1970 - The Jackson 5's second single, "ABC", was released.
Again produced and written by The Corporation™, it went to #1 in the US, #8 in the UK and sold a massive 4.1 million copies world wide.
A stop and start bass line and drum part, and propulsive percussion -- congas, tambourine, shakers -- horns, a fuzz-box guitar, dual Afro-Cuban-influenced piano parts, and, of course, the adolescent call-and-response vocals of the Jackson 5 brothers drive this Motown classic and one of the sweetest and simultaneously most satisfying confections of the 1970s. The song displaced the Beatles' "Let It Be" in the number one spot on the pop chart. Opening with the fuzz guitar, an off-beat percussive piano note, and a "doo-dooh" vocal hook line, the drums kick in on the down beat with Michael Jackson, then all of 12 years old, who starts in on the school metaphor:
"You went to school to learn girlThe school scenario was no accident; Freddie Perren, a member of the Corporation, the writing/producing collective behind "ABC," was a former school teacher. He has noted in interviews that producing -- especially a group comprised of teens and preteens -- is much like teaching: outlining a plan and having the students execute it until the teacher is satisfied.
Things you never knew before
Like "I" before "E" except after "C"
And why two plus two makes four
Now, now, now I'm gonna teach you, teach you, teach you
All about love girl, all about love
Sit yourself down, take a seat
All you gotta do is repeat after me."
The similarity of the song's groove to the Jackson 5's first hit single, "I Want You Back," is also no accident; "ABC" is essentially the chorus of the former single (and by theory a pop song's catchiest part), repeated and looped for the body of the newer single. The walking bass line forms the backbone -- bass having always been a top priority in Motown recordings. The arrangement builds to a rowdy drum breakdown in the middle of the song, Michael Jackson shouting out to the object of his young heart's desire: "Sit down girl! I think I love you!" He is egged on by his brothers, "No! Get up girl! Show me what you can do!" At which point, the brothers start to harmonize on "Shake it, shake it baby." Through the whole arrangement, the brothers share the lead vocals, trading lines, Michael taking the lion's share. The urgency in Michael's young voice is befuddling; this is no child novelty act -- a youngster propped up and made up to look and sound like an adult; Jackson just belts it out as soulfully as an adult, yet still sounds natural, effortless, and untrained, simply gifted. One wonders why such gifts became watered down and squandered to the extent that they did in the 1980s and beyond. For, while this early stage of his career was often called bubblegum soul, the emphasis must surely be placed on soul. There is little cuteness beyond the knowing school metaphor and Michael Jackson is not handled with kid gloves in the arrangement. The resulting recording avoids a ham-fisted, over-processed, and produced child act.
Deke Richards, the principal author and producer of "The Corporation", was inspired during a special evening during the sixties. "I was working late one night in the bunker - the rehearsal room, to Histville in Detroit," he said, recalling the days when HDH team was the fire company. "And that opened the door and introduced himself? Lamont Dozier. He went to the piano and played a medley of his hits. I still laugh, I remember him joking between agreements and saying, '... then I writing ',' ... then I got with it ...', and '... you should certainly remind you of that one. "Thus I heard. It was simply now recycle their agreements; sometimes taking part of one and embellishing, creating a new one, or a change to a new song. Simple, but brilliant. My state of mind was the latter when I had the chorus of the second single of the Jackson 5. I restrained myself to say 'Do not forget that Lamont has taught you. " There were large sections of 'I Want You Back'. I restrained myself to say, 'find them and use them. " I sat at the piano and I began to quietly play the chords once, until I got to the refrain:'I want you back yeh yeh yeh yeh.Bam! It struck me like a train at any speed. That was the groove that I needed. I stopped, and played two different agreements, and so on. Next, I play a melody meeting starts at nice after two agreements. I smile and tell myself ' Bingo, That's the basics! '.
His partner in The Corporation, which ensures that the keyboards on the track, Freddie Perren, added: "The music for 'ABC' was right there. We just took this music and do not stop playing it. However, this was not so simple - it had to be rearranged so that it is a real song. We had to think, not just sing little phrases on the pace. This coincided with the fact that the Jackson 5 had age that they had, and most of their fans went to school."
"After all," continued Richards, Michael was so young. I just needed simple words, that young children could learn in a second. I always liked the title of Len Barry, '1, 2,3 ' . And I thought that learning to love was as simple ABC, not 1,2,3. And then it hit me. "My god, all children know their alphabet!" My head began to swim to a point where I thought she was going to explode.
1979 – The Jacksons perform their Destiny Tour in London, UK.
1987 - Pepsi aired a Michael Jackson commercial, "The Spring...The Magic Returns," during the 29th Annual Grammy Awards
1988 - Michael performs BAD tour at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, United States attending 16,960 fans.
Two-year old cancer patient, Allan Bufford, held by his mother, Brenda, meets his favorite entertainer backstage in Kansas City, Missouri on occasion of Jackson’s US leg of his first solo world tour, the Bad Tour. The ill boy obtained his doctor’s permission to attend the sold-out show.
1993 - 35th Grammy Awards edition from Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, Michael Jackson received the Grammy Living Legend Award from his sister Janet.
Michael and his date, Brooke Shields, attended the 35th Annual Grammy Award ceremony. During the ceremony, Michael was honored with the Grammy Legend Award.
The Grammy Legend Award is the most important award in the music business! It's the top honor in the recording industry, given for ongoing contributions and influence in the recording field.
The award was presented to Michael by his sister Janet, who sported a long brown braids. After narrating a lengthy "How To Become A Legend" video scrapbook, showing how her brother became a legend, Janet brought Michael on stage from his front seat at the auditorium.
Looking dashing in black jeans and boots, and a white beaded jacket, Michael embrace Janet. Clearly elated, Michael was in sparkling form, and he was inspired to give his longest ever acceptance speech, poking fun at himself and showing his sense of humor that many haven't had an opportunity to see. One arm hugging Janet close, Michael began on a humorous note:
I hope this puts to rest, I hope this finally puts to rest another rumour that has been in the press for too many years – me and Janet really are two different people!Michael expressed gratitude to and concern for the world’s children, including the health and economically deprived, then raises consciousness and suggests solutions on urgent global issues, such as the inner city crimes, wars and terrorist attacks, or the overloaded prisons, increasingly entered by young people that were devoid of a proper childhood.
In the past month, I've gone from "where is he?" to "Here he is again," but I must confess, it feels good to be thought of as a person, not as a personality. Because I don't read all the things written about me, I wasn't aware that the world thought I was so weird and bizarre. But when you grow up as I did, in front of one hundred million people since the age of five, you're automatically different. The last few weeks, I have been cleansing myself and it's been a rebirth for myself. It's like a cleansing spirit.The new social butterfly and his date, Brooke Shields, attended Sony Music's party at Jimmy's in Beverly Hills along with Bob Jones and his date.
My childhood was completely taken away from me. There was no Christmas, there were no birthdays, it was not a normal childhood, nor the normal pleasures of childhood - those were exchanged for hard work, struggle, and pain, and eventually material and professional success. But as an awful price, I cannot re-create that part of my life. However, today, when I create my music, I feel like an instrument of nature. I wonder what delight nature must feel when we open our hearts and express our God-given talents. The sound... of approval rolls across the universe, and the whole world abounds in magic. Wonder fills our hearts, for what we have glimpsed, for an instant, the playfulness of life.
And that's why I love children and learn so much from being around them. I realise that many of our world's problems today - from the inner city crime, to large scale wars and terrorism, and our overcrowded prisons - are a result of the fact that children have had their childhood stolen from them. The magic, the wonder, the mystery, and the innocence of a child's heart, are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world. I really believe that.
What, what we need to learn, what we need to learn from children isn't childish. Being with them connects us to the deeper wisdom of life which is everpresent, and only asks to be lived. They know the solutions that lie waiting to be recognised within our own hearts. Today, I would like to thank all the children of the world, including the sick and deprived... I am so sensitive to your pain.
Michael Jackson is on SALUT magazine, France.