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Michael Jackson: Hear How He Wanted to Be Remembered

July 7, 2009 6:37 PM ET

Eight years before his death, Michael Jackson mused on how he'd want to be remembered in a 2001 fan Q&A moderated by Rolling Stone: "I used to always buy the Guinness Book of World Records," he laughed. "I said, 'Mmm, I like to dance and sing. Hopefully one day I can be in this book.' When Thriller became the biggest-selling album of all time and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records ... it was the happiest time of my life."

(Check out photos from Michael Jackson's all-star memorial.)

You may have heard parts of the interview — conducted days before Jackson released his last studio album, Invincible — excerpted on last night's Dateline. Below, listen to expanded excerpts of Jackson discussing the inspirations for his songwriting, what he would have changed about his life and the achievements he's most proud of — or listen to the entire hour-long segment for additional unfiltered insight from the King of Pop, including his instructions for doing the moonwalk, his childhood idols and impressions of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Jackson even addresses the importance of staying healthy: "In the music business some of these great artists have become stumped because they self-abuse themselves at a young age, with all these crazy things they drink and pills and things," he said, "and that's just not good — just not a good thing. I hate to say that to hurt anybody, but we should take care of our bodies a little more."

Michael Jackson on his most incredible achievements and inspirations:

Michael Jackson on the one thing he'd change about his life — the chance to be normal:

Michael Jackson on the stories behind his songs, drawing inspiration from Fred Astaire and Michelangelo — and foreshadowing a path of self-destruction.

Michael Jackson on creating his short films, providing hope after 9/11 and choreographing his iconic moves:

Michael Jackson on how he defines his sound:

Michael Jackson on his tough work ethic in the studio, how performing onstage brings him to life and his impressions of Jay-Z:

Listen to the full interview:

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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