Remembrance Of Things Past: Michael Jackson Burned In Pepsi Commercial- January 27, 1984.
Michael Jackson’s Thriller album released in late 1982 was still riding high in early 1984. Thriller spent 22 weeks at #1 on the album charts in 1983 and it would start 1984 at #1 and stay there until mid-April. It was an album that wouldn’t go away.
In the fall of 1983 Michael and his brothers The Jackson Five signed a $5 million dollar deal with Pepsi which included Michael doing Pepsi commercials. This one filmed on January 27th was supposed to be pretty routine. Michael would appear at the Shine Auditorium in Los Angeles in front of 3000 fans- it would be a concert environment. On the sixth take- with Jackson dancing to his greatest song “Billie Jean”- Jackson was too close to the pyrotechnics display which went off too soon. The fireworks set him on fire and he received second degree burns to his scalp and lost some hair. His jacket also caught on fire. His head was immediately bandaged and he was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he would be treated. He was later sent to Brotman Memorial Hospital’s Burn Center- in Culver City, California Jackson would undergo treatment to hide the scars. His hair never did properly grow back and this led to his wearing wigs. More seriously the pain he suffered from the burns reportedly led to a prescription pill addiction. There would be a law suit and a settlement out of court- the $1.5 million that Jackson received was donated to Brotman Medical Center where the burn center would be named the Michael Jackson Burn Center.
I am not sure when the Michael Jackson story started to turn bad/sad. Would things have turned out as they did- if this event hadn’t happened? I have always thought his greatest success the Thriller album led to his demise and early death.