Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson Have an Awkward Conversation, Circa 1984

Jackson and Springsteen met after a Jackson concert in 1984 that Springsteen attended.  Talk about awkward.

Here is a taste of the transcript of the conversation as recorded by Gary Smith and published at MJ Translate:

The word had spread. The people waited. Rock's reigning monarch and the Boss - Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen - were about to meet for the first time, and 25 members and guests of the Jackson entourage had wedged into the reception room of Jackson's suite in Philadelphia to gawk. It felt like history.

Springsteen, 35, entered first, wearing boots, faded jeans, a short-sleeved shirt rolled up to free his biceps, stubble on his chin and a red kerchief knotted around his neck, as if his body needed a tourniquet to cut off all that energy on nonworking days. Then came Jackson, 26, fresh from a postconcert shower. He wore a pink button-down shirt over a white T-shirt, dusty rose pants so long they accordioned at the bottom and blue slippers with his initials stitched in gold. He seemed like a friendly, rich little schoolboy curious to know something about the world of a working man. A space cleared around them, and both remained standing.

"Hi," said Jackson, extending his hand. "I just read a story about you in PEOPLE magazine. It was very good."

"Oh, thanks," grinned Springsteen. "I really enjoyed seeing your show tonight."

"I hear you play long concerts. How long do you go?"

"Oh, about three hours."

"How do you do it? Do you take a break?"

"Yeah, about a half hour. It works out pretty good, I guess."

A camera clicked, eyes strained, ears tilted. Jackson's eyes flitted about the room, never pausing long enough to see. He seemed anxious to think of another question, the way he seemed anxious onstage at the end of a song to sing another song. Springsteen sucked on an ice cube.

"Did you write that song Fire [sung by the Pointer Sisters]?" Jackson asked.

"Yeah, that was a quick one. Only took me about 10 minutes. But I don't write when I'm on the road. Can you?"

"No," said Jackson, "There's too much going on."

His hands for a home, folding in front of him, then connect behind him, then looping over the unused belt loops of his pants. A reggae song came on the television nearby, and he started a dance step, then stopped himself. Couldn't he simply ask Springsteen back into his empty bedroom so they could talk like two normal human beings, maybe discover that they both loved watching reruns of The Honeymooners? Or was the anxiety of intimacy perhaps greater for him than the anxiety of holding center stage? During the moment of silence Michael seemed to be looking for a prop.

"My secretary, Shari, wants you for Christmas," he said, putting his arm around her waist and pulling her between them.

"What's wrong with Thanksgiving?" laughed Springsteen, as the three posed for Jackson's personal photographer.

Read the rest here.