Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Michael Jackson

AEG Drops $17.5 Mil

Insurance Claim

9/11/2012 7:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

The concert promoter behind Michael Jackson's ill-fated "This Is It" tour has dropped its claim to collect on a $17.5 million insurance policy for the singer ... after the insurance company claimed AEG hid the extent of MJ's extensive drug and health issues.

AEG announced the move last night ... claiming the company has been contemplating the decision for months and it has nothing to do with the discovery of new emails that show AEG had doubts about MJ's health around the time the company applied for the insurance policy.

FYI -- the insurance company, Lloyds of London, had sued both AEG and Michael Jackson LLC in the wake of MJ's death to cancel out the policy. L.O.L. has claimed AEG and MJ were not forthright about the singer's drug addiction and failing health at the time they applied for the policy.

Now, a rep for Lloyds tells CNN ... "In exchange for AEG withdrawing its insurance claim, underwriters agreed to dismiss AEG from the case and to waive any costs recoverable from AEG."

Lloyds says it's NOT dropping the case against Michael Jackson LLC -- explaining they will press on seeking "rescission of the policy due to nondisclosures of Michael Jackson's prior drug use."


No Avatar


The day when the $200 mln. loan was to be repaid to Fortress Investment Group was December 21, 2005 or only several months after the end of the 2005 trial, so we can very well imagine Michael Jackson’s emotional state at the time. If Michael did not pay it off he was to lose his share in the Sony/ATV joint venture which served as collateral for those millions.

From the article below we get a confirmation that Fortress also owned the second Michael Jackson’s loan, backed by his Mijac catalog, but as per December 2005 the loan for at least that catalog was not yet due.

Michael sought an extension of the deal with Fortress, however they agreed to only 6 months and with interim payments at the rate of 9,5% which amounted to $1,5mln. a month.

The LA Times has no respect for the man who seems to be doomed to a default in payment:

Michael Jackson Advisors Try to Stave Off Default

The singer, whose loans for $200 million came due Tuesday, is seeking a six-month extension.

December 21, 2005|Charles Duhigg | Times Staff Writer

Advisors to Michael Jackson spent Tuesday negotiating to keep the once self-proclaimed “king of pop” from defaulting on $200 million in loans guaranteed by the singer’s stake in the Beatles’ song catalog.

People familiar with the negotiations expected Jackson’s representatives to secure a six-month extension to repay Fortress Investment Group, which owns loans that came due Tuesday. Fortress purchased the debt from Bank of America Corp. in April [2005].

The loans are collateralized by Jackson’s 50% partnership in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a joint venture between the singer and the electronics company that owns a 4,000-song catalog containing such songs as Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and 251 Beatles hits.

Jackson’s share in Sony/ATV, which also owns his valuable catalog and Neverland ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, is worth more than $500 million, according to court testimony.

According to sources, Fortress will demand interim payments during the extension, and may insist on an interest rate that could reach as high as 9.5%, or more than $1.5 million a month.

Fortress also owns another Jackson loan, for $70 million, that has not come due. The sources requested anonymity because negotiations were still going on.

A spokeswoman for Fortress declined to comment on the negotiations. A spokeswoman for Sony/ATV declined to discuss specifics, except to say that the firm was “trying to be a good partner, and keep the partnership with Jackson going.” Jackson’s lawyers and spokeswoman did not return phone calls.

If Jackson does default on his loans, he may be forced to sell a portion of his half-ownership in Sony/ATV. Such a transaction, however, could take months to complete and might result in a tax bill of $40 million, according to court testimony from earlier this year.

Jackson was acquitted of charges of child molestation in June in Santa Maria, Calif. During that trial, court testimony revealed that the singer was strapped for cash, spending as much as $30 million more a year than he earned. During the last year Jackson was sued at least four times, accused of failing to pay $3.3 million in overdue bills.

Jackson is living in the Middle Eastern nation of Bahrain, and it is unclear whether he is personally involved in his finances. Once represented by established career builders such as Sandy Gallin and Jeff Kwatinetz, Jackson has in recent years had an ever-changing circle of advisors, many with little experience in finance or the music business. Often, the singer’s decision-making is based on “who has Michael’s ear at the moment,” as one longtime confidant put it in June.

Jackson’s financial troubles have worsened as his popularity has declined. Jackson’s 1982 album, “Thriller,” is No. 2 on the list of best-selling albums in U.S. history, shipping 26 million copies since its release, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

But Jackson’s last album of new material, 2001′s “Invincible,” sold only 2.1 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Since 2003, domestic sales of Jackson’s albums have declined to about 1 million a year .

Six months later, in April 2006, or when the extended period was over, Fortress was relentless and was all ready to grab the Beatles catalog into its hands. In a desperate situation like that Michael Jackson turned to… you won’t believe it … he turned to Sony (!) or a company which, if we are to listen to some bloggers, was supposed to be his enemy until the end of times.

Sony helped to refinance the debt by procuring a $300 mln. credit from the Barclays’ bank and lowered the interest rate from the 9,5% down. In return all they asked of Jackson was the right to be the first to buy half of Michael’s share in their mutual catalog (or that 25% asked by Koppelman and Malnik), which was an option which Sony never used, either when Michael was alive or after his death.

This fact should be remembered and never to be forgotten by Michael Jackson’s fans – Sony never used the option of buying half of Michael Jackson’ s share!

Where are these bloggers who constantly hum in our ears that Sony is the main villain? Why do they forget about Fortress Investment Group for example? Or are they working for Fortress, Koppleman or Sony’s competitors or all of them taken together? Otherwise how can they explain that they choose to totally disregard facts?

771 days ago


The article below repeats the usual mantra of a non-existent danger of Michael forfeiting his share to Sony and naturally does not say a word that as a result of Michael’s cooperation with Fortress he was in the imminent danger of losing all his belongings – including his whole 50% share in the Sony/ATV catalog plus the full of the Mjjac catalog (when that loan was due).

The article also introduces us to Prescient Acquisition Group which prides itself on finding investors who paid for Michael’s $272.5 million debt to the Bank of America. The article is very vague about who these investors are, but it must have been Fortress whom they found. In addition to Fortress another company mentioned is Transitional Investors LLC through whom they claimed that refinancing was done. For their services of middlemen Prescient Acquisition Group wanted $48 mln. in fees.

If all of the above is true it means that Roger Friedman’s initial story was incorrect - the transition of the loans from the Bank of America to Fortress Investment Group could not be a surprise for Michael Jackson as it resulted from the long process of finding new investors who would buy Michael’s debts from the Bank of America. On the other hand it could be correct as another option is that all these negotiations could take place behind Michael Jackson’s back.

Whatever it was, it is worth mentioning that none of these businessmen behaved in a way even remotely close to Sony who showed their goodwill towards Michael and readiness to help. Sony sent to Dubai two executives who met Michael and renegotiated the deal with Fortress Investment Group.

This article is clearly underestimating this fact. Moreover they are not even saying that it is Sony which helps Michael with the refinancing – instead they overemphasize the fact that Sony will receive a 25% stake as a result:

Michael Jackson Refinances to Stave Off Bankruptcy

By Alex Armitage and Dana Cimilluca - April 13, 2006

April 13 (Bloomberg) — Michael Jackson, struggling to stave off bankruptcy, agreed to a debt refinancing that may lead him to forfeit a share of a music catalog that includes more than 200 Beatles songs.

Jackson refinanced loans with hedge fund Fortress Investment Group LLC, the singer said in an e-mailed statement today. The statement didn’t disclose terms of the refinancing.

Under the agreement, Jackson gave Sony Corp. an option to buy half of his 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, allowing him to refinance about $300 million of loans, according to people familiar with the transaction. The catalog, which includes songs from Bob Dylan and John Mayer, is worth more than $1 billion. The sale may help Jackson pay debts that mounted as he fought child-molestation charges.

“He wasn’t going to give it up willingly,” said media analyst Hal Vogel, chief executive of New York-based Vogel Capital, who values the catalog at $1 billion. “He didn’t want to give it up unless he had to.”

Jackson, 47, bought the catalog 21 years ago, outbidding Beatle Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono.

Grahame Nelson, a lawyer representing Jackson at Qays H. Zubi, didn’t return calls seeking comment. Sony spokeswoman Lisa Gephardt declined to comment beyond saying Sony is committed to its partnership with Jackson.

He paid $47.5 million in 1985 to acquire the ATV catalog, which has about 4,000 songs, including Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.

In 1995, Jackson merged his ATV Music with Sony’s publishing business to battle financial problems. The singer is currently living in Bahrain. His team for the refinancing included Bahrain- based financial adviser Ahmed Al Khan and lawyers Qays H. Zubi Attorneys & Legal Consultants.

Fortress, based in New York, manages $21 billion, including buyout, hedge and real estate funds. It’s run by former Goldman Sachs partner Peter Briger and Wesley Edens, a former partner at BlackRock Financial Management Inc. Lilly Donohue, a Fortress managing director, declined to comment.

The refinancing will lower the interest rate on Jackson’s debt, which had risen to as high as 9.5 percent, said one person, who asked not to be named.

Lawsuits stemming from Jackson’s financial woes posed a hurdle to refinancing the debt. At least one lawsuit against Jackson, filed in federal court in New York, is still pending.

Prescient Acquisitions Group Inc., a New Jersey-based financial company that specializes in asset acquisitions, sued Jackson last July, saying the entertainer owed $48 million in fees for helping him secure a loan that rescued his stake in publishing rights to Beatles’ songs.

Prescient said in the suit it helped Jackson find investors to help him pay off a $272.5 million debt to Bank of America.

Fortress holds the debt previously held by Bank of America Corp., today’s statement said. Citigroup Inc. arranged the refinancing.

Prescient said it also helped Jackson buy complete control of “MJ Publishing Trust,” which is also known as “Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.”

Prescient said Bank of America found Jackson in default on part of the loans and creditors were setting their sights on MJ Publishing Trust and the Beatles catalog. The suit said the catalog was pledged as collateral for some of his loans.

Prescient said in the suit it fulfilled the contract and secured financing for Jackson through a group of investors that included Transitional Investors LLC and Fortress.

Evan Weintraub, a lawyer for MJ Publishing Trust, Jackson and MJ-ATV Publishing Trust, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

771 days ago


Two days later Michael Jackson happily announced that the restructuring with the help of Sony was successful:

Michael Jackson Restructuring Finances
MANAMA, Bahrain, April 13, 2006 /PRNewswire/ –

Michael Jackson is pleased to announce that he has restructured his finances with the assistance of Sony Corporation of America, the long time co-owner of Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.

Following negotiations with several leading financial institutions, Mr. Jackson has concluded refinancing with affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, the lender that currently holds secured debts that were previously held by Bank of America. Citigroup structured the transaction for the parties. The terms of this new financing deal will not be disclosed. Mr. Jackson was supported on the refinancing by an advisory team that included Bahrain-based financial advisor Ahmed Al Khan and Qays H. Zubi Attorneys & Legal Consultants.

Source: MJFC / PRNewswire

However even after the restructuring and only a year after the ordeal of the 2005 trial Michael still couldn’t enjoy a moment of quiet. Several months later he faced a big lawsuit from Marc Schaffel plus some smaller ones. We’ll have to skip them and pass immediately to another mind-boggling event in Michael Jackson’s life.

The Liquidation Sale (of the Beatles catalog) was written about by Roger Friedman in March 2007 and was announced to take place on May 2008 a year later.

This Liquidation business is so confusing a matter that I would suggest you read Friedman’s article on your own to see how many new characters are introduced into the picture in addition to those we already know and how deadly was a game Michael’s so-called advisors involved him in.

It was at this stage that I suddenly recalled that John Branca had already resigned by then (he left in 2006) as he was totally unable to put up with what was going on around Michael Jackson at the time. To my big surprise I found out from the same article that the person who is terribly hostile towards Branca now was playing the key role in the 2005-2007 drama as well. Now it seems to me that the rivalry between them has a long history of its own. Who this person is you will find from the article below that broke the sensational news:

771 days ago


Michael Jackson Will Lose Beatles Catalog in ’08

Written By Roger Friedman

March 09, 2007

Michael Jackson had better hold on to whatever money he pocketed in Japan this week during a promotional tour.

I can report today that Jackson will lose his hold on the Beatles catalog and Sony/ATV Music Publishing on May 31, 2008. That date, revealed here for the first time, is known as the “Liquidation Sale” among insiders.

And Jackson knows this. He even hired a famous law firm, White & Case, to evaluate the deal he made with Sony and Fortress Investments when he refinanced his shaky empire last year.

This doesn’t mean that Jackson won’t still owe Fortress $300 million after the liquidation sale is over. He will, but he can pay them back from the money Sony pays him to buy out their half of the music company.

Its value is somewhere between $1.1 and $1.6 billion, according to a Fortress exec who was deposed last year in preparation for a $48 million lawsuit brought against Jackson by Darien Dash, who helms Prescient Capital Group and is a cousin of hip-hop entrepreneur Damon Dash.

Recently, both Jackson and Prescient have asked the judge in New York to speed things along, and an answer is pending.

At question is whether or not Don Stabler, an accountant hired by Randy Jackson, Michael’s brother, had the authority to enter into agreements on Jackson’s behalf.

Stabler agreed to pay Prescient/Dash a nine percent fee for finding financing to replace Jackson’s $270 million at Bank of America.

Dash found Fortress, which offered over $500 million to help Jackson buy out Sony in his agreement.

That much wasn’t needed, but Dash is asking for his fee on that amount.

The original Jackson-Prescient-Fortress deal went down in May 2005 while Jackson stood trial in Santa Maria, Calif., for child molestation. But, unbeknownst to anyone, the negotiations had actually begun in November 2004.

A year later, in the spring of 2006, Jackson — now bidden to Fortress — was out of money again and renegotiating his terms. Sony Music came to his rescue, but at a price: they would be able to trigger a purchase of Jackson’s entire stake, not just half of it, at the end of May 2008. [This is a MISTAKE which Friedman later admitted and corrected - the share was 25% only]

And Jackson agreed to more than just that: he also signed a promissory note with Fortress for $20 million. It comes due this October.

Selling his half of Sony-ATV back to Sony won’t be so easy for Jackson or so lucrative.

According to testimony in various Prescient depositions, Jackson could be charged as much as $250 million “off the top” by Sony for expenses they’ve incurred while running the partnership.

That would whittle down his potential $60...0 million windfall almost by half. A further subtraction of the $300 million loan to Fortress would leave him with little wiggle room.

Jackson, it’s also revealed in the depositions, once tried to sell his half of the company to billionaire Ron Burkle during the child molestation trial.

“I remember precisely at court in the bathroom stall with the cell phone in my hand, saying why don’t you just buy it? I want to sell it you,” Jackson said.

Burkle, Jackson said, declined, telling him he had to keep the music catalog for his children.

Jackson’s deposition in the Prescient case, which is now becoming public, is otherwise the usual symphony of “I don’t knows” and “I don’t remembers” that Jackson offers in these cir***stances. It was conducted last June 12 at Jackson’s expense — possibly $100,000 — at a hotel in Versailles, France, at his request.

But Jackson is far from stupid. His answers and vagueness seem coached, but from the Marx Brothers and Abbott & Costello. At one point he starts calling the proceedings “ridiculous,” an adjective he invokes often. Asked what’s ridiculous about the case, Jackson answers: “Three Stooges.”

There is also a long debate about where he lives. He doesn’t know the address, can’t tell the difference between Bahrain, Dubai and Oman or the various palaces he’s been in. “The Muslim names are kind of confusing to me, so it’s hard,” he says.

Jackson is also fairly embittered by his experiences in the music business.

“It’s full of sharks,” he says to one of the lawyers, “charlatans and imposters. Because there’s a lot of money involved, there’s a bunch of schmucks in there.” Of course, it’s the wrong word: schmuck means, loosely, losers.

At another time, it’s implied that flashy Florida attorney Willie Gary made an offer to buy Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Now shuttered, Neverland is leveraged by Jackson with a $25 million loan, also with Fortress.

There’s an upside to all this: Jackson, under the renegotiation, receives an annual advance from Sony of $6.5 million. He gets another $2 million under another clause. It’s not a lot for a celebrity who likes to travel, stay in expensive hotels and shut down toy stores for private shopping. But it’s nothing to sneeze at, either.

What’s interesting about all this now is that it’s no longer about Jackson. His career is finished. It’s now more about what a hot potato the Beatles catalog has become, and why its ever-increasing value has permitted Jackson to live outside the norm. It may be the wisest investment ever made by a celebrity.

Jackson should be sending thank you letters to John Branca and Frank DiLeo, his two former advisers, every day of the week.,2933,258016,00.html#ixzz24mdWSKzU

Forget about Michael Jackson’s “finished career” according to Roger Friedman and other media – it was finished only when it was in the hands of people like the Fortress, Priscient and Randy Jackson. If the finances are in capable hands then what was a total catastrophe is turning into lucrative contracts, dozens of new opportunities and acquisition of new publishing rights worthy of billions.

But let us try to understand the meaning of what we’ve just read.

So almost a year before that, in April 2006 a refinancing deal was made by Sony in respect of Michael’s debt to Fortress. Fortress could be promised $300mln. instead of the initial $272,5 they bought from the Bank of America, and Sony was to buy 25% of Michael’s share in the catalog – probably as a guarantor that they would repay Michael’s debts.

771 days ago


In other words Sony was to buy half of Michael’s share in the joint venture and this way provide Michael with the funds that would enable him to repay his debts to Fortress. This is how I read the statement from Friedman which says :

“This doesn’t mean that Jackson won’t still owe Fortress $300 million after the liquidation sale is over. He will, but he can pay them back from the money Sony pays him to buy out their half of the music company”.
We also find out that Fortress did not make a single step without deriving additional profit for themselves. Therefore they forced Michael to sign a promissory note with them for $20 mln. which was evidently covered by some of Michael’s assets. If he defaulted under it these assets were to be passed over to Fortress.

On the other hand we learn that under the same refinancing deal Sony was doing the impossible – it was providing Michael with “an annual advance of $6.5 million and another $2 million under another clause”.

It is surprising, but doesn’t Sony look like the best of all the characters taking part in this ugly play?

Another surprise is that it was Randy Jackson and his assistant Don Stadler who took an active part in finding a candidate to refinance Michael’s loan with the Bank of America.

This was taking place during the trial when Randy Jackson was attending to all Michael’s business matters and Michael didn’t have a chance to go into details. Is this why Michael didn’t know of the transition of his loans from the Bank of America to a third party and could it really be negotiated behind his back?

The good investor found by Prescient on instructions from Randy Jackson was Fortress Investment Group. For the honor of getting this investor finance Michael’s business Randy Jackson and his assistant agreed to pay to the middle man Darian Dash of the Prescient group 9% of the funds provided.

What’s interesting is the Prescient offered Michael the chance of $500 mln. to enable him to buy out Sony’s share in the Sony/ATV catalog, but it turned out that this wasn’t really needed.

It was probably needed or initiated by Randy Jackson and this is why Prescient clever guys asked their 9% fee on the full $500 mln. amount promised and not the amount actually used to pay to the Bank of America for the loan passed over to Fortress.

Incidentally we also learn that Fortress acquired all Michael’s debts:

the $200mln. loan was backed by the Beatles catalog,
the $72,5 mln. were backed by the Mijac catalog
and Neverland which was estimated at the price of $25mln was also in the Fortress loans porfolio!
All these assets were to pass over to Fortress Investments Group in case of Michael’s default in payment.

What did we forget? Oh, we forgot that Prescient was threatening Michael with stories that Sony would not pay the money due to him for his share in the catalog and would charge him $250mln for the expenses they incurred during that partnership. No such thing ever happened, but this is what Prescient thought or at least said in their depositions (evidently betraying their own ways of doing business with partners).

We also learn that billionaire Ron Burkle turned out to be a very decent man who refused to buy Michael’s catalog and said he should keep it for his children.

Michael did not lose his share in the catalog as the Barclays bank brought over by Sony refinanced his deal with Fortress Investments and Sony did not buy half of Michael’s share which under the terms of their agreement could be bought at any time at a fixed price of $250 mln.:

“As part of the agreement under which Barclays ultimately refinanced that debt, Mr. Jackson granted Sony an option to buy half of his stake in the company at any time for a fixed price of $250 million. At the time that was a generous valuation”

Several months after these events, in June 2007 Michael Jackson chose to settle the $48 mln. Prescient lawsuit, evidently to save the Jackson family from further embarrassment:

Michael Jackson’s court case settled
New York | June 20, 2007

Singer Michael Jackson decided to settle a $48 million lawsuit, which was filed against him in New York by a New Jersey finance company.

The lawsuit alleged that Jackson had stiffed businessman Darien Dash and Prescient Acquisition Group after they helped him refinance a $272 million bank loan and helped secure $573 million in financing to help the superstar buy out Sony’s half of the Beatles’ song catalogue.

Lawyers announced Monday that the case had been settled out of court for an undisclosed sum just as Manhattan federal Judge Kevin Castel was preparing to select a jury.

We’re very pleased with the settlement, said Dash’s lawyer, Steven Altman.

Court records also revealed that the jurors were supposed to watch a recorded deposition from Jackson in which he accuses former financial advisers of swindling him out of money while he was in court to face child-sex charges.

Though this article does not name the sum paid by Michael Jackson Roger Friedman reported that the sum of the settlement was $5 million:

“Jackson has recently settled a lawsuit brought by Prescient Capital for $5 million”.,2933,287075,00.html

771 days ago


So AEG is getting nothing from lloyds of London but just dropping the insurance claim ,yeah and the sun rises from the west!

769 days ago


Michael's "accidental" death suited both AEG and Lloyds of London, maybe that's why AEG paid killer murray to send Michael to the grave early.AEG claims that Michael wasn't fit enough for the tour and lloyds easily doesn't pay because as they say that since Michael wasn't well they are backing out of the insurance coverage.

769 days ago



When other stupid rabids stop posting, your posts look extra stupid!!!

769 days ago



How is your game of "following the leader" going?

You are such a raw talent at kissing butt!

Did you share a woodie too?


767 days ago

Freedom Rose    

With Lindsay, Amenda, Kim and Khole around, who needs MIchael Jackson???
Not even TMZ!!!

And here comes the white trash Paris. Not you Paris J, you are black, remember???


I wonder what color will they claim when they come to age and are getting their passport and driver's license etc.

765 days ago


Michael Jackson’s Bad Turns 25 SOMETHING SPECIAL IS GOING ON
September 19, 2012
by Vindicatemj (Helena)
Bad was re-released yesterday!
The Times said on August 22, 2012:

“Bad’s quarter-century milestone will be marked with due pomp. Jackson’s estate and Epic/Legacy Recordings are collaborating on a three-CD release (BAD25, out Sept. 18), which includes the remastered original album, plus an album of additional tracks, including demos and remixes, and a live album.
The package also includes a DVD of never-before-seen concert footage—Jackson’s own review copy of a July 16, 1988 concert at Wembley Stadium.
In addition, a Spike-Lee-helmed do***entary about the album, the similarly-titled Bad25, will debut Aug. 31 at the Venice Film Festival. And starting this spring, Jackson has even found his way onto 1 billion Bad-themed Pepsi cans.

Well, the mills of God grind slowly but they grind exceeding small. What was due to happen is happening at last – Michael Jackson is returning to us in his full glory and splendor.

I am talking about Spike Lee’s film devoted to the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Bad album, the re-release of the album itself and the response both events are getting in the media and among the general public.

Frankly the most satisfaction I derive from it all is the expression on the faces of Tom Sneddon, Diane Dimond, Nancy Grace, Maureen Orth and their ilk which I can easily imagine at seeing Michael Jackson’s coming back at them in so formidable a way and from every direction they look in.

4650 votes as per September 18, 2012. Remember to sign it here:

Even if our petition against Sneddon (see the link on the right to sign, please) does not reach it primary goal of having Sneddon investigated for his malicious prosecution of MJ, Sneddon and his media girlfriends are nevertheless doomed now to a slow torture of seeing the giant figure of Michael Jackson rising on the horizon and approaching them in gigantic steps.

And this is no longer Wacko Jacko they used to squeak about before, but “Michael Jackson, the most influential artist of the 20th century”, whose music is “the power that was misunderstood” and whose life-story is now called “the engrossing life of a creative genius”.

The shift in the media and public opinion is so amazing and so relatively quick (in comparison with the two long decades of his trashing) that this change alone deserves to be recorded as another landmark event on the road to Michael Jackson’s place in eternity.

For me both the media and ordinary people’s reactions to the new film and album are equally important as they mark the trend, which does look very encouraging.

The Bad 25th anniversary album is to be released today, so I decided to make a collection of articles to mark the occasion, including readers’ comments which are no less remarkable than the journalists’ articles. What I like about these comments is the readers’ quiet confidence that things are on the right track again, and the superb way they correct the journalists’ ignorance about Jackson. This is the only right way to talk to the media these days!

Here is general information about Bad and its new version from the

It’s now been a quarter century since Michael Jackson released 1987′s Bad, the follow-up to the tough act (and international event) known as Thriller. At the time, the album was judged harshly against the monumental achievements of its predecessor; now, with hindsight, it is clear that Bad also earned its fair share of accolades and milestones.

Fans can get a chance to revisit the songs when the album gets a special re-release on Sept. 18. (The deluxe edition includes a Bad-themed case (complete with buckles), three CDs and a concert DVD, an exclusive T-shirt design and a “Bad Tour souvenir package.”)

The Times spoke to the people who worked on the original album. The list includes:

Greg Phillinganes, a musician who worked on the record and music-directed the Bad tour

Matt Forger, a music engineer and producer who worked on Bad

Spike Lee, who directed Bad25 as well as Jackson’s short film for the song “They Don’t Care About Us”

John Branca, Jackson’s lawyer and co-executor of his estate.

Bad was crafted at Westlake Studio in Los Angeles and at Michael Jackson’s personal studio, Hayvenhurst. The formal recording process began at Westlake on Jan. 5, 1987.

Forger: At that time he was reserved, he was rather quiet, but at the same time extremely focused. He knew everything that had to happen in a song. He was very directed, very in tune with where all the parts musically needed to be. He was very professional, very well-prepared.
Phillinganes: By the time we were working on Bad, Mike’s ideas became stronger and clear.
Lee: When it came to work, he was a perfectionist. He had a tremendous work ethic. He’s not going to say, “I’m tired,” he’s not going to say anything. Until it’s done, he’s like, “Let’s go, let’s get it done, let’s do the best we can, let’s not cut any corners.” Whether it’s creatively or financially, he was not cutting any corners.
Phillinganes: And during some downtime in the studio—there was a technical problem so we couldn’t go on until that was sorted out—Mike was getting restless and he asked me if I felt like going across the street to do a little shopping. What was across the street was a major, major, huge shopping mall called the BeverlyCenter. He puts on this wig and dark sunglasses and crooked teeth and we come out of the studio, just the two of us, no security no cops nobody, on La Cienega Boulevard and I remember thinking that time as we were crossing, “I’m crossing La Cienega with Michael Jackson and nobody knows.” We went all over the place and did a bit of shopping and he had slightly puzzled looks from cashiers. He looked like Sly Stone on crack and then he gets out the credit card and they go, “No!”
Forger: When you were with Michael you always had this sense of enjoyment, of energy and whatever it is Michael wanted to do he wanted to enjoy himself when he was doing it.
Lee: Great artists or whatever you want to call them perform great under pressure. He wanted Bad to exceed the sales of Thriller. He wanted Bad to sell a hundred million and told everybody about it, the president of Sony records and everybody. He would put up pieces of paper in his house, in hotels: “100 million.” He wanted to sell 100 million for Bad. Several people in the do***entary talk about that.

Phillinganes: It was a wild ride. I do remember [the concerts at] Wembley. Princess Di showed up and Michael, that lucky dog, got to be in the receiving line. We could see her pretty well in her bright yellow dress, sitting in her box. Tons of people showed up. Naomi Campbell. Buddies of mine that I had toured with showed up. Eric Clapton. Phil Collins. Barry Gibb. They were all there. We did three at Wembley, and it’s Wembley Stadium, not arena, so that’s like at least 70,000 people. You can never imagine the feeling of watching 70,000 people light torches during “Man in the Mirror.”
Branca: [The concert footage on the BAD25 DVD is] one concert start to finish. There are no edits and piecing together of different concerts. It’s one concert, Michael Jackson at Wembley Stadium in the presence of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. He actually refers to them at the beginning and at the end of the show. We had high-quality footage of other concerts, but the audio wasn’t very good. For Wembley we had great audio but all we had visually was Michael’s VHS copy of the monitor feed.

The “Bad World Tour,” which took place between September 1987 and December 1988, earned Jackson two (more) spots in the Guinness Book of World Records. Gross revenue of more than $124 million broke the record for the highest-grossing concert tour, and the tour also earned the record of most successful concert series for selling out seven nights at London’s Wembley Stadium, where Jackson performed to a combined estimate of 504,000 people. A live album and DVD are currently being released to commemorate the 25th anniversary (
Phillinganes: I wasn’t with him when he [watched the VHS tapes of his shows], but it was always to improve. He was very meticulous about every aspect of the show, particularly choreography, lighting. He just always strived to maintain that basis that he set for himself.

Forger: To me what I come away with from the Bad album is, ironically, one of the songs that Michael did not write, and that’s Man in the Mirror. Man in the Mirror to me totally represents that place that Michael started directing his energy to. You start to really see where Michael’s heart is, where his soul is, what his intent was for what he would like to accomplish with his music, and that’s a thing that in much later material is clearly evident, and this is the time when you see that coming to the forefront I think, so strongly.
Phillinganes: It was arguably the most transitional point in establishing his musical independence. And the songs speak for themselves. It was just a well-rounded collection of great songs.
Branca: Clearly Michael is an artist whose popularity will live on for generations. It’s funny, I was talking to Spike Lee about this, some artists are great singers but they don’t write their songs, and some artists are great songwriters but they’re not excellent vocalists or they can’t dance. You look at Michael, and he could write the songs, he could produce them, he could sing them, he could get out and perform and dance them, and then his sense of style sort of changed fashion trends. He’s a unique artist in that respect.

765 days ago


The BAD25 anniversary package is available Sept. 18—and, although Jackson’s team is still focused on BAD, John Branca says there may be even more unreleased Jackson material to keep fans sated in the future, since an additional album’s-worth of vocal and performance material exists.

Branca: Michael himself did Thriller 25 and that was important to him, so BAD25 was an obvious and a logical choice. Several things are exciting about the package in addition to calling attention to the album and the incredible do***entary that Spike Lee has done. We’re including some previously unreleased music. This is music that Michael worked on for the album and it’s quite, quite good. In fact, Michael had debated for a long time about including a song called Streetwalker on the album and at the very last minute he chose Another Part of Me instead. So we have Streetwalker included on the rarities disc. That’s exciting, to be able to share this music with the fans.
Lee: By getting access to the Michael Jackson archives, I saw stuff I never knew even existed.
Branca: We’ve been in the process of digitizing all of Michael’s archives of audiovisual and written material. We monitor the fans and we’re in dialogue and communication with them, and one of the Wembley stadium concerts is the one that the fans really wanted, so we were searching for that concert and fortunately we found this… We found some interesting notes that Michael had for some of the short films on the album, for example for Smooth Criminal, we found a sketch that Michael did for the outfits that are worn by Michael and the dancers in the short film. Michael designed those with the armband and everything. And we found his notes from when he was conceiving the idea for the Smooth Criminal short film, where he was studying the works of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.
Forger: I mixed “Don’t be Messin’ Round” and “Free” and the one which is called “Song Groove (A/K/A Abortion Papers).” These were tracks where all of the material had already been recorded. Nothing was added, nothing was recorded, it was just going through and taking the tapes that hadn’t had an appropriate mix and just doing a representative final mix of the way Michael would have wanted the songs to sound.
Branca: In the shadow of Thriller, which is the biggest-selling album in the history of the record business, Bad is perhaps under-appreciated. I don’t think people realize how many hit singles came from that album. This will be really a statement that will remind everybody how important, how influential that album was.
Forger: When I look back and I think about what I took away from that experience and that time, to me it was an opportunity to learn, and for me to understand more not only about music but to learn so many things from Michael. It’s a fantastic high because you’re just enjoying yourself on a tremendous level, and now when you look and back and have an opportunity to reflect on it, you realize it was a rare time. It was a rare time in pop culture, in the world, in the history of music, and also in Michael’s career.

765 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web