July 4th Spectacular - The Music of Michael Jackson cover

July 4th Spectacular - The Music of Michael Jackson


Tonight's concert dazzles with the best-known hits of the legendary “King of Pop”, Michael Jackson. We'll travel from his early beginning with The Jackson 5 all the way through to his final film, “This Is It!” Enjoy music from “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Blood on the Dance Floor” and many more. Celebrate the legacy and genius of Michael Jackson as the seven-piece rock group Windborne, along with lead singer James Delisco, join the Pacific Symphony. We'll open with some patriotic favorites and closes with a brilliant fireworks finale!
This is Part 1 of the Program Notes for the July 4th Spectacular. You'll be automatically linked to the next NoteStream at the end.
Meet the Guest Artist James Delisco here.
To learn more about Richard Kaufman, the Principal Pops Conductor, please click here
To learn more about Music Director Carl St.Clair, click here.
March from The Great Waldo Pepper
Henry Mancini
National Emblem March
Edwin Bagley
The Star-Spangled Banner
Francis Scott Key
American Salute
Morton Gould
A George M. Cohan Overture
George M. Cohan / Arr. R. Wendel
Ohio Riverboat
Henry Mancini
Century of Flight
Brian Shyer
Victory at Sea
Richard Rodgers
Rock Around the Clock
Max Freedman / Arr. R. Wendel
The Music of Michael Jackson
Armed Forces Salute
America the Beautiful
Samuel Ward / Arr. G. Prechel
Washington Post March Semper Fidelis
Stars and Stripes Forever
John Philip Sousa

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars on 1 review

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Image by Zoran Veselinovic, (CC BY 2.0)


Some artists, Michael Jackson among them, defy classification. Universally hailed as the King of Pop, Jackson was too broadly talented to fit into any one category of the performing arts.

He was a singer, dancer, composer and innovator who grew up in the public eye, and whose life has become a foundational part of American cultural life.

American Story

Like his musical legacy, the life of Michael Jackson and his place in the Jackson family belong to America and the world.

Strip away the inevitable tabloid controversies and we are left with a story that is quintessentially American, starting with the formative influence of his parents—his mother Katherine, a deeply observant Jehovah’s Witness, and his father Joseph, an accomplished guitarist who sacrificed his own ambitions for a musical career to support his family as a crane operator.

Recognizing his sons’ musical talent, Joseph became manager and coach as well as father to his children, developing an act for Michael’s three older brothers, Tito, Jermaine and Jackie. Later, older brother Marlon also joined the group.

Professional Discipline

Michael, the eighth child of the Jackson family, became part of the act in 1964. His entry into the ensemble, which made it the Jackson 5, proved fateful.

With their father assuming tasks of agent, producer and performance coach, The Jackson 5 worked with professional discipline in developing a professional act, and the hours of disciplined effort paid off—gradually, at first.

Soon the group was opening for headliners including Gladys Knight and the Pips, James Brown, and Sam and Dave, and gained the attention of experienced producers.

In Command

Image by CBS Television, 1972 television special

In Command

Michael Jackson was five years old when he joined his brothers onstage. But even at that young age, it was clear that he was not just a child performer of novelty fascination, but a born performer.

He sang with a range and emotional depth that belied his age. His dancing wasn’t cute, it was riveting. He commanded the stage.

Los Angeles

Not long after he started with The Jackson 5, Michael was the lead vocalist of the group—not because he was the youngest performer, but because his style was the most mature and versatile.

After moving to Los Angeles from Indiana, the Jacksons lived with producer Berry Gordy and with Diana Ross as they adjusted to a new level of participation in the entertainment industry.

In August 1969, the group was introduced to that industry at a special event and became the opening act for Diana Ross’ hit-machine group, The Supremes.

"I Want You Back"

A collaboration with Ross, the album Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, was released later that year, with its single “I Want You Back” racing to No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100.

Jackson went on from The Jackson 5 to become one of the most compelling and popular performing solo artists of his generation.

Beginning in 1971, only two years after The Jackson 5 scored on the pop charts, he launched a solo career that combined his performance skills with a flair for innovation.


---Michael Jackson performing Original Song nominee "Ben" from the film "Ben" at the 45th Annual Academy Awards® in 1973. Introduced by Charlton Heston.

One galvanic performance by Jackson when he was only 14 and looked younger—his rendition of the oddly tender title song from the Hollywood horror feature Ben at the 1973 Academy Awards—put a lock on Jackson’s future as a star soloist.


That Glove

White House Photo, PD

That Glove

Jackson demonstrated his innovative vision not only in uniquely dramatic production values—think of that single, sequined glove that everyone had to have—but on MTV.


His music videos for songs including “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” remain landmarks of the form. Then, of course, there were his dance moves, which could have secured his place in cultural history if he had never sung a note.

The moonwalk and the robot were among his inventions, and the electric tension of his movements formed a perfect unity with the music. It’s tempting to describe these moves as “patented,” but they’ve actually been copied—directly or indirectly—by legions of artists.

Historical Success

With sales estimated at 65 million copies worldwide, Michael Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling commercial audio recording in history.

His other recordings rank among all-time best-sellers, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995).

One way to gain perspective on his cultural impact is to consider the sheer number of awards and world records associated with his career, among them 13 Grammy awards, the Grammy Legend Award, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and 26 American Music Awards.

Michael Jackson - Thriller

He has been called “Artist of the Century” and amassed 13 number-one U.S. singles during his solo career—more than any other artist of his generation. With lifetime album sales of 400 million and counting, Jackson is cited as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Meet the Guest Artist James Delisco here.

To learn more about Richard Kaufman, the Principal Pops Conductor, please click here