Sunday, June 3, 2012

MJE – The Games and the Tricks

Nearly two weeks ago, the MJE or the Michael Jackson Estate, release a press release about the upcoming 25th Anniversary of Michael’s classic album, Bad. The “celebration” will be known as BAD 25 and the Estate along with Sony BMG will be releasing various items to celebrate the milestone.


The statement as follows - 
"New York, NY – Twenty-five years after the phrase “Who’s Bad” became a generation’s cultural catchphrase, Epic/Legacy Recordings, in collaboration with the Estate of Michael Jackson, will celebrate the legendary album and record breaking BAD tour on September 18, 2012 with the release of a deluxe package, BAD 25, which includes three CDs, two collectible booklets, and features the first ever authorized DVD release of a concert from the record breaking BAD tour.
“The era of BAD represented Michael’s creative ‘coming of age’ as a solo artist in charge of every aspect of his career – from recording to touring to endorsements to merchandising. This was the first album on which nearly all of the songs were written by Michael. It was also was the first album in history to produce five consecutive #1 singles and it took 2 ½ decades for another artist to match that success. It was also the first time Michael would tour as a solo artist - his vision, his decisions on what the show would be. The enormous success of the BAD album and tour was a pivotal moment in Michael’s growth as a composer, performer and producer cementing his role as the King of Pop. We are thrilled to celebrate such an historic era in Michael’s career with this release”, stated John Branca and John McClain, Co-Executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson.

The BAD 25 anniversary deluxe edition will feature three CDs and 1 DVD as follows:

• The highlight of the package is the DVD of Michael’s legendary July 16, 1988 concert at Wembley Stadium. The concert is not a compilation of performances, but rather one complete show, exactly as Michael performed it for Prince Charles, Princess Diana and the 72,000 fans who were in the audience for that night’s sold out show. This show was one of the record-breaking seven nights played at the venue attended by more than half a million people – three times that many people tried to purchase tickets. The DVD was sourced from Michael Jackson’s personal VHS copy of the performance as shown on the JumboTrons during the concert. This footage was only recently unearthed and is the only known copy of the show to exist. The visuals have been restored and the audio quality enhanced so that fans can share in the excitement of that famous night

• A CD of the re-mastered original BAD album

• A CD containing previously unreleased material recorded in Michael’s personal studio at Hayvenhurst. This material includes early demo versions of songs from the album as well as demos for songs not included on the final album. All of this material is being released as it was recorded during the BAD sessions. Nothing has been added. In addition, this CD will also include new remixes from internationally renowned DJ/producers

• A CD showcasing the audio from the sound truck recordings of the July 16th Wembley performance. The first-ever live Michael Jackson CD to be released, this is the only concert from the BAD Tour known to exist on multitracksThis magnificent 3 CD/1 DVD box set will also include two extensive booklets with yet unseen photos from the recording sessions, video sets and the concert tour, the original BAD cover art, a two-sided poster and more. A BAD 25 two CD standard edition featuring the original album plus the CD of demos and new remixes will also be made available as will a stand alone edition of the DVD and a picture disc of the original album.

On June 5 in the U.S. (June 4th ex-U.S.), Epic / Legacy Recordings will re-release the original first single from the album “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” as a CD Single with a previously unreleased bonus track from the BAD sessions, “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round (demo).” This is a Wal-Mart exclusive CD single in the U.S. and will not be available digitally.

On June 26 a replica edition of the original 7″ vinyl of this single with the original B-side “Baby Be Mine” will be made available to the world. The first single for BAD, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” was originally released on 7″ vinyl in 1987. The 7″ single edit of the song has only been available on that original 7″ vinyl until now.

Recently, Pepsi announced an exclusive global partnership with the Estate of Michael Jackson as part of its new “Live for Now” campaign. Starting this month, Michael Jackson and Pepsi fans in more than 20 countries around the world will experience this partnership in a variety of ways, including a retail campaign featuring one billion special edition Michael Jackson Bad 25 Pepsi cans, live events, and opportunities for fans to access special edition merchandise and new music from BAD 25.

The BAD album was the third Michael Jackson album produced by Quincy Jones and was originally released on August 31, 1987. It was monumental in many ways; Michael wrote nine of the album’s eleven tracks and received co-producer credit for the entire album. The album was #1 around the world, made history with five consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard chart, produced ten chart-topping singles, nine ground breaking short films and to date, the Bad album has generated over 45 Million units in sales. BAD was nominated for six Grammys and won two; the album earned Michael the first-ever Video Vanguard Award at the MTV VMA Awards. Songs on the original album are: “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Speed Demon,” “Liberian Girl,” “Just Good Friends” featuring Stevie Wonder, “Another Part of Me,” “Man in the Mirror,” “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Dirty Diana,” “Smooth Criminal,” with “Leave Me Alone” added to the album once released.

The BAD World Tour was Michael’s first concert tour as a solo artist. The legendary tour included 123 concerts attended by more than 4.4 million fans over sixteen months. When it concluded, the tour had shattered all previous touring records for attendance and total gross revenue adding three new entries in the Guinness World Records for the largest grossing tour in history, the tour with the largest attended audience and the most sold out shows at Wembley Stadium.

More details on this and other exciting projects relating to BAD’s 25th anniversary will be announced soon.”


http://web.archive.org/web/20120806103216/http://www.mjjunderground.com/2012/05/21/announcing-bad-25

Reading the list of items that the Estate and Sony will be releasing for this “celebration”, it seems interesting and exciting. As a major critic of the Estate and Sony, I want to get this compilation, via from my sister who also wants to get it. I know that what comes with being a fan of Michael is the drama that ensues. Even after Michael’s passing, all kinds of foolishness continue.

John Branca, one of the executors of the MJE, released a statement sometime late last week about the questions that fans were having in regards to the DVD of one of Michael’s concerts.

It is great to see the overwhelming support and excitement in the fan community for the upcoming BAD 25 release.  A few questions have arisen regarding the Wembley concert DVD. Although the press release wasn’t the place for background details, here is more information:


We know that Nocturne captured on Umatic tapes the footage projected onto the JumboTrons at the various concerts including Wembley. These tapes were turned over to Michael’s crew and we have confirmed with Patrick Kelly (who headed Michael’s film crew for the European tour) that everything from Europe was sent to LA to be put in Michael’s storage facilities. The same procedures were followed for the US shows.

•  Unfortunately, record-keeping in the storage facilities was sporadic, at best, so we do not know what happened to a tape once it was sent for storage. In most cases, once a tape was pulled from the box it arrived in, it was not put back in the original box and where it wound up doesn’t always make sense. As a result, 25 years later not all of the Umatic tapes from the various shows can be located, notwithstanding that we have conducted an extensive survey of all of the storage facilities. So while we believe that the Umatic tape for Wembley was initially sent for storage, we have not been able to locate it. And with regard to the Umatic footage of other concerts, the audio is extremely problematic and therefore these concerts are unusable.

•  We know that VHS copies of the Umatics were made when Michael wanted to view a particular concert, but because of the lack of record-keeping, we also didn’t know which concerts existed on VHS. We ultimately did find Michael’s personal VHS viewing copy of the Wembley show attended by Princess Diana and Prince Charles, but not the Umatic. Even finding this VHS felt like a miracle to us!

•  So while we continued the search for the Wembley Umatic master, we also researched the audio recordings that existed from all of the concerts including Wembley. Fortunately, the Wembley audio recordings were made using a sound truck, and appear to be the only multi-track recordings from the tour. The other audio/visual recordings that exist, whether Umatic or VHS, are “front of house” mixes, and therefore there are no separate audio recordings that can be used to create a high quality listening experience. It is for this reason that the Wembley audio is the only one suitable to create a live album.

•  If we were going to include a live concert DVD in the BAD 25 release package, we had only one choice, Wembley. And there were only two options for visual – the Umatics for a different show or the VHS for Wembley. It would certainly be less expensive for the Estate to be able to create a DVD from a Umatic tape than to spend the time and money to painstakingly restore/enhance the VHS footage, but then we would not be delivering a truly authentic experience and we truly believe that watching this concert with the high quality audio will create a magical experience for all the fans as it has for us. We ultimately chose a lab that has developed its own proprietary technology for doing this kind of work (including restoration for NASA of VHS footage) in order to make the visual experience the best it can be under the circumstances.

We also could have chosen to release the Japanese concert from the first leg of the tour as there is a master of that show; but that concert was essentially a reincarnation of the Victory Tour with only two songs – “Bad” and “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” – added at the end. It isn’t what we believe the fans would want.

We could have elected not to release a DVD as part of the BAD 25 celebration (and hold out hope that someday we might find the Umatic of the Wembley concert) or we could share with the fans the chance to relive that magical night with pristine audio. We made the decision to go with the latter and provide the fans with the most authentic viewing experience. We believe that the fans will agree it was the right choice when the package is released in September.

John Branca/The Estate of Michael Jackson 


http://web.archive.org/web/20120805021351/http://www.mjjunderground.com/2012/06/01/bad-25-dvd-the-estate-release-a-statement

When I read this statement, I was taken aback but not surprised. It is the MJE after all. These are the same group of people that release the Michael album knowing very well that the three songs in question were not the vocals of Michael’s. After reading this statement, I have some questions. 1. In regards to the record keeping, Michael was very meticulous when it came to his belongings. He was very organized. Was Branca trying to imply that Michael was not on top of his record keeping therefore some of the tapes could not be found? 2. Did Branca forgot about the raids that happened in 1993 and 2003? 3. When those raids happened (1993 & 2003),  is it possible that the law enforcement that was there, destroyed his belongings and therefore, ruined and misplaced his things? 4. As for including the Wembley concert because that concert had the songs from the Bad album on there, why couldn’t the Estate stick to the Japanese concert from 1987? Who cares if those songs were not from the Bad album? Those concerts were promotion for the Bad album anyway and the concerts are in good condition.



Then, I went on my facebook newsfeed and I read this post from a fan who had some inside information on the situation. I am not going to identify the fan because of privacy reasons. This is what the fan stated – 

Siggy Jackson told me that his uncle had all of their shows recorded and they were in the Jacksons video library. Im sure the footage they are looking for is owned by Katherine Jackson. Some of this article is true and some of it is bullshit. The gloves are off so Im gonna put it out there. The Michael Jackson Estate sat down with Frank Delio and several executies who played in both Bad and Victory Tours to go through the tapes and audio from both shows. After Frank passed, both projects went on the back burner. Frank was the voice telling Branca what we fans wanted. The Michael Jackson estate met with the remaining members of the Jacksons to discuss releasing the Victory Tour and like always, they start to bicker over how much each of them would be paid in royalties from its release. The mj estate said f it and lets focus on the Bad Tour...however they told a few key band members and programmers to take a hike...we dont need your input with mastering or recovering video and restoration for fans reguarding The Bad Tour. Mind you, these are people who were on the tour, played in the band and did the special.effects! They are half assed doing things under the guise of "wanting to give US the best" when I know what they are doing. I, [name taken out] approves and stand by this statement! Crooks.

Then the fan states –

How are you gonna tell Greg phillinganes, thank you but we don't need your assistance we can do this ourselves? This man has been with Michael since Destiny but you dont need him to help you with programming the sound so that it will sound exactly as he played it and Michael sang it?! Im done... 

Isn’t that interesting? So, according to what the fan stated, the Estate was meeting up with the late Frank Dielo to look through the tapes of the Victory and Bad tours. When Frank passed away, the Estate decided to forget what Frank was telling them and wanted to meet with the Jackson family to discuss releasing the Victory tour. Of course, because they are the Jacksons, it is understandable that if the Victory tour was going to be released, their likeness will be used and they have to get paid for that. Of course, typical fashion of the MJE they were not going to have that, so forget what the fans would want and focus on what they, MJE, think the fans would want. The Estate decided to focus on the Bad tour because, as we all know, that was the first tour Michael did as a solo artist. So, instead of relying on the key members who were in the Bad tour for their imput because they were there, they know the things that they know, the MJE decided not to use them. The MJE even told Greg Phillingaines, who was practically like Michael right hand man during his tour years, to go ahead and kick some rocks and pull up the deuce sign because they did not need his input.


This is what I was worried about when Branca and John McClain came into the picture: that these two would messed up things because they have no idea what Michael was really like. All they know is making money over the death of Michael. They have no idea what type of person Michael was. I was on twitter stating to the fans that they need to stop trusting the MJE because they do not care about Michael. Michael would hate to give his fans half finished items just to give them those items. That was not Michael style. Look at the tragedy that was the Michael album. I cannot believe fans did not see anything wrong purchasing an album that had three songs that were not his vocals. The MJE does not care about how things are going to look in the long run or how the fans will feel cheated. They only care about pimping Michael and his likeness. This is one of the many reasons I cannot and will not get down with the MJE. I am seriously thinking of not even buying any of the Bad 25 thingy/situation/"event"/"celebration" that the Estate has planned up. What would be the point?



Even the song called “Don’t Be Messing Round” is alright but the song is not fully completed. You mean to tell me that the MJE cannot even find a completed song that Michael did in the late 1980s? Something is not adding up here. Here is the song if you are interested in listening to the song – 


The MJE posted this tweet on their official twitter account announcing something that will occur this Monday (June 4th) on the official MJ website. 



I wonder what the Estate will announce. Whatever it is, I will not be that interested in it. It seems like the MJE will continue to ignore their obvious lack of respect for Michael and legacy and focus more on various ways of making money off of Michael.

Sidenote: I wanted to state that this month of June will be a difficult month for Michael’s family, true friends and fans. June 25th, 2012 will mark three years since Michael went off to heaven to be with God. No matter what we feel about one another, his family or what have you, we are all still hurting over losing Michael. I hope that we all get through this difficult month with love and respect for one another and his family. The pain never goes away and it our hearts will always break because Michael is no longer with us.



Michael on the set of his 1987 short film, "Bad".

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***Update - May 27, 2017***:
A blog post that has been made by a loyal fan Marco, discusses the real John Branca, one the the executors of Michael Jackson's Estate. Here is the link - 

http://marcoballetta.com/john-branca-the-greedy-backstabber/

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Links:

Articles - 

"Announcing Bad 25", 
http://web.archive.org/web/20120806103216/http://www.mjjunderground.com/2012/05/21/announcing-bad-25

"Bad 25 The Estate Release a Statement", 

http://web.archive.org/web/20120805021351/http://www.mjjunderground.com/2012/06/01/bad-25-dvd-the-estate-release-a-statement

Audio-

 "Don't Be Messin Round" the song that MJE and Sony Music have released for Bad 25,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqzWaRRV4fY

Information: 

The information from the fan that was posted on Facebook

Twitter: 

The tweet is from the Estate of Michael Jackson official twitter account, @MJOnlineTeam (verified)