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Entertainer Michael Jackson Opens Nasdaq

Aired August 30, 2001 - 09:26   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go live to the Nasdaq, as we see the king of pop there about to ring the opening bell, or whatever it is they do at the Nasdaq. You never did find out yesterday.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're about to find out. He is also going to be presented with something.

Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

KAGAN: Posing for pictures this morning at the Nasdaq. As we mentioned, Michael Jackson is there to start the day of business. This is part of a big campaign to kick off his new single and new album. He's also celebrating 30 years as a solo artist. Michael Jackson is turning 43 years old. Doesn't that make you feel old, Leon.

HARRIS: That makes me feel very old, because I remember the first albums of the Jackson Five. As a matter of fact, I still have them somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You put your hand on that, because you're going to push down on that, and this whole wall is going to light up.

See what it says? You're going to push at 9:30, in 18 seconds.

CROWD: Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You lit it all up.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a poster from 1934 which we don't think any of you have in your collection of Shirley Temple, and it's...

MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER: Oh, my gosh.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWD: (SINGING "HAPPY BIRTHDAY) (APPLAUSE)

JACKSON: I'm deeply moved. This very special moment for me. Thank you, David, and Wick and Nasdaq. Thank you so much. I love you and all the fans. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

JACKSON: Thank you so much.

(APPLAUSE)

KAGAN: Not your average day on Nasdaq. Michael Jackson starting the business day there. Lots of fans outside very excited. Nasdaq could use a little bit of boost. It's having tough time three days of losing market. The Nasdaq was down 21 points. Dow down 131 points yesterday.

Let's go to our Bill Tush who is standing and outside that Big Board by Times Square with all the fans -- Bill.

All right, while we wait -- there he is.

Hey -- Bill.

BILL TUSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I was just saying that I'm surprised that Michael stayed as long as he did. Of course the fans went crazy. And they presented him with a poster, a Shirley Temple poster from the 1930s, and he really seemed touched by it. You think all the things people give him over the year, but he genuinely liked that. And a birthday cake, they sang "Happy Birthday." It's his 43rd birthday. Be interesting to see if the moonwalk gets a little slower at the concern next Friday night.

But again, to talk about why he's here is because Nasdaq is hosting a party after his concert next week at Madison Square Garden.

And the fans came through the barricade, as you can expect, as soon as he came out. I wanted to talk to the girl from Germany, but when she saw Michael walk away, because she was almost ready to faint. But when Michael walked away, she thought he was coming out the side door and immediately ran to that.

But the fans are still here, and I guess they will hang around until he leaves and probably a little while after that.

But that's the situation from the Nasdaq in Times Square -- Guys.

KAGAN: Michael Jackson getting a piece of cake for his 43rd birthday, as Bill was mentioning. He got a cake and poster, a Shirley Temple poster. Michael Jackson turning 43 years old, marking 30 years as solo artist. There is a concert. There is a new single, and a new album as well.

Bill Tush, thank you very much, at Times Square. We're going to talk a little bit about how relevant Michael Jackson is to the pop scene coming up with a writer from "Spin" magazine.

Right now, looks like there's right more live pictures as Michael Jackson takes a bite. It looks like it's a vanilla cake for his 43rd birthday.

HARRIS: Are you surprised?

KAGAN: That's it vanilla. I think you can say that, but I can't.

HARRIS: I'm not surprised.

(LAUGHTER)

KAGAN: Do we still have Bill Tush with us?

We don't. All right.

Michael Jackson about to.

HARRIS: You can still see him.

KAGAN: Yes, you can still see him. The album that's coming out is called "Invincible." We have to see if he's still invincible after 30 years as a solo artists.

HARRIS: The early reviews I've heard of the one single, that's been talked about...

KAGAN: It hasn't been getting a lot of play. The new single is called "You Rock My World."

HARRIS: Have you heard it, heard about it?

KAGAN: I have not heard it. It's really, it's kind of hard to hear it, because it's not getting incredible play on a lot of the radio stations.

You have to think about who the kids are listening to radio now, and Michael Jackson to them when he was hot and really big, they probably weren't even alive.

HARRIS: I can't believe kids today know who he is. I mean, he's been invisible, he hasn't been around or touring in six or seven years. He hasn't had album in six or seven years. He's came out with maybe one or two videos that he's did with Janet, and those didn't stick around very long either. I'm amazed to see anyone under the age of 30 knows even who he is.

KAGAN: Let's bring in Alan Light with "Spin" magazine who can address some of these issues. He's outside the Nasdaq with a lot of the fans.

Alan, good morning.

Michael Jackson is 43 years old. Besides making us all feel very old, does he still have it?

ALAN LIGHT, "SPIN": I think he has it. The first single came out, the first song he's put out in six years, and the song sounds good. It's not great, but it's a nice sort of modest understated way to get back in the pop marketplace, and we'll see what happens when he gets back on stage and when there's another album to follow.

KAGAN: But when you are a superstar, Alan, you don't want to get in with a nice understated way, you have to make a big statement.

LIGHT: Well, I think he's got some work in front of him. I mean, I heard you saying just before, for a younger audience, it's been a long time since Michael Jackson has been thought of as a musician, as a hitmaker. I don't think he need to come out swinging with a knockout right away. Right now, he just needs to get out there, reintroduce himself, get back on the road, and let this project come out.

(CHEERING)

KAGAN: A little tough to hear you with all the screaming there, Alan.

Hopefully, you can hear me.

LIGHT: I can hear you.

(APPLAUSE)

KAGAN: Let's give them a second to cheer.

Alan, the single's called "You Rock My world." It's not getting a lot of play, is it, on a lot of urban radio stations?

LIGHT: Well it's starting slowly. I think that there's a lot of wait-and--see attitude about this single and about this project. If you are an 18 or 20-year-old kid who is the bulk of the record buying marketplace and the radio listeners, I don't know what you know about Michael Jackson, and I think the first thing you think of is the freak show and the rumors, and we know that he's a big celebrity. You don't necessarily know that he's a great musician, or that he's a great performer and songwriter.

So it's not going to be necessarily the first song straightaway that's going to get him into the deep end. We'll see the rest of the record is, and certainly we'll see what these shows next week turn out to be and how that's going to help people reconnect to Michael.

KAGAN: So he could use a really big hit. But the music industry, as it stands right now, could really use Michael Jackson as well, couldn't it?

LIGHT: Absolutely. Much like in 1982 when "Thriller" came out, the record business was in a recession then. This year, we're looking at a year where overall record sales are down 10 percent. Concert ticket sales are down 15 percent. The industry needs a blockbuster that's going to pull people back into the record stores. "Thriller" did exactly that when video games were taking money out of the record business' pocket in the early '80s. We'll see whether he can have that sort of impact at this point. I don't initially, right out of the gate. I think there's a lot of curiosity. I don't think this is a record that's going to be a blockbuster right away.

Michael Jackson's talents are inestimable.

The one part that's not in question, is how he can sing, and how he can dance and how he can perform, so we'll see if he can turn around six, eight years of bad press and weirdness.

KAGAN: A good -- an interesting way to put it on this morning. Alan Light with "Spin" magazine, thank you so much.

LIGHT: Thank you.

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