Ever since his death, music artists, bands, friends and fans have been paying tribute to Michael Jackson. The same week of his passing, BET changed the program of their entire awards show, to pay tribute to “The King of Pop.” BET began the event by playing a clip from a previous year, when Michael Jackson honored “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown. Michael draped JB with a cape, after he performed at the BET Awards that paid tribute to him.
This year’s show included performances acknowledging Jackson’s music, from Ne-Yo, Keri Hilson and presenter Keke Palmer — opening with musical tributes from New Edition and host Jamie Foxx. During the evening, Foxx’s wardrobe and several others that took the stage, wore outfits inspired by Jackson.
On the day Michael’s body departed this earth, radio interjected musical tributes within their respective formats, while DJs played his music in clubs that evening across the country. The jam band Umphrey’s McGee even paid tribute to MJ at their show that night. The article below taken from spinner.com:
While Michael Jackson’s influence might not necessarily be immediately apparent in a band like Umphrey’s McGee that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Thursday night, with very little prep time beforehand, the band encored with ‘Billy Jean’ at their concert in Richmond, Va. They also jammed parts of ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Something’ in their own songs throughout the night. It was their way of paying respects to the King, who died earlier in the day.
“There never will be another musical talent as captivating as Michael Jackson,” singer/guitarist Brendan Bayliss tells Spinner. “From the time he was five until his death, the entire world could never take its eyes off of him. His music was timeless, and like Bob Marley and John Lennon before him, it truly had a global impact. Very few musicians connected with people across lines of race and age, as well as international borders, the way Michael’s did. His death truly is a major loss for us all.”
His bandmate, keyboardist Joel Cummins, echos that sentiment by relaying his own experience with Jackson’s music: “I was 9 years old and first tape that I ever bought was Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’ I immediately felt a like I was more of a cool kid once I knew the songs. The arrangements, Michael’s voice and everything that went with that album just jumped out of the speakers like nothing else I’d ever heard,” Joel says. “I still have a tape deck in my car to this day, and the two tapes that get the most play are Led Zeppelin’s ‘Houses of the Holy’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Off the Wall.’ The timelessness of his music speaks for itself.”
Umphrey’s McGee got their start in Bend, IN, not too far from the city of Gary, where the Jackson family grew up. Percussionist Andy Farag actually has a personal anecdote about Jackson. “I feel a sense of pride that such a musical icon was from Gary, IN, where my dad grew up,” he tells Spinner. “Fun Fact: Before the Jackson Five ‘blew up’ they played at my uncle’s prom.”
The following week, Beyonce incorporated a tribute to Michael in her current I Am Tour. Presently in Las Vegas, she’ll be on the road through Thanksgiving, taking the show to London’s O2 on November 14 & 16. She also did the tribute performance during July 4th weekend at The Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
On July 4th, Madonna paid tribute to the legend “Gone Too Soon.” The reigning “Queen of Pop” paid her respects at the O2 in London during her Sticky & Sweet Tour. The same arena where Jackson was to do his This Is It! Tour, which was to begin on July 13th. While performing “Holiday”, she integrated her tribute to MJ. At the end she said: “Let’s give it up to one of the greatest artists the world has ever known, Michael Jackson, Long Live The King!”
Since the BET Awards, Ne-Yo has continued to sing Michael Jackson’s music at his concerts. U2 performed “Angel of Harlem” at their show in Barcelona on June 30th. “We wrote this one for Billie Holiday but we are going to play it tonight for Michael Jackson,” Bono told the crowd of 90,000 fans. “Unspeakable talent, that’s all there is to say, really,” he added, before the song morphed into Jackson hits “Man in the Mirror” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”
On July 8th, the day after the release of his new CD Black Summer’s Night, Maxwell dedicated his performance of “This Woman’s Work” to Michael Jackson. Maxwell sang the tune at an exclusive performance, which took place at New York’s PC Richardson Theater in lower Manhattan.
Last week on his own 68th birthday (7/22), nearly a month after MJ’s passing, “The Godfather of Funk” George Clinton, requested that the audience give MJ a standing ovation before the show began. Clinton took the stage wearing a Michael Jackson t-shirt under his running suit.
All over the world, entertainers and fans alike have been singing the praises of Michael Jackson. People of all creeds and cultures were affected by and embraced his music. The aforementioned stories are just a few examples — Long live the King.