The Jackson 5 live on The Ed Sullivan Show

The Great Comeback – Or was it?

Michael Jackson appeared to be on the verge of a comeback for a brief while in the fall of 2001. To generate anticipation for Invincible, his first new album in seven years, he scheduled a two-night tribute performance at Madison Square Garden on October 30th.

Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, 'NSync, Usher, Shaggy, Aaron Carter, 98 Degrees, and Mya were among the stars who consented to perform MJ's tunes. Liza Minnelli, Ray Charles, Elizabeth Taylor, and even Marlon Brando attended the party.

The show's highlight was a reunion of the Jackson 5; however, it was officially "The Jacksons" because all six brothers performed. They hadn't performed in front of an audience since the Victory tour ended in 1984, though they did collaborate on the ill-fated 1989 album 2300 Jackson Street.

Despite the lengthy break, the concert went off without a hitch. "I Want You Back," "ABC," "Shake Your Body," and "I'll Be There" were among the songs they sang in a medley.


Medley Series Shows

On September 10th, the second show took place, ending just hours before the first jet hit the World Trade Center. Needless to say, over the last six months, a Michael Jackson memorial concert seemed like the least important thing in the world. Although the show premiered on CBS in late November to high ratings, Invincible had already proven to be a commercial failure - especially by Michael Jackson's standards.

A tour would have greatly aided the album's success, but Jackson refused. In a weird public protest, he blamed the loss on his record company, calling Sony Music chief Tommy Mottola "very, very nasty" and "racist." "The record labels collaborate against the artists," he claimed. "They steal, cheat, and do anything they can, particularly [against] black artists..." People like James Brown and Sammy Davis Jr., some of the true pioneers who inspired me to be an entertainer, are always on the road because they would starve if they didn't. You're fighting for all black people, dead and alive if you fight for me."


The trial and the End of the Road for MJ

The outrageous charges did not endear him to Sony, and things only got worse the following year when Martin Bashir's documentary Living with Michael Jackson premiered.

It painted him as mentally ill, and he was caught and charged with child abuse just a few months later. It was the start of the terrible, final chapter of Jackson's life, even though he was eventually cleared in a jury trial.

All in all, Medley was a great success – commercially and fanbase-wise. It's a rare occasion where you get to hear all the greatest Jacksons' hits in one go, and that too with all of the Jacksons, who we didn't get to see much together after their split.



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