Jacko memorial to be ‘low-key’

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Jacko memorial to be ‘low-key’
July 07, 2009 Print Ready Email Article

HIS performances were explosive and defied imagination.

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WINNERS: Jackson and Quincy Jones at the Grammys in 1984. PICTURE: AP

His memorial will be the exact opposite.

New York Daily News quoted the producer of Michael Jackson’s public memorial on Saturday that the event will be a restrained affair.

Mr Ken Ehrlich said: ‘It will be a celebration of Michael’s life… we’re not approaching it as a TV show.

‘In the future, there may be a tribute to Michael Jackson. This is really a memorial service. It’s not going to have all the bells and whistles. We want to keep it low-key.’

Mr Ehrlich, the long-time producer of the Grammy Awards, said the 90-minute farewell at the Staples Centre was likely to feature performances, but no final decisions had been made.

Many celebrities were expected to attend to say goodbye to the fallen pop icon.

He added: ‘People who are watching it, both live and on TV, can expect to see people who have played a role in his life, who will both be reminiscing about him and speaking about the impact he’s made.’

Jackson’s family met with organisers on Saturday to confirm details for the singer’s funeral rites.

His casket, reportedly the same US$25,000 ($36,200) model used for his idol, singer James Brown, will not travel through the streets.

An amazing 1.6 million people registered for free tickets to Tuesday’s farewell. But only 8,750 winners will be randomly picked.

Ms Kate Ross, 31, a recently-axed financial adviser from Spain who was among hundreds of fans who converged on the centre, said: ‘If I can’t get the chance to get in, I just don’t know what I’ll do. I lost my job for this.’

Officials estimated up to 750,000 Jackson fanatics could descend on the ‘no vehicle, no pedestrian’ zone around the 20,000-seat arena in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

Jackson, 50, died on 25 Jun after he was discovered in cardiac arrest inside his rented Bel Air mansion.

The Los Angeles police department, agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the state attorney-general are probing Jackson’s doctors.

One of Jackson’s close friends, music producer Quincy Jones, first worked with Jackson in 1978 on the set of The Wiz.

He went on to collaborate with him on groundbreaking recordings, including Thriller and Off The Wall.

He wrote a remembrance of Jackson for the Los Angeles Times.

He said he was devastated by the news that Jackson had suddenly died.

Gentle soul

He said: ‘This blessed artist commanded the stage with the grace of an antelope, shattered recording-industry records and broke down cultural boundaries around the world; yet he remained the gentlest of souls.’

Jones said Jackson would work for hours, perfecting every kick, gesture and movement so that they came together precisely the way they were intended to.

The ’80s were theirs, Jones said, and it reshaped the music business forever.

He said while working on Off The Wall, Jackson was so shy he’d sit down and sing behind the couch with his back to Jones.

Said Jones: ‘Michael had moved from the realm of bubblegum pop and planted his flag square in the heart of the musical pulse of the ’80s, but what came next, I don’t think any of us were ready for.’

That was Thriller which had hits like Beat It, Billie Jean and The Lady In My Life.

While recording the song Thriller, Jones said Jackson sang his heart out on it and at one point during the session, a speaker burst into flames.

Said Jones: ‘How’s that for a sign?’

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