“What one wishes is to be touched by truth and to be able to interpret that truth so that one may use what one is FEELING and EXPERIENCING, be it despair or joy, in a way that will add meaning to one’s life AND WILL HOPEFULLY TOUCH OTHERS AS WELL. This is art in its highest form. Those moments of enlightenment are what I continue to live for.”
My thoughts have lately been saturated with feelings of gratitude. Some have been informed by our recent medical struggles and the fears that accompany journeys into the unknown. Others have been yearning to celebrate Michael Love that is enjoyed worldwide, taking on so many unique and energized forms. One evening, as my mind swam in tiny ripples of thoughts, I decided to calm by viewing Spike Lee’s Bad 25 Documentary. For me, turning to Michael’s creative life always brings contentment and deep joy. Once enlightened by his artistry, truth becomes clear. Listening to the memories of collaborators and friends and the enormous journey they shared with Michael to produce the historic BAD Album, I realized that this was something I wanted to record in my blog. From the onset, a goal in writing articles was to document Michael’s HIS tory, take those truths in an effort to educate, touching people’s lives with their immense importance…MYstory, YOURstory, OURstory.
Spike Lee called his documentary A LOVE LETTER TO MICHAEL JACKSON. His goal was to concentrate on the GENIUS OF MICHAEL JACKSON, looking at how the MASTER works. Since the Estate decided not to distribute his important work through the usual channels, and, since ABC decided to air it in a cut version with ABC deciding what to cut, I know many are not familiar with the piece in its entirety. The original documentary will be embedded here.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GORU-3SdBTU
Allow me to touch your life with the love I found each time I have enjoyed watching the documentary. Bask in the glorious memories, randomly given here. When you do, I think you will agree with me…BAD 25 DOCUMENTARY IS A LOVE LETTER TO MICHAEL.
“I remember watching him on stage perform and how he would just glide and make it seem like the music was just going through him and he would close his eyes and walk across the stage…and, I wondered to myself…he could fall, he could trip, he doesn’t know where he’s going. But, he never did.” Karen Langford
“Michael Jackson became one of the most powerful figures in the entertainment industry and the most powerful Afro-American.” Joseph Vogel
“In pop music, there’s often this idea that you are either the songwriter of your own material or you are the interpreter. The interesting thing about Michael Jackson is that he was both. The convictions and the fervor with which he brings to the song…that is really spectacular.” Jason King
“Michael wanted people not just to hear the music, but to see it.” Joseph Vogel
“There’s not anyone who comes close to having that type of work ethic.” Mariah Carey
“People underestimate how radical that was…nobody else was writing songs about African women as beautiful in 1987-88.” (Liberian Girl) Nelson George
“He was the biggest pop star in the world, “who was making himself white,” yet he is engaged with beauty and the idea of Africa as a site of beauty…it speaks to the fact that Michael had a very African consciousness. He went to Africa a lot.” Nelson George
“Michael is walking, walking…catches up to Tatiana and sings for the first time, “
‘You knock me off of my feet, now Baby!’ Everything stopped. We had to stop shooting cuz people just froze…they actually froze!” Vincent Paterson
“He took what was formatted as the choreography and learned it where he could break out of it when he wanted to and get right back into it without skipping a beat. Michael would spin and snap and grab himself…we never knew any of this was going to happen. And, that goes to show you his genius.” Jeff Daniels
“The internal mechanism Michael had, when he felt the music, when the rhythms were right, when the beats were happening the correct emphasis was happening on the syncopation, he’d have to move, he’d have to dance. When he would start to dance, we would know the balance was correct, the elements had the right character and the syncopation was hitting in the right fashion.” Matt Forger
“BAD is pop music’s first stadium album…every song…I can hear it being thought of in his head…this is what I want it to be when I perform it in front of 80,000 people.” ?uest love
“He could sing bass, baritone, tenor. He goes clear down to Bass low C with vibrato and clear up to a G above high C. That’s enormous. That’s more than 3 and a half octaves. Michael was even from top to bottom.” Seth Riggs
“I’m a great believer in sonic fantasy, not sonic reality. Sonic fantasy means creating a sound scape that exists only in your imagination, that only you can see. Liberian Girl is a perfect example of that.” Bruce Swedien
“Quincy Jones said Michael could lay down lead vocals of the track and then he could stand there and listen, put the time in and figure out where all the harmonies would go and then do that…not leave until he had the harmonies right.” Nelson George
Michael had the idea to breakdown at the end of the BAD short film…like a preacher giving a sermon. No one knew what was going to happen…it was shot with three cameras…”Oh, My God, it was church. If any place reaffirmed him or if he was trying to reaffirm to people who he was and where his roots were and the soulfulness that he has and frankly the blackness that he was, it’s those last 30 seconds.” Danyel Smith
“Michael would say…you know, it starts in this very room and from this room it goes out and spreads over the entire world.” Matt Forger
“They say that Willie Mays was the only one of 5 tool players in the history of baseball…a player that could run, field, hit, hit for power and throw. And then in music, I’m not sure there was ever in the music business a five tool player than Michael Jackson. Michael could write the songs, he could sing them, he could produce them, he could certainly perform and dance them, and he set fashion trends with his sense of style.” John Branca
“This energy that just does not go away. The divinity that that guy was so tapped into was the reason he was unique and he was different than any other artist that we have ever seen. He had something that was not definable to me. Whenever he stepped out and sang, whenever he made that connection with people, the molecules changed in the room. That’s what he could do, you know. There are people, they can go out and you can be wowed by their technique…but he changed the molecules.” Sheryl Crowe
“When I received the demos, they were in really good shape. ANYBODY ELSE WOULD BE PERFECTLY HAPPY TO ACCEPT A MICHAEL JACKSON DEMO AS A FINISHED RECORD.” Bruce Swedien
Hayvenhurst Studio…”during a 2 to 3 year period of time…it was a nonstop work in progress, the number of demos we worked on for BAD was 65.” John Barnes “THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL…Michael did 10 tracks of background vocals” Matt Forger
“There was a misconception that Michael went behind Paul McCartney’s back to buy the Beatles catalog…There was almost a feeling that Michael didn’t have the right to be a savvy businessman.” John Branca
Michael donated a great deal of money from the BAD WORLD TOUR to charity: The Prince’s Trust Fund, Armond Street Hospital, Camp Ronald MacDonald’s Goodtime House, United Negro College Fund, Michael Jackson Burn Center…to name a few.( This was one of the segments cut by ABC)
“We worked on BAD for a long time. In the end, it was worth it because we were satisfied with what we had achieved, but it was difficult too. There was a lot of tension because we felt we were competing with ourselves. Albums should be for all races, all tastes in music.” Michael Jackson MOONWALK
“BAD IS A FANTASTICAL, THEMATICALLY ECLECTIC, SONICALLY INNOVATIVE MUSICAL ODYSSEY. THE SONGS WORK LIKE CINEMATIC DREAM CAPSULES, TAKING LISTENERS FROM AN URBAN SUBWAY STATION TO A SPEEDING CAR, FROM THE JUNGLES OF AFRICA TO THE MURDER SCENE OF A YOUNG GIRL.” Joseph Vogel MAN IN THE MUSIC
“Something took place in those sessions technically that sounds better than any records made to this day. He made it look simple, he made it look so natural and he worked so hard to do that. Michael is the most professional performer I’ve ever worked with in my life. (Q) Michael meant that the unachievable was achievable. You could be respected, you could be successful on a global level as a person of color.” THE BAD 25 DOCUMENTARY.
This glimpse into the documentary reveals some of the love shown for Michael Jackson by those who knew him, worked with him, created with him, were inspired by him. To really feel the enormity and passion of the love letter one must view the documentary multiple times. When you reach the end, I think you will be as surprised as I was. The epic performance of MAN IN THE MIRROR is in stadium sound. Each time I see and hear it, I stand and sway and feel each note with every cell of my being. Michael makes that connection and changes the molecules in the room. I am touched by his truth, and, I hope I have shared it with you. I love you.