on his birthday
August 29, 2009. Thousands of Mexicans claim to have broken the record for most people dancing to Thriller simultaneously in one place.
"We did it!" organiser Javier Hildago shouted to thousands of people wearing black fedoras, white gloves, aviator shades and ghoulish face paint, breathless after trying to recreate the groundbreaking 1983 video.
The Guinness Book of World Records will decide in a week whether to authenticate the record.
The current record was set in May by a group of 242 College of William and Mary students who performed the routine in Williamsburg, Virginia, according to Guinness.
Mr Hildago claimed 12,937 people danced in front of Mexico City's Monument of the Revolution, led by a Michael Jackson impersonator wearing a red-and-gold sequinned jacket. The day of the dance would have been Michael Jackson's 51st birthday.
But Guinness must certify whether all those people really performed the entire, intricate routine. The impersonator, who goes by the name of Hector Jackson, and most of those in front of a huge crowd of onlookers certainly looked pretty good.
"More people responded than we even imagined!" Hector Jackson said. "Mexico gave the best tribute in the world to Michael Jackson."
Some of those who took part were born more than two decades after Thriller was released.
Guillermo Rodriguez, two, wore a wig of dreadlocks, a black fedora and a white glove as he practised the moves minutes before the event, holding up a mobile phone that blared a recording of the song into his ear.
His father, Guillermo Rodriguez Sr, is not a huge fan himself. But he said his son has become mesmerised by the Jackson videos that Mexican television have often played since the King of Pop died on June 25.
Michael Jackson was born in a working class Afro-American family on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana. His dad Joseph, originally a guitarist, gave up his musical aspirations to work as a crane operator to make ends meet. However, he soon forced his boys into forming a music band, into which MJ was inducted when he turned five. The Jackson 5, as the ambitious young group was called, recorded their first single Big Boy, that failed to make the cut. Joseph, a hard task master, trained the boys relentlessly and eventually landed a deal with the Motown label.
Right from the beginning, it was quite obvious that Michael was the best singer on board. His range and depth were amazing, and he was the show stopper! Their first album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, hit the charts in December 1969. Its first single, ‘I Want You Back’ hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1970. The chart-topping singles that followed quickly were ‘ABC’, ‘The Love You Save’ and ‘I'll Be There’. At age 13, Jackson launched a solo career in addition to his work with the Jackson 5 and his first song to make the charts was ‘Got to Be There’. His first No. 1 single followed in 1972 from the album Be, the eponymous ballad about a rat!
Working with producer Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson wowed the music world with his next solo album, 1979's Off the Wall, which featured an interesting mix of pop and funk with such hit tracks as the Grammy Award-winning ‘Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough’, ‘Rock with You’ and the title track. He also found success with the ballad ‘She's Out of My Life’. Teaming up with rock legend Paul McCartney, MJ sang on their 1982 duet, ‘The Girl Is Mine’ which nearly reached the top of the pop charts. The song also appeared on his next solo album, Thriller (1982), which had a record seven super hit numbers.
On a television special honouring Motown, MJ performed ‘Billie Jean’ and debuted his soon-to-be-famous dance move called the moonwalk, a step he had created himself.
His most elaborate video, however, was for the album's title track. John Landis directed the horror-tinged video, which featured complex dance scenes, special effects, and a voiceover done by actor Vincent Price. The video for ‘Thriller’ became immensely popular, boosting sales for the already successful album. It stayed on the charts for 80 weeks, holding the No. 1 spot for 37 weeks. In addition to its unparalleled commercial achievements, Thriller earned 12 Grammy Award nominations and won eight of those awards.
MJ's Grammy victories showcased the diverse nature of his work. For his songwriting talents, he received the Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blues Song for ‘Billie Jean’. He then won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for ‘Thriller’ and Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male for ‘Beat It’. With co-producer Quincy Jones, he shared the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
In 1985, MJ’s altruistic side surfaced with ‘We Are the World’, a charity single for USA for Africa. The who's who of Music, including Lionel Ritchie, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, and Tina Turner, participated in the project.
Releasing his follow-up to Thriller in 1987, MJ topped the charts with Bad. It featured five No. 1 hits, including ‘Man in the Mirror’, ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ and the title track, whose video was directed by Martin Scorsese. In 1991, MJ released Dangerous, featuring the hit 'Black or White'. The video for this song included an appearance by child star Macaulay Culkin, and was directed by John Landis.
His musical career hit a low in 1995 with the lukewarm reception to HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I, which featured some of his earlier hits as well as new material. The album had two tracks that did manage to make an impact (‘You Are Not Alone’ and his duet with sister Janet Jackson, ‘Scream’), which earned the duo a Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form that year. By the release of 2001's Invincible, stories of his odd behaviour started to overshadow his talent.
The years leading up to his
sudden demise were not the best. He faced legal battles, criticism and
mockery on account of his fast paling skin and was ridiculed quite openly
as an eccentric. However, no matter what people said, there was no one
who could scale even half the heights he had and his fans remained loyal
all throughout, as they do even today after his tragic demise. The King
of Pop, as he was fondly called, can never be replaced. May his soul rest
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