X DANGEROUS Jackson: The meaning of his number „1998“ in HIStory

For Michael Jackson, the number „1998“ had a very special meaning. In his role as „King of Pop,“ Jackson signed his autographs with the number „1998“ since the 1980s. Jackson opened his autobiography in 1988 with the number „1998“ in a drawing. In 1991, Jackson had the number 1998 depicted on the jacket of the man who is considered the creator of show business: P. T. Barnum. Barnum wears it on DANGEROUS like a badge on the reverse of his jacket.

Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover Meaning of the number 1998 on the reverse of Barnum´s Jacket

Barnum wears it on DANGEROUS like a badge on the reverse of his jacket.

P.T. Barnum with the number „1998“ on his reverse on Michael Jackson´s DANGEROUS cover from 1991. source

Michael Jackson Dangerous

Jackson´s DANGEROUS album (SONY Music Entertainment) cover from 1991 painter of the painting with the name „King of Pop“ (Acryl on wood 82” x 74”) is Mark Ryden. The original painting is exhibited in the Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 Tenth Ave., New York, NY 10001. source

Jackson in the year „1998“: The King of Pop is 40 years old. HIStory was written

Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover meaning of the number 1998

In 1998, Michael Jackson turned 40 years old. Had the goal-oriented Jackson decided to quit his role as a moonwalker and thus as a dancer at the age of 40? Did Jackson not want to continue his role as dancing „King of Pop“ in „1998“? Was the „Michael-Jackson-Show“ supposed to be over in 1998?
By the end of 1997, Jackson had written „HIStory“. By the end of 1997, Jackson had completed his last world tour (with all the physical exertions). Jackson ended each of his concerts with the song „History“. A jubilant celebration.

Michael Jackson live on stage at the end of one of his concerts. HISTORY can be seen behind him on screen.

The King of Pop ends the concerts of his worldtour performing „HIStory“ in 1997. source

1998 was supposed to be a turning point in the career of Michael Jackson. From 1998 on, Jackson never again used the number in his autographs.

Does the number „1998“ signify the end, an EXITUS of the King of Pop´s show?

Michael Jackson meaning of the number 1998

Section of Jackson signatures since the 1980s. The last picture is from 1997, Jackson led his HIStory world tour through Paris, visits the Gavin Museum. source

Jacksons signed his signature with the number „1998“ underlined with an arrow pointing upwards. Below it three dots.

At some point Jackson added a star or some kind of comet to his signature and used these symbols not only in his movies. (see article „VII DANGEROUS Wege: Jackson, the star and the peacock„).

The star and the career of the Moonwalker until 1998

KIng of Pop Moonwalker, the Star, the comet, the moon in 1988

The symbol of the comet stands for Jackson´s solo career. His designer Dennis Tompkins engraved the image of this comet on Michael’s „champion belt“, because this shooting star is a symbol of the moonwalker’s career. 1

1988: At the beginning and end of his film MOONWALKER, the comet symbolizes the „comeback“ of Michael Jackson, who was believed dead. „I had to come back!“  source

The „1998“ pin on the 1991 DANGEROUS album cover is said to have been important to Jackson. 2
Perhaps the year is a goal setting for the goal oriented entertainer?

1996: „Open the last door …

„… and I will always, you know, go with my dreams and my ideals in life. And I’m a very courageous person, and I believe in perseverance, determination, and, you know, and all those wonderful things, and those ideals are very important for a person who is goal-orientated, you know?

Michael Jackson. 3

Does „1998“ hint at the planned end of the 1958-born entertainer’s „Michael Jackson Show“? Was Jackson planning to end the active role of the moonwalking KING OF POP on world tours in 1998? Those marathon tours of Jackson that equaled the physical demands of a top athlete?

I would like to go into other areas, not keep doing album after pop album.

Michael Jackson, 1999. 4

In 1998, Jackson was 40 years old. He had spent 35 years of his life on stage. In 1998, the perfectionist had purposefully written HIStory himself as a precaution, had his own monuments erected in person right away, and had successfully completed the last world tour of his career.

Open the last door. Let’s make History!

Michael Jackson´s introducing words for the beginning of the concert of his final worldtour. 5 The King of Pop finished it in 1997 within the time frame of his signature „1998“.

1958/1998: In the cycle of time from birth to Exitus on DANGEROUS

Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover meaning Barnum 1998 Olodum 1958

In the year Michael Jackson was born, the peace symbol was invented. On DANGEROUS it is carved in stone behind Barnum’s shoulder and thus marks the year 1958. 6

So 1958 to 1998 would be pretty much 40 years of Michael Jackson. A cycle of time from the birth to the Exitus on the DANGEROUS album cober of Michael Jackson.

1958 till 1998. That’s four decades of entertainer, dancer, King of Pop Michael Jackson. source

Jackson 1998: „I don’t wanna do any more live shows“

The King of Pop still released one album in 2001, but after 1997 he never took his company’s machinery on tour worldwide.

„This will be my last proper album […] The Millennium is an appropriate time to change direction. I’d like to get more into movies.“

Michael Jackson, 1999. 7

Taking his hat in 1998, Jackson had announced many years before. At the end of that time, in the new millennium, he gave a copy of this hat, which had become his trademark, to his collaborator. On the inside Jackson had written: 8

„please don´t make plans for the next decade.“

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover meaning of the number 1998 with Barnum and autobiography Moonwalk

l.: source
r.: Jackson´s autobiography starts 1988 with the „1998“ from Barnums reverse. The drawing was made by Jackson, who takes Barnum´s place in 1991. source

1996. The completed performance of the Maestro

Michael Jackson's Ghosts 1997 with the maestro bowing and saying goodbye and going down dead.

Before the final end with Jackson’s HIStory tour, the maestro then also clearly said goodbye to the dance floor with his masterpiece MICHAEL JACKSONS GHOSTS 1996 after a completed performance:

„You still want me to go? Fine. I´ll go.“

Maestro Jackson in 1996 in MICHAEL JACKSON’S GHOSTS 9

Magical…?

And finally, an interpretation whose conclusion would be magical: Jackson’s DANGEROUS cover from 1991 seems to symbolize the cycle of time. And also on DANGEROUS, the King of Pop’s career cycle is closed with the year 1998. A career that began with the year of Michael’s birth, 1958, and is symbolized by the Olodum sign invented in 1958.

Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover Barnum 1998 Olodum
Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS Album Cover 1991: meaning of the number „1998“ and the Olodum sign from 1958, the birthyear of Jackson

The old man in the EXITUS stands for the end.
From the silhoutte of the shoe of the world’s most famous dancer, who had contributed to the healing of the world with his performances, only the skeleton remains.
And the arrow of Jackson’s target formulation on Barnum’s lapel points in a completely different direction from „1998“ on.

Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover meaning of the number 1998 with Barnum, child, skull

So the last major project, THIS IS IT, this concert series from 2009, was never part of Jackson´s plan10


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Quellen

  1. Bush, Michael Lee, Michael Jackson-King of Style – Die Fashion-Ikone, 2012/2013, „Das nächste Motiv ist ein fliegender Engel über einer Sternschnuppe, der Michaels Solokarriere symbolisierte.“ Inside Edition/Seemann Henschel Verlag, Leipzig, page 177
  2. Ryden, Mark, interview „One DANGEROUS Artist“ with the MJFC, MJFC. 2001, see interview www.michaeljacksonmasterworks.com with the Michael Jackson Fan Club Magazin
  3. Jackson, Michael, Radiointerview with Reverend Jesse Jackson – ‘Keep Hope Alive’ Radio Programm, 27.03.2005, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNOEk9OjNro „... and I will always, you know, go with my dreams and my ideals in life. And I’m a very courageous person, and I believe in perseverance, determination, and, you know, and all those wonderful things, and those ideals are very important for a person who is goal-orientated, you know?
  4. Jackson, Michael, „The Once and Future King“, Lisa Bernhard. 04.12.1999, TV Guide Interview from 27 november 1999: „…I would like to go into other areas, not keep doing album after pop album.“ (note: „other areas“, that would be „film“)
  5. Jackson, Michael, HIStory Welttournee Intro for the concert opening in 1996/1997, „Open the last door. Let’s make History!“, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgAfB4NFlnA
  6. Holtom, Gerald, Friedenszeichen, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedenszeichen
  7. Jackson, Michael, interview: The Mirror, Morgan, Piers, 13.04.1999,  „I have an album coming out for the Millennium which I’m half way through. It’s going to be the best thing I’ve ever done. I think. I may do the odd movie soundtrack, but this will be my last proper album. I want it to be something that touches the heart and emotions of the world. From a child to older people, from the farmers of Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem. I mean I want to reach every demographic I can through the love and joy and simplicity of music. The Millennium is an appropriate time to change direction. I’d like to get more into movies.“, https://mjjjusticeproject.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/michael-jackson-1999-interview-with-piers-morgan/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp9mALQ2KTQ
  8. Thomson, Charles: „One More Chance – How Michael Jackson’s Movie Dream Turned Into A Nightmare“ accessed 20.02.2016, https://www.charles-thomson.net/Portfolio-Features-One-More-Chance.html „According to Dieter Wiesner, Jackson had no plans to move to another label after he fulfilled his contract with Sony. The focus was squarely on movie-making and all signs pointed to the fact that Jackson was serious about achieving his goal. One morning at Neverland Ranch, during the comeback discussions, Jackson presented Stuart Backerman with a signed fedora as a thank you for all his hard work. Inside Jackson had written the inscription, “Dear Stuart, many thanks for your kind help and please don’t make plans for the next decade.” http://charles-thomson.net/Portfolio-Features-One-More-Chance.html
  9. „Screenshot from „MICHAEL JACKSONS GHOSTS“, 1996, director: Stan Winston, CD „You still want me to go?“ […] „Fine, I’ll go.“ Kingdom Entertainment“ source: Link to YouTube „Michael Jacksons Ghosts“
  10. Beck, Dan, Living HIStory, 2011, accessed 2016.01, Dan Beck, Sony Mitarbeiter, is the inventor of the pun HIStory, the long planned summary of Michael Jackson’s history. See: musicbizfizz.tumblr.com/post/676713319/living-history and https://www.lipstickalley.com/threads/mj-miscellaneous-thread.204219/page-106

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