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Bittersweetness: Michael Jackson’s ATV Music Publishing

Initially, the news broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

He worked so hard and suffered so much for it.

What a great investment it was.
He said he would never sell it…and HE never did. But he is no longer here.

So perhaps cashing out is for the best now, nearly seven years after his passing. His children will all be grownups soon and I can’t help but to think that he would not want them to have to carry the burden that goes along with being co-owners of the largest music publishing catalogue in the world; though it was one he proudly and bravely carried himself for various reasons, including as a business example to other artists.

Music History will forever have to acknowledge the fact that Sony/ATV came to be because of Michael Jackson, the investment and deal he was wise enough to make.

Rest easy Michael.

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7262961/inside-sony-atvs-buyout-michael-jackson-estate


Michael Jackson Becomes The First Solo Artist To Land Top 10 Hits In 5 Different Decades

Image

Just when you thought Michael Jackson has run out of records to break, the King of Pop made history again!

“Love Never Felt So Good” climbed into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. The much-missed music legend became the first artist to land top 10 hits in five different decades.

Idolator.com

 


Michael Jackson’s ONE Mandalay Bay Resort Las Vegas

Michael Jackson's ONE Mandalay Bay Resort Las Vegas


Michael Jackson is still “Bad” 25 years after album

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MAY 21, 2012

25th ANNIVERSARY OF MICHAEL JACKSON’S
LANDMARK ALBUM BAD CELEBRATED WITH SEPTEMBER 18
RELEASE OF NEW BAD 25 PACKAGES

MICHAEL’S PERSONAL VHS COPY OF HIS JULY 16, 1988
PERFORMANCE AT WEMBLEY STADIUM UNEARTHED FOR THE RELEASE

NEWLY DISCOVERED OUTTAKES AND DEMOS FROM BAD ALBUM
RECORDING SESSIONS TO BE RELEASED

New York, NY – Twenty-five years after the phrase “Who’s Bad” became a generation’s
cultural catchphrase, Epic/Legacy Recordings, in collaboration with the Estate of
Michael Jackson, will celebrate the legendary album and record breaking BAD tour on
September 18, 2012 with the release of a deluxe package, BAD 25, which includes three CDs,
two collectible booklets, and features the first ever authorized DVD release of a concert from the
record breaking BAD tour.

“The era of BAD represented Michael’s creative ‘coming of age’ as a solo artist in charge of
every aspect of his career – from recording to touring to endorsements to merchandising. This
was the first album on which nearly all of the songs were written by Michael. It was also was
the first album in history to produce five consecutive #1 singles and it took 2 ½ decades for
another artist to match that success. It was also the first time Michael would tour as a solo artist
– his vision, his decisions on what the show would be. The enormous success of the BAD album
and tour was a pivotal moment in Michael’s growth as a composer, performer and producer
cementing his role as the King of Pop. We are thrilled to celebrate such an historic era in
Michael’s career with this release”, stated John Branca and John McClain, Co-Executors of the
Estate of Michael Jackson.

The BAD 25 anniversary deluxe edition will feature three CDs and 1 DVD as follows:

• The highlight of the package is the DVD of Michael’s legendary July 16, 1988 concert at
Wembley Stadium. The concert is not a compilation of performances, but rather one
complete show, exactly as Michael performed it for Prince Charles, Princess Diana and
the 72,000 fans who were in the audience for that night’s sold out show. This show was
one of the record-breaking seven nights played at the venue attended by more than half a
million people – three times that many people tried to purchase tickets. The DVD was
sourced from Michael Jackson’s personal VHS copy of the performance as shown on the
JumboTrons during the concert. This footage was only recently unearthed and is the only
known copy of the show to exist. The visuals have been restored and the audio quality
enhanced so that fans can share in the excitement of that famous night

• A CD of the re-mastered original BAD album

• A CD containing previously unreleased material recorded in Michael’s personal studio at
Hayvenhurst. This material includes early demo versions of songs from the album as
well as demos for songs not included on the final album. All of this material is being
released as it was recorded during the BAD sessions. Nothing has been added. In
addition, this CD will also include new remixes from internationally renowned
DJ/producers

• A CD showcasing the audio from the sound truck recordings of the July 16th Wembley
performance. The first-ever live Michael Jackson CD to be released, this is the only
concert from the BAD Tour known to exist on multitracks

This magnificent 3 CD/1 DVD box set will also include two extensive booklets with yet unseen
photos from the recording sessions, video sets and the concert tour, the original BAD cover art, a
two-sided poster and more. A BAD 25 two CD standard edition featuring the original album
plus the CD of demos and new remixes will also be made available as will a stand alone edition
of the DVD and a picture disc of the original album.

On June 5 in the U.S. (June 4th ex-U.S.), Epic / Legacy Recordings will re-release the original
first single from the album “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” as a CD Single with a previously
unreleased bonus track from the BAD sessions, “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round (demo).” This is a
Wal-Mart exclusive CD single in the U.S. and will not be available digitally.

On June 26 a replica edition of the original 7″ vinyl of this single with the original B-side “Baby
Be Mine” will be made available to the world. The first single for BAD, “I Just Can’t Stop
Loving You,” was originally released on 7″ vinyl in 1987. The 7″ single edit of the song has
only been available on that original 7″ vinyl until now.

Recently, Pepsi announced an exclusive global partnership with the Estate of Michael Jackson as
part of its new “Live for Now” campaign. Starting this month, Michael Jackson and Pepsi fans
in more than 20 countries around the world will experience this partnership in a variety of ways,
including a retail campaign featuring one billion special edition Michael Jackson Bad 25 Pepsi
cans, live events, and opportunities for fans to access special edition merchandise and new music
from BAD 25.

The BAD album was the third Michael Jackson album produced by Quincy Jones and was
originally released on August 31, 1987. It was monumental in many ways; Michael wrote nine of
the album’s eleven tracks and received co-producer credit for the entire album. The album was #1
around the world, made history with five consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard chart, produced
ten chart-topping singles, nine ground breaking short films and to date, the Bad album
has generated over 45 Million units in sales. BAD was nominated for six Grammys and won
two; the album earned Michael the first-ever Video Vanguard Award at the MTV VMA Awards.
Songs on the original album are: “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Speed Demon,”
“Liberian Girl,” “Just Good Friends” featuring Stevie Wonder, “Another Part of Me,” “Man in
the Mirror,” “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Dirty Diana,” “Smooth Criminal,” with “Leave
Me Alone” added to the album once released.

The BAD World Tour was Michael’s first concert tour as a solo artist. The legendary tour
included 123 concerts attended by more than 4.4 million fans over sixteen months. When it
concluded, the tour had shattered all previous touring records for attendance and total gross
revenue adding three new entries in the Guinness World Records for the largest grossing tour in
history, the tour with the largest attended audience and the most sold out shows at Wembley
Stadium.

BAD25 DVD Teaser

More details on this and other exciting projects relating to BAD’s 25th anniversary will be
announced soon.

www.MichaelJackson.com
http://www.facebook.com/michaeljackson
#WhosBAD

The Michael Jackson Estate


Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil – Show Preview & Review

Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil and the Michael Jackson Estate

Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil

An electrifying production that unfolds inside the creative mind of Michael Jackson.
A riveting fusion of visuals, dance, music and fantasy that immerses audiences in Michael’s creative world and literally turns his signature moves upside down, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour unfolds Michael Jackson’s artistry before the eyes of the audience. Aimed at lifelong fans as well as those experiencing Michael’s creative genius for the first time, the show captures the essence, soul and inspiration of the King of Pop, celebrating a legacy that continues to transcend generations.

NOW ON TOUR! Tickets & Info: http://cirk.me/oDTx4T

The Canadian Press – ONLINE EDITION
‘A gift from beyond’: Cirque du Soleil’s Jackson show debuts in Montreal

By: Benjamin Shingler, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Michael Jackson had always hoped to do a show with Cirque de Soleil, and on Sunday that dream came true.

The “Immortal World Tour” debuted at the Bell Centre in Montreal, combining acrobatics and dance with the King of Pop’s massive catalogue of hits spanning more than four decades.

From “ABC” to “Thriller,” the high-octane performance did not disappoint.

It was also a tribute to Jackson’s lasting impact on dance and fashion _ from his patented moonwalk to his iconic white glove.

At one point, a pair of giant dancing black dress shoes with white socks graced the stage, and at another, a pack of acrobatic werewolves.

But Michael Jackson and the circus? It’s a perfect fit, according to his brother, Jackie.
“First of all, Michael is a great fan of Cirque (du Soleil). He’s seen all the shows,” Jackie, who arrived with his brothers Tito and Marlon, told reporters just before the show. “And to have Cirque and Michael together, you expect to see something fantastic.”

Jackson’s mother Katherine and his three children were also at the show, making a brief appearance beforehand for a photo-op.

The family made the trip to the premiere from Los Angeles, where the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor is underway.

The show packed 60 hits into about an hour and a half, starting with the Jackson 5 and ending with Jackson’s last studio album.

It did not, however, dare imitate the man himself — no single performer plays the role of Jackson.

“We were very clear on this, and I think the family was too,” said Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil.

Lamarre said he had the blessing of Jackson’s mother to go ahead with the show.

“Many people were interested in doing shows to pay tribute to Michael Jackson,” Lamarre said.

“His mother said Michael has always wanted to do a show with the circus, so if there is a show about Michael, it will be Cirque du Soleil.”

While a wholehearted tribute, the performance didn’t glaze over Jackson’s eccentricities, with Bubbles the chimpanzee making more than one appearance.

It also alluded to a darker side. To the tune of Jackson’s song “Childhood,” where he laments never having had one, dancers swayed above the entry sign to the now infamous Neverland Ranch while a child looked longingly through a window.

In another tune, Jackson is heard pleading “I need my privacy, get away” as clips of the TV news media play in the background.

The $60-million tour has stops in cities across Canada and the United States, beginning with Ottawa on Oct. 7.

The Jackson estate authorized and took part in the project.

Before the show, more than a hundred fans waited in the rain for a glimpse of the Jackson family on the red carpet.

One group of women wore single white gloves and black leather jackets in homage to Jackson.

“I’ve been a fan since I first saw him on TV in 1969 when I was nine,” said Montrealer Shirley Elvis.

“When I first heard this show was coming, I think everyone was in a really dark place and when we heard that they were going to do this it was like another gift from Michael from beyond.”

Winnipeg Free Press


Michael Jackson Isn’t on Trial

Published: 9/29/11 11:31 AM ET

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years since the world first mourned the loss of the King of Pop. While some of his fans expressed remorse on June 25, 2009, many knew that the cost of Michael Jackson’s death went far beyond his impeccable music. Although entertainment remains severely devoid of Michael’s unmatched talent, perhaps even more profoundly, many charities and innocents around the planet no longer have the ability to benefit from his overwhelming generosity. And for his children and family, Michael’s departure was and is felt on the deepest level as the daily battle to carry on without him continues. This week, as the involuntary manslaughter trial for Dr. Conrad Murray (his doctor at the time) gets underway, it’s important to keep in mind precisely who the accused criminal is — and who the victim was.

During my teenage years, I had the pleasure of first being introduced to Michael. Both blessed to have received mentorship and guidance from the late great Godfather of soul, James Brown, we quickly formed a kinship and bond that was virtually like family. Even though I focused on advocacy/activism and he on creating incredible music, we were on the same social and political page and worked through our respective fields to bring light to inequality wherever and whenever we viewed it. Our friendship lasted through the decades, through all of the ridiculous false accusations and through a media frenzy that tried its hardest to paint him as somehow odd or peculiar when he was only highlighting our own abnormality as a society.

In 1984, during Michael’s Victory Tour, I took on the role of his community relations director. Working in such a capacity, I again witnessed the unprecedented reaction people from all walks of life had towards this man, his music and impact in the world. And whether it was openly reminding all of us to ‘heal the world’ or quietly giving away hundreds of millions of his own wealth to the impoverished, Michael’s imprint everywhere was remarkable. And yet, many still attempted to portray him as somehow peculiar.

Dr. Conrad Murray is on trial this week. Accused of violating standards of medical care by leaving Michael unattended and failing to call 911, his defense will do whatever they can to keep him from serving jail time. They’ll argue his innocence, his years of service and most importantly, they will attempt to put Michael on trial yet again. Already this week, we heard the defense argue that Michael died from a combination of tranquilizers and a surgical anesthetic he took without Murray’s knowledge. Defense attorney Ed Chernoff even stated that Michael took enough prescription drugs to ‘put six of you to sleep’ and then somehow he self-administered Propofol (anesthetic usually used in hospitals). It is an outrageous statement compounded by the fact that it is Dr. Murray himself that stands accused of administering Propofol in excessive quantities and then leaving Michael unattended.

Great talent comes with great consequences. As an artist, when you are so intricately in touch with emotions, and think and feel on a deeper level than most, you are often viewed as an outsider when you don’t conform to conventional norms. That is the double-edged sword Michael dealt with throughout his lifetime. I had the unique pleasure of getting to know him for years and working with him on a host of issues. In 2002, Michael came to our National Action Network headquarters in Harlem as we marched together to Sony Music along with hundreds of supporters to demand his right to ownership of the very masterpieces he created. And I watched as many often tried — and of course failed — to vilify him over and over again. As I told Michael’s children during his funeral in ’09, there was nothing strange about your daddy, it was strange what your daddy had to deal with.

As the strangeness unfortunately plays out yet again in another court drama over two years after Michael’s passing, let’s be sure to remember precisely who is on trial here.

Follow Rev. Al Sharpton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheRevAl
HuffingtonPost.com

Dr. Conrad Murray, Not Michael Jackson is on Trial
Published by Earl Ofari Hutchinson on September 28, 2011 at 3:23pm

Dr. Conrad Murray’s defense, his only real defense against the charge of involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson, is a simple one. He says that Jackson in effect killed himself. That he was so hopelessly drug addicted that he pumped himself up with the fatal drug or combination of drugs that killed him. The unstated is that given Jackson’s world renowned aloofness and eccentricities his self-destruction was all but foreordained. With anyone else and in any other circumstances, this would be a laughable defense.

The indisputable fact is that Murray is a trained physician. He was hired by Jackson specifically to administer and supervise his medications and medical care. He did not say no to Jackson’s continual use of the potentially lethal drug. He did not summon medics immediately when Jackson went into his fatal coma. No matter how self-destructive and on the edge one may want to believe that Jackson was, and that he did have a long history of drug use, it’s the wildest stretch to hold a patient responsible for his own death with his doctor literally in the next room. But Jackson is not just any patient. Since the day he was hauled into court in 2005 on child molestation charges and the day months later he was acquitted on all counts in the case, Jackson’s name has been synonymous with controversy.

The acquittal in the child molestation charge meant nothing to millions. Many still quietly whispered and many others openly slurred him as a child molester. His deep withdrawal from public view after the trial did not stop the endless swirl of malicious questions about his actions, motives, and alleged perversion. His death didn’t change things either.

Millions of Jackson fans mourned, agonized, and were infuriated by his death. Countless others dredged up, and hurled the same old, vicious accusations at Jackson as a freak, kook, and, of course, child molester. President Obama walked a fine and circumspect line in reacting to Jackson’s death. He sent the ritual condolences to Jackson’s family. But he also made veiled references to Jackson as a controversial figure when he noted that there were aspects of his life that were sad and tragic. The White House did not issue any formal statement on his death and when then White House press secretary Robert Gibbs asked if one would be forthcoming he testily replied “Because I just said it.” That officially ended the Jackson matter for the White House. Other politicians had no such reservations. They openly pilloried Jackson even slandering him as a “pervert” who did not deserve any public acclamation, but disgust. Jackson’s name, fame, and controversy are plastered all over what goes on in and outside the courtroom in the Murray trial.

There are the tearful and heartfelt reminiscences and reminders from fans and court observers about Jackson’s towering importance to the music and creative artistry world, and his continuing rapturous influence on millions. The legal experts meanwhile endlessly speculate on the evidence in the case and whether it measures up to the high bar of criminal culpability. Ultimately, Murray’s legal fate and Jackson’s celebrity name will rest in the hands of the jurors. Both are connected because not one of the jurors selected dared plead ignorance of not having heard of Jackson. The prosecutors and defense attorneys didn’t go there and try to determine the depth of the juror’s pro or anti Jackson bias. Some of the jurors made it clear that they were Jackson fans, or that they thought he was a great entertainer.

None expressed any misgivings about Jackson. The only misgivings were whether the criminal justice treated the rich and famous with kid gloves. More than one thought this is the case. Whether this means that the jury is so pro Jackson that Murray doesn’t stand much chance of acquittal is another matter. Indeed it should not matter. The jurors are charged with one thing, and one thing only, and that’s to strictly weigh the physical evidence and testimony and determine whether Murray did what the prosecution says that he did and that’s cause Jackson’s death. That’s the sole standard that any jury should be charged with in determining guilt or innocence in any criminal case. However, it would be the pinnacle of naivety to think that facts alone determine trial outcomes in celebrated trials. Countless studies and surveys of criminal cases involving celebrities show that money and fame do play huge role in these cases.

Money allows celebrities not only to hire the best and brightest of attorneys, but to tweak and massage the message of innocence of their celebrity client outside the courtroom. Murray used his celebrity name by dint of his association with Jackson’s death to get a crack legal team, and insure that they spin away his innocence outside the courtroom. A big part of that is their hit on Jackson that he killed himself. By any standard this shouldn’t fly. But given the always lurking undercurrent of controversy and doubt about Jackson from so many, they’re banking that they can put Jackson not Murray on trial. And this definitely shouldn’t fly.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on ktym.com podcast on blogtalkradio.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

The Hutchinson Report News


Michael Jackson’s Art and Studio, Revealed for the First Time

By Sophie Duvernoy Wed., Aug. 17 2011 at 11:00 AM

MJ's Art StudioShannon Cottrell
The interior of Michael Jackson’s art studio, which he shared with friend and artist Brett-Livingstone Strong

Until now, Michael Jackson’s art collection was shrouded in mystery. It was said to be stuck in a legal dispute over possession. Then, people speculated that buyers such as Cirque du Soleil’s Guy Laliberté were interested. It’s been valued at the staggering (and slightly unbelievable) sum of $900 million.

One crucial fact: Jackson’s art collection isn’t art by other people — it’s mainly drawings and paintings that he created himself. So what does that art look like?

Yesterday, LA Weekly was the first to visit the (until now) top-secret Santa Monica Airport hangar that Jackson used as his studio and art storehouse. The collection is currently owned by Brett-Livingstone Strong, the Australian monument builder and Jackson’s art mentor through the years, in conjunction with the Jackson estate.

Though the entire art collection has been mired in disputes and battles for rights, Strong claims that he is working with everybody — the family, the estate, as well as others — to exhibit and publish as much of Jackson’s work as possible.

According to Strong, he and Jackson formed an incorporated business partnership in 1989, known as the Jackson-Strong alliance. This gave each partner a fifty-percent stake in the other’s art. In 2008, Strong says, Jackson requested that his attorney sign the rights to Jackson’s portion of the art over to Strong. Now, Strong is beginning to reveal more and more of the art as he goes ahead with Jackson’s dream of organizing a museum exhibit.

Shannon Cottrell
Some of Jackson’s original drawings hanging on the wall. Prints of these were donated to the L.A. Children’s Hospital.​

Strong gave us a tour of the hangar, beginning with the Michael Jackson monument that Strong and Jackson co-designed several years ago. It’s perhaps bombastic, but designed with good intentions and the rabid Jackson fan in mind. Strong explains, “He wanted his fans to be able to get married at a monument that would have all of his music [in an archive, and playing on speakers], to inspire some of his fans.”

The current design is still in the works, but it’s conceived as an interactive monument — fans who buy a print by Jackson will receive a card in the mail. They can scan this card at the monument, and then have a computer organize a personal greeting for them, or allow them to book it for weddings. Jackson initially thought it would be perfect for Las Vegas, but Strong says that Los Angeles might have the honor of hosting it — apparently, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently paid a visit and made a few oblique promises.

Shannon Cottrell
The Michael Jackson monument mock-up, featuring miniature pilgrims and a bridal couple​

As for Jackson’s art, the contents of the hangar barely scratched the surface of the collection, as Strong estimates Jackson’s total output at 150 to 160 pieces. A few large pieces hanging on the walls had been donated as reproductions to the L.A. Children’s Hospital last Monday, along with other sketches and poems.

Shannon Cottrell
Portrait of Bubbles, Jackson’s beloved pet chimpanzee​

In all of his art, certain motifs kept cropping up: chairs (usually quite baroque), gates, keys and the number 7. His portrait of Bubbles, his pet chimpanzee, shows a monkey-like face vanishing into a cushy, ornate lounge chair. “He loved chairs,” says Strong. “He thought chairs were the thrones of most men, women and children, where they made their decisions for their daily activity. He was inspired by chairs. Rather than just do a portrait of the monkey, he put it in the chair. And you see, there are a few sevens — because he’s the seventh child.”

Jackson, who was a technically talented artist — and completely self-taught — fixated on these motifs, elevating everyday objects into cult symbols. Strong added that Jackson’s sketchbooks are completely filled with studies of his favorite objects, in endless permutations.

Shannon Cottrell
MJ’s portrait of George Washington — he initially planned to do a series of all of the presidents, but never continued it.​

But Jackson also created portraits: a small sketch of Paul McCartney, and a large drawing of George Washington, created as Strong was working with the White House to commemorate the bicentennial of the Constitution back in 1987. He also sketched self-portraits — one as a humorous four-panel drawing charting his growing-up process, and a darker one that depicts him as a child cowering in a corner, inscribed with a sentence reflecting on his fragility.

Shannon Cottrell Strong, holding up a four-panel sketch that Jackson drew of himself.

As an artist, Jackson preferred using wax pencils, though Strong adds, “He did do a lot of watercolors but he gave them away. He was a little intimidated by mixing colors.” Some surviving pencils are archived in the hangar; Strong moves over to a cabinet on the far wall of the hangar and pulls out a ziploc bag containing a blue wax pencil, a white feathered quill and a white glove that Jackson used for drawing.

Jackson turned to art as times got hard for him. “His interest in art, in drawing it, was just another level of his creativity that went on over a long period of time,” Strong says. “It was quite private to him. I think he retreated into it when he was being attacked by those accusations against him.” The sketches and drawings certainly reveal an extremely sensitive creator, though it’s clear that Jackson also had a sense of humor.

Jackson’s art was kept under wraps for such a long time simply because of the pedophilia scandal, which erupted right around the time that he was looking for a way to publicize the works. “A lot of his art was going to be exhibited 18 years ago. Here’s one of his tour books, where he talks about exhibiting art. He didn’t want it to be a secret,” Strong says, pointing at a leaflet from the 1992 Dangerous World Tour.

Shannon Cottrell
Strong and Jackson wearing matching leather and velvet jackets, celebrating their artistic alliance.​

Prior to that period, Jackson and Strong had met and become fast friends. This marked the beginning of Strong’s mentorship, in which he encouraged Jackson to create bigger paintings and drawings, and exhibit his work. The idea behind their Jackson-Strong Alliance was that Strong would help Jackson manage and exhibit his art. Notably, the alliance birthed Strong’s infamous $2 million portrait of Michael Jackson entitled The Book, the only known portrait Jackson ever sat for.

In 1993, everything blew up. At the time, Jackson and Strong were both on the board of Big Brothers of Los Angeles (now known as Big Brothers Big Sisters), a chapter of the national youth mentoring organization established in L.A. by Walt Disney and Meredith Willson. They had planned out a fundraising campaign involving Jackson’s art. Strong explains, “We thought that if we would market [his art] in limited edition prints to his fans, he could support the charities that he wanted to, rather than have everybody think that he was so wealthy he could afford to finance everybody.” When the pedophilia scandal erupted, Disney put a freeze on the project. The artwork stayed put, packed away from public eyes in storage crates.

Shannon Cottrell
Jackson’s sketch of an airplane at the Santa Monica airport​

As for the spectacular appraisal of $900 million for Jackson’s art collection, Strong says that it derives from the idea of reproducing prints as well. The figure was originally quoted by Eric Finzi, of Belgo Fine Art Appraisers. “The reason somebody came out with that was because there was an appraisal on if all of his originals were reproduced — he wanted to do limited editions of 777 — and he would sell them to his fan base in order to build his monument, support kids and do other things. You multiply that by 150 originals, and if they sold for a few thousand dollars each, then you would end up with 900 million dollars.” Fair enough, though now Strong says he has gone to an appraiser in Chicago to get that value double-checked, and they arrived at an even higher estimate.

The story of Jackson’s art ends up being quite a simple one, though confused by so much hearsay and rumor. Strong and the Jackson estate will slowly reveal more works as time passes, and an exhibit is tentatively planned for L.A.’s City Hall. Negotiations with museums for a posthumous Jackson retrospective are still underway, but Strong has high hopes. He’s even talking of building a Michael Jackson museum that would house all of Jackson’s artwork.

Shannon Cottrell
Jackson’s sketch of the White House doors, to which he added the following quote from John Adams: “I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men [MJ’s addition:] or women rule under this roof.”​

We’ll leave you with Strong’s own description of Jackson at work, during the time where they shared a studio in a house in Pacific Palisades:

He was in a very light and happy mood most of the time. He would have the oldies on, and sometimes he’d hear some of his Jackson Five songs. He’d kind of move along to that, but most of the time he would change it and listen to a variety of songs. He liked classical music. His inspiration to create was that he loved life, and wanted to express his love of life in some of these simple compositions.

I came to the studio one day, and we had a Malamute. I came into the house, and I heard this dog barking and thought, Wow, I wonder what that is. I go into the kitchen, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I see Michael up in the pots and pans in the middle of the center island. He’s holding a pen and paper and the dog is running around the island and barking at him, and he says, “He wants to play! He wants to play!” He’s laughing, and I’m laughing about it as I’m thinking to myself, “I’m wondering how long he’s been up there.”

Michael Jackson’s dedication to art: so strong that he’ll end up perched on a kitchen island.

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