michael jackson

Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey.

In 1993, Michael Jackson was the most famous person in the world but his image was severely tarnished by countless bizarre rumors. Why was he turning white? How much cosmetic surgery did he have? Did he really try to buy the Elephant Man’s bones? Why did he grab his crotch during performances? What was his sexual orientation? Did he sleep in a hyperbaric chamber? Why does a grown man love to play with children in a home filled with theme park rides and exotic animals?

To add to the controversy, Jackson’s most recent album “Dangerous,” which sold around 20 million copies, was seen as a “disappointment” because it failed to reach the status of his previous albums “Bad” (1987) and “Thriller” (1982).

To help improve his public image, Jackson sat down for a live, 90-minute interview from his Neverland Ranch in Santa Ynez, California, with Oprah Winfrey. At a time when the media landscape was far less fragmented, the interview was a massive event that drew more than 90 million viewers.

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Upworthy Weekly podcast: Kids name things, positive conspiracies, world's oldest doctor

What are Alison and Tod talking about this week? A TikTokker who sounds just like Michael Jackson, funny terms kids use and things people prefer to do “the old-fashioned way.” Listen and subscribe today!

Upworthy Weekly podcast for August 13, 2022

On this Saturday’s show, Alison and Tod talk about the funny names that kids use for things. Later, they listen to a TikTokker who sounds exactly like Michael Jackson and discuss the things people prefer to do “the old-fashioned way.”

Plus, Tod has a controversial strategy to take the podcast to new heights.

Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or iHeart Radio.

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Pop Culture

Four musicians play a great version of 'Billie Jean' on one guitar

The performance really takes off at the 48-second mark.

via Pixabay

A man playing an acoustic guitar.

Talk about getting the most out of an instrument. The four members of Barcelona Guitar Trio (Xavier Coll Quetglas, Luis Robisco, Alí Arango, and drummer Paquito Escudero Sevilla) played a stunning version of Michael Jackson's 1982 megahit “Billie Jean” all on one guitar.

Sevilla used the body of the guitar to play the rhythm, Robisco played the lead melody, Arango played the keyboard part and Quetglas rocked the iconic bass line.

The performance really takes off 48 seconds in, at the part where Jackson sings, “People always told me be careful of what you do/And don't go around breaking young girls' hearts.”

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When Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video debuted in 1983, the VCR—which most kids today couldn't pick out of a lineup—had only been around for about seven years and cost far more than today's far superior Blu-ray players. If you wanted to rewatch something, you had to record it when it came on TV—complete with commercials. And if you wanted to learn the dance moves from the most epic music video ever made up to that point, you had to keep rewinding and playing the tape over and over again.

Gen X remembers. Especially when we see high schoolers reenacting the same dance we spent hours trying to perfect and are immediately transported back to our shag-carpeted living rooms with our tube television sets.

Jennifer Hawkins, who teaches dance to kindergarteners through eighth graders at Birney School in Southfield, Michigan, taught a group of students the "Thriller" dance and they performed it perfection in their school hallway. The video was filmed in 2019 and had several waves of virality, this time after being shared by Rex Chapman on Twitter.

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