Michael Jackson

Author: | Filed under: Great Performances

The media machine has been gearing up to full force since Michael Jackson’s death two days ago.  I know it is hard to resist rehashing the bizarre times of his life, given the wealth of material there is to draw from.  However, I would like to focus on a lesser-seen moment, one that I think speaks volumes about the kind of artist Jackson was.

On the night of January 28, 1985, while many of the pop stars who would later arrive to record “We Are the World” were enjoying themselves at the American Music Awards, Jackson was in the studio with producer Quincy Jones, laying down foundational vocal tracks.  His soft-spoken interactions with Jones, his uncanny ability to sing the same phrases over and over flawlessly, and his completely non-diva attitude are very compelling to see in this no-frills clip.

How artists conduct themselves in the studio can be interesting to observe under any circumstances, but given the context of what I fear we will be subjected to over the coming days, this glimpse of Jackson simply at work, doing his job like any consummate professional, can serve as a much-needed antidote to the all-too-predictable media maelstrom headed our way.