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Sunday, May 2, 2010
Jackson is credited with elevating the music video from mere promotional tool into an art form. He created groundbreaking videos such as Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller, the latter often referred to and voted as the greatest music video of all time. The video for "Thriller" is the only music video inducted into the national film registry in the Library of Congress, where inductions are preserved forever. He was the first African American artist to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. Jackson music videos made MTV and Cable TV the successes they are today. He popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical style, vocal style, and choreography continue to transcend generational, racial and cultural boundaries.
Jackson has been inducted twelve times into various music halls of fame, more than any other act. He is one of the very few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Other achievements include thirteen Guinness World Records (more than any other artist, and including the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time); 15 Grammy Awards (including the Living Legend Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award); 26 American Music Awards (more than any other artist, and including recognition as Artist of the Century); 17 number-one singles in the US (including four as a member of The Jackson 5). He also has estimated global sales of over 780 million records, making him one of the best-selling recording artists ever. Jackson's personal life and relationships generated controversy for years. His appearance began to change in the mid 1970s, and his changing appearance was noticed from the late 1970s onwards, as changes to his nose and skin color caused much media speculation. In 1993 he was accused of child sexual abuse, though no formal charges were brought. In 2005 he was tried and acquitted of similar allegations.
Jackson died on June 25, 2009 from a drug overdose, amidst preparations for his This Is It concert series. Before his death, Jackson had reportedly been administered drugs such as propofol and lorazepam. The Los Angeles County Coroner concluded that his death was a homicide. Prosecutors formally charged his personal physician with involuntary manslaughter. Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and as many as a billion people around the world may have watched his public memorial service on live television. On March 16, 2010, Sony Music Entertainment signed a record-breaking $250 million deal with Jackson's estate to retain distribution rights to his recordings until 2017 and release seven posthumous albums over the next decade.
Early life and The Jackson 5 (1958–1975)
Jackson's childhood home in Gary, Indiana, showing floral tributes after his death.Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, the eighth of ten children to an African American working-class family, in Gary, Indiana, an industrial suburb of Chicago. His mother, Katherine Esther Scruse, was a devout Jehovah's Witness, and his father, Joseph Walter "Joe" Jackson, a steel mill worker who performed with an R&B band called The Falcons. Jackson had three sisters: Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet, and six brothers: Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Brandon (Marlon's twin brother, who died shortly after birth)and Randy.
Jackson had a troubled relationship with his father, Joe. He stated that he was physically and emotionally abused during incessant rehearsals, with whippings and name-calling, though also crediting his father's strict discipline with playing a large role in his success. In one altercation recalled by Marlon, Joseph held Michael upside down by one leg and "pummeled him over and over again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks". Joseph would also grab his sons and push them with great force against the wall. One night while Michael was asleep, Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window, wearing a fright mask and screamed, in hopes to scare him. He said he wanted to teach the children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterward, Jackson said he suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his bedroom.Joseph acknowledged in 2003 that he regularly whipped Jackson as a child.
He showed talent early in his life, performing in front of classmates during a Christmas recital in kindergarten. In 1964, he and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers – a band formed by brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine—as backup musicians playing congas and tambourine. Jackson later began performing backup vocals and dancing. When he was eight, Jackson began sharing the lead vocals with his older brother Jermaine, and the group's name was changed to The Jackson 5. The band toured the Midwest extensively from 1966 to 1968, frequently performing at a string of black clubs known as the "chitlin' circuit", where they often opened stripteases and other adult acts. In 1966, they won a major local talent show with renditions of Motown hits and James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)", led by Michael.
The Jackson 5 recorded several songs, including "Big Boy", for the local record label Steeltown in 1967, before signing with Motown Records in 1968. Rolling Stone magazine later described the young Michael as "a prodigy" with "overwhelming musical gifts," writing that he "quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer." The group set a chart record when its first four singles ("I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There") peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Between 1972 and 1975, Jackson released four solo studio albums with Motown, among them Got to Be There and Ben, released as part of the Jackson 5 franchise, and producing successful singles such as "Got to Be There", "Ben", and a remake of Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin". The group's sales began declining in 1973, and the band members chafed under Motown's strict refusal to allow them creative control or input. Although they scored several top 40 hits, including the top 5 disco single "Dancing Machine" and the top 20 hit "I Am Love", the Jackson 5 left Motown in 1975.
Jackson's skin had been a medium-brown color for the entire duration of his youth, but starting in the mid 1980s, it gradually grew paler. The change gained widespread media coverage, including rumors that he was bleaching his skin. According to J. Randy Taraborrelli's biography, in 1986, Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus; the vitiligo partially lightened his skin, and the lupus was in remission; both illnesses made him sensitive to sunlight. (His long-term dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein confirmed this on Larry King Live, after his death.) The treatments he used for his condition further lightened his skin tone, and, with the application of pancake makeup to even out blotches, he could appear very pale. The structure of his face had also changed: several surgeons speculated that he had undergone various nasal surgeries, a forehead lift, thinned lips, and cheekbone surgery — although Jackson denied this and insisted that he only had surgery on his nose. Jackson claimed that he had only two rhinoplasties and no other surgery on his face, although at one point he mentioned having a dimple created in his chin.Jackson lost weight in the early 1980s because of a change in diet and a desire for "a dancer's body". Witnesses reported that he was often dizzy and speculated that he was suffering from anorexia nervosa; periods of weight loss would become a recurring problem later in life.
Jackson two years after he was diagnosed with vitiligo, here in the early stages of the diseaseHe became the subject of increasingly sensational reports. In 1986, the tabloids ran a story claiming that Jackson slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to slow the aging process; he was pictured lying down in a glass box. Although the claim was untrue, Jackson had disseminated the fabricated story himself. When Jackson bought a chimpanzee called Bubbles from a laboratory, it was reported as an example of increasing detachment from reality. It was reported that Jackson had offered to buy the bones of Joseph Merrick (the "elephant man") and although untrue, Jackson did not deny the story. Although initially he saw these stories as publicity, he stopped leaking untruths to the press as they became more sensational, so the media began making up their own stories. These reports became embedded in the public consciousness, inspiring the nickname "Wacko Jacko," which Jackson came to despise. Responding to the gossip, Jackson remarked to reporter Randy Taraborrelli:
Why not just tell people I'm an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They'll believe anything you say, because you're a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, "I'm an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight," people would say, "Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He's cracked up. You can't believe a single word that comes out of his mouth."
Jackson wore a gold-plated military style jacket with belt in the Bad eraJackson collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola on the 17-minute 3-D film Captain EO, which debuted in September 1986 at both the original Disneyland and at EPCOT in Florida, and in March 1987 at Tokyo Disneyland. The $30,000,000 movie was the centerpiece of popular attractions at all three parks. A Captain EO attraction was later featured at Euro Disneyland after that park opened in 1992. All four parks' Captain Eo installations stayed open well into the 1990s: Tokyo's was the last one to close, in 1998.
In 1987, Jackson disassociated himself from the Jehovah's Witnesses, in response to their disapproval of the Thriller video. With the industry expecting another major hit, Jackson's first album in five years, Bad (1987), was highly anticipated. It did not top Thriller as a commercial or artistic triumph— and, probably nothing could have topped the earlier album— but Bad was still a substantial success in its own right.
The Bad album spawned seven hit singles in the U.S., five of which ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana") reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. This was a record for most number one Hot 100 singles from any one album, including Thriller. Although the title track's video was arguably derivative of the video for the earlier single "Beat It", the "Bad" video still proved to be one of Jackson's iconic moments. It was a gritty but colorful epic set against the backdrop of the New York City subway system, with spectacular costuming and choreography inspired by West Side Story. As of 2008, the album had sold 30 million copies worldwide.
The Bad World Tour began on September 12 that year, finishing on January 14, 1989. In Japan alone, the tour had 14 sellouts and drew 570,000 people, nearly tripling the previous record of 200,000 in a single tour. He broke a Guinness World Record when 504,000 people attended seven sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium. He performed a total of 123 concerts to an audience of 4.4 million people. The Bad Tour turned out to be the last of Jackson's concert tours to include shows in the continental United States, although later tours did make it to Hawaii and Mexico.
Final years (2006–09)
Jackson with his children in Disneyland Paris, 2006In March 2006, the main house at the Neverland Ranch was closed as a cost-cutting measure. There were numerous reports around that time that Jackson was having financial problems. Jackson had been deliquent on his repayments of a $270 million loan secured against his music publishing holdings, even though those holdings were reportedly making him as much as $75 million a year. The Bank of America sold the debt to Fortress Investments. Sony reportedly proposed a restructuring deal which would give them a future option to buy half of Jackson's stake in their jointly owned publishing company (leaving Jackson with a 25% stake). Jackson agreed to a Sony-backed refinancing deal in April 2006, although the exact details were not made public. Jackson did not have a recording contract in place with Sony or any other major record label at the time.
In the spring of 2006, there was an announcement that Jackson had signed a contract with a Bahrain-based startup called Two Seas Records. However, nothing ever came of that deal, and the CEO of Two Seas, Guy Holmes, later stated that the deal had never been finalized. Throughout 2006, Sony repackaged 20 singles from the 1980s and 1990s as the Michael Jackson: Visionary series, which subsequently became a boxed set. Most of those singles returned to the charts as a result. In September 2006, Jackson and his ex-wife Debbie Rowe confirmed reports that they had settled their long-running child custody suit. The terms were not made public.
In October 2006, FoxNews entertainment reporter Roger Friedman said that Jackson had been recording at a studio in rural Westmeath, Ireland. It was not known at the time what Jackson might be working on, or who might be paying for the sessions, since his publicist had recently issued a statement claiming that he had left Two Seas. In November 2006, Jackson invited an Access Hollywood camera crew into the studio in Westmeath, and MSNBC broke the story that he was working on a new album, produced by Will.i.am of the Black-Eyed Peas. Jackson performed at the World Music Awards, in London on November 15, 2006, and accepted a Diamond Award for selling over 100 million records.
Jackson returned to the U.S. to attend James Brown's funeral on December 30, 2006. In the spring of 2007, Jackson and Sony teamed up to buy yet another music publishing company: Famous Music LLC, formerly owned by Viacom. This deal gave him the rights to songs by Eminem, Shakira and Beck, among others. Jackson recorded extensively during this period in New York with songwriter and producer Will.i.am and also in Las Vegas with producers Akon and RedOne. In March 2007, Jackson gave a brief interview to the Associated Press in Tokyo, where he said:
I've been in the entertainment industry since I was six-years-old, and as Charles Dickens would say, "It's been the best of times, the worst of times." But I would not change my career... While some have made deliberate attempts to hurt me, I take it in stride because I have a loving family, a strong faith and wonderful friends and fans who have, and continue, to support me.
In September 2007 Rolling Stone broke the exact same story news MSNBC and Access Hollywood had broken a year earlier: i.e., that Jackson was working with Will.i.am on a new album. That album was apparently never completed. But in 2008, Jackson and Sony released Thriller 25 to mark the 25th anniversary of the original Thriller. This album featured the previously unreleased song "For All Time" (an out-take from the original sessions) as well as re-mixes, where Jackson collaborated with younger artists who had been inspired by his work. In 12 weeks Thriller 25 sold over three million copies worldwide. Two of the remixes were released as singles with only modest success: "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" (with Akon) and The Girl Is Mine 2008" (with will.i.am.) The second single was based on an early demo version, without Paul McCartney.
In anticipation of Jackson's 50th birthday, Sony BMG released a series of greatest-hits albums called King of Pop. Slightly different versions were released in various countries, based on polls of local fans.King of Pop reached the top 10 in most countries where it was issued, and also sold well as an import in other countries (such as the United States Fortress Investments threatened to foreclose on Neverland Ranch, which Jackson used as collateral for loans running into many tens of millions of dollars. However, Fortress opted to sell Jackson's debts to Colony Capital LLC. In November, Jackson transferred Neverland Ranch's title to Sycamore Valley Ranch Company LLC, which was a joint venture between Jackson and Colony Capital LLC. This deal cleared Jackson's debt, and he reportedly even gained an extra $35 million from the venture. At the time of his death, Jackson still owned a stake in Neverland/Sycamore Valley, but it is unknown how large that stake was. In September 2008, Jackson entered negotiations with Julien's Auction House to display and auction a large collection of memorabilia amounting to approximately 1390 lots. The auction was scheduled to take place between April 22 and April 25. An exhibition of the lots opened as scheduled on April 14, but the actual auction was eventually cancelled at Jackson's request.
In March 2009, Jackson announced in a press conference at London's O2 arena that he would perform there in major comeback concerts titled "This Is It." The shows would be Jackson's first major series of concerts since the HIStory World Tour finished in 1997. Jackson suggested possible retirement after the shows; he said it would be his "final curtain call". The initial plan was for a 10 concerts in London, followed by shows in Paris, New York City and Mumbai. Randy Phillips, president and chief executive of AEG Live, stated that the first 10 dates alone would earn the singer approximately £50 million. The London residency was increased to 50 dates after record breaking ticket sales: over one million were sold in less than 2 hours. Jackson rehearsed in Los Angeles in the weeks leading up to the tour under the direction of choreographer/director Kenny Ortega. Most of these rehearsals took place at the Staples Center, which was owned by AEG. The concerts would have commenced on July 13, 2009 and finished on March 6, 2010. Less than three weeks before the first show was due to begin in London and with all concerts being sold out, Jackson died of cardiac arrest.
Columbia Pictures made a feature documentary concert-film from the rehearsal and pre-recorded footage. The contract for the film stipulated that a cut of the film must be screened for Jackson's estate, which stands to receive 90 percent of the profits. A final cut was released on October 28, 2009, for a limited 2 week run in theatres worldwide. A promotional single titled "This Is It" was released on October 12, with a new compilation album of the same name released worldwide on October 26, and in North America on October 27, the day before the Michael Jackson's This Is It documentary film, which became the highest grossing documentary or concert movie of all time (earning more than $260 million worldwide). Two versions of the new song appear on the album, which also features original masters of Michael Jackson's hits in the order in which they appear in the movie. It contains a bonus disc with previously unreleased versions of more Jackson hits, as well as a previously unheard spoken word poem entitled "Planet Earth." After his death, Jackson became the best-selling artist of 2009 in the United States selling over 8.2 million albums and 31 million albums worldwide.
Musical themes and genres
Unlike many artists, Jackson did not write his songs on paper. Instead he would dictate into a sound recorder, and when recording he would sing the lyrics from memory. In most of his songs, such as Who Is It, Billie Jean and Tabloid Junkie, he would beatbox and imitate the instruments using his voice instead of playing the actual instruments, along with other sounds. Jackson noted that it's easier to sing a drum line, or sing a bass, instead of playing a drum line or a bass with an instrument. Several critics have said that Jackson's distinct voice is able to replace any instrument convincingly. Steve Huey of Allmusic said that, throughout his solo career, Jackson's versatility allowed him to experiment with various themes and genres. As a musician, he ranged from Motown's dance fare and ballads to techno and house-edged new jack swing to work that incorporates both funk rhythms and hard rock guitar.
According to Huey, Thriller refined the strengths of Off the Wall; the dance and rock tracks were more aggressive, while the pop tunes and ballads were softer and more soulful. Notable tracks included the ballads "The Lady in My Life", "Human Nature" and "The Girl Is Mine"; the funk pieces "Billie Jean" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"; and the disco set "Baby Be Mine" and "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)". With Thriller, Christopher Connelly of Rolling Stone commented that Jackson developed his long association with the subliminal theme of paranoia and darker imagery. Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted this is evident on the songs "Billie Jean" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". In "Billie Jean", Jackson sings about an obsessive fan who alleges he has fathered a child of hers. In "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" he argues against gossip and the media. The anti-gang violence rock song "Beat It" became a homage to West Side Story, and was Jackson's first successful rock cross-over piece, according to Huey. He also observed that the title track "Thriller" began Jackson's interest with the theme of the supernatural, a topic he revisited in subsequent years. In 1985, Jackson co-wrote the charity anthem "We Are the World"; humanitarian themes later became a recurring theme in his lyrics and public persona.
One of Jackson's signature pieces, "Thriller", released as a single in 1984, utilizes cinematic sound effects, horror film motifs and vocal trickery to convey a sense of danger.
A single from the album Bad, released 1988, "Smooth Criminal" features digital drum sounds, keyboard-created bass lines and other percussion elements designed to give the impression of a pulsing heart.
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In Bad, Jackson's concept of the predatory lover can be seen on the rock song "Dirty Diana".The lead single "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" is a traditional love ballad, while "Man in the Mirror" is an anthemic ballad of confession and resolution. "Smooth Criminal" was an evocation of bloody assault, rape and likely murder. Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine states that Dangerous presents Jackson as a stark paradoxical individual.He comments the album is more diverse than his previous Bad, as it appeals to an urban audience while also attracting the middle class with anthems like "Heal the World".The first half of the record is dedicated to new jack swing, including songs like "Jam" and "Remember the Time". The album is Jackson's first where social ills become a primary theme; "Why You Wanna Trip on Me", for example, protests against world hunger, AIDS, homelessness and drugs. Dangerous contains sexually charged efforts like "In the Closet", a love song about desire and denial, risk and repression, solitude and connection, privacy and revelation. The title track continues the theme of the predatory lover and compulsive desire.The second half includes introspective, pop-gospel anthems such as "Will You Be There", "Heal the World" and "Keep the Faith"; these songs show Jackson finally opening up about various personal struggles and worries. In the ballad "Gone Too Soon", Jackson gives tribute to his friend Ryan White and the plight of those with AIDS.
HIStory creates an atmosphere of paranoia. Its content focuses on the hardships and public struggles Jackson went through just prior to its production. In the new jack swing-funk-rock efforts "Scream" and "Tabloid Junkie", along with the R&B ballad "You Are Not Alone", Jackson retaliates against the injustice and isolation he feels, and directs much of his anger at the media. In the introspective ballad "Stranger in Moscow", Jackson laments over his "fall from grace", while songs like "Earth Song", "Childhood", "Little Susie" and "Smile" are all operatic pop pieces. In the track "D.S.", Jackson launched a verbal attack against Tom Sneddon. He describes Sneddon as an antisocial, white supremacist who wanted to "get my ass, dead or alive". Of the song, Sneddon said, "I have not — shall we say — done him the honor of listening to it, but I’ve been told that it ends with the sound of a gunshot". Invincible found Jackson working heavily with producer Rodney Jerkins. It is a record made up of urban soul like "Cry" and "The Lost Children", ballads such as "Speechless", "Break of Dawn" and "Butterflies" and mixes Hip-Hop, pop and R&B in "2000 Watts", "Heartbreaker" and "Invincible
Music videos and choreography
Referred to as the King of Music Videos, Steve Huey of Allmusic observed how Jackson transformed the music video into an art form and a promotional tool through complex story lines, dance routines, special effects and famous cameo appearances; simultaneously breaking down racial barriers.
US patent 5255452, filed by Jackson, described the anti-gravity lean used in the music video for "Smooth Criminal".Before Thriller, Jackson struggled to receive coverage on MTV, allegedly because he was African American. Pressure from CBS Records persuaded MTV to start showing "Billie Jean" and later "Beat It", leading to a lengthy partnership with Jackson, also helping other black music artists gain recognition. MTV employees deny any racism in their coverage, or pressure to change their stance. MTV maintains that they played rock music, regardless of race. The popularity of his videos on MTV helped to put the relatively young channel "on the map"; MTV's focus shifted in favor of pop and R&B. His performance on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever changed the scope of live stage show; "That Jackson lip-synced 'Billie Jean' is, in itself, not extraordinary, but the fact that it did not change the impact of the performance is extraordinary; whether the performance was live or lip-synced made no difference to the audience" thus creating an era in which artists re-create the spectacle of music video imagery on stage. Short films like Thriller largely remained unique to Jackson, while the group dance sequence in "Beat It" has frequently been imitated. The choreography in Thriller has become a part of global pop culture, replicated everywhere from Indian films to prisons in the Philippines. The Thriller short film marked an increase in scale for music videos, and has been named the most successful music video ever by the Guinness World Records.
In the 19-minute music video for "Bad"—directed by Martin Scorsese—Jackson began using sexual imagery and choreography not previously seen in his work. He occasionally grabbed or touched his chest, torso and crotch. When asked by Oprah in the 1993 interview about why he grabbed his crotch, he replied, "I think it happens subliminally" and he described it as something that was not planned, but rather, as something that was compelled by the music. (In performances of Dangerous, crotch grabbing was choreographed, as his accompanying dancers also did it, with red hands.) Bad garnered a mixed reception from both fans and critics; Time magazine described it as "infamous". The video also featured Wesley Snipes; in the future Jackson's videos would often feature famous cameo roles. For "Smooth Criminal", Jackson experimented with an innovative "anti-gravity lean" in his performances, for which he was granted U.S. Patent No. 5,255,452. Although the music video for "Leave Me Alone" was not officially released in the US, in 1989, it was nominated for four Billboard Music Video Awards, winning three; the same year it won a Golden Lion Award for the quality of the special effects used in its production. In 1990, "Leave Me Alone" won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form.
The MTV Video Vanguard Artist of the Decade Award was given to Jackson to celebrate his accomplishments in the art form in the 1980s; the following year the award was renamed in his honor."Black or White" was accompanied by a controversial music video, which, on November 14, 1991, simultaneously premiered in 27 countries with an estimated audience of 500 million people, the largest viewing ever for a music video. It featured scenes construed as having a sexual nature as well as depictions of violence. The offending scenes in the final half of the 14-minute version were edited out to prevent the video from being banned, and Jackson apologized. Along with Jackson, it featured Macaulay Culkin, Peggy Lipton and George Wendt. It helped usher in morphing as an important technology in music videos.
Jackson and sister Janet angrily retaliated against the media for misrepresenting them to the public. The acclaimed video for "Scream" was shot primarily in black and white, and at a cost of $7 million."Remember the Time" was an elaborate production, and became one of his longest videos at over nine minutes. Set in ancient Egypt, it featured groundbreaking visual effects and appearances by Eddie Murphy, Iman and Magic Johnson, along with a distinct complex dance routine. The video for "In the Closet" was Jackson's most sexually provocative piece. It featured supermodel Naomi Campbell in a courtship dance with Jackson. The video was banned in South Africa because of its imagery.
The music video for "Scream", directed by Mark Romanek and production designer Tom Foden, is one of Jackson's most critically acclaimed. In 1995, it gained 11 MTV Video Music Award Nominations—more than any other music video—and won "Best Dance Video", "Best Choreography", and "Best Art Direction". The song and its accompanying video are a response to the backlash Jackson received from the media after being accused of child molestation in 1993.A year later, it won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form; shortly afterwards Guinness World Records listed it as the most expensive music video ever made at a cost of $7 million.
"Earth Song" was accompanied by an expensive and well-received music video that gained a Grammy nomination for Best Music Video, Short Form in 1997. The video had an environmental theme, showing images of animal cruelty, deforestation, pollution and war. Using special effects, time is reversed so that life returns, wars ends, and the forests re-grow. Released in 1997 and premiering at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, Ghosts was a short film written by Jackson and Stephen King and directed by Stan Winston. The video for Ghosts is over 38 minutes long and holds the Guinness World Record as the world's longest music video
One of many identical statues, positioned throughout Europe to promote HIStory. The statue illustrates the singer's flamboyant clothing and hair style, influenced by military imagery.Phillip Bloch said "Michael Jackson was not influenced by fashion, fashion was influenced by him."From early on Jackson was described as a person with an utterly unique sense of style wearing fringed shirts, platform heels, and wide bell-bottom pants with a “Huggy Bear” inspired hat to top off his look. During Off The Wall, he would update his style wearing tuxedo jackets, pegged pants, thick white socks with black shiny loafers, instantly giving a classic look, new flair, and originality bringing in the start of his iconoclastic style. During the Thriller era, Jackson would become a fashion icon who popularized several items that he wore in his music videos, at award ceremonies, and on stage performances. These items included his Beat It red jacket, aviator sunglasses, military jackets, jheri curl, high pants with white glitter socks, the Billie Jean black jacket, his black fedora hat, and most famously his single sequin white glove that he first wore on his left hand on the Motown 25 special.
Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jackson began to wear his iconic military-influenced outfits in silver, with his trademark armbands, during the Bad Tour. He would continue to perform in these outfits this time in gold during the Dangerous Tour, and during the HIStory Tour, where he wore a more futuristic military space outfit. Towards the mid and late 1990s, Jackson embraced a softer look wearing mostly lightweight flowy shirts and even appearing bare chested; though he occasionally reverted to his military inspired outfits. During his trials throughout the later years, Jackson wore a surgical mask and carried an umbrella to protect him from the sun. He was subsequently criticized by the media and legal analysts in the 2005 child abuse trial for not dressing in a manner appropriate for a court appearance. Mary Fulginiti Jenow, a former federal prosecutor who is now a criminal defense lawyer described Jackson as looking ready to "break out into the moonwalk." During his final public appearance at Ed Hardy's designer Christian Audigier birthday party, Jackson and Audigier began talks and later started to work together on a clothing line. Items for the clothing line included red jacket with Jackson’s portrait on it, a black leather belt with large buckle reading ‘BAD,’ silver socks, silver gloves, and an umbrella. Audigier is said to be busy putting together the final pieces of the brand.
Jackson's creative sense of style has also made a huge impact on the younger generation. He has been described as having an innovative sense of style that impacted the trendsetters of today who mimmick his fashion like Usher, Chris Brown, Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West, and many others. In November 2009, some of Jackson's memorabilia was auctioned in New York including the Rhinstone Glove used during his first moonwalk performance, which his auctioned off for $350,000, nine times its expected price, to Hoffman Ma of Hong Kong, a Chinese businessman. Among other items were a 1989 "Bad" tour jacket which sold for $225,000 and a fedora hat which sold for $22,000