Michael Jackson was one of the most successful celebrities ever to set foot on the Earth. His stardom brought him the title “The King of Pop”. MJ was lucky enough surrounded by talented people who stood with MJ to his success. Undoubtedly he played the most important role but there were people who managed the rest. And given his work period of five decades, this number of people is also huge.
In this article, we have made an effort to appreciate the works of all the people who had contributed to MJ’s success. Though we have only managed to gather a small list, we thank each and everyone from every corner of the world who played a role in Michael Jackson’s career.
Quincy Jones is a name the music industry will remember for a long time. He and Michael had a very special relationship in the ‘80s, which resulted in some evergreen albums. Jones produced the all-time most selling album Thriller, before that they worked on Off the Wall. They worked for the last time in 1987 in the album Bad.
Diana Ross was a priceless companion to Michael. In the early days, Ross endorsed the first Jackson 5 album Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5. MJ mentioned in his biography that she was his “mother, sister, and lover all combined in one”. So much so, MJ chose her as the ‘secondary caregiver’ to his children if his mother Katherine Jackson died before him.
Hal Davis might not be a popular name today, but he was the man to write the success story of the Jackson 5. Davis worked as a record producer and songwriter in the Motown records. He had major contributions in many Jackson 5 songs like “Dancing Machine” and “I’ll be There”.
Rod Temperton was an outstanding songwriter and music producer. He crafted three songs for the album Off the Wall. His “Rock with You” performed extremely well. Also, Temperton did a fantastic job in the best selling album. And fun fact — it was his idea to name the album Thriller.
Wonder and MJ were more than friends. From childhood he admired Wonder and The Jackson 5 worked with him in background vocals. Later, Jackson invited him to work in “Just Good Friends” from the album Bad.
Paul McCartney, a living musical legend, had a great working relationship with Michael. They did songs like “Say Say Say”, “The Girl is Mine” and “The Man” together, and also wrote a few songs for the king of pop.
Branca helped Jackson in many ways being his manager/lawyer. He managed the producers to sponsor Thriller with $1M+. He also helped MJ to buy ATV Music Publishing and take many other financial decisions.
The famous choreographer Michael Peters had had several talents. But he is mostly known for choreographing MJ’s album Thriller and Bad. He had a major contribution to all the fascinating dance steps that we see in these albums.
“Thriller” was the first Music Video to astonish the viewers with its beauty. Credit goes to John Landis for giving us such a masterpiece that is considered as the greatest music video in the world. MJ again worked with him in the music video of “Black or White”.
Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins
MJ is considered as a global fashion icon for his extraordinary sense of fashion. These two designers designed MJ’s costumes for more than 25 years. Even they designed the last costume for MJ, in which he was buried.
Michael Jackson cracked a deal with Pepsi and ran a huge commercial campaign involving millions of dollars. Who was the man that made it possible? Well, he is Jay Coleman, endorsement manager of MJ. He sold the idea and possibility to Pepsi and Pepsi came on board to collaborate with MJ. The rest is history.
DiLeo was Jackson’s manager in the ‘80s and worked for five years. Dileo took some decisions that proved to be really good. MJ re-hired him in 2009 though this time their partnership didn’t go so long.
Teddy Riley, a fantastic record producer and the creator of new jack swing, worked with Michael Jackson in the Dangerous album. Riley really made some difference in the album with the song “Remember the Time”. It won several accolades and drew people’s attention.
The famous choreographer Jeffrey Daniel choreographed “Smooth Criminal” and “Bad” for MJ back in the days. He also taught Jackson the Moonwalk, which was previously known as the backslide. We are thankful to him for teaching such a magical art to MJ who then took it to the next level.
Here’s another choreographer. Though Vincent wasn’t the main choreographer, he co-choreographed several of Jackson’s music videos including “Smooth Criminal”, “Black or White”. He even worked as the assistant choreographer in “Thriller”.
Remember that historic MTV 1995, performance? Travis was the guy who choreographed Dangerous’s performance. Payne choreographed many other dancing segments for MJ including, “Ghost”, and his This Is It.
Bill Bottrell did some really good work with tracks of Bad and Dangerous. This fantastic record producer co-wrote and rapped the superhit “Black or White” song. He was also part of the “Earth Song” production team.
Swedien worked with Michael for almost 30 years starting from the film “The Wiz”. They had a pretty intimate relationship and respected each other. As an audio engineer and record producer, he worked on albums like Off the Wall and Thriller.
Nick Brandt is an outstanding photographer who directed MJ’s “Earth Song” and “Strangers in Moscow”. Nick’s beautifully captured scenes played a vital role in the success of these music videos.
LaVelle Smith Jr
Smith first worked with Michael as a dancer and accompanied him in three world tours. Later Michael asked him to choreograph “Ghosts” and the musical “Thriller-Live”.
Rodney Jerkins has written several songs for Jackson in his album Invincible including “Privacy”, “Invincible”, “Threatened”. It was the last studio album by Michael Jackson and Jerkins had a major role by co-producing Invincible as well.