5 Fascinating Revelations About The King Of Pop
Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper recently released “the ultimate critical biography of the King of Pop” which delves deeply into Michael Jackson’s music and talent. From Michael’s early days with the Jackson 5, to his success as a solo artist, to his volatile final years, his attempted comeback, and untimely death, Knopper explores the forces that fueled Michael Jackson’s genius. Knopper interviewed more than 400 people, each in some way associated with the late pop singer. Here are a few insightful tidbits we’ve gathered from Knopper’s book, MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson
Michael affectionately played practical jokes on tour. He lived and worked like an adult, but really wanted to act like a kid sometimes. Suzee Ikeda, best known for her work as a production assistant at Motown, was also a friend familiar with Michael’s need for childhood antics and her understanding became a calming influence for him.
The 80s were the best years of his career, with record breaking Thriller Album sales, the moonwalk, and quirky use of one sequined glove. The moonwalk was not created by Michael, however, he was the one to make it famous. In 1979, he saw an act by Casper and Cooley on Soul Train and wanted to meet them to learn their dance techniques, one of which was the moonwalk.
Price vs Michael
Michael’s rival music sensation at the time was Prince. They were both were born in 1958 in the Midwest and represented the evolving life of black youth at the time. They were both shy. Michael didn’t want to be replaced by a new industry sensation but appreciated Prince’s talents. Prince wanted Michael’s level of fame.
Will-I-Am recalls a moment when he and Michael attended Prince’s show in Las Vegas. “There was a point during the show where Prince was playing bass and he came out into the audience with this giant bass—he knew where Michael was sitting—and he walked right up to Michael and started playing bass in Michael’s face. Like aggressive slap bass.”
Michael’s fame was one of the causes of his troubled childhood. A need to identify with his lost youth was at odds with his adult musical talents and it was noticeable to those in the industry as well as the general public.
Despite his record breaking popularity in the 80s, he was also being called unusual for some of his eccentricities. Among his friends, family, and true fans, he was a caring and kind person. He had a high IQ and a sensitive nature and the accusations throughout the 00’s hurt him terribly.
Love & Music
Michael may have briefly found love with Lisa Marie Presley. After the divorce he married Debbie Rowe, his dermatologist’s assistant and had two children. A third child was born with a surrogate.
Just before he died, he recorded two songs with artist Will.I.Am. The album Michael was working on for his tour at the same time, was released unfinished when he died at age 50.