In commemoration of what would have been Michael Jackson’s 52nd birthday, it’s only right that I dedicate this week’s installment of Award Show Sundays to him. Here are a handful of clips from YouTube that are just several of many, many award show acceptance speeches Michael made over the years.
Dick Clark was always one of Michael’s biggest advocates, and the American Music Awards (which Clark created) was way ahead of the curve when it came to honoring the future King of Pop. As a matter of fact, Michael has collected more AMAs than any single artist in history. While the Grammys only saw fit to honor “Off the Wall” with a single trophy, the AMAs honored him with five over a span of two years. The first clip here is a compilation of his three speeches from the 1980 American Music Awards show, as well as the award he presented for Favorite Pop Album with the late Nicolette Larson. Man, remember when Michael even allowed himself to present awards to other people? It’s also interesting to see how loose and regular he seems here.
While I can’t remember if I watched the 1980 ceremony as it happened, I definitely recall seeing the 1981 ceremony, during which Michael won an additional two awards-one of which was presented by his sister LaToya. I also remember his outfit being the cause of some derision among the older friends of my aunts and uncles-a pink sweater with a bow tie and jeans isn’t exactly typical award show fashion.
The next two clips come from the 1984 American Music Awards ceremony. In the first, Michael is presented the Favorite Soul Video award by James Ingram (who co-wrote and sang on “PYT”) and DeBarge (who would go on to briefly become his in-laws). MJ is also apparently ambushed on stage by “Beat It” director Bob Giraldi (he appears legitimately surprised to see him on stage) as well as, again, his sister LaToya, who served as the trophy girl for this particular presentation.
In the second, Michael is presented with the Award of Merit by Kenny Rogers (back when his face could still move), Barry Manilow (back when HIS face could still move), Quincy Jones (who is surprisingly brief) and Diana Ross. Truthfully, when I see this all I can think of now is an interview with Janet from a couple years ago when she said that she had a crush on Barry Manilow as a kid. Gross.
By the time of this final clip, from the 1989 American Music Awards, Michael was firmly entrenched as the King of Pop. Good authority has it that Michael was at a point where he would only appear on award shows if he was given a special award (seriously-can you think of an award show post-“Bad” that he appeared on when he wasn’t given a special award besides the 1995 VMAs, on which he got the 15-minute opening slot?). Eddie Murphy was on board to present Michael with a pair of special awards, and this clip is worth watching only because of Eddie’s hilarious improvising when Michael asks him to adjust the mic stand.
Happy birthday, MJ. You are missed!