X DANGEROUS Michael 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. Michael Jackson opened his autobiography in 1988 with the number 1998 in a drawing. Michael Jackson signed his autographs with the number 1998 underlined with an arrow pointing upwards. Below were three dots.

Michael Jackson meaning of the number 1998
Examples for Michael Jacksons signatures with his number 1998 since the 1980s. The last picture is from 1997. Michal Jackson led his HIStory world tour through Paris and visited the Gavin Museum. source

In 1991, Michael Jackson had the number 1998 depicted on the jacket of the old man in the suit. That man is considered the creator of show business: P. T. Barnum, probably the most famous circus director in the world. P. T. Barnum wears Michael Jackson’s much-used number 1998 like a badge on his jacket.

Michael Jackson Dangerous

Michael 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

Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover Meaning of the number 1998 on the reverse of Barnum´s Jacket
picture: Circus director P. T. Barnum wears the number 1998 on DANGEROUS like a badge on the reverse of his jacket.
Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover meaning of the number 1998

picture: P. T. Barnum 1991 on the DANGEROUS cover with Michael Jackson’s signatur number 1998 on his jacket.

Michael Jackson in the year 1998: The King of Pop is 40 years old, and HIStory was written

In 1998, Michael Jackson turned 40 years old. Had the goal-oriented Jackson decided to quit his role as the Moonwalker and thus as a dancer at the age of 40? Did Michael Jackson not want to continue his role as the dancing „King of Pop“ in „1998“? Was the „Michael-Jackson-Show“ supposed to be over in 1998?
By the end of 1997, Michael Jackson had written „HIStory“. By the end of 1997, Jackson had completed his last world tour (with all the physical exertions). Michael Jackson ended each of his concerts with the song „History“. It was a jubilant celebration. 1998 was supposed to be a turning point in the career of Michael Jackson. From 1998 on, Michael Jackson never again used the number in his autographs.

The King of Pop live on stage at the end of one of his concerts. HISTORY can be seen behind him on screen.

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

Did for Michael Jackson the number 1998 mark the end/an EXITUS of the show ‚King of Pop‘?

At some point in the early years Michael Jackson added a star or some kind of comet to his signature and used these symbols not only in his movies. More about the symbols of the „star“ and the symbol of the „peacock“ being used by Michael Jackson since the 1970s in the following article:

The star and the career of the Moonwalker until 1998

The symbol of the comet or the shooting star stands for Michael Jackson´s solo career. His designer Dennis Tompkins engraved the image of this comet or shooting star on Michael’s „champion belt“. Because this shooting star is a symbol of the Moonwalker’s career:

„On the first belt plate, five little cherubs hover around the Roman numeral V, with Michael’s cherub a bit bigger in the middle, depicting his launch into show business as the leader of the Jacksons 5. Next is a cherub flying over a shooting star, illustrating Michael’s solo career.“

Michael Lee Bush about the work of art by Dennis Tompkins, Designer for Michael Jackson. 1
King of Pop Dangerous star Symbol Championgürtel Belt

Picture: a shooting star on the champion belt from the 1980s symbolizes Michael Jackson’s solo career.

In Michael Jackson’s 1988 movie MOONWALKER, this star or comet, which can be seen at the beginning and at the end of the film, seems to symbolize Jackson’s comeback. The comeback of Michael Jackson, who was presumed to be dead.

„I had to come back!“ 

Michael Jackson, 1988 at the end of his movie MOONWALKER. source
KIng of Pop Moonwalker, the Star, the comet, the moon in 1988
1988: At the beginning and end of his movie MOONWALKER, the comet symbolizes the „comeback“ of Michael Jackson, who was believed to be dead. „I had to come back!“  source

1996: „Open the last door …“

The pin with the number 1998 on Michael Jackson’s 1991 DANGEROUS album cover is said to have been important to Michael. 2 Perhaps that year was a goal-setting formulation for the goal-oriented entertainer?

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

Michael Jackson. 3

Does the number ‚1998‘ indicate the projected end of the „Michael-Jackson-Show“? The entertainer was born in 1958. Was Jackson planning to end the active role of the moonwalking King of Pop on world tours in 1998? Those marathon tours by 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, Michael 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. With his HIStory- tour Jackson 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 world tour. 5 The King of Pop finished it in 1997 within the time frame of his signature 1998.

1958 and 1998: A cycle of time from birth to Exitus on DANGEROUS?

Michael Jackson was born in 1958. In the same year the peace symbol was invented. On DANGEROUS that symbol is carved in stone behind circus director P. T. Barnum’s shoulder and thus marks the year 1958. 6 From 1958 to 1998 would be pretty much 40 years of Michael Jackson. Maybe this is meant to be a cycle of time from birth to Exitus on Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS album cover.

Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover meaning Barnum 1998 Olodum 1958

picture: 1958 until 1998. Four decades of entertainer, dancer, King of Pop Michael Jackson. source

Michael Jackson and the number 1998: „I don’t wanna do any more live shows“

The King of Pop released one more album in 2001, but after 1997 he never again took the machinery of his industry on a worldwide tour.

„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, Michael 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 Michael Jackson had written:

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

Michael Jackson around the new millennium. 8
Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover meaning of the number 1998 with Barnum and autobiography Moonwalk

l.: source r.: Michael Jackson’s autobiography starts 1988 with the number 1998 . That number is also depicted in 1991 on P. T. Barnum’s collar. The drawing in 1988 was made by Michael Jackson. source

1996. The accomplished performance by the Maestro

Before the final end with Michael Jackson’s HIStory tour, the maestro also seemed to say goodbye to the dance floor with his masterpiece MICHAEL JACKSON’S GHOSTS in 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
Michael Jackson Ghosts 1996
picture: The end of the performance Maestro Michael Jackson in „Michael Jackson’s Ghosts“, 1996.

Is the circle of life illustrated on the Dangerous cover?

Does DANGEROUS actually depict the cycle of life? Does Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS cover from 1991 symbolize the cycle of time? On the DANGEROUS cover, too, the King of Pop’s career would have closed with the year 1998. A career that began with Michael’s birth year 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 Michael Jackson.

The DANGEROUS cover is divided on the left side into the area of „Entrare“, as the area of the beginning or even the birth. The right side of the cover would then be the area of „Exitus“, which means the end, the exit or even death. The old man in the image of Barnum in the „Exitus“ area is the opposite of the child in the „Entrare“ area. Thus, the old man maybe represents the end on DANGEROUS in EXITUS. Possibly for the symbolic end of life.

Dangerous Cover Jackson LIcht Finsternis Entrare Exitus
Picture: ENTRARE and EXITUS on Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS cover 1991. An entrance and an exit, perhaps also a beginning and an end. The circle of life.

From the silhouette 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 Michael Jackson’s target formulation on Barnum’s lapel points in a completely different direction from 1998 on. That would be … magic.

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 Michael Jackson´s plan10

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  1. Bush, Michael Lee, Michael Jackson-King of Style – Dressing Michael Jackson, 2012/2013, Inside Edition/Seemann Henschel Verlag, Leipzig, page 162.
  2. Ryden, Mark, interview „One DANGEROUS Artist“ with the MJFC, MJFC. 2001, see interview www.michaeljacksonmasterworks.com with the Michael Jackson Fan Club Magazine
  3. Jackson, Michael, Radio interview with Reverend Jesse Jackson – ‘Keep Hope Alive’ Radio program, 27.03.2005, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNOEk9OjNro
  4. Michael Jackson, „The Once and Future King“, Lisa Bernhard. 04.12.1999, TV Guide Interview from 27 november 1999, note: „other areas“, that would be „film“.
  5. Jackson, Michael, HIStory World Tour 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 halfway 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 moviemaking 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. MICHAEL JACKSONS GHOSTS, 1996, director: Stan Winston, CD, 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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