July 7th, 2009
I know it is not jazz, but he was a major force and influence in popular music. As Michael Jackson’s memorial service is being held in L.A. as I write, I felt moved to go to the files and pull up an old negative from the time I got to see him perform and photograph him. We were all so much younger, and his music was a dominant note on the soundtrack of our lives. He was everywhere on the radio and MTV. It is almost incredible to remember how really big he was then. Seeing him and photographing him on assignment was a big deal. It is so sad to see him gone.
Michael Jackson performed at the Gator Bowl Stadium in Jacksonville Florida before 45,000 people for every night for three nights July 21, 22, 23rd 1984. I was there on July 23rd on assignment to photograph him for the Black Star Photo agency. It was a big news story everywhere Michael went.
He was on his Victory tour at the top of his game. He performed with his brothers Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon, and Randy. The tour reunited all Jackson brothers including Michael, who had just released the highly successful Thriller album in 1982, two years previous to the tour, and Jermaine, who had not recorded or toured with his brothers since they left Motown in 1975. The Jacksons’ Victory Tour was the group’s final concert tour of the United States and Canada.