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FASCINATING FACTS: 20 Facts About Michael Jackson

 

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, had been an inseparable piece of every music lover’s heart. His contribution to pop music, his dedication to bringing that music to life, and his unbelievably immense amounts of talent can never be compared with those of any other artist. The King ruled the world of music for over four decades and still continues to influence and inspire many. So, we have gathered some less known facts about Michael Jackson, to remember him and cherish him.

1. Joseph Jackson, Michael Jackson’s father, once wore a fright mask and climbed through Michael’s bedroom window screaming and shouting. He said he was trying to teach his children not to leave their bedroom windows open. The incident caused Michael to suffer nightmares for many years. 

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Michael had a very troubled childhood and it was widely believed that he and his siblings were abused by his father. He first spoke openly about his father in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, saying that he used to cry of loneliness and that he missed out much on his childhood. From a young age, Joseph Jackson would mentally and physically abuse his children in the name of rehearsals to whip them. He even would call Michael “big nose” and once held him upside down by his leg  while pummeling and hitting him at the same time. (source)

2. Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury collaborated in the 80s and recorded three tracks. However, Mercury broke it off because Jackson insisted on bringing his pet llama to the studio. 

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The songs were recorded in Michael’s home studio in Encino, California in 1983, when both he and Mercury were at the height of their fame. The tracks were meant to be included in an album full of their duets. However, they were never able to finish the complete album because of their differences. Mercury didn’t like Michael bringing his llama into the studio while recording, and Michael didn’t like Mercury using too much cocaine in his living room. Now both the stars are no more and the tracks were later cleared for release in 2011. (source)

3. Michael Jackson was once married to the daughter of Elvis Presley, Lisa Marie Presley.

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Lisa Marie Presley, who is the daughter of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, and also a singer and songwriter, was once the wife of Michael Jackson. She also appeared in one of his songs’ video “You Are Not Alone”. They both fell in love as Jackson increasingly began to turn towards her for emotional support and she was able to persuade him to go to rehabilitation to recover from his drug abuse. According to Presley, after their divorce, they spent almost four years on and off trying to reconcile. (source)

4. Michael Jackson composed his songs despite not knowing how to read or write music. He would build each element of the tracks, the chords, harmony, melody, bass, and even the rhythm with his own voice.

Being a true musical genius, Michael fully realized his songs before they were written down on paper. During the rehearsals, he would come to the sound engineers and producers saying he had a song and would sing every note of every chord. Then, he would give the most “heartfelt and profound vocal performance” in the control room. He would also sing the entire string arrangement with stops and fills into the micro-cassette recorder. In one of his trials for plagiarism, he said “I’ll take that bass lick and put the chords of the melody over the bass lick and that’s what inspires the melody” before going on to demonstrate beat-boxing in the court. (source)

5. For the filming of the song “Beat It”, Michael Jackson casted 80 members of two Los Angeles rival street gangs “Crips” and “Bloods” to foster peace between them and add authenticity. 

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The songs “Beat It” and “Thriller” are famous for Michael’s signature “mass choreography” with lots of synchronized dancing. The song “Beat It” was financed by Michael and it cost him $150,000 to create because CBS refused to finance it. Apart from having 80 genuine members of the two Los Angeles gangs who were casted by Michael to help bring peace between them, the song also had 18 professional dancers. The song’s video was noted for increasing job opportunities for dancers in the US. (source)

6. While planning his comeback in Las Vegas after child molestation case, Michael Jackson wanted to build a 50-foot robot replica of himself that would roam the desert shooting laser beams as part of an elaborate stage show. 

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Michael Jackson reportedly was in discussions to have his gigantic robot replica built to roam the Las Vegas desert. At that time, he was also staying in the city and was considering it to be the right staging ground for his comeback after the child molestation cases in 2004. According to the claims, he wanted the robot to shoot laser beams so that it would be the first thing people see when flying. (source)

7. Michael Jackson worked on the music for Sonic the Hedgehog 3, but his involvement in the game was terminated because of sexual abuse allegations. However, some samples of his music made before the allegations still remain and Jackson chose not to be credited. 

Image Source: billboard

Though, the senior staff member of the company that made Sonic 3, SEGA, stated that any involvement of Jackson was done without their knowledge and that any similarities with his music were unintentional, since no contracts or agreements were ever made with him. It is also said that Jackson didn’t want to be credited because he was unhappy with the sound capabilities of Genesis. (source)

8. Michael Jackson’s signature “anti-gravity lean” was made using a special pair of boots which Jackson himself helped design and patent. 

Image Source: giphy

For the video of “Smooth Criminal” in 1987, Michael Jackson devised a dance routine which included him leaning forward 45 degrees, apparently defying gravity. The step was, in fact, achieved by using wires during the filming. But, Jackson wanted to recreate the step on stage during live performance of the song. So, he along with two other co-inventors, created shoes that would allow him to stay hooked to the stage when he leaned forward. A slot in the heel engaged a peg which could be raised and protruded through the stage floor when activated keeping him fixed and then he could lean forward without losing the grip on the floor. (source)

9. Michael Jackson had a habit of giving people prank calls. He once fooled Russell Crowe by calling him with a gruff hotel manager’s voice. Since then, whichever hotel Crowe would stay Jackson would call asking for him with funny voices. 

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Russell Crowe revealed about Michael Jackson’s prank calls during an interview with Graham Nortan. He said that Michael got into the habit of calling him wherever he was staying and that he would call the hotel using funny voices, even though they both have never met. When he told some of his friends about this who knew Michael, they told him that he does it all the time. (source)

10. When Michael Jackson filmed “They Don’t Care About Us” in Rio, he was provided protection by local drug dealers. 

The government of Rio was quite against Jackson filming the song in the city because they didn’t want the city’s image damaged. But the court ruled that Jackson could come and film his video in the city. The drug dealers in the favela, slum within urban areas in Brazil, painted their letters on the soccer field where Jackson would land his helicopter. Fifty or so residents that Jackson hired for his protection were said to be provided by these drug dealers who controlled the favela. (source)

11. Michael Jackson wanted to play the lead role in Tim Burton’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and even recorded an entire soundtrack free of charge for the film. However, when the director refused, Jackson declared “If I can’t have the Willy Wonka part, they’re not getting the soundtrack”.

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According to music producer Marc Schaffel, Jackson recorded a full soundtrack for the movie secretly in a small recording studio in Los Angeles. He sent it to Warner Bros. executives who absolutely loved it, but didn’t love the idea of the pop icon acting in a children movie. Jackson didn’t take the news very well, and so he just shelved the soundtrack. (source)

12. Michael Jackson was such an avid fan of comics that he once wanted to play Spider-Man and almost bought Marvel just to make that happen. 

Image Source: comicsalliance

According to Stan Lee, Marvel’s chairman and the creator of many of Marvel’s superhero characters, Michael Jackson wanted to buy the comics company because that was the only way he felt he would be able to play Spider-Man. Though Lee agrees that he would probably have made a very good Spider-Man, he felt Tobey Maguire was wonderful. He also said that, Marvel would have been quite different from what it is now, but not as successful because Michael wasn’t a very good businessman. (source)

13. There are hundreds of unreleased songs of Michael Jackson that were discovered in his vault after his death.

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Many of the songs Michael recorded were registered with professional agencies or offices by his company, Mijac Music. After his death, his sister La Toya Jackson found two hard disks with more than 1,000 songs that were never released before and not even registered by any agencies. It has been said that he recorded as many as 50, 000 songs during his lifetime. (source)

14. After Michael Jackson’s death, Google was so over-flooded with search requests about him that they thought it was a DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Services), and blocked further searches for almost 25 minutes before realizing what happened. 

Image Source: wired

When the sudden spike in searches was noticed, Google at first interpreted it as an attack on its services. It subsequently displayed the error message “We’re sorry, but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.” The spike began sometime in the afternoon. Yahoo had a lead story about the death that day and set a record of unique visitors of over 16.4 million. (source)

15. According to autopsy reports, Michael Jackson was bald and wore wigs to conceal it. 

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By the time of his death, Michael Jackson’s health was severely deteriorated. His body was emaciated to mere 112 pounds and his stomach was completely empty except for partially dissolved pills. His body was full of several needle marks and scars. His head was virtually bald, and he started wearing wigs when he found out that his hair had been reduced to “peachy fuzz”. His body was just skin and bones, and by the time of his death he was eating almost nothing except for the pills. (source)

16. Michael Jackson wanted to do a Harry Potter musical. But, J. K. Rowling turned down the idea. 

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J. K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter series, has told in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that Michael Jackson wanted to do a Harry Potter musical. But she said no as she did so for many other such proposals. She said she was happy with the films, the books, and the theme park that was built based on the world of Harry Potter. (source)

17. The moonwalk had already been done, 50 years before Michael Jackson performed it, by artists such as James Brown, Dick Van Dyke, and Cab Calloway. 

Image Source: giphy

The moonwalk was popularized by Michael Jackson when he first performed it for “Billie Jean” on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever on March 25, 1983. Yet, the dance move dates as far back as to 1932 when it was performed by Cab Calloway, who said the move was called “The Buzz”. Since then, several other dancers and artists used the move in their choreography. (source)

18. When Weird Al Yankovic made his video parody of Michael Jackson’s “Bad”, whcih was “Fat” in the parody, Jackson allowed him to use the set that was created for his film “Moonwalker” free of charge. 

“Fat” is one of the two parodies Yankovic made of Jackson’s songs, the other being “Eat It”, a parody of “Beat It”. Just like in the video of “Bad”, the protagonist is taunted by other thugs, in this case, to eat unhealthy junk food like pizzas, burgers and ding dongs. The video even won a Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video in 1988. (12)

19. On 9/11, Michael Jackson had a meeting at the WTC, but missed because he overslept. 

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Michael Jackson’s brother, Jermaine Jackson, has told that Michael was due for a meeting in the World Trade Center on the day of the terrorist attack. He was in New York at that time for a special concert at Madison Square Garden. Apparently, he missed the appointment because he overslept that day to the relief of his brother. (source)

20. Though he wasn’t credited for contractual reasons, Michael Jackson wrote the song “Do the Bartman” from the popular animated TV show The Simpsons. He also voiced the mental patient character Leon Kompowsky in the show and was credited under a pseudonym. 

Apart from writing the song “Do the Bartman”, Jackson also gave background vocals for it. The song topped the charts of Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the United States, and was among the top 10 in Sweden and Netherlands. He also guest-starred in other episodes including “Happy Birthday Lisa”, for which he wrote a song as well, and “Stark Raving Dad”, in which he voiced the character Leon Kompowsky who impersonates Jackson’s voice. (12)

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