Manila Standard Today published this story about Michael Jackson:
Michael Jackson joins HIStory at 50
MICHAEL Jackson, the pop music and dance innovator who died yesterday at 50, achieved worldwide fame rivaling that of the Beatles and Elvis Presley before his own behavior tarnished his image in later years.
Jackson was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m. at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. An examination will determine the cause of death.
The singer, who was preparing for his first series of concerts in more than a decade, appeared to have suffered a cardiac arrest in his home, UCLA medical center officials said in a statement. His personal physician, who was there at the time, tried to resuscitate Jackson, as did paramedics and doctors later at the hospital, the statement said.
Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a 911 call around 12:21 p.m. in the 100 block of Carolwood Drive in the wealthy Bel-Air area of Los Angeles, Capt. Steve Ruda said in an interview. Jackson wasn’t breathing when they arrived. Medics treated the singer before taking him to the hospital.
Jackson “transfixed the world like few entertainers before or since,” according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 2001. “As a solo performer, he has enjoyed a level of superstardom previously known only to Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra.”
Yet after selling more than 61 million albums in the US and having a decade-long attraction open at Disney theme parks, the “King of Pop” died Thursday at age 50 reportedly awash in about $400 million in debt, on the cusp of a final comeback after well over a decade of scandal.
The moonwalking pop star drove the growth of music videos, vaulting cable channel MTV into the popular mainstream after its launch in 1981. His 1982 hit “Thriller,” still the second best-selling US album of all time, spawned a John Landis-directed music video that MTV played every hour on the hour.
“He was inextricably tied to the so-called MTV generation,” said Judy McGrath, chairman and CEO of Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks.
Five years later, “Bad” sold 22 million copies. In 1991, he signed a $65 million recording deal with Sony.
Jackson was so popular that The Walt Disney Co. hitched its wagon to his star in 1986, opening a 3-D movie at its parks called “Captain EO,” executive produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The last attraction in Paris closed 12 years later.
One of Jackson’s shrewdest deals at the height of his fame in 1985 was the $47.5-million acquisition of ATV Music, which owned the copyright to songs written by the Beatles’ John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The catalog provided Jackson a steady stream of income and the ability to afford a lavish lifestyle.
He bought the sprawling Neverland ranch in 1988 for $14.6 million, a fantasy-like 2,500-acre property nestled in the hills of Santa Barbara County’s wine country.
But the bombshell hit in 1993 when he was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy.
“That kind of represents the beginning of the walk down a tragic path, financially, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, legally,” said Michael Levine, his publicist at the time.
He settled with the boy’s family, but other accounts of his alleged pedophilia began to emerge.
When he ran into further financial problems, he agreed to a deal with Sony in 1995 to merge ATV with Sony’s library of songs and sold Sony music publishing rights for $95 million. Then in 2001, he used his half of the ATV assets as collateral to secure $200 million in loans from Bank of America.
As his financial problems continued, Jackson began to borrow large sums of money, according to a 2002 lawsuit by Union Finance & Investment Corp. that sought $12 million in unpaid fees and expenses.
In 2003, Jackson was arrested on charges that he molested another 13-year-old boy. The 2005 trial, which ultimately ended in an acquittal, brought to light more details of Jackson’s strained finances.
One forensic accountant testified that the singer had an “ongoing cash crisis” and was spending $20 million to $30 million more per year than he earned.
In March of last year, the singer faced foreclosure on Neverland. He also repeatedly failed to make mortgage payments on a house in Los Angeles that had been used for years by his family.
In addition, Jackson was forced to defend himself against a slew of lawsuits in recent years, including a $7-million claim from Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the second son of the king of Bahrain.
Memorabilia auctions were frequently announced but became the subject of legal wrangling and were often canceled.
But time and again Jackson found a way to wring cash out of high-value assets, borrowing tens of millions at a time or leaning on wealthy friends for advice, if not for money.
Al Khalifa, 33, took Jackson under his wing after his acquittal, moving him to the small Gulf estate and showering him with money.
In his lawsuit, Al Khalifa claimed he gave Jackson millions of dollars to help shore up his finances, cut an album, write an autobiography and subsidize his lifestyle—including more than $300,000 for a “motivational guru.” The lawsuit was settled last year for an undisclosed amount. Neither the album nor book was ever produced.
Another wealthy benefactor came to Jackson’s aid last year as he faced the prospect of losing Neverland in a public auction.
Billionaire Thomas Barrack, chairman and chief executive of Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm Colony Capital LLC, agreed to bail out the singer and set up a joint venture with Jackson that took ownership of the vast estate.
Barrack was unavailable for comment Thursday, but referred to the singer in a statement as a “gentle, talented and compassionate man.”
A final piece of the financial jigsaw puzzle fell into place in March, when billionaire Philip Anschutz’ concert promotion company AEG Live announced it would promote 50 shows in London’s 20,000-seat O2 arena. Tickets sold out, and the first show of the “This is It” tour was set for July 8.
Jackson, who has won 13 Grammys, hadn’t toured since 1997. His last studio album, “Invincible,” was released in 2001.
But the opening date was later postponed to July 13 and some shows moved back to March 2010, fueling speculation that Jackson was suffering from health ailments that could curtail his comeback bid.
His death, caused by cardiac arrest according to his brother Jermaine, raised the question whether an insurer would refund money to ticketholders. AEG Live did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Jackson was practicing for the concert in Los Angeles at the Staples Center with Kenny Ortega, a choreographer and director of the “High School Musical” movies, who has worked on previous Jackson videos like “Dangerous” in 1993.
“We had a 25-year friendship. This is all too much to comprehend,” Ortega said in a statement. “This was the world’s greatest performer and the world will miss him.”
Sony chairman and chief executive Howard Stringer said Jackson “was a brilliant troubadour for his generation, a genius whose music reflected the passion and creativity of an era.”
Jackson’s pop and dance routines crossed racial lines and international borders.
Through his music, Michael Jackson touched the lives of generations of fans worldwide,” said Dave Johnson, chairman and chief executive of Warner/Chappell Music, which owns publishing rights to some of the singer’s catalog. “We offer thanks for the joy that his artistry as a performer and songwriter brought to so many millions.”
To fans and associates in the music industry, it was the songs and performances that mattered.
Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was the most outstanding,” producer Dick Clark said in a statement. “Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched. He was truly one of a kind.”
Hundreds of fans gathered along Westwood Plaza, near the hospital, as word of the singer’s death spread. Pop radio stations in Los Angeles and around the country switched to Jackson’s music.
Everything you hear now and heard growing up probably had some Michael Jackson influence,” said Q. Dixon, 24, a sociology major at UCLA. “He was mostly about energy and love. He was just a wonderful person,” she said.
Tower Records in Japan began promoting memorial CDs, DVDs and package tours related to Jackson in all of its stores, said Tatsuro Yagawa, a spokesman for the company.
Jackson rose to stardom by performing with his brothers in the Jackson 5. He was just 11 years old when the group’s first single, “I Want You Back,” climbed to no. 1 on Billboard magazine’s charts in 1970.
Solo success followed in the 1970s and peaked with the 1982 release of “Thriller,” the biggest-selling album in history. In 1985, he co-wrote and sang on “We Are the World,” an all-star benefit single that raised funds for famine relief.
From then on, Jackson’s career took a back seat to his behavior. He reshaped his nose with multiple plastic surgeries and befriended a chimpanzee named Bubbles. He was reported to have slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber and bought the bones of John Merrick, the so-called Elephant Man.
His last series of concerts was the HIStory Tour in 1996-1997 and his last studio album was “Invincible” in 2001.
Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley, in 1994. They divorced within two years. He then married a nurse, Deborah Jeanne Rowe, and they had a son, Michael Jr., and a daughter, Paris. A third child, Prince Michael II, known as Blanket, was born to Jackson and a surrogate mother in 2002.
Jackson and Rowe had met when Jackson received treatment for vitiligo, a rare disorder that discolors the face and body. Jackson disclosed he had the condition in 1993 to answer critics who said he was intentionally bleaching his skin. A Beverly Hills, California, dermatologist, Arnold Klein, came forward to confirm the claim and say he was treating the pop star.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born on Aug. 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh child of a musically gifted family.
His solo career began in 1971 with the single “Got to Be There.” His first no. 1 single came that same year-“Ben,” the title song from a film about a rat.
In 1979, at 21, he came out with “Off the Wall,” an album that produced four hit singles, according to the Hall of Fame.
Thriller, “his 1982 recording, and especially the 14-minute video made for the title song and released a year later, propelled Jackson into the upper echelon of pop stardom. It topped the charts for 37 weeks in 1983, according to Billboard.
Billie Jean,” the second single from the album, led the charts for another seven weeks. It was with that song that Jackson introduced his famous and much-imitated “moonwalk” dance move.
His 1987 album, “Bad,” produced seven more hit singles, including the title song.
Jackson performed at halftime of Super Bowl XXVII in 1993.
He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever,” Quincy Jones, Jackson’s longtime producer, said in a statement. “To this day, the music we created together on “Off The Wall,” “Thriller” and “Bad” is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all—talent, grace, professionalism and dedication.” Bloomberg and AP