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My Side of The Jacksons' story




The first two months of 1984 were two of the best in the life of Michael Jackson and two of the worst in mine.  In January, Michael Jackson won eight American Music Awards, and gained even greater celebrity on January 27 when his hair caught on fire during a shoot for a Pepsi-Cola commercial.  It surely was the most written and talked about commercial ever, evoking worldwide sympathy.  Even President Ronald Reagan consoled the scalp-seared Michael by sending him a personal letter.

Riding a surging tide of fame, on February 7, Michael was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for Thriller, an album whose twenty-five million copies in sales had topped every album before it.  He was royally inducted at a black-tie ceremony held at New York’s American Museum of Natural History.  This event attracted fifteen-hundred celebrities of such high “profile” that they, and the honoree, were protected inside the museum by one hundred fifty security personnel.  Outside, more than one hundred of New York’s finest stood guard.  With as much humility as he could muster with a straight face, Michael received an eight-foot globe of the world inscribed to merely “the greatest artist of all time.” I was as proud as punch.

I created the Jackson prototype, including the role of Michael Jackson, in 1965.  I put together and staged the act.  Although refined by experience and technology, the act has not essentially changed to this day.  From a dead stop, I introduced each of the Jackson boys (except Randy) to the basics.  I taught Tito Jackson how to play the guitar.  I taught Jackie Jackson how to harmonize in a variety of ways.  I taught Jermaine Jackson to be a lead singer.  I taught Marlon Jackson how to fully exploit a tambourine.  I taught Mike, as he was then known, the bongos and helped him learn to dance like James Brown.

- Reynaud D. Jones