Michael Jackson Still Rules

Michael Jackson Still Rules

LiveAuctionTalk.com:  by Rosemary McKittrick

Photo courtesy of Julien's Auctions.

Michael Jackson’s stage magic didn’t materialize out of thin air.  It came out of powerful observation.  He memorized the way James Brown’s legs moved lightly on stage yet charged with energy like a locomotive.  He loved the way Brown jumped into the air, spun around and changed moves instantly. For Jackson, Brown possessed a timeless animal-like magnetism.      

The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.
— Michael Jackson

He watched the way Jackie Wilson held his arms and shook his head.  He liked Wilson’s shiny, black leather shoes and the way the stage lights reflected off them when he danced. He wanted shoes just like that on stage.

“The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work,” he said.

In 1970 when the Jackson 5 appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” a popular TV variety show, Michael wore shiny black shoes just like Jackie Wilson.  As he sang his shoes glistened in the stage lights. 

After that appearance he and his brothers were suddenly famous. For teenage girls it was like Beatlemania all over again, a mob scene whenever Michael and his brothers were spotted somewhere. Traffic deadlocked in all directions.  

Michael enjoyed performing with his brothers but it also got old.  At age 13 he wanted to go it alone.  In 1972 he released his first Motown solo album “Got to Be There.”  The following year he released his second solo album “Ben.”   

He continued to work with his brothers but the group released their final hit album together “Looking through the Windows” in 1972.  

Michael ultimately evolved into the undisputed “King of Pop” with a career spanning five decades and over four hundred million albums sold. 

The Guinness Book of World Records named him the most successful entertainer of all time and the highest grossing live performer in history. The accolades go on and on.

His single white glove and “Moonwalk” defined an era.

Michael was almost as famous for his humanitarian efforts like creating the “Heal the World Foundation.” The organization was dedicated to fighting world hunger, providing medicine to children and addressing child exploitation and abuse.  

“In their innocence, very young children know themselves to be light and love,” he said.  “If we will allow them, they can teach us to see ourselves the same way.”

People wondered why he always had kids around.  He did it he said because he found through them things he never had himself growing up, Disneyland, amusement parks and arcade games.  For Michael it was one concert, TV show or recording studio after another. No breaks.

Michael was a music icon looking to reclaim his lost childhood and as the writer Tom Robbins said it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.    

Even though his final years were tainted with scandal Jackson’s music was his ultimate legacy.

“I’m going to search for my star until I find it,” he said. “It’s hidden in the drawer of innocence, wrapped in a scarf of wonder.”

On Nov. 4, a selection of Michael Jackson items went on the block at Julien’s Auctions

Michael Jackson

Black Fedora hat; wool; stamped Michael Jackson; $5,760.

Fang mold; from 1983 “Thriller” video; upper mold; used to fit Michael with animal fangs; $6,400.

Black Leather Jacket; worn on the cover of the Dangerous World Tour program and at various photo shoots and publicity events;  $56,250.

Right-Hand Glove; single; worn during Triumph Tour in 1981; includes photo of Michael wearing the glove  $102,400.

“Beat It” Jacket; red snakeskin; Dennis Tompkins Michael Bush label on interior; worn during the 1987-1989 Bad World Tour;  $118,750.


Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller.  For 26 years she has brought the world of collecting to life in her column.  Her LiveAuctionTalk.com website is a mother lode of information about art, antiques and collectibles.  Rosemary received her education in the trenches working as a professional appraiser.

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