"He was a wonderful, misunderstood person who saw life through a child's eyes and had difficulty dealing with life and the real world," says his former manager Freddy DeMann. DeMann told us tonight that he spoke with Jackson with some frequency and the pair had a good relationship for years after they stopped working together. DeMann first started to manage Jackson in 1978 when the Jackson 5 had left Motown for Epic Records and became The Jacksons and later helped Jackson partner with Quincy Jones, with whom he recorded the legendary "Thriller" LP. Jackson was DeMann's third client, Madonna his fifth, says DeMann who co-founded Maverick Records with Madonna.
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah: "He was a musician of extraordinary talent. It is just a sad day. He had a lot of controversy in his life, but he was a wonderful musician whose music will live on long beyond him," said Fattah who in 2004 hosted Jackson in his Capitol Hill office while Jackson was in Washington raising awareness for AIDS in Africa.
Jerry Blavat: "The Jackson Five when Michael was there was as big as the Beatles and created the same amount of pandemonium," says the Geator who participated in a press conference with the Jackson Five on their first visit to Philadelphia where they were met by WDAS's Doug "Jocko" Henderson and Georgie Woods. "When I interviewed Berry Gordy for my radio show and asked him out of all of these artists you've had who in your opinion was the most talented, he said Stevie Wonder was the best, but when Diana Ross showed him film of Michael playing the drums, dancing and singing when I saw him there was no comparison he was the most talented performer at 13 or 14 that I had ever seen in my life," the radio veteran recalls of his interview with the Motown founder.
Author/musician James McBride: "He was a very kind person, extremely shy," says McBride, who spent several months covering the Victory Tour for People magazine in 1984. "He felt wary of the press, he felt put upon and misunderstood by the press," said McBride who feels the opening night of the Victory Tour in 1984 in Kansas City was the greatest live show he's ever seen. "He scrutinized every single note and every dance step. He made sure it did precisely what he wanted it to do," McBride said of Jackson and his rigorous rehearsal schedule.
Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff: "We were privileged and honored to record him and his brothers here at Philadelphia International Records," Gamble and Huff said in a joint statement this morning. “We are very honored to have been a part of Michael Jackson’s music and creative career in helping to write and produce his own music with his brothers. We know his music and legacy will live on for a very long time," continued Gamble and Huff, with whom the Jacksons recorded two albums, "The Jacksons" and "Going Places," in 1976 and 1977. The Sound of Philadelphia pioneers also wrote several songs on the albums.