‘Michael Jackson behind the mirror shades’ [Danny Baker meets Michael – Circa 81]

Since his passing, many comments have been made about Michael Joseph Jackson, his nutty ways, his talents as a singer, performer, and erm, writer [Did he really write less than 50% of the songs on Thriller?]

This article from UK broadcaster and general stand-up guy Danny Baker from The Times in 2005 describes a face-to-face interview with Jackson pre-Thriller in April 81. Danny described the interview including the entire male Jackson siblings as well as sister Janet, as a ‘surrogate therapy session’

“Michael Jackson arrived, accompanied by his sister Janet. At that point the world hadn’t heard of Janet Jackson and at first I thought she might be his PA. She showed him to a chair and then, taking the seat next to him, appeared to run through an elaborate itinerary in barely a whisper. At this point of his life Jacko was still recognisably human. He was still clearly a black guy and not the eerie wraith we have now learnt to gawp at. However, he was plainly not about to crack open a beer and ask about the sports scores either. He wore the most enormous mirrored dark glasses and once seated — and this really threw me — picked up a phone and held it to his ear. “Should I wait until he’s through?” I said to Janet. “Oh no, he’s not talking to anybody,” she replied with a smile, “it’s just something he feels comfortable with.”

The 1981 article  in edited form can be read here at NME.com

The 2005 piece can be read at the Timesonline.co.uk

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