Michael Jackson’s relationship with Las Vegas started at young age

Michael Jackson never performed an actual ticketed show in Las Vegas during his adult career. But he had a high profile in the city as a frequent visitor and, in recent years, a resident.

His association with Las Vegas began during the Jackson 5 era and continued to recent recordings in the studio at the Palms.

A teenage Jackson and his brothers performed on the Strip as the Jackson 5, starting in April 1974 at the original MGM Grand (now Bally’s). They performed at the hotel several times that year.

It was there Jackson, then 15, befriended magicians Siegfried & Roy, who were a specialty act in the "Hallelujah Hollywood!" revue at the same hotel. The friendship held through the years, with Jackson eventually supplying the theme song to "Siegfried & Roy at The Mirage."

Jackson also was a guest for long stretches in the poolside villas of The Mirage during the ’90s, when his friend Steve Wynn was hotel chairman.

"Michael was a wonderful dad and I feel very sad for the children," Wynn said Thursday.

The closest Jackson came to a ticketed performance was in February 1994, when "The Jackson Family Honors" was taped in front of a live audience at the MGM Grand Garden arena for an NBC special.

The event fell during the first time Jackson defended himself from accusations of child sexual abuse in a civil suit that was settled out of court. Instead of a performance, the show turned into more of a rally in Jackson’s defense, led by his friend Elizabeth Taylor.

The crowd screamed and cheered so much when Jackson came onstage that it took several minutes for the entertainer to be able to continue with his presentation.

Jackson had a difficult time getting through the evening’s stated business — a tribute to Motown Records founder Berry Gordy — because of screams from the audience expressing support for the singer.

Taylor had to silence the crowd when they screamed for Jackson to perform, and they booed when she told them he was not prepared.

"Enough of tabloid media. Enough of tabloid television," Taylor proclaimed from the stage. "Only you (the public) can accomplish this simply by not buying their garbage. Only you can put them out of business."

He did join in the group finale.

Jackson started turning up more frequently in Las Vegas beginning in 2002. He received the key to the city from Mayor Oscar Goodman in October 2003, and lived here with his children during a six-month stretch in 2007. He returned in the summer of 2008, living for a few months in a residence on Palomino Lane. It was not immediately known how recently he had lived in Las Vegas, but CNN reported he relocated from the valley to Los Angeles in May.

During the filming of a controversial British documentary that aired in 2003, journalist Martin Bashir followed Jackson on shopping sprees around town.

Jackson created a media circus on Nov. 20, 2003, when he returned to Las Vegas from Santa Barbara, Calif., after posting $3 million bail following charges of child molestation. A slow-speed car chase ensued as local and national media followed from the air and ground Jackson’s Lincoln Navigator as it seemingly wandered the streets of Las Vegas and Henderson. Fans also tried to track Jackson, and live television coverage showed the singer offering a gloved hand to fans who ran into traffic to touch him.

Jackson stayed at Green Valley Ranch and the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas before moving back to California to await trial. After being exonerated in June 2005, he left the country for 18 months, splitting time between Dubai and Ireland before flying to Las Vegas on Christmas Eve 2006 with his children.

He ended the stay in June 2007, leaving a Summerlin rental home in what Review-Journal columnist Norm Clarke reported as a "filthy" shambles, citing an eyewitness.

Piles of junk were left on the curb at the home, and two Christmas trees draped with ornaments were still in place inside the house. "They left the Christmas trees up like it was still December," said Clarke’s source.

During his stay in Las Vegas, Jackson and his children often were spotted at local shows and attractions. All of that fueled reports that Jackson was pursuing a Celine Dion-type residency on the Strip.

The rumors built to such a level of plausibility that Wynn, chairman of Wynn Resorts, had to issue an official denial of any plans to host Jackson in June 2005.

Rumors cranked up again in June 2008 when Colony Capital — owner of the Las Vegas Hilton — came into control of Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California, fueling speculation that Jackson would perform to pay off the debt. The Wall Street Journal reported a possible tribute show at the Hilton similar to Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles show "Love."

"Mr. Jackson wouldn’t be a regular part of the performance but would appear for 20 to 30 performances a year, possibly with his brothers," the Journal reported.

Though Jackson dined with choreographer Kenny Ortega at Wynn Las Vegas in January 2007, the comeback they discussed ended up being scheduled for London instead of Las Vegas.

George Maloof chatted often with Jackson about a year and a half ago, while he resided and recorded at the Palms for two months. Some of the material appeared on the 25th anniversary of his "Thriller" album, released last year. It’s not known how much more of his work there remains unreleased.

"He touched base about every other day just to say hi," Maloof said Thursday. "He was always a gentleman. Never asked for anything outrageous. He always asked if I was in the middle of something, and said he could call me back if I was."

Maloof said Jackson was "real private" about what specifically he was recording, and that he recorded in his room as much as in the Palms’ studio.

Since privacy was such a concern, Maloof tried to keep a lid on his residency. This led to an awkward moment while Maloof gave Jackson and his three children a tour of the Sky Villa.

"I didn’t know how to operate the remote-control system," Maloof said. "And I didn’t want to call engineering, because I snuck him in and I didn’t tell anybody in the whole hotel that he was there."

As Maloof pressed buttons haphazardly, one began blasting a tune from one of the Palms’ piped-in music channels. It was "Billie Jean."

"It was the craziest thing ever," Maloof said. "He looked at me and said, ‘Well, we know it works.’ "

Jackson was credited as producer when he financed the Pasadena, Calif., staging of a theatrical musical "Sisterella" by Las Vegas composer Larry Hart in 1996.

After the premiere, "Michael hosted a celebration at Neverland, and invited my family and the whole cast. That visit became the first of many," Hart said in a statement Thursday. "On (the) closing day, Michael came to see the show and see us off before we left to go on tour in Europe.

"The last time I heard from Michael was last October. He left a voice mail message for me to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’ I hadn’t heard from him in a while, and that message is more poignant today, as it was surprising and touching then," Hart said in the statement.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Corey Levitan contributed to this report. Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

2 in custody after chase
Two people were in custody after a chase involving Nevada Highway Patrol and Nye County Sheriff"s office deputies ended in southwest Las Vegas. Las Vegas police blocked off Rainbow Boulevard north of Tropicana Avenue around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Law enforcement personnel prepared to tow a black sedan as part of their investigation. It's not certain what precipitated the chase or where and when it started. Check back for updates.
Police Officer's Vehicle Was Taken During Shooting
Video from body worn camera footage released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday shows an officer realizing his police vehicle has been taken during the chaos of the Route 91 shooting. It was later recovered at Sunrise hospital with the keys in the ignition and nothing removed. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
See Kitty Hawk’s flying car cruise over Lake Las Vegas
Kitty Hawk takes their flying car for a ride in the company’s hidden test facility in Lake Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Las Vegas police wild pursuit through busy Las Vegas streets
An intense chase near Downtown Las Vegas ends after gunfire is exchanged as the suspect flees on busy streets and ends up near an elementary school. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Man shot strolling through park
A man was hospitalized early Tuesday morning after being shot while walking in a central Las Vegas park. Las Vegas police say the man and a woman were in Molasky Park just after midnight when the man was shot. The pair ran to a nearby supermarket where a security guard called for help. The man was hospitalized and as of 3 a.m. was in stable condition. Police have yet to identify the shooter and no suspects are in custody.
Police investigating shooting at east valley apartment complex
No one was injured late Monday night after someone fired shots at a vehicle at an east valley apartment complex. Police responded just before midnight to the Hamptons Apartments, 3070 S. Nellis Blvd. Someone fired shots at a vehicle that was leaving the complex, and struck the vehicle. Another bullet struck a nearby apartment building. The shooter or shooters remain at-large.
Hundreds Attend Slides, Rides and Rock and Roll in North Las Vegas
Hundreds attended the inaugural slides, rides and rock and roll event in North Las Vegas Saturday. The event featured a car show, water slide park and live music. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It's All Rainbows At The Center's New Cafe
The Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) introduced its new coffeeshop, Little Rainbow Cafe, in June. Rainbows are everywhere, even in the lattes and toast, and employees wear t-shirts with the quote "Be a rainbow in someone's cloud." Owner Ben Sabouri said the concept is "built around the idea of, you know, be kind and treat everybody the same." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a Rainbow Latte at the The Center's Little Rainbow Cafe
The Center, a community center for the LGBTQ community of Southern Nevada, has a new cafe. Little Rainbow Cafe serves up a pride-inspired signature "Rainbow Latte." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed trying to cross Sahara
A pedestrian was killed Friday trying to cross Sahara Avenue near Maryland Parkway about 5 a.m. A sedan struck the pedestrian while the person was outside the crosswalk between Maryland Parkway and Pardee Place, according to Las Vegas police. Police also said the driver of the sedan remained at the site of the crash. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. This is the 75th fatal crash that Las Vegas police have investigated in 2018.
Man shot multiple times
Las Vegas police are investigating after a man was shot multiple times early Friday morning. The shooting was called in about 3:20 a.m. at the Harbor Island Apartments, 370 E. Harmon Ave., near Koval Lane. The man was hospitalized and is expected to survive, but police are still searching for the shooter.
Former Military Police Corps Officer Celebrates 100th Birthday
Summerlin resident Gene Stephens, who served as a military policeman in WWII and escorted then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and President Roosevelt during the war, turned 100 on July 13, 2018. He credits his longevity to living a normal life, exercising regularly and eating three square meals a day. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Motorcyclist suffers serious injuries
A motorcycle rider was seriously injured Tuesday night after a crash on Charleston Boulevard. The crash was reported just before 10 p.m. near Durango Drive, according to Las Vegas police. The motorcyclist was hospitalized with unknown injuries but is expected to survive. Las Vegas police are investigating the cause of the accident.
CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara Has Lunch With Students
New Clark County School District superintendent Jesus Jara continued his listening tour by having lunch with students at Red Rock Elementary School as part of the district's summer lunch program. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, children under the age of 18 can find a free lunch at 104 different locations across the valley through the summer months. Jara highlighted the free program and the importance of eating healthy during his visit. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Timeline Leading Up to Scott Dozier's Execution
Scott Dozier is set to be executed by lethal injection the night of July 11 at Ely State Prison. Dozier was convicted of the April 2002 killing of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller and was given the death penalty in Oct. 2007. In 2016 Dozier asked in a letter to District Judge Jennifer Togliatti requesting that he “be put to death.” A three-drug cocktail of midazolam, a sedative; the painkiller fentanyl; and cisatracurium, a paralytic, is expected to end his life. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Program Helps Mothers Battling Addiction
Jennifer Stanert has battled drug addiction on and off for the last 21 years. It caused her to lose custody of one of her children, Alec, after she gave birth while high. A new program at Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican Hospitals aims to connect mothers like Stanert with community resources and provide case management services while still pregnant to get connected to lactation and parenting classes, group peer support and education on neonatal abstinence syndrome. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Felon caught with guns in Mandalay Bay room 3 years before Las Vegas shooting
A felon was caught with guns in a Mandalay Bay hotel room three years before the October 1st mass shooting. Six weapons were found inside Kye Aaron Dunbar’s 24th floor room in November 2014. Four were semi-automatic. One was a scoped rifle pointing toward the Strip, according to court documents. Dunbar was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for unlawful possession. The case just came to light in a lawsuit accusing Mandalay Bay of negligence in connection with the Oct. 1st shooting.
Illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas area garner complaints
Clark County received nearly 25,000 complaints over the Independence Day holiday on a new illegal fireworks site. Reports from the site led to at least 10 illegal fireworks busts across the valley overnight. As of Thursday morning, the county is still compiling the total number of citations issued.
House fire displaces 2 people
Two people were displaced after a house fire early Thursday morning. The fire, at 963 Temple Drive in east Las Vegas, was reported just after midnight, according to a battalion chief from the Clark County Fire Department. Crews from the North Las Vegas and Las Vegas fire departments also were called in to help. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
"Red White and Boom" July 4 Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Full video of the Fourth of July "Red White and Boom" fireworks show at the Stratosphere as seen from the 8th floor Elation Pool. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite. (7-04-18) (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Crowds Enjoy Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Revelers enjoyed watching fireworks displays from the Stratosphere's 8th floor Elation pool on July 4. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed in Henderson
A pedestrian trying to cross St. Rose Parkway at Bermuda was hit by a vehicle on Tuesday night and later died. The crash was reported around 11:30 p.m. Las Vegas police responded initially, but handed over the investigation to Henderson police once it was determined the accident happened in their jurisdiction. Las Vegas police did respond to a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle on the Strip. The person, who was hit by a BMW near Fashion Show mall, suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.
USPS owes $3.5 million for using Vegas Statue of Liberty on stamp
The United States Postal Service has been ordered to pay $3.5 million to a sculptor after using the Las Vegas replica of the Statue of Liberty in a stamp. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Officer Brent Horlacher shoots at Jessie Murillo
Las Vegas police video of an officer-involved shooting on June 29, 2018. Officer Brent Horlacher, 28, fired a single shot at suspect Jessie Murillo. Murillo was not injured. The radio audio is of the officer who fired the gun and the body camera video is from a different officer. Radio audio excerpts are added to the video and are not the precise times the audio was spoken.
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
UNLV professor cautions dangers of distracted walking
An alarming number of adults do not cross the street safely according to a study conducted by professor Tim Bungum of the School of Community Health Sciences at the UNLV. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas-Review Journal) @brokejournalist
Car left in remote desert 21 years is recovered for late owner's children
Showboat casino blackjack dealer Mark Blackburn died outside of White Hills, Ariz. 21 years ago. His 1980 Datsun B310 wagon remained in the remote desert until a network of volunteers recovered the car for his children. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Resort on Mount Charleston Sold for $4.8 million
North Carolina couple and hoteliers Deanna and Colin Crossman have purchased the Resort on Mount Charleston for $4.8 million. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like