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10 greatest Michael Jackson songs to celebrate his 60th birthday

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Today marks what would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday. The King Of Pop was born on 29 August 1958 in Gary, Indiana. However, he sadly died at the age of 50 on 25 June 2009 in Los Angeles. Jackson’s career spanned four decades, with him starting off in The Jackson Five with his siblings, later going solo in the 80s. To celebrate his birthday, here are 10 of MJ’s best tracks, as well as the meanings behind them.

Smooth Criminal

Released thirty years ago in 1988, Smooth Criminal was on Jackson’s 1987 album Bad. It peaked at number eight in the UK singles chart. The track is about a woman named Annie who is violently attacked in her apartment. It was used as the theme song to Moonwalker, Jackson’s 1988 film.

Beat It

Released in 1983, Beat It was from this sixth studio album Thriller 1982. It peaked at number three in the UK. The track has been described as a ‘sad commentary on human nature’ and is influenced by Michael’s childhood and growing up in a gang culture, as well as his dislike of violence, hence lyrics such as ‘don’t be a a macho man’. For the acclaimed video, Jackson famously brought together the ring leaders of two of Los Angeles’ notorious gangs – the Crips and Bloods – to not only add authenticity, but also in an attempt to neutralise their issues.

Blood On The Dance Floor

Released in 1997, Blood On The Dance Floor is from the remix album Blood On the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. It was originally written in 1991 and set to go on his album that year Dangerous, however he left it off to give himself more time to tweak and perfect it. Blood On The Dance Floor is about a woman called Susie who seduced Jackson and then plots to stab him with a knife on a dance floor.

Man In The Mirror

Another track from Bad, Man In The Mirror was released in 1988, peaking at number two in the UK. While not written by him, it is believed it was one of Jackson’s favourite tracks and was one of his famous socially conscious works.

Dirty Diana

Dirty Diana was released in 1988 from his album Bad, peaking at number four in the UK charts. Jackson revealed the song is about his groupies, focusing on one in particular, and had to dismiss claims it was about the late Diana, Princess Of Wales after she told him it was her favourite song of his.

Earth Song

Earth Song was from Jackson’s HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I and was released in 1995, peaking in the UK in the top spot. It was another of Jackson’s socially conscious tracks, this time focusing on animal welfare and the environment. Like Blood On The Dance Floor, it had been destined for his Dangerous album but didn’t make the cut.

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Billie Jean

Billie Jean was one of Michael Jackson’s earlier singles, released in 1983 from the album Thriller and hitting the number one spot in the UK. It became the biggest selling single for MJ and, along with Beat It, helped Thriller become the best selling album of all time. The track was about a woman called Billie Jean who slept with the narrator and then told him he is the father of her son, although the narrator denies it. Jackson had said how he based the son on the experiences his brothers had while in The Jackson Five, rather than his own experiences.

Thriller

Released in 1983, Thriller came from his album of the same name. It was originally called Starlight, with lyrics including ‘Give me the Starlight’. But Jackson then came up with the title Thriller and changed the lyrics to ‘Cause this is Thriller’. Jackson’s most iconic music video was created as a result of the track, lasting for 14 minutes and featuring his Thriller dance.

The Way You Make Me Feel

The Way You Make Me Feel was released in 1987 and came from his album Bad. It reached number three in the UK charts and is a song about being in love and the feeling of love.

Human Nature

Another of his earlier tracks, Human Nature was released in 1983 and came from his album Thriller. It is about a conversation Toto member Steve Porcaro, who wrote the song, had with his young daughter about a boy who was being mean to her at school. Jackson’s producer Quincy Jones ended up accidentally hearing a demo of it and immediately wanted it on Thriller. He brought in lyricist John Bettis to tweak the verses and it made it onto the album.

Michael Jackson albums:

Got to Be There (1972)

Ben (1972)

Music & Me (1973)

Forever, Michael (1975)

Off the Wall (1979)

Thriller (1982)

Bad (1987)

Dangerous (1991)

HIStory: Past, Present and Future,

Book I (1995)

Invincible (2001)

Posthumous albums:

Michael (2010)

Xscape (2014)

 

 

 

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Rebel Wilson loses bid to keep most defamation payout appeal

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Hollywood actress Rebel Wilson on Friday said she was proud to “stand up to a bully” despite losing a bid to reinstate a multi-million-dollar defamation payout from an Australian publisher.



The “Pitch Perfect” star was awarded Aus $4.5 million (US$3.3 million) in damages against Bauer Media last year over articles claiming she lied about her age and background to further her career.

It was the largest defamation penalty in Australian legal history and drew criticism from across the country’s publishing industry, which said it set a dangerous precedent.

Bauer appealed the award and a court earlier this year ordered Wilson to return Aus$4.1 million of the damages.

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Wilson, who said she had missed out on lucrative roles as a result of the Bauer articles, applied to the High Court to appeal the decision.

The application was rejected by the court at Friday’s hearing in Canberra as Wilson watched from the public gallery.

Outside the court, the Australian star told reporters “the whole reason for bringing this case is that I really wanted to stand up to a bully, which was Bauer Media”.

“And I’m so proud of myself that I did that, and saw it out right to the bitter end.”

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France to Sign Film Production, Distribution Agreement with Nigeria

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Plans for a mutually beneficial working relationship in film production and distribution between Nigeria and France have reached an advanced stage.




This was disclosed at the French Day Roundtable — one of the industry sessions at the ongoing Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).

Delegates from France and Nigerian filmmakers rubbed minds on how well they could leverage on several French platforms to distribute Nollywood films in France.

Though details of the treaty are being fine-tuned, however, Eric Garandeau, a former president of the French Government National Centre for Cinema and Moving Image (CNC), said that France is very open to co-productions with Nigeria.

With the over 5,000 screens available in the country, he noted that Nollywood films can be accommodated.

He pointed out that filmmakers must pay attention to the kind of stories they are telling, adding that: “Imagine the most original story with universal appeal that is rooted in culture. It is important that they tell a story that reflects your culture and has a universal appeal. You should never be shy of your culture; express it.”

Renowned filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan, who shared similar thoughts, told the audience how he was inspired to explore other shores after witnessing a film festival in France.

This, he said, led to the sponsorship of his ‘The CEO’ film by two French multinationals: Air France and Peugeot.

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He encouraged young filmmakers to think or dream same, while ensuring that whatever project they are working on meets the standards.

“We have to meet the standards to put this movie on the available platforms,” he said.

It was generally accepted that international co-production is a good step in the right direction to promote Nollywood films.

Afolayan disclosed that he was already working on a film based on a book by Kenya’s prolific author Ngugi wa Thiong’O.

“The movie has been in the works since 2016 and it is a co-production of Kenya, South Africa, Congo and Nigeria,” he said.

A French film director Olivier Ayache Vidal, whose film ‘The Teacher’ was also screened, shared same sentiments, though his movie was shot in China.

During the ‘Content Circulation Between France and Nigeria’ session, Francis Nebot advised Nigerian filmmakers to ensure that they make an international version of their films if they aspire to distribute it in France.

He expressed optimism that there is a market for Nollywood films in France but it must meet the standards of the French.

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In Nigeria however leading cinema houses are already acquiring film distribution rights for French films.

Silverbird Film Distribution Company recently signed a distribution deal with Les Film 26, a French production and distribution service company, to release three French films in Nigeria, while Genesis Cinemas will be opening a cinema house in French-speaking country, Cameroon.

Garandeau further urged filmmakers to look for French filmmakers they can collaborate with as well as attend film festivals in France, notably the Cannes Film Festival, and leverage on platforms like the World Cinema Fund which was created to stimulate international co-productions.

When the treaty is signed, Nollywood fillmmakers will be able to apply for grant to make films for audiences in both countries.

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