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LATER ON in the evening, when the drinks had kicked in, various family members were really cutting loose and getting loud. I remember the conga line that went all through the house, up and down the stairs, etc.
It obviously made Mr. Gordy uncomfortable that yours truly was witnessing all that. (Hey, they were just having a good time!)
Patrice had gotten into the habit of calling me, mostly to talk about Jackie. Many years later, in 1989 to be exact, I interviewed Jackie Jackson who had a solo album that had just been released.
In the course of the conversation (it was a phone interview), I mentioned that Patrice used to call me a lot. Surprisingly, that really piqued his interest, even 20 years earlier.
“To say what?” he asked, genuinely curious. After I responded that it was nothing important, he said of his relationship with Patrice, “It was a puppy love thing.”
I have interviewed several members of the Jackson family (never Michael) and although they were all okay, the nicest one, and the interview I enjoyed most, was Marlon. I had to move the tape recorder closer to him and ask him to talk a little louder (there it was again — that soft-spoken Jackson thing).
THIS WAS IN 1987 when Marlon had a national No. 2 solo hit with “Don’t Go,” featured on his album, “Baby Tonight.” Interestingly, at one point, Marlon said bluntly, “I am no longer a member of the Jacksons.”
However, that changed once his solo endeavor had run its course.
A less pleasant experience occurred when I wrote in my column (“Reflections”) that I thought Michael Jackson was being greedy buying up the publishing rights to so many songs. My focus was on the Beatles catalog that Michael had just purchased.
Michael had maneuvered around Paul McCartney to get the rights to the vast and lucrative Lennon-McCartney catalog. McCartney, who had shown Michael the ropes with regard to buying copyrights, was trying to make the purchase himself, a fact Michael was aware of.
Michael going behind Paul’s back ended the Michael Jackson-Paul McCartney friendship. (As you will remember, they had hits as a duo: “The Girl Is Mine,” “Say Say Say.”)
What I had written came to the attention of Bob Jones, Michael Jackson’s longtime publicist and friend, who received the word from syndicated columnist Bill Lane. Jones called me and was quite angry.
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