Jonathan Morrish: I was honoured to work with him
Saturday 27 June 2009
I was incredibly fortunate and privileged to work with Michael, well, in fact the Jacksons, when they joined CBS from Motown in 1976, and also to have stayed involved in his career until his last album,
Invincible, in 2001.
Quite simply Michael Jackson was the greatest song and dance man of all time and his death is not just a huge and tragic loss but it sadly heralds the end of an era. Michael changed music-making and the music industry. His videos raised the bar to new standards and his tours around the world took music theatre to unprecedented levels of artistic and technical excellence. He leaves behind a body of work that will be listened to by generations to come.
The group's success, and his own solo success, which took off with Off The Wall in 1979, meant that he came to England, a country he genuinely loved, a lot in that time.
As a child star, which is probably the hardest mantle to carry, he was a man whose trust you rightfully had to win. He understood the dynamics of show business – the discipline, the need for perfection, the eye for detail – and he expected that, again rightfully, from the people he worked with.
But he could be mischievously humorous. Once in Germany just before a television show, he insisted that I stand behind the cameraman so that, if he felt so minded, he could call on me to stand in for him. Needless to say after a few minutes he beckoned to me and I dutifully came forward – and this was live television in front of 30 million people – to take my place while he went off! I didn't mind. I think it was his way of having fun and setting challenges.
He had an engaging mind and on our travels around the world and the cities in which he was playing made sure that he visited galleries and saw the sights. Yes, he liked to go out shopping, and of course stores would close for him given the impossibility of the world's most famous man shopping in usual opening hours. But he made it fun for everyone around him and he was incredibly generous.
As he was as a performer, giving everything on stage to the fans who had paid to see him. Give them what they want and like and do it with style, passion, energy and to the highest technical specification.
My thoughts are with his family.
The writer is Director of PPL, the music licensing company, and a former Sony Music executive
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