Michael Jackson Lyrics
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- Pictures of Michael Jackson
- MJ Bio
Jackson's music took root in R&B, pop and soul. He had been influenced by the work of musicians such as Little Richard, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Diana Ross, Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gene Kelly, David Ruffin, The Isley Brothers, the Bee Gees and the West Side Story dancers, to whom he made a tribute in "Beat It" and in the "Bad" video. According to David Winters, who met and befriended Jackson while choreographing the 1971 Diana Ross TV Special "Diana!", (which was also Jackson's first solo debut outside of The Jackson 5), Jackson watched West Side Story almost every week and it was his favorite film. While Little Richard had a substantial influence on Jackson, James Brown was Jackson's greatest inspiration. In reference to Brown, Jackson declared: "Ever since I was a small child, no more than like six years old, my mother would wake me no matter what time it was, if I was sleeping, no matter what I was doing, to watch the television to see the master at work. And when I saw him move, I was mesmerized. I had never seen a performer perform like James Brown, and right then and there I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life because of James Brown."
The young Michael Jackson owed his vocal technique in large part to Diana Ross. Not only a mother figure to him, she was often observed in rehearsal as an accomplished performer. He later expressed: "I got to know her well. She taught me so much. I used to just sit in the corner and watch the way she moved. She was art in motion. I studied the way she moved, the way she sang – just the way she was." He told her: "I want to be just like you, Diana." She said: "You just be yourself." But Jackson owed part of his enduring style—especially his use of the oooh interjection—to Ross. From a young age, Jackson often punctuated his verses with a sudden exclamation of oooh. Diana Ross had used this effect on many of the songs recorded with The Supremes.
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