A Poem by ThunderStorm
June 28, 2009 at 02:49 pm
Poem, G (All)
Fantasy | Love | Science Fiction
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Chapter 3 the debut album
After Jackson's early 1982 contribution, "Someone In the Dark", to the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which won him a Grammy for Best Album for Children, Epic issued his second album, Thriller. In what would turn out to be the apex of his career, the album remained in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for 80 consecutive weeks, 37 at the peak. Seven singles from Thriller concurrently hit the Billboard Hot 100 top 10, including "Billie Jean", "Beat It" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". Thriller went on to sell upwards of 109 million copies, making it the best-selling album of all time, causing Jackson biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli to muse that "at some point, Thriller stopped selling like a leisure item—like a magazine, a toy, tickets to a hit movie—and started selling like a household staple."
The period of Thriller was an extraordinarily lucrative one for Jackson, whose lawyer John Branca had negotiated what he boasted then as the highest royalty rate ever in the music industry, approximately $2 per album. Meanwhile, Jackson raked in profits from The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller, a documentary by Jackson and John Landis which quickly sold over 350,000 copies. In addition, he began profiting from his image in earnest, as Michael Jackson dolls and other novelties hit the market.
Jackson moonwalks during his performance on Motown 25Beyond its record-breaking success among fans, Thriller instituted multiple changes within the music industry. First, it raised the importance of albums, while challenging notions about how many prospective hits an album should contain. Second, it restored to the industry a sense of confidence in its ability to release high-level artistry during a time when profits had been sinking due to what one industry analyst called "the ruins of punk and the chic regions of synthesizer pop". Third, it helped bring MTV into its heyday, even as MTV helped fuel Thriller's success. Fourth, Thriller paved the way for other well-profitable acts such as Prince. In many ways, Jackson was a one-man rescue team for the music business. At its 25th anniversary, Thriller retained important influence over the music industry, artists, and American culture.
On March 25, 1983, he performed live on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever television special, both with The Jackson 5 and on his own singing "Billie Jean". Debuting his signature dance move—the moonwalk—his performances during the event were seen by 47 million viewers during its initial airing, and drew comparisons to Elvis Presley's and the The Beatles' appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. The New York Times said, "The moonwalk that he made famous is an apt metaphor for his dance style. How does he do it? As a technician, he is a great illusionist, a genuine mime. His ability to keep one leg straight as he glides while the other bends and seems to walk requires perfect timing".
Jackson suffered a setback on January 27, 1984. While filming a Pepsi Cola commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, he suffered second degree burns to his scalp after pyrotechnics accidentally set his hair on fire. Happening in front of a full house of fans during a simulated concert, the incident was the subject of heavy media scrutiny and elicited an outpouring of sympathy. PepsiCo settled a lawsuit out of court, and Jackson gave his $1.5 million settlement to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California, where he had been treated, allowing the hospital to acquire the best available technology for treating severe burns; Brotman subsequently renamed its burn ward "Michael Jackson Burn Center" in his honor. Jackson had his third rhinoplasty shortly afterwards and grew self conscious about his appearance.
Jackson at the White House South Portico with President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan, 1984On May 14, 1984, Jackson was invited to the White House to receive an award presented by U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The award was given for his support of charities that helped people overcome alcohol and drug abuse. He won eight awards during the 1984 Grammys. Unlike later albums, Thriller did not have an official tour to promote it, but the 1984 Victory Tour, headlined by The Jacksons, showcased much of his new solo material to more than two million Americans. He donated his $5 million share from the Victory Tour to charity.
Jackson co-wrote the charity single "We Are the World" with Lionel Richie, which was released worldwide to aid the poor in Africa and the US. He was one of 39 music celebrities who performed on the record. The single became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with nearly 20 million copies sold and millions of dollars donated to famine relief.
While working with Paul McCartney on the two hit singles "The Girl Is Mine" and "Say Say Say", the pair became friendly, occasionally visiting one another. In one discussion, McCartney told Jackson about the millions of dollars he had made from music catalogs; he was earning approximately $40 million a year from other people's songs. Jackson then began a business career buying, selling and distributing publishing rights to music from numerous artists. Shortly afterwards, ATV Songs—a music catalogue holding thousands of songs, including most of the songs written by Lennon-McCartney between 1963-1973—was put up for sale.
Jackson took immediate interest in the catalog but was warned that he would face strong competition. Excited, he skipped around saying, "I don't care. I want those songs. Get me those songs Branca [his attorney]". Branca then contacted the attorney of McCartney, who clarified that his client was not interested in bidding; "It's too pricey". After Jackson had started negotiations, McCartney changed his mind and tried to persuade Yoko Ono to join him in a joint bid, she declined, so he pulled out. Jackson eventually beat the rest of the competition in negotiations that lasted 10 months, purchasing the catalog for $47.5 million. When McCartney found out he said, "I think it's dodgy to do things like that. To be someone's friend and then buy the rug they're standing on
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