City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Friday Riffs: It’s a Michael Jackson weekend

Monday marked the three-year death of Michael Jackson.

Coincidentally, this weekend, starting tonight, the Cirque du Soleil production, “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” pulls into Philips Arena for three performances.

You’ll hear plenty of Jackson hits (and some less obvious songs) during the 90-minute show, which is a rousing homage with some spectacular choreography.

At times, Jackson himself returns via video and audio, which will make you tear up for lots of reasons.

So to prep you for this weekend’s shows, which have some Atlanta ties, or aid in your own remembrance of Jackson this week, here are five Jackson videos I think are worth watching. Sound off with your favorites below.

“The Making of ‘We Are the World’”
– If you’ve never watched this exchange between Jackson and Quincy Jones as they record the guide vocal for “We Are the World,” you’ve missed something big. Because for a time – this time – Jackson actually looks happy.

“Gone Too Soon”
– Jackson’s tribute to Ryan White that showcases the beautiful honeyed tones of Jackson’s voice, too often – especially in later years – cluttered by busy production.

“Come Together” – And then we hear the gritty side of Jackson’s voice in this slightly sanitized stomp-and-clap version of the Beatles classic. Don’t worry about those ridiculous fringed applets on his military jacket – they disappear pretty quickly.

“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” – This 1987 performance clip from Japan reminds us about Jackson’s former backup singer who graduated to her own superstar career.

The Jackson 5, “I Want You Back”
– On his first appearance on “American Bandstand,” the tiny Jackson was adorable and charming, while his brothers laid down one of the catchiest bass lines in the group’s catalog.

8 comments Add your comment


June 29th, 2012
8:59 am

This is great. Thanks for the video clips.

Captain Midnight

June 29th, 2012
3:06 pm

Poor Michael. Always just so unhappy. “leave me alone, wait, look at me I’m the King of pop!
“why can’t everybody (sniff) just leave me alone? wait!, look at me I’m the King of pop!
I guess if I were world famous and had a billion dollars in the bank I’d be miserable all the time too.
Poor, sweet,strange,sad, misunderstood Michael.


June 29th, 2012
5:12 pm

The point is that he wasn’t always unhappy – these films of his younger days, before he became the strange, sad, misunderstood – are a reminder. He looks so different – so unburdened.


June 29th, 2012
11:16 pm

First of all, let me say thanks for this article….although it is a bit skewed in many ways. What people need to remember is that we ALL go through our peaks and valleys–after all, Michael was HUMAN, folks, even if he was a genius. Most of us go through 30 different emotions before a day has ended but we can do that because there’s noone with a camera stuck in our face 24/7. Think about it, Michael was THE most sought after celeb while he was alive –nobody was more wanted except for Princess Di when she was alive….
Anyone who was REALLY paying attention would’ve noted that Michael had many light and happy moments after the Thriller years–even in the beginning of that trumped up trial, he had moments of happiness. What most fail to note is that Michael was at a low during the pre-”Thriller” years. (”Off the Wall” was a huge critical success, yet it only won ONE Grammy for “Best Solo R&B Artist”.) I think it was due to the high pressure of being THE no.1 artist in the World, and the fact that he was a late bloomer who was still a bit uncomfortable in his own skin. That was the shy era, also– a persona Michael gravitated to that was key in taking his celebrity to highest point. Once he got there, I think he was happy to be there, but realized it was a bit more than he’s bargained for. Michael being a huge prankster, had planted stories about himself in the Media in order to get back at them for constantly dogging his steps. But when they realized they’d been had, they turned on him. This is why most people say what many are saying here about him being “strange” or “out there”, when none of them have ever met him face to face. They’ve allowed the Media to feed them a major helping of BS. Most celebs know you may hate the Media, but if you cross them, there’ll be hell to pay as they constantly grind out churn to persuade the weak minded among us to see their point of view….sad…
Bottom line, Michael achieved more in hsi life than most Artists would ever dream of, even though many in this country had turned against him, the WORLD at large LOVED him. As Larry King said, you could go to a 3rd World country where they can’t understand a word you say, but if you say MICHAEL JACKSON, they understand, know and LOVE him. Funny how with all of his success when many in this country had turned against him, it was his 3 Children that kept him going and revived him to the point where he wanted to Tour again….if you think it was for the money, google his contract for the Tour and you’ll be in for a surprise. He was doing it for his Children and his fans…all for L.O.V.E…….
BTW–I wish people would get over it with the whole “King of Pop” thing. He WAS and STILL IS KING OF POP–the GREATEST ENTERTAINER in the WORLD!!!


June 30th, 2012
9:42 am

Will always love MJ, thank you for sharing these videos!

Cassaundra Mathis

June 30th, 2012
3:48 pm

@Meastra – kudos to you my friend. You’ve done your homework. Too many of us don’t. I want to add here being an ATLean that i am gravely disappointed at the lack of Michaeling in our fair city that Michael loved. Perhaps many didn’t know that Michael planned on doing a bit more touring after This Is It at the 0-2 Arena. He chose very few cities to return to, but Atlanta was on that short list. He also gave charitably to the children’s hospitals here, specifically Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta formerly Hughes Spaulding Children’s Hospital. He loved Atlanta but it seems Atlanta has all but forgotten him which saddens me.

I am happy that our own homegrown Travis Payne is bringing Cirque de Sole The Immortal Tour back to our city and I pray the turnout is worthy of such great tribute. I will be there tonight and tomorrow because if I can’t have Michael back, Cirque has captured enough of his essence that I wouldn’t miss it for all the 100 plus degrees in the world. Thank you Travis for keeping hope alive.

Michael Jackson is not just the King of Pop, he is King of Hearts. We love him most because he proved everyday of his life that he loved us more.

Come on Atlanta, let me see some Thriller and Smooth Criminal raves in this city. I might be up in age, but I would happily join in and give it my best shot. Honor Michael Jackson. He was our gift and he gave us his everything.


July 1st, 2012
2:04 am

Cassaundra, you are a commodity in the ATL, someone who’s not afraid to show their true feelings about Michael regardless of what others think. And that’s the thing in Atlanta, most folks can barely think for themselves–it’s all about how much I can chip off my neighbors’ house, car or look. Everybody trying to prove they’re something they’re not. Most people would read this and think I was speaking of L.A., but I’ve lived in L.A. for years in the past and I NEVER experienced such FAKENESS as I have here in ATL. Sorry if you’re a native, but it’s the truth. I was SO disappointed about how Atlanta handled Michael’s death, being the Music Center of the SE, that I’m embarrassed to tell people I live here. Then when the film, “This Is It” came out, Atlantans redeemed themselves a bit, but I think that was only because the whole country was pushing it….Michael was “IT” during that time frame so people jumped on the bandwagon, but now it’s been 3 years since his death and only that crazy trial has kept him in the minds of people who weren’t true supporters in the first place…much like the reporter who wrote this article….
I didn’t wait to see the show here because I knew I would be disappointed not by the show itself, but by the crowds. Michael’s stadium shows were always spectacular and the crowds had a lot to do with that–just crazy and cool at the same time. I have broken down and plan to see the show here on Sunday and I plan to all but block out the audience around me and do my thing. That way I know I’ll enjoy myself. And anyway, I’m going with people who are just like me–they eternally LOVE MICHAEL!!!
BTW–thanks for the stats on all of the instittutions Michael supported in Atlanta. I didn’t realize it was that extensive. As for TII Concert coming here, it’s no surprise he would include Atlanta because it is known for being a Music Hub and Michael had his finger on the pulse of all things Music, especially pop. That Sony/ATV Catalog was more than just an investment, he used it to keep himself up to date on anything coming down the pike. Amazing that at his level, he never stopped trying to learn!

Cassaundra Mathis

July 1st, 2012
9:21 pm

The shows were AMAZING. The arena was full but still lacked that something in the crowd. I don’t know. This was a tribute to MICHAEL JACKSON. The crowd should have been on its feet. I went alone and the people in the section where I was which were damn good seats, showed very little to no enthusiasm. I wish I had been in your group. I did hear a few shout outs from the crowd, but not nearly enough for that amount of people. I guess they thought I was insane because I actually cried during Will You Be There and Childhood & when I saw the gates of Neverland knowing what those songs and Neverland meant to Michael’s heart. And I must applaud you again on speaking of the lack of passion shown here when Michael died. I couldn’t find anyone to share my pain with. I was with it alone and the only comfort I could find was online where I have lived for the last 3 years. I have vowed one day to go to New York or L.A. just to be able to be with some people that I know truly love Michael and are not ashamed to show it. Mellie4justice. Erin Jacobs. Catherine Gross, just to name a few. So glad to have come across this article and having found someone who understands how I have felt since Michael’s death about my fair city, the black Mecca of the south, and the lack of love shown for him here. Thanks for listening. Hope you had a wonderful time. All4love