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. Jackson opened his autobiography in 1988 with the number 1998 in a drawing.

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

Michael Jackson signed his signature with the number 1998 underlined with an arrow pointing upwards. Below were three dots.

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

In 1991, Michael 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

Circus director P. T. Barnum wears the number 1998 on DANGEROUS like a badge on the reverse of his jacket.

The old man in the suit on the Dangerous cover by Michael Jackson 1991. The man is meant to represent probably the most famous circus director in the world: P.T. Barnum. He wears Michael Jackson’s much-used number 1998 on the DANGEROUS cover like a pin on the collar of his jacket. source

Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover meaning of the number 1998

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. HIStory was written

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 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.

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 ended 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, Michael 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 and the meaning of his number 1998

At some point Michael Jackson added a star or some kind of comet to his signature and used these symbols not only in his movies.
More about Jackson’s symbol „star“ in the related article:

The star and the career of the Moonwalker until 1998

King of Pop Dangerous star Symbol Championgürtel Belt

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.

„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 Moonwalker, the Star, the comet, the moon in 1988

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 Michael Jackson. 2 Perhaps the year was a goal setting for the goal-oriented entertainer?

1996: „Open the last door …“

„… 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 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, 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, 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: In the cycle of time from birth to Exitus on DANGEROUS

Michael Jackson Dangerous Album Cover meaning Barnum 1998 Olodum 1958

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

In the year Michael Jackson was born, the peace symbol was invented. On DANGEROUS it is carved in stone behind circus director P. T. Barnum’s shoulder and thus marks the year 1958. 6
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 cover by Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson and the number 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 again 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, 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 which 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

Michael Jackson Ghosts 1996

picture: The end of the performance Maestro Michael Jackson in „Michael Jackson’s Ghosts“, 1996.

Before the final end with Michael Jackson’s HIStory tour, the maestro also clearly said 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

Is the circle of life illustrated on the Dangerous cover? Magic…?

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.

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.

Dangerous Cover Jackson LIcht Finsternis Entrare Exitus

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 represents the end on DANGEROUS in EXITUS. Possibly for the symbolic end 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 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

Related Articles:

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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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