'Michael Jackson saved my life'

AS fans worldwide mourned the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson, his CDs were flying off the shelves in Scarborough's record stores – with staff at HMV in Westborough saying they'd sold "loads" of the star's albums.

And one figure on the Scarborough music scene told the Evening News how the singer had once saved his bacon.

Music writer Charles “Dr Rock” White – famous for his biographies of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis – bumped into Jacko three times during his career and on the second occasion, the superstar did the Scarborough scribe a really big favour.

He said: “I visited Quincy Jones to do an interview. He produced Jackson’s records and when I got to the studio, who should be there but Michael. I told him why I was there, and Michael told me that Quincy had just lost the tape of a song that he’d been working on for three months and, well, perhaps it wasn’t the best time to approach him.

“On hearing that, I decided that I could do my interview another day! I was very grateful to Michael for tipping me off!”

The first meeting Dr Rock had with the Thriller singer came before the singer rocketed to worldwide superstardom at the launch party for the his first solo album Off the Wall – an album that many rate as far superior to million-selling megahits Thriller and Bad.

Mr White added: “I was in New York to interview Little Richard and I was at WINS, one of the biggest radio stations in the States, when I was invited to a party. I was knackered but decided to go along anyway.

“It was in the Natural History Museum and it was the Off the Wall launch – a few years before he became massive. We had a chat about Little Richard, who he said was a huge influence on him.”

The twosome’s final meeting came at an auction of Little Richard memorabilia. Mr White said that Jackson’s music was groundbreaking and would always be remembered.

“He really broke the boundaries by becoming the first black star on MTV – that was revolutionary,” he said. “His main thing was fusing soul, pop, jazz, rock guitar – everything really – into one sound. He was the first musician to do that really.

“He was also very important for the visual age – he really expanded the way visuals were used in music.”

Scarborough’s record stores really felt the impact of the star’s demise - Tariq Eman, who works in Record Revivals on Northway, said: “We’ve had quite a few phone calls from people asking for his records. All we had in was a vinyl copy of Bad and a chap phoned in looking for a vinyl Off the Wall – he’s bought the Bad instead.”