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The Smooth Late Show with Martin Collins 10pm - 1am
18 March 2022, 14:00
The King Of Pop has been gone for over a decade now.
But there are still innumerable stories about the great Michael Jackson's life and history that keep coming to light after his untimely passing.
One recent incident that has had some light shed on it, is a near-fatal accident whilst MJ was on tour promoting Dangerous.
As a strongly private person away from show-business, not many people could penetrate Michael Jackson's inner circle.
Though one musician that got to perform alongside him on stage was guitarist Jennifer Batten, who would play in his backing band throughout the 1990s.
There are few people in the world that can lay claim to performing with the late, great King Of Pop, but Batten is one of them and worked with him during some of the most difficult years of his career.
Some of these moments were arguably his best, however, playing together throughout three tours and his iconic 1993 Super Bowl halftime show which was seen by over a billion viewers worldwide.
Though, it wasn't all plane sailing, with Batten recently recounting a story of seeing Michael Jackson hanging on for his life after a stage accident when the cameras weren't rolling.
The guitarist appeared as a guest on music podcast Appetite For Distortion in recent weeks, where she revealed that MJ danced with death.
“I remember we were at… the Dangerous tour rehearsals and they were working on something new. They call it the cherry picker where there was this big mechanical arm that would go out over the audience, and he’d be on top of them with this cape blowing in the wind" Batten recalled.
"[Michael] is out there with the arm and all of a sudden it throws him off. So, he’s hanging on to the bars and all the roadies are on their radios like ‘Oh, holy s**t, the boss is in trouble, bring the arm back in.'"
Thankfully he didn't suffer any serious damage and was unharmed from the incident. But the usually reserved, polite pop star felt he needed to stamp out any further mistakes.
Batten went on to say: "Eventually, he comes back on the stage, and he gets on the mic. And he goes, ‘You know, I don’t mean to pull rank, but this needs to be fixed.'"
"You know, somebody that hadn’t been in show business since they were five years old might have just said, ‘You’re fired! Ah, this is wrong!’ Never saw him lose his s**t in 10 years. He just wanted to put on a good show. And he wanted people to have a good time.”
Even though he could've faced serious injury, the legendary pop icon kept his composure and remained respectful to his crew.
It was an example of his humility, that other stars certainly didn't have in similar scenarios explained Batten:
"A lot of times you hear stories about huge acts that are just a-holes to their band, you know. ‘You guys sleep on the bus and I get the five-star hotel.’ They’re yelling at people on stage."
She even mentioned a couple of names that would lose their composure and lose their temper in lesser circumstances.
"Michael wasn’t like that at all. That was not his upbringing. He was always very respectful to everyone and appreciated us. So, it was really wonderful."
It's just another example of Michael Jackson remaining respectful to others, and ultimately wanting to put on the best show he could possibly put on.
That's why he was the one and only King Of Pop.
Aside from her time in MJ's band, Jennifer Batten has also released three albums of her own and has worked with legendary British guitarist Jeff Beck.
In recent years, her work with Michael Jackson and her prominence as a female guitarist in a male-dominated industry has been widely recognised and rightly applauded.