Jackson is determined not to let   slip his total control over a pop dynasty he feels he founded. Michael, the   good son, will do the commercial; he’ll do the tour. The family ties are deep   and strong. But they are also, increasingly, ties that bind.The crowd, however, doesn’t   know any of this, and as the Jacksons finally hit the stage, the chanting in   the hall erupts into a single, searing shriek of adulation. A deep, pulsing   beat rolls off the stage the beat of ”Billie Jean,” Michael’s best-selling   single. But tonight, the words, once so personal, have been altered for the   commercial:You’re a whole new   generation
You’re loving what you do.

The voice that high, sweet,   wholly inimitable voice is Michael Jackson’s, but he’s still not in view.   Suddenly, there is a blinding explosion at the center of the stage, and   there, at the top of a staircase, stands Michael in unmistakable silhouette:   hip tilted, head cocked, finger flipped out a whole physical catechism of   cool.

Put a Pepsi into motion
That’s all you’ve gotta do.

Michael has descended the   staircase. He stands frozen for an instant, then whips off a dervish spin. He   charges to a microphone and, with steely eyed intensity, hits the revamped ”Billie   Jean” chorus right on cue:

You’re a whole new   generation
You’re a whole new generation.

It is a dazzling moment,   and it belongs entirely to Michael. He developed the choreography. He and the   Pepsi people chose the director, Bob Giraldi, picked the music and worked up   the new lyrics. He not Pepsi, not the ad agency, not Giraldi, not even his   brothers has the final cut. He appears, as always, to be in total control.

Then the director calls   for a sixth take. The song begins; the brothers hit the stage; the explosion illuminates   Michael’s jiving figure, and he bops beautifully down the stairs one more   time.

But a spark has ignited   his hair. Still focused on his feet, Michael is unaware of what’s happened,   and it is not until he takes his first spin at the bottom of the stairs that   he realizes he’s on fire. Frantically, he cries out ”Tito! Tito!” to his   startled older brother. A coat is quickly thrown over Michael’s head,   extinguishing the flames. Screaming in pain, he is rushed off to a hospital   with what turn out to be second and third-degree burns.

His injuries, however, do   not prove to be critical: By the next day, Michael is happily joking with his   doctors and fellow patients. But the incident may stand as a cautionary   symbol for his future, the future he needs so badly to believe he still can   control. Can he? And if not, whom can he trust, rely on, confide in? Whom can   he turn to? These are increasingly crucial questions. Michael’s money-minting   stellar status is undeniable; but in the wrong hands, even superstars can get   burned. And badly.

How big is Michael   Jackson? Let’s put it in the context of some of the biggest albums of the   last year: Add up all the copies of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, the Police’s   Synchronicity, the Rolling Stones’ Undercover, Culture Club’s Colour by   Numbers, Quiet Riot’s Metal Health and Duran Duran’s Seven and the ragged   Tiger that have been sold in the U.S. A lot of records, right? Now double   that figure. That’s how big Michael Jackson is.

Jackson’s Thriller album   has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide more than Grease, more than   Saturday Night Fever, more than any other album in history. Thriller makes   even Jackson’s previous LP, Off the Wall, which sold 8 million copies, look   like something of a stiff. In the one year and two months since its release,   15 million copies of Thriller have been sold in the United States alone. The   LP has gone platinum in fourteen foreign countries, gold in seven more. The   record is unstoppable. In January, right after Michael swept the American   Music Awards, more than a million copies of Thriller were sold in just one   five-day period. The following week, after his accident in L.A., over 700,000   copies were sold.

All of which means that   Michael Jackson is a very rich twenty-five-year-old. According to his   attorney, John Branca, ”Michael has the highest royalty rate in the record   business.” (Michael would not be interviewed for this article; he referred   all questions to Branca, a trusted adviser.) That royalty rate, which   escalates along with sales, is reported to be in the very exclusive   neighborhood of forty-two percent of the wholesale price of each record sold.   In other words, Jackson is apparently paid about $2.10 on every album sold in   the U.S., or a total of nearly $32 million on Thriller’s domestic sales   alone. Add to that another $15 million or so in foreign royalties, and you   begin to get some idea of Jackson’s commercial clout. That doesn’t include   the publishing royalties for the four songs that he wrote on Thriller.

But you get the picture.   Some sixty weeks after its release, Thriller was still the Number One album   on the pop charts, and it has been Number One for a total of twenty-nine   mind-whirling weeks.

No other pop star has   ever sold so many records. No other album has ever spawned seven Top Ten   singles (”Billie Jean,” ”Beat It,” ”The Girl Is Mine,” ”Human Nature,” ”Wanna   Be Startin Somethin,” ”P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing),” and ”Thriller”). Small   wonder, then, that concert promoters around the country see the Jacksons’   upcoming concert trek as not only the tour of the year, but possibly the   biggest performance gold mine of all time. Michael Jackson’s drawing power   alone is apparently limitless: New York promoter Ron Delsener estimates the   Jacksons could sell out a full week of dates at the 60,000 seat Shea Stadium   and still not exhaust ticket demand.

As currently mapped out   forty shows beginning in early summer and spread out over thirteen weeks (to   conserve his energy, Michael won’t do more than three shows per week) about   1.2 million people are expected to attend the concerts. Depending on ticket   price (either twenty or twenty-five dollars), that would mean a gross of   either $24 million or $30 million. Assuming the latter figure, and deducting   $6 million for expenses, that would leave $24 million net profit, eighty-five   percent of which would go to the Jacksons, with the rest being divided   between Don King and Joe and Katherine Jackson — $3.4 million for each   member of the group (Michael will get the same amount as each of his five   brothers); $1.8 million for King; and $900,000 each for Joe Jackson and his   wife. Just the droppings from such a windfall are the stuff of which   promoters’ dreams are made.

Predictably, there is   also talk of a concert film and of a live satellite broadcast of one of the   shows. Plans abound: a film based on ”Billie Jean,” a Michael Jackson doll, a   Michael Jackson leather jacket, trading cards, even a Michael Jackson postage   stamp for a Caribbean country.

Other deals abound.   Foremost among them is a book that Michael will write with the help of a   still-to-be-hired author. ”It is not just an autobiography,” says his   literary agent, Joy Harris. ”It will be primarily pictures and drawings and   poetry, and then a substantial text. You know, he’s not forty years old, so I   don’t think he feels that it’s time to do his autobiography, but it is time   to make this statement.” Editing the book for Doubleday will be Jacqueline   Onassis. Harris describes the deal as being ”way over a million dollars.”

And that’s just for   starters. ”In the last two weeks,” says Branca, ”we’ve put together   merchandising deals for Michael on a one-year basis with advance guarantees   in the millions.”

It’s all a very far cry   from those days in the mid-Seventies when the once popular Jackson 5 their   sales sagging, the brothers complaining that their creativity was being stifled   by their own record company left Motown Records to go to Epic, one of the CBS   labels. The creative leeway they were looking for wasn’t immediately   forthcoming, however: There was little confidence in the group’s songwriting   ability, and Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who developed the lush   Philadelphia-soul style, were brought in as producers. The dramatic success   of the group’s self-produced 1978 Destiny album and its platinum single, ”Shake   Your Body (Down to the Ground),” changed all that somewhat, but not enough   for the Jacksons’ father. Joe Jackson, who later claimed he needed help in   dealing with the power structure at CBS, hired the management team of Ron   Weisner and Freddy DeMann to replace his own longtime partner, Richard Arons.

Weisner and DeMann had   plans for the Jacksons’ young frontman: Michael would do a solo album ” an   album that would retire his cute, kiddy image and replace it with a more   sophisticated, grown-up persona. ”The tuxedo was the overall game plan for   the Off the Wall album and package,” says Weisner. ”Michael had an image   before that as a young kid, and all of a sudden, here was a hot album and   somebody very clean-looking.” Weisner doesn’t take total credit for this   transformation: ”The socks,” he says, ”were Michael’s idea; the tuxedo was   ours.”

Thus made over, the new   Michael Jackson (whose face would later undergo the touch of a surgeon’s   scalpel, giving him a bobbed nose and heightened cheekbones) released Off the   Wall in the late summer of 1979 and watched it rack up a then astonishing   sales total of 8 million copies. Impressive as those numbers were, no one   could have predicted the extent to which his next LP would surpass its predecessor.

Thriller began at a   sixteen-track recording studio at the Jacksons’ home in Encino, California,   where Michael Jackson resides with his mother, Katherine; his sisters, Janet   and LaToya; and their father, Joe. It was there sometimes alone, sometimes   with writer-arranger Rod Temperton that Michael Jackson wrote and recorded   demos of songs, some of which, like ”Beat It” and ”Billie Jean,” would end up   on the album.

When recording began at   Westlake Audio in Los Angeles, Michael shared the board with Quincy Jones, ”Michael   and Quincy is a perfect marriage,” says Ndugu Chancler, a session drummer who   appears on three of Thriller’s tracks. ”These guys are so in tune with each   other that it makes it easy.”

Jackson was involved in   every aspect of the Thriller album. He chose the songs (more than 300 were   considered) and the musicians. Throughout the recording, he focused intensely   on the music, occasionally singing the rhythms or motioning with his arms to   demonstrate exactly what he wanted from a player. It was hard work, and   Michael’s usual glamour was given over to T-shirt and sneakers.

Once the album was   completed in late 1982 at a reported total cost of $750,000, the CBS   publicity and promotion machines were geared up. The first track from   Thriller to be heard by the public was ”The Girl Is Mine,” a duet with Paul   McCartney that is arguably the album’s weakest cut. Don Dempsey, senior   vice-president of Epic Records, says: ”We tried to take a worldwide view of   Michael. We were seeing some initial interest in Michael outside the U.S.,   and we felt that one of the ways to really propel that was the duet with Paul   McCartney.”

The song went Top Ten,   but it didn’t quite make Number One. On December 1, 1982, the album was   released. A month later, ”Billie Jean” hit the stores, and a curious strategy   began to take shape. Ordinarily, a record company releases one single by an   artist at a time. When the first single drops in the charts, a second is   released, and so on. But while ”Billie Jean” was still ascending, Epic decided   to release the rock & roll-styled ”Beat It.” Frank Dileo, vice-president   of promotion for Epic (and a rumored candidate for the job of Michael’s   personal manager), calls that the turning point.

”See, we knew that ”Billie   Jean” would come on the charts at about fifty. The day we started working   that single, we started working ”Beat It” at AOR. And it built well enough at   AOR that when ”Billie Jean” hit the Top Ten, we were ready to release ”Beat   It” as a single ” and get two singles in the Top Ten at one time.”

Then came the videos.   Michael was no stranger to the form: The ”Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough?   promo film, in particular, had given Off the Wall a boost. But that was   before the days of MTV and the resurgence of dance music among rock &   roll fans. When ”Billie Jean” hit Number One, MTV began airing the cut. It   was widely claimed, at the time, that CBS Records Group President Walter   Yetnikoff had threatened to yank every other CBS video off the channel until ”Billie   Jean” was aired. MTV President Bob Pittman denies those stories: ”Walter and   I never had a conversation about ”Billie Jean.””

Jackson’s prodigious   talents, especially as a dancer, are spectacularly displayed in the videos. ”He’s   very precise; he’s obviously very quick,” says one noted choreographer, Twyla   Tharp, who detects a great deal of mime in Jackson’s style. ”That’s been in   black dancing for a long time with the early tap dancers and the street   dancers. It’s part of a tradition that Michael Jackson clearly had access to.   There’s probably no one so accurate and just basically sexy.”

If the ”Billie Jean” clip   first revealed those talents to a rock audience, the ”Beat It” video, a la   West Side Story, established Jackson as a preeminent talent. That spot was   filmed by Bob Giraldi, who went on to do ”Say Say Say” with Jackson and Paul   McCartney, as well as the Pepsi commercials. ”He’s absolutely a   perfectionist,” says Giraldi of Jackson. ”Michael is the kind of person who   surrounds himself with the best talent available”: the best director, the   best cameramen, the best hair and makeup people, the best wardrobe. He can   tell if you’re lightweight, and he’ll move on to someone else right off the   bat.”

The hit singles kept   coming, but at one point, according to Yetnikoff, Michael wondered whether he   should release another single. ”He was unsure whether ”P.Y.T” was a Top Ten   record. We told him we were quite confident that it would be, and he sorta   said, ”Okay, I’ll go with you guys.””

”To use Michael’s own   words,” says DeMann, ””You got to put the jelly on the jelly.” The jelly   means the absolute best. And Michael knows he had so much jelly.”

And if anyone knows how   to put the jelly on the jelly, it’s Michael Jackson. Frank Dileo relates this   story: ”I was having my promotion meetings where I had my whole staff come to   San Diego. I called Mike up and said, ”Michael, we’re having these meetings,   and a star of you caliber has never really come to something like this. It   would be really great if you came down.”

”He loved the idea, so I   brought him in to the final dinner. It was a complete surprise. I brought him   out from backstage, and the place went crazy. The guys, I mean veterans who   have worked in this business for twenty years were crying. He gave them all plaques.   Very touching moment.”

$5001.
That’s how much money Joe Jackson, the Jacksons’ father, earned as a Gary,   Indiana, steelworker in 1968, the year before the Jackson 5, fronted by   ten-year-old Michael, stormed to the top of the charts with the great Motown   single ”I Want You Back.” Joe, who had once been a guitarist for a small-time   Fifties group called the Falcons, had encouraged his children’s musical   talent with an eye toward a professional career, and now they had one: ”I   Want You Back” was followed by ”ABC,” ”The Love You Save” and ”I’ll Be There.”   As Michael said on the Motown twenty-fifth anniversary show, ”Those were   magic moments.”

Their star rose, and the   Jacksons were acclaimed as the apotheosis of the all-American black family. ”Coming   on the heels of the 1960s politics of confrontation, the Jackson 5 were a   breath of fresh air,” Billboard columnist Nelson George wrote in his recently   published book, The Michael Jackson Story. ”They were cute. They were a   wholesome Midwestern family with both parents together and active in molding   their children’s values.”

”They can”t walk past   each other without each one grabbing the other one and kissing,” said   promoter Don King.

But success always brings   about problems, and for Michael Jackson, it brought conflict with the man who’d   first made it all happen: his father. Ever since the Jackson 5 were signed by   Motown, Joe Jackson has apparently received a percentage of every dollar the   group has earned and has had at least the titular post as the band’s manager,   first in partnership with Richard Arons, then with Weisner and DeMann. ”It   was a comanagement situation, because Joe represented the group,” says Ron   Weisner. ”But everything creative” material, marketing, promotion, whatever ”   was handled through this office.” (Despite repeated attempts to contact him,   Joe Jackson would not talk to Rolling Stone for this article.)

The success of Off the   Wall revealed whole new areas to Michael. He grew away from his brothers   professionally and, later, hired John Branca as his attorney and Marshall   Gelfand as his business manager. Worried that he was being squeezed out of   his management role and that Weisner and DeMann were devoting too much   attention to Michael and not enough to the other brothers, Joe Jackson took   action. In early 1980, he fired off a letter to Weisner, seeking a greater   role in the planning and marketing of his sons’ careers. Bruce Lundvall, then   a CBS executive, received a similar document.

The management rift   between Joe Jackson and Weisner and DeMann took a dramatic turn in June of   1983, several months after both of their management contracts had expired.   Joe Jackson declared to Billboard that Weisner and DeMann might as well start   packing their bags: ”As far as I’m concerned, it’s over. They don’t have a   contract, and my boys are not resigning.

There   are a lot of leeches trying to break up the group,” he continued. ”A lot of   people are whispering in Michael’s ear. But we know who they are. They’re   only in it for the money.”

That was when Joe declared   that Weisner and DeMann had been hired as ”white help” with CBS, and Freddy   DeMann responded in kind: ”I don”t think [Joe] enjoys a good relationship   with anyone whose skin is not black.”

His father’s comments did   not please Michael, who made what may be the most courageous statement of his   career to Billboard:”I don’t know what would make him say something like   that. To hear him talk like that turns my stomach.” Later, he added, ”I   happen to be colorblind; I don’t hire color, I hire competence”.Racism is not   my motto. One day, I strongly expect every color to love as one family.”

Joe may have lost that   battle, but Weisner and DeMann lost the war. On June 22nd, Ron Weisner   received a letter that Michael Jackson and his lawyer had delivered by a   messenger. It informed him that Weisner and DeMann would no longer represent   Michael Jackson. Weisner was stunned: Earlier that day, he had spoken to   Michael several times and, he claims, ”Everything seemed fine.”

Was it Joe Jackson who   persuaded Michael to dismiss Weisner and DeMann? ”There was a lot of pressure   on Michael,” says John Branca. ”But if there had been a lot of pressure and   he was thoroughly enthralled [with Weisner and DeMann’s performance], then I   don’t think that pressure would have been effective.”

In the eight months that   have passed since Weisner and DeMann got the boot, Michael has spoken to many   potential replacements, from Jerry Weintraub and Irving Azoff to Colonel Tom   Parker, Elvis Presley’s Svengali. These days, the name most frequently mentioned   is Dileo’s, but apparently, no firm choice has yet been made.

Still, there is Joe   Jackson. Though he has not sought a new management contract with his sons, he   continues to be closely involved with their careers. In fact, it was Joe who   encouraged the Jacksons to work with boxing promoter Don King. But why King?   As Branca himself says, ”You’re taking the number one artist in the world you   would normally want somebody who has some experience in the music business.   Why Don King?

$3,000,000.
That’s the amount of money Don King advanced to the Jacksons after they   agreed to let him promote their 1984 reunion tour: $500,000 to each member of   the group. But from the beginning, Michael Jackson was not in King’s corner.

”Don King was not Michael’s   first choice to promote the tour,” says a tactful John Branca. ”This tour is   important to Michael because it’s important to Michael’s family. I’m not sure   the tour was Michael’s first choice. He might have preferred to do other   things. But he found it important to tour at his brothers’ request and his   family’s request. They very much wanted to work with Don King. So Michael   said, ”If it’s that important to my father and my family, I will work with   Don King.””

Back in April 1983, the   Jacksons met with five or six promoters, including King, to discuss the tour.   According to Curtis Shaw, Joe Jackson’s lawyer, the band members weren’t   sufficiently impressed with any of the impresarios. But Joe Jackson suggested   another meeting with King, and the sons and King hit it off the second time   around. On September 30th, the Jacksons signed a contract with King to   promote the tour. The contract defined King as an employee of the Jacksons   with the family having final say on all aspects of the tour.

But the family’s support   for King wavered almost immediately. The Jacksons were attracted to a   sponsorship proposal from the Quaker Oats Company, which expressed interest   in sponsoring the tour after the Pepsi deal was confirmed. The company   offered a sum that was, in Branca’s words, ”forty percent more than the Pepsi   deal.” Certain members of the Jacksons sought to at least include Quaker in   on the tour, but they discovered that Pepsi has an excusive deal.

In fact, King had begun   working on the Pepsi deal even before he had been officially hired by the   Jacksons. The promoter had been in contact with Rockbill, a musical marketing   outfit that specializes in hooking up potential commercial sponsors with   big-name concert tours; King had previously worked with the company at the   time of the Larry Holmes-Gerry Cooney heavyweight-title fight. According to   Rockbill’s president, Jay Coleman, the organization had been in touch with   Pepsi ”as much as two years ago”about the Jacksons’ reunion tour. Finally,   when Don King got involved and the tour became a reality, we followed up on   it and the only thing that happened then was that the cost of being involved   had gone up astronomically.”

The deal they cooked up   was the biggest of its kind, far in excess of the Rolling Stones’ deal with   Jovan or Schlitz’ promotional pact with the Who. Coleman says it will make   the Jacksons ”well over $5 million for less than a year.” (King and the   Jacksons’ parents also get a small percentage of the money from Pepsi.)

The Jackson’ displeasure   with King also seemed to surface at a lavish, flack-crammed press conference   at the Tavern on the Green restaurant in New York’s Central Park, where King   announced that he would be promoting the tour. The gathering turned into a   marathon mouth-fest for the bombastic King, who declaimed to the crowd in   fine P.T. Barnum style before yielding the floor to a fifteen-minute documentary   about Don King. The reporters were amused; the Jacksons, sitting sullenly   behind their sunglasses, did not appear to be. King handled most of the   questions directed at the group, and as cries for Michael increased, the   promoter handed him the microphone. Said the soft-spoken superstar: ”I don’t   really have anything to say”.

This was not entirely   true: Around that time, Michael Jackson wrote a letter to Don King. In the   missive, King was instructed:

” Not to communicate with   anyone on Michael Jackson’s behalf without prior permission;

” That all moneys paid to   Michael Jackson for his participation in the tour would be collected by   Michael Jackson’s personal representatives, not by Don King;

” That King did not have   permission to approach any promoters, sponsors or any other persons on   Michael’s behalf;

” That King was not to   hire any personnel, any local promoters, book any halls or, for that matter,   do anything without Michael Jackson’s personal approval.

On February 2nd, King was   asked about the letter. ”I don’t know anything about it,” he said.

Clearly, Michael Jackson   neither trusts nor likes Don King, and as the tour has drawn closer, Jackson’s   feelings have become more apparent. As this issue of Rolling Stone was going   to press, it was learned that at least two other concert promoters had been   approached about the tour, and a major battle appeared to be taking shape   between two of the biggest names in show business.

Joe Jackson’s lawyer   insists that King will remain as the tour’s promoter and says that the other   promoters have been spoken to only in regard to local and regional   representation.

Michael Jackson’s lawyer   says that ”unless the tour is handled properly, financially, creatively and   otherwise Michael is not going to go out.”

”With Michael,” says Don   King, ”you always on trial.”

”I worry all the time,”   says John Branca. ”The Pepsi accident has caused everybody to be a little   concerned. The Who had riots. With a tour of this magnitude, it’s got to be   planned with perfectionism to make sure it’s conducted smoothly.”

Indeed, the potential for   disaster on the Jacksons’ tour is undeniable, and the extraordinary scope of   Michael’s popularity magnifies tenfold the problems presented by an average   rock tour. No method has yet been determined to ensure that a fair cross   section of the Jacksons’ fans will have an opportunity to obtain tickets   millions are certain to be disappointed. Scalping will be heavy, and   counterfeiting of tickets is also likely.

But beyond those problems   is the big worry: that some unforeseeable occurrence will spark a debacle on   the order of but infinitely more calamitous than Diana Ross violence-plagued   Central Park concert last year. In fact, one promoter has dubbed the Jacksons   outing the Nitro Tour: At any moment, the whole thing could blow up. Any such   unseemly snafu would tarnish Michael’s squeaky-clean image, as well as the   reputation of all products associated with the tour. Even local promoters are   sounding uncharacteristic notes of caution.

”I have expressed my   opinion to one of the attorneys who represents the Jacksons,” says New York’s   Ron Delsener. ”I said, ”Look, I don’t care if I play the date or not; I’m   just very, very concerned from a safety standpoint, because I know his   audience. It covers all age groups, but primarily, little kids love him, and   when these little kids come there with their parents or by themselves, they’re   gonna make a beeline for the front of that stage, and I don’t wanna see any   little kids get trampled. So, I’m concerned about the venues they do play.”

Some promoters believe   that for the Jacksons to attempt to play an outdoor stadium something they   clearly intend to do would be to invite trouble. ”I mean, there is a lot of   money to be made in it, but I’m not interested in the quick buck if people   are gonna get hurt,” says Delsener. ”I could not guarantee the safety of   those in the front of the stage. I don’t think anybody can  if they do, they’re liars.”

”Michael Jackson whips   people to a fever pitch,” agrees Atlanta promoter Alex Cooley. ”His fans are   true to the root of the word fan. They’re fanatic about it. So, yeah, there’re   problems.”

Larry Larson is in charge   of making sure that such problems never occur. He is the Jacksons’ tour   coordinator; he is also the man another promoter is thinking of when he says ”not   one A-level professional has been hired for the tour.” Larry Larson manages   soft-rock singer Kenny Loggins, and he’s made a lot of money in that   capacity. But he has never been involved in promoting a rock tour of this   size before. This doesn’t seem to bother him, though. ”I’m involved in every   aspect of the tour. Everything from the renting of the trucks to the sound   and lights. I mean, they make the final decision, but it’s my [job] to   counsel them.”

Larson is disturbingly   phlegmatic about the chances for trouble on the tour. ”I’m a realist, and I   know that the Jacksons are going to generate a tremendous amount of   enthusiasm,” he says. ”But at the same time, I don’t think our problems are   going to be any different than other major concert tours. The Jacksons do not   have a history of creating riots.”

In fact, though, the last   time the Jacksons played New York City, dozens of youths were arrested after   a chain-snatching spree inside Madison Square Garden.

The possibility that kids   could get trampled is suggested to Larson. ”Well, you can get run over by a   truck while walking across the street,” he says. ”We all have certain risks   in life.”

Michael Jackson’s money,   meanwhile, is being put to many uses. According to Branca, Jackson is pouring   some of his wealth into the formation of at least five new companies, one of   which, Experiments in Sound, is involved in the research and development of   new sound technologies. He has already formed Optimum Productions, which put   together the ”Thriller” video and documentary and may hire staff songwriters   and one or two staff producers. Like Paul McCartney, Jackson has purchased a   major publishing catalog, which includes all of Sly and the Family Stone’s   hits, and is about to acquire other major catalogs.

His money has also given   Michael the creative freedom to orchestrate a foray into motion pictures. He   has considered numerous scripts, including a version of Peter Pan that might   be directed by Steven Spielberg. ”When Michael does a film, it’ll be a sort   of musical Michael-Jackson-meets-E.T.-and-Star Wars,” says one insider. ”It’ll   be a spectacular extravaganza, a futuristic musical with all sorts of special   effects, bizarre choreography and fantastic music.
That music will probably comprise Jackson’s next solo album for Epic (his   contract as a solo artist calls for five more albums).

For Epic Records, Michael   Jackson is the Wunderkind who has single-handedly brought the label back from   a terrible 1982. And in the view of senior vice-president Don Dempsey, he has   been indirectly responsible for the recent success of such label mates as the   Romantic, Matthew Wilder, Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club and Nena. ”A record   company is required to perform on a monthly basis,” says Dempsey. ”When you   have a record like Thriller, which in one month is capable of generating $10   million to $12 million in sales, it takes pressure off the label and allows   it to develop new acts.”

At Epic, preparations are   already under way for the forthcoming Jacksons album, entitled Victory. Frank   Dileo is already raving about the one track he’s heard, ”Buffalo Bill,”   Michael’s latest uptempo dance composition. And, according to Walter   Yetnikoff, Mick Jagger may also sing a duet with Michael.

But there’s a time to   work and a time to sit back and smell the roses. With so much to celebrate,   CBS threw a party for its biggest star at New York’s Museum of Natural   History last month. The invitations, each printed on a single white glove,   instantly became the hottest ticket in town. Hundreds of fans clustered on   the street in subfreezing temperatures, straining to catch a glimpse.   Gracious as ever, the star of the evening came outside twice to give the   shivering assemblage a friendly wave.

Inside, a parade of   female dancers hit the makeshift stage to the strains of ”Wanna Be Startin’   Somethin”. And suddenly, there he was, casually wending his way down the   steps, his scalp burns covered with a natural-hair toupee. He looked   tremendous: happy, handsome, relaxed. But he didn’t sing, didn’t dance. He   just stood patiently, tossing the odd joke to the dancers, as a procession of   CBS executives and Norris McWhirter from the Guinness Book of World Records   bestowed honor after honor on him: most Top Ten singles off one LP, most sold   by a solo artist, most records ever sold, and on and on and on.

Finally, after all the   politicians’ proclamations had been read and all the awards distributed,   Michael took the mike. He thanked his family for making his career possible.   He thanked CBS. He thanked Walter Yetnikoff. He thanked the Guinness Book of   World Records. He was gracious, sincere, completely classy. He was in   control, and it was hard not to think that if anyone could pull off this tour,   this career, this life, he was the man.

After a peck on the cheek   from his date-of-convenience, Brooke Shields, Jackson was off to the VIP   lounge. While Michael secluded himself with his showbiz pals, Don King   entertained the hoi polloi and posed for pictures in front of one of the   museum’s taxidermy exhibits: a wild dog, bloody-mouthed, ready for a fight to   the death

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7 Responses to Michael Jackson, Captain EO and the business of conquering the world – Part 4- RS

  1. dragonspen says:

    Very interesting…Michael’s life was blighted by mis-representation by the media in all its shapes and forms.

    • thelasttear7 says:

      Dear Dragonspen, welcome to the blog which is your home too. I am glad that you find this blog interesting. I hope the coming ones will be too.

      The way the media slandred Michael is probably unique in the history of mankind. There is so much more to say.

      BTW, I love your avatar!

  2. Helen Scott says:

    I really enjoyed read this article. It was a very interesting and informative. I am sure many people have wondered what role Micheal being black and his ability to draw a huge crowds and influence people with his unique talent played in the media’s constant slandering of MJ. As Mr. Jones says “Anything that the system can’t control, it does not allow to exist.”

    • thelasttear7 says:

      Hi Helen and thank you for your support. I’m happy that you found the article informative. Hopefully, we will be able to go deeper in the next part but it demands many hours of reading and researching.

  3. Helen Scott says:

    correction “I really enjoyed this article”.

  4. Alwida says:

    This article is very interesting. Deep information and research

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