Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jackson dies.’

Filipino inmates in `Thriller’ video stage tribute

by AP writer Teresa Cerojano

The Filipino inmates who shot to global fame with a YouTube video of their “Thriller” dance (July 2007) swayed and stomped again today, Saturday, June 27, in a behind-bars tribute to their idol, Michael Jackson.

After being told of Jackson’s death Thursday in Los Angeles, the 1,500 inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center hit the exercise yard, practicing for nine hours Friday night – and into the wee hours of Saturday morning – for the show. They took breaks only to eat or when it rained, said professional choreographer Gwendolyn Lador, hired by the prison to teach the inmates the dance.

Filipino Prisoners dance to pop tunes such as "Thriller" and "Soulja Boy" as part of their physical fitness

Filipino Prisoners dance to pop tunes such as “Thriller” and “Soulja Boy” as part of their physical fitness

Inmate Alfredo Gaballo, 52, says Jackson “inspired us, so we are all sad about his death.”

Crisanto Nieri, 38, was feeling a little extra stress. He danced Jackson’s part in “Thriller.”

“Even as a kid, he was already my idol,” said Nieri, who is serving seven years on drug charges. “I am happy that our video became famous, but I feel some pressure to perform well.”

A crowd of 700 Cebuanos and foreign tourists watched the performance from a second-floor corridor, swaying to the music and applauding as the inmates, dressed in orange prison T-shirts and sweat pants, stomped and clapped in unison in the hilltop prison, behind thick stone walls topped by electrified razor wire.

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video was filmed in the historic Coconut Grove Bahamian Cemetery in Miami, Florida

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video was filmed in the historic Coconut Grove Bahamian Cemetery in Miami, Florida

Other numbers included “Ben,” “I’ll Be There” and “We Are the World.” The inmates then held up a 5-by-10 foot (1.5-by-3 meter) tarpaulin showing Michael Jackson holding a sword with his name written below it.

Others waved the flags of the Philippines and other nations.

Before the show, the performers dedicated a prayer to Jackson’s family.

“I was sad because one of the songs of Michael Jackson, `Thriller,’ made us famous around the world,” said Francis Mercader, 36, who has spent a year in detention while on trial for drug charges.

Byron Garcia, the Cebu provincial security consultant who came up with the idea of adding synchronized dancing to poorly attended exercise sessions, said he was surprised by the popularity of the 2007 video – one of more than a dozen inmate dance numbers he has posted on YouTube.

“Thriller” has attracted 24.3 million hits since it was posted two years ago, with nearly a million of them in the 24 hours since news of Jackson’s death spread.

The inmates “consider Michael Jackson as a god here,” Garcia said. “If not for Michael Jackson, they would not have this international recognition.”

“The fame brought them back their self-esteem,” he told reporters. “So that’s why we have these public performances.”


Read Full Post »

One of the millions of starving Ethiopians during the Famine of 1984-85

One of the millions of starving Ethiopians during the Famine of 1984-85

In 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote a song that ended up making music history. The single, “We are the World,” was recorded to raise money to fight famine in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where a 20 year-old civil war raged. As a result of drought and poor harvests, millions of Ethiopians were starving and suffering from disease while their Marxist government spent money on weapons, money that had been intended for food and medicine.

Following Bob Geldof‘s example of Live Aid in Great Britain, Harry Belafonte and Ken Kragen decided to organize an American fundraiser to help out the Ethiopian citizens. Originally, a charity concert was planned, but it was decided that a single recording would bring in more money. Quincy Jones agreed to produce. Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie collaborated on the  song.

Jones contacted 45 musicians for the marathon overnight recording session. The supergroup was billed as “U.S.A.” for Africa and was assembled the night of the American Music Awards. Michael Jackson skipped the awards ceremony to record the chorus as a guide for the other musicians.

Getting two artists together in a sound studio would have been a small feat, but 45? Quincy Jones sent a memo to each artist to check their egos at the door.

We_Are_the_World_alternative_coverJones worked out which singers would perform which lyrics, studying recordings of each of the selected singers to decide which would work well with each other. He paired Billy Joel with Tina Turner, Willie Nelson with Dionne Warwick, and Michael Jackson with Prince, who was a no-show. (Prince called in the middle of the session to volunteer a guitar solo but the offer was declined. Prince did, however, contribute a solo recording for the album.) (1)

When released as a single, “We Are The World, ” rose rapidly to the top of the charts, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 17, 1985, and remaining there for four weeks. It immediately sold out its initial shipment of 800,000 copies, and sales reached 1.5 million shortly afterwards. It proved the power of pop culture to make a positive change in the world and set off a wave of charity projects by other noted celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Sharon Stone, Bruce Springsteen, and Willie Nelson.

Here are the lyrics for the chorus of “We Are the World”:

We Are The World –

We are the world, We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me

Words and Music by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie

Click here for the list of all artists who made up U.S.A. for Africa.

Now view the clip. It’s a moving experience:

(1) “We Are The World,” wikipedia. 


Read Full Post »


Michael Jackson’s signature dance move, the Moonwalk, debuted in 1983 and revolutionized modern dance. Michael’s moonwalk was inspired by the French mime Marcel Marceau’s famous “walking against the wind” routine shown below in Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie.” Click on the words, “Marcel Marceau,” centered below to see the video clip of Marcel walking against the wind:

 Marcel Marceau



Read Full Post »

Michael Jackson won a Grammy Award for this song, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” He was happy back then and such a positive force in music. This is one of his best songs. Rock on, Michael.


Read Full Post »

Michael Jackson as a child. Michael died today at age 50.

Michael Jackson as a child. Michael died today at age 50.

Watch this video of the Jackson 5 singing “I Want You Back” and “ABC” on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1970.

This is how we got to know him, Little Michael Jackson, a kid chocked-full of talent and fun. May he rest in peace.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: