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Michael Jackson Remembered: The Tributes

The King of Pop’s friends, fans and fellow artists celebrate the man and the music

michael jackson tribute

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As one of pop's most respected performers, Michael Jackson was beloved by everyone from his heroes to his descendents. We've gathered a generation-spanning collection of tributes from R&B royalty to rock icons to the new school of chart-toppers inspired by his moves, pipes and unending compassion.

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Glen Ballard

I'd been producing for Quincy [Jones], and I had tried to write something for Bad but it hadn't been accepted. We were closing out the record, and Quincy said, "Don't you have anything for us?" So [singer] Siedah Garrett wrote "Man in the Mirror" on a Saturday night at my house in Encino. We didn't have a chance to dress it up, so I didn't feel like it had a chance, but Quincy played it for Michael, and he said, "Make a track." The song was this really magical moment, and it had everything to do with Michael's vocal interpretation. In the last two minutes, Michael started doing these incantations: all the "shamons" and "oohs." He went to that place on his own. We certainly couldn't have written that.

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Akon

Mike and I met a couple of years ago through a friend. We recorded at his home studio, and his kids were always there. He was always monitoring them – making sure they were doing their homework, eating right. He would personally cook for them, always healthy stuff. They were the main focus of his life – we could be in the middle of recording, and he'd drop everything to make sure they were good.

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Ne-Yo

About two years ago, Michaelcalled my cellphone, and I hung up on him, because I thought somebody was playing. Michael Jackson don't call your damn cellphone. A couple of minutes later, he called back, and I was like, "Oh, damn." I lied and told him I was going through a tunnel and we got disconnected. He wanted to meet somewhere secluded, so we met at Lyor Cohen's house because they're good friends. I don't get star-struck, because people are people, but Michael was an energy. I felt his presence when I walked into the room. We talked about working together, where he wanted to go musically. I'd submit three or four songs a couple of times a month, and he'd tell me what he liked or didn't like: "Take this part and change it; make the hook stronger." He was being very selective – this was either going to be his comeback album or a very sad attempt, and he didn't want the latter.

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