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Trivia / Michael Jackson

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  • Acting for Two: In Michael Jackson's Ghosts, Michael played both the very familiar protagonist and the main antagonist The Mayor... in a Fat Suit.
  • Ascended Fanon:
    • Jackson's PR team would often confirm the more ludicrous (and false) rumors about him, such as the hyperbarbaric oxygen chamber and buying the Elephant Man's bones. However, according to his brother Jermaine, Michael wasn't aware of this campaign and he didn't approve of it when he found out.
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    • He approved "Weird Al" Yankovic's parodies and Alien Ant Farm's cover of "Smooth Criminal", among other things, because he did have a healthy sense of humor about his work. Yankovic and Jackson got along rather well — not only did he allow Yankovic to parody his songs, but also to use the set for the Bad video for "Fat". To return the favor, Yankovic made a cameo in Jackson's "Liberian Girl" music video. There is an interview with "Weird Al" Yankovic in the early nineties where Al said that Jackson liked his work and tried to get him to tour with him once (which Al didn't do because he was filming a movie).
      • MJ only denied an Al parody once — "Snack All Night" for "Black Or White" — and it wasn't a full refusal, he just asked Al not to put it on an album (he was fine with Al singing it at live shows instead.) as Jackson thought the message of the original song was too important to be parodied. In fact, Al was given blanket permission to parody any of his songs, with the exception of "Black or White." Al has since credited this refusal for preventing him from having the first single from Off the Deep End be another Jackson parody and making him wait to see what would be the next big thing, leading to "Smells Like Nirvana".
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  • Author Existence Failure: Michael died just three weeks before putting on This Is It, a massively hyped series of London concert tours and his first significant concert event in 10 years.
  • Big Name Fan: He was a fan of the band Queen, suggesting backstage in 1980 that they release "Another One Bites the Dust" as a single, which turned out to be one of their biggest hits.
  • Breakthrough Hit:
    • The album Off the Wall, which codified what made him famous in The '80s.
    • Ten years earlier, "I Want You Back"— The Jackson Five 's debut on Motown Records—hit #1 and was followed by three more #1 singles. Michael's pre-Off The Wall hits included "Got To Be There," "Rockin' Robin," and the chart-topper "Ben."
  • Contractual Obligation Project: The reason he did those Pepsi commercials, even though he didn't drink the stuff, was as part of their deal for sponsoring The Jacksons' Victory tour in 1984.
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  • Creator Breakdown: The new material on HIStory: Past, Present And Future, Book I came in the wake of the 1993 child molestation allegations, and much of it is very bitter and/or depressing as a result. "D.S.", a bludgeoning attack against the investigating District Attorney Tom Sneddon, is probably the most extreme example.
  • Cut Song: Each of Jackson's albums had many due to his tendency to record anything he either wrote or was offered. Quite a few have seen release over the years. Jackson had a tendency of replacing tracks at the last minute: "Human Nature" replaced "Carousel" on Thriller, "Another Part Of Me" replaced "Streetwalker" on Bad, and "You Are My Life" replaced "Cry" on Invincible.
  • Dawson Casting: In his short film "Bad", he played a high school student despite being 29 years old at the time. However, he looked rather convincing.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The "This Is It" song that was released at the same time as the This Is It movie. It was originally recorded in 1983 under the title "I Never Heard" and it was chosen because it happened to have the phrase "This is it" opening each verse.
  • Edited for Syndication: Several of Michael's mid-80s videos have been edited when rebroadcast on television, leaving the full videos only available on his DVDs.
    • "Bad" was an 18-minute short film by Martin Scorsese, which was shot nearly entirely in blue tones. This entire story portion (about a kid proving he's just as badass as the thieves and drug-pushers in his college through an elaborate subway dance performance, including The Reveal that it was an Imagine Spot) is cut from TV replays, leaving just the dance sequence, which is filmed in full-color.
    • "The Way You Make Me Feel" featured a three-minute intro of Michael trying to fit in with supposed friends in a black street gang, only to be rejected and be told by an older gentleman to just be himself. Then the woman Michael plans to share his affections for walks on screen.
    • "Smooth Criminal"'s 10-minute video is excerpted from the 40-minute segment dedicated to the song in the film Moonwalker. Two short versions were compiled from this, that fit the length of the song: one was simply edited, while the other had the footage manipulated to look like it was sped up and blurred.
    • "Black and White" featured a well-remembered extended intro featuring Macaulay Culkin, Tess Harper, and George Wendt. The infamous four final minutes of the video feature Michael dancing on a dark street while fearlessly vandalizing property.
      • Later airings of the full music video edited the cars and windows to be daubed with racist slogans. After all, the destruction of property isn't necessarily as objectionable as the digitally-inserted slogans themselves, with their references to "niggers", "wetbacks" and the KKK. Also, much of that sequence contained his now trademark crotch-fixated dancing.
    • Likewise, the framing stories of "Jam", "Remember the Time", "They Don't Care About Us", "Ghosts" and "You Rock My World" are also removed for television broadcasts.
  • Executive Meddling: Among others, this was the reason:
    • HIStory: Past, Present And Future, Book I and Blood On The Dance Floor were released with other songs from older albums (a much criticized move), against Jackson's wishes.
    • Sony cut the Invincible promotional effort short in the spring of 2002 after spending $20 million on it by their estimation with little return. It probably didn't help that Jackson informed Sony he would quit doing business with them just before its release. Also, he refused to do an U.S. concert tour to support it, took a long time to record it, and the costs of production totaled about $30 million. He probably assumed that two Madison Square Garden concerts/tributes to himself and a subsequent TV special edited together from them were enough, and they might have been if they hadn't been held on Sep. 7 and 10, 2001 — just before much bigger news for all media to cover broke.
  • Executive Veto:
    • Michael Jackson wanted Bad to feature "Streetwalker" instead of "Another Part Of Me". ("Streetwalker" was added to a 2001 re-release.) It came down to a tie-breaker vote when putting together the album: Producer Quincy Jones preferred "Another Part of Me". They eventually brought the choice before Jackson's manager Frank DiLeo who, and as Quincy tells the story, shook his butt more vigorously to "Another Part of Me", hence it made the album.
    • When shooting the music video for "Cry", the director intended for Michael to not be in it because it was supposed to be focused on the American people and if he appeared, the camera would have to focus on him and it would break the flow. Michael thought otherwise at first, but he ended up accepting the decision.
  • Fan Nickname: Positive ones are "MJ" and "Bambi"... but the most infamous one is "Wacko Jacko", due to Michael's increasingly bizarre and erratic antics and appearance.
    • Michael's children are collectively known as "MJ3" (due to all three having some variation of "Michael Jackson" as part of their names) or "P3" (Prince, Paris, and Prince II.)
  • He Also Did: Played the Scarecrow in the 1970s urban The Wonderful Wizard of Oz update The Wiz starring alongside Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell, Lena Horne and Richard Pryor.
  • Incestuous Casting: His love interest in the music video for Say, Say, Say is played by his sister LaToya.
  • Name's the Same: "One More Chance" was the third song of that title Michael was involved with, having previously done a Jackson 5 song from 1970 as well as a Jacksons one from 1984 (although he had minimal involvement with the latter).
    • "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)" was oddly enough, the second song of that title Michael recorded. The original, which he wrote with Greg Phillinganes, inspired Quincy Jones and James Ingram to write a completely different song of the same title, which ended up making the album instead.
    • In another odd case, he shared his name with Michael "Mick" Jackson, author of "Blame It On The Boogie" which The Jacksons famously covered. The single's label saying "M. Jackson" led a number of journalists to erroneously claim he wrote the song.
  • Referenced by...:
    • Jango from One Piece, a Captain Ersatz of Jackson. In the German dub he was even named Jacko! And when he walks, it looks like he's moon-walking forwards.
    • Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness both feature Miror B., an antagonist who has excellent dancing skills, a glove on his left hand, and an afro in the shape of a Poké Ball (also the same colours as a standard Poké Ball - red and white), who loves using Ludicolo. Ludicolo ITSELF is a reference to Michael, but Miror B. takes this to 721.
    • Yakuza 0, which takes place in the 1980s has a sidequest where the player character, Kazuma Kiryu, can help "Miracle Johnson," the American superstar in a Nice Hat and Cool Shades who is prone to spinning and going "oooh!" film his latest music video involving dancing zombies.
    • La-Mulana: The "Dancer" you have to scan in the Temple of Moonlight uses one of Jackson's poses.
    • Battle Arena Toshinden 3: Kayin Amoh and his foil Ten Count. One is a weathered young man whose life as a bounty hunter has given him nothing but grief and knowing the bitter and sick after-taste of violence, while the other is a fairly insane sharp dressed hitman who delights in his career like a superstar and uses an undercover name based off of one of his methods to delightfully kill people. Both of them are respectively based off of Beat It and Smooth Criminal, even right down to the wardrobe and their clashing character themes.
    • Chris Tucker does an impersonation of Michael Jackson in Rush Hour. The two later became friends, and Tucker appeared in his "You Rock My World" video.
  • Promoted Fanboy: His biggest idol as a musician and dancer was James Brown. He eventually got the chance to share the stage with him.
    • Michael loved video games, and after a SEGA exec showed him a build of their upcoming rhythm game Space Channel 5, he was so enthusiastic about the project, he wanted to be a part of it. Although the game's near-finished state limited him to just a couple of lines, he had a much larger participation in its sequel. Of course, he already had his own SEGA game years ago with Moonwalker and had briefly worked on the soundtrack for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 before his personal issues removed him from the project.
  • Reclusive Artist: Notoriously so from the 1980s onward, becoming a well-crafted part of his public image. In fact, this is why he was reduced to a walking punchline by the Turn of the Millennium: he wasn't doing any recordings or tours to prove otherwise.
  • So My Kids Can Watch: Akon said was a reason for the This Is It series of shows was that Michael's kids had never actually seen him perform. (He stopped touring after 1997 and made few appearances afterward.)
  • Troubled Production: Invincible, as noted above in Executive Meddling.
  • Uncredited Role: He contributed to the soundtrack of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, but was dissatisfied with the sound capabilities of the Sega Genesis and decided to go uncredited.
  • Wag the Director: According to the oral history I Want My MTV, director John Landis was shocked by Jackson's crotch-grabbing "panther dance" when shooting the epilogue of the "Black or White" video. He warned Jackson that he had a kid-heavy fanbase (unlike Madonna or Prince) and that he was courting trouble with his moves, but Jackson said he was "expressing [him]self" and was able to overrule Landis's objections. When the video premiered on a four-network simulcast in the U.S. — Fox aired it immediately after an episode of The Simpsons — the resultant furore over the epilogue (both over the dance moves and its seemingly random violence) resulted in it being immediately cut from subsequent airings, though it was later re-edited to justify the violence and even shown uncut in later years.
  • What Could Have Been: This is It in spades; some of the more elaborate things that would have been in the final show are only talked about. In particular, a scene is shown of Michael's outfit for Billie Jean being designed is shown, and the designers promise that it will be the most epic rendition of the outfit the world has ever seen. The final outfit isn't shown or worn by Michael at all. As well as the entire show.
    • J. K. Rowling turned down his offer to make a musical adaptation of Harry Potter.
    • Michael originally wanted Whitney Houston to sing the duet "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" off the Bad album but her label wouldn't allow it, fearing she would be overexposed. The song was also offered to Barbra Streisand, but she didn't like the song and declined.
    • "Bad" at one point pitched "Bad" to the label as a 30 track triple album. Whilst they turned it down for being overambitious, many of the outtakes have since been released, and they are typically regarded as just as good as what made the album.
    • Serious Effect, a New Jack Swing track Michael had recorded with LL Cool J for the album Dangerous in 1991. Due to said album running nearly 80 minutes with 14 full tracks, Mike ended up shelving the song for special edition releases in 1993 and 2001, only for the song to get shelved indefinitely (the first time due to Jackson's child molestation allegations, the second due to both growing tensions between Jackson and Sony, and Def Jam vetoing the release of the song).
    • In 2002 he had planned to produce and star in the movie The Nightmare of Edgar Allan Poe, about the last years of the titular writer, and had written music for the film as well.
    • He apparently was interested in working with Lady Gaga shortly before he died.
    • The song "Rock Your Body" was originally written for Jackson, but he turned it down. The song went to Justin Timberlake instead.
    • Disney executives considered including him in their later-delayed Mary Poppins sequel, as Bert's brother, Barney the Ice-Cream Man.
    • He was set to star in another vehicle movie (literally and figuratively) called Hot Rods in the early 90s, loosely based on his "Smooth Criminal" music video, in which Michael would be able to transform into a car for a young boy to drive in. Then his child molestation charges happened.
    • "Bad" was originally going to be a duet with Prince, who turned it down due to being uncomfortable with the Accidental Innuendo in the opening line ("Your butt is mine...").
    • Kraftwerk were asked to collaborate with Micheal on a track, but they declined for one reason or another.
    • According to his brother Jermaine, had he finished his This Is It concert series, he was planning to was planning to extend his deal with AEG Live which included new music, a potential three-picture movie deal, a series of one-off concert dates starting in China, a halftime slot at one of the future Super Bowl games to surpass his own halftime show at the Super Bowl XXVII in January 1993 and two more tours (one of which was to be a final reunion with his brothers based on a promise made to their mother to see her sons perform together one last time before she passed away).
    • Once the deal with AEG was completed, he planned to take time off from musical entertainment and move on to (possibly) directing his own film ideas, such as making a feature-length motion picture based on his 1982 song "Thriller" and the music video of the same name. It was also later revealed that a yearly Halloween television special based on his horror-themed songs, such as "Thriller" and "Ghosts", was part of Jackson's deal with AEG Live. Indeed, an animated Halloween special based on the songs did happen in 2017, titled Michael Jackson's Halloween on CBS.


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