Michael Jackson (August 28, 1958 - June 25, 2009) was an American soul and pop singer, also referred to as "the King of Pop". He rose to fame as child singer in the soul group The Jackson Five. During the 1980s he became an international icon due to the success of his album "Thriller" (1982), which became the best selling music record of all time. His innovative music videos changed the genre into an art form and mass marketing tool. His eccentric behaviour and ever changing physical appearance received enormous media attention and made him the subject of numerous speculations and ridicule.
- In the Does Humor Belong In Music? (1984) video a reporter asks Frank Zappa whether he could write chart toppers and sell millions of albums if he wanted to? Zappa responded: "Yeah, but who wants to go through life with a tiny nose and one glove on?"
- During an interview on the Arsenio Hall show in February 1989 Zappa told Hall that he saw a little black girl on CNN being interviewed about Jackson. According to him she said: "He ugly. He white lookin'". He told Hall that this was the inspiration for his song "Why Don't You Like Me?"
- “Do we really want to know how Michael Jackson makes his music? No. We want to understand why he needs the bones of Elephant Man -- and, until he tells us, it doesn't make too much difference whether or not he really is bad.' ( Frank Zappa in The Real Frank Zappa Book)
- Jackson was spoofed in the songs Why Don't You Like Me? and Bacon Fat on "Broadway The Hard Way" (1989). Both songs also include a musical quote from Jackson's song "Billie Jean".
- An Anglo-Italian rap version of Michael Jackson's "I'm Bad" was to feature in the opera "Dio Fa", an FZ project that never happened.
- When Den Simms asked Zappa in They're Doing the Interview of the Century, Part 1 after the meaning of the secret word "Llama" during a concert in Chicago Zappa told Simms that it was derived from a Willie Nelson tv commercial where Nelson sings "Mama!" It eventually turned into "Llama" To which Den Simms enquires "And does that have anything to do with Michael Jackson's llamas?" To which Zappa replies "That's right. Got it? That's how that one works."
- Zappa wore an oven mitt on the cover of Them Or Us (The Book) as a parody of Jackson's one glove look.