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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Michael Jackson: A Life Remembered
Aired June 28, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Michael Jackson, a life remembered. People who knew him well: Cher, Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Sheryl Crow, and Kenny Rogers, honor their friend, the man who influenced millions and rocked the world with his music and his moves.
Next, on a special Sunday night edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
It has been an incredible few days. The world still coming to grips with the death of Michael Jackson. We're going to take a look back at the King of Pop's life and legacy with some of the biggest names in the business: Celine Dion, Sean Combs, Smokey Robinson, Sheryl Crow, Kenny Rogers, and Cher.
KING: Smokey, what was your first reaction when you heard this?
SMOKEY ROBINSON, SINGER/SONGWRITER: Just, I couldn't believe it. It was unbelievable to me. I have gone through this many times with the Motown artists and the Motown family of artists.
And this was just devastating. I mean, I just couldn't accept it at first. I think about, you know, Michael was a young man, and time goes by so quickly. I -- I thought about the fact that last year we started to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Motown Records, and when we were starting out with the record company, he was being born.
And the 50 years seems like that they have gone by overnight, instantly. So that's how his life was. But, however, he has left such a legacy. He -- he was remarkable. He revolutionized the presentation of a song and he revolutionized the making of videos and like that.
He has got so many young artists imitating him, today, or mimicking him or trying to. He was just a remarkable artist.
KING: When did you first meet him?
ROBINSON: Oh, I first met Michael when the kids first came to Motown. And they did a show, actually, at Berry's home in Detroit, they did a show for us there. And they were so dynamic. To see a little guy like Michael was at that time, singing like he had been here forever, you know, just singing like an old man, was just an incredible experience.
KING: Did you know he was going to be a hit?
ROBINSON: Oh, absolutely. It was obvious.
KING: This was no-doubter, right?
ROBINSON: It was a no-doubter. It was obvious. Because like I said, this guy is -- you know, he's like an old soul. He sang like he had lived it all before, when he was 10. So -- yes, I knew he was going to be great.
KING: The Oscar-, Grammy-, and Academy Award-winning star Cher is absolutely devastated over the loss of Jackson. She has performed with Michael and has known him since he was a boy.
KING: With us on the phone now is the brilliant Cher, who has had an extraordinary career, similar to Jackson as an actor, a multitalented performer.
Your reaction, what are your first thoughts about Michael Jackson, Cher?
CHER, SINGER & ACTOR: You know, I was just sitting here listening to you talk and I'm like having a million different reactions, things that I -- I didn't expect I would feel.
But, you know, when I think of him, I think of this young boy -- that teenager that I first met, this like, adorable boy that I met who, you know, loved to look at my beaded socks and, you know, said to me once, Cher, could we -- do you think we could just go to the movies?
And we looked at each other and we went, nah, I don't think so. And we talked about, well, let's rent the movie out and we'll just bring all of our friends and -- you know, and then a young man that I remember, you know, dancing with all night and going to see, oh, "Dreamgirls" with.
And, you know, just -- I think of him more like -- like that, because in later years, he -- I didn't see him that much and when I did see him, his behavior was very strange to me. And so I didn't relate to that person as well. I didn't really understand him.
But the last time I worked with him, you know, we were doing something for Dick Clark. I don't remember the show. And he and I were rehearsing after one another. And he -- they were carrying his baby. I don't know, I couldn't see because they had the baby all wrapped up. And I don't know if it was a baby or a toddler. I don't really know how old the child was. Carrying it in this kind of blanket from the -- from our trailers outside into the rehearsal area on stage.
And I just kept thinking, why don't they just leave this poor child, you know, in the trailer with whoever is watching him instead of just like carting him back and forth and back and forth? And I just thought this is so strange.
But, you know, Michael was always adorable to me. He was always sweet and, you know...
KING: Weren't they -- weren't The Jackson 5 on "Sonny and Cher"?
CHER: No, they were on "Cher." They were on my show.
KING: Your -- what are your memories of him as a guest?
CHER: Well, we -- I just remember that we laughed all the time and because I didn't know how to do the dancing and they kept -- I kept going, you guys, you do this all the time, just let's do it one more time for the old woman so I can not look like, you know, I don't know what I'm doing out here.
And he just kept going, OK, come on, Cher, you're going to get this, you're going to get this, come on, let's -- let's do it, let's just do it. And I thought, my God, you know, I'm going to dance with this boy that's like the best, you know, dancer in the world.
But then I remember one night I -- we were at a party. I think it was on the Queen Mary. And we danced all night long. And I never thought about that, you know, I wasn't his equal as a dancer. We were just having a blast.
He was a great teenager. He was a great, optimistic, adorable...
CHER: ... not very confident, though. I mean, he was so beautiful and adorable, but he didn't have...
KING: Why on earth...
CHER: ... any confidence in that.
KING: Why on earth do you think this beautiful and adorable child would go around changing his persona -- changing the way he looked?
CHER: You know, I don't know. I really don't know. Obviously, he didn't feel that. But, you know, I had heard like strange things. That night at that party, a guy came over and said something to me about him. And I went, you know what, this is the kind of crap that people start. They just start rumors. You have no idea what you're talking about. Get up from my table. Get out of my sight. I don't ever want to talk to you or see you again.
And he said, Michael Jackson is going to change the way he looks completely. And he's -- he's going to change his skin. And I went, you know what -- well, I can't even tell you what I said, because it was all kind of really -- just think of me at my worst, Larry, and you know what I said to him.
KING: Yes. What -- Cher, his talent, how would you describe it? Was he a great singer?
CHER: Yes. He was a great singer. You know, it's like God gives you certain gifts. And some people he gives different gifts and some people he gives more gifts. And this child was just an extraordinary child, touched by this ability to have people feel him and feel people. And he just had that sense that you get and you don't get it from a living person, you get it from someplace else. And he had it.
And, yes, he was a great singer. I mean, he was a great singer. He is one of the great singers. You know, it's not like -- you can't write him off as just a pop thing, because he could sing like nobody else. You know, he was a genius, like Ray Charles; like Stevie Wonder; like people that, you know, like people that have a -- have a gift. They just have this gift. You don't know where it comes. You don't know how long it stays. You don't know what the impact is going to be.
But he was able to -- to connect with people. You know, he was a really soft-spoken boy. Always, always. I remember once we were at this party and it was -- I don't know if it was a New Year's Eve party. I don't remember. But I was with Val Kilmer. And Bob Mackey had made me a pair of beaded socks for my -- for my Christmas present.
And so Val was wearing them. And I remember Michael could not get over them. And he kept going, Val, I just love your socks.
CHER: Cher, I just love those socks. And I said, well, you know, they were a present from -- from Bob, for me for Christmas. And he said, I just love beaded socks. And, you know, he just was so...
KING: He was a kid.
CHER: Yes. He was just a kid.
KING: All right.
KING: We'll be back with more of our tribute to Michael Jackson. Don't go away.
KING: Celine Dion is taking the news of Michael's death very hard, kind enough to call into our show to pay tribute. Here she is on the death of Michael Jackson.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CELINE DION, SINGER: I am shocked like the rest of the world. It doesn't sink in right now. I'm overwhelmed by this tragedy.
I have to say to you that Michael Jackson has been an idol for me all my life. I remember being in this -- in my house when I was very, very young and having his posters above my bedroom. He's my -- been my idol all my life, and looking up to him. And my goal was to be maybe doing the same show business world as him.
And I was listening to his music, and I hoped to be meeting him one day. And I have to tell you that I was very privileged to be on the same record company as him. And I did meet him a long, long time ago.
And I was so thrilled and nervous when I had the privilege of meeting with him. He was so kind. He gave me his autograph. And I have a hat of his with his autograph. And it always has an amazing meaning to me. But now it has a totally different meaning to me.
And we sang together. And I was looking forward to see his show in London, my husband and I. And Michael came to Las Vegas to see my show. And I was more than honored to have him.
KING: Did he come backstage?
DION: He came backstage. We spent about an hour together, and he had a lot of questions for me. He was very -- to me, he seemed to be like, I want to know so much. I want to know how it is to be in Las Vegas, how it is, Celine, to sing every night here. Is it difficult? Is it difficult to sing here every night? Is it demanding?
I felt that he wanted to know so much. And me, I wanted to know so much. I wanted to know so much from him. But it seemed that -- it seemed to me so fragile. And he wanted to have questions answered. And I was amazed to have him in my dressing room.
KING: When you're performing, and you have someone like that in the audience, are you constantly aware of his presence?
DION: Absolutely. You cannot do otherwise. And I have to say that I was questioning myself through my whole show. Can I announce him? Do I give him his private time? Am I going to abuse of him of his time to announce him? Should I? I want to do it so much.
And I did. And I did announce him. And the whole coliseum, the whole crowd went crazy, because Michael Jackson was not only an extremely talented person, he was unique. And he was a genius. And when I said, ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson is with us tonight, the people -- I thought people were going to jump off the balcony. The people went crazy.
And I have to say it is such a loss, because right -- even right now we were -- we're home, and we're watching images. And it feels that -- it feels like when Kennedy died. When Elvis Presley died. We're not only talking about a talented person dying. It's an amazing loss.
KING: Well, the Presley comparison is obvious, right? They're in the same age group. Both of them shocked -- the death shocked the world. Both of them totally unexpected passing.
DION: Absolutely. And I have to say that my sympathy goes to the family. It's a big loss, and I have to say that it's not even sinking in right now. It's just like I'm looking at the image on TV and my son is 8 years old. And he has got his song -- he doesn't -- he knows his name. He's watching -- he's listening to his song, but it's brand new for him.
Like, I'm rediscovering Michael Jackson again. I grew up with him and through my son I'm discovering his music again. He will never die. He will never, ever, ever die. My sympathy goes to his whole family.
KING: Celine, what -- from a performer's opinion -- I'm not going to keep you long. From a performer's opinion, what was his greatness? Was he a great singer?
DION: I think he was just an amazing genius. Dancing, singing, and I think it's so unfortunate, Larry, because since he was very little he was under pressure. I think we all live under pressure differently. We live under pressure because we want to give the audience and the fans what they look for, what they expect.
We want to do a better album. We want to do a better show. I think Michael Jackson lived under pressures all the time since he was 5 years old, wanting to please his family, his fans, and putting the bar so high that even, like, he needed to be surpassing his own self.
And I think it's unfortunate because the pressure was so tremendous, I am so sure. If you don't have -- if you only live under pressure and you don't have something like your family, your husband, or your wife, your children, I mean, he probably lived so much -- he didn't have the balance.
KING: We'll be back with more of our tribute to Michael Jackson. Don't go away.
KING: Country legend Kenny Rogers performed with Michael on one of the most famous singles of all time, "We Are the World." Here's Kenny's reaction to his death.
KENNY ROGERS, SINGER: Just to get you through with some sense of sanity. And I did a show tonight, and I found out just before I went on the show. And I have to tell you, it impacted me so heavily in my show because it's hard to go out and do what I do and know that this has happened. This is the third person in the last week that I've known, that I knew really well. And it is -- it just breaks your heart. And what troubles me the most is that, you know, the whole people jumping on the wrong things about Michael. This -- I agree, this is a chance to celebrate his life.
Whatever happened or didn't happen, it really is academic. You know? This guy represents so much to everybody. I did a book called "Your Friends and Mine." It's a photography book. And I called him, I said, Michael, I promise you you'll only be here 15 minutes. He said, I'm coming, and I'm bringing Bubbles with me. And he was there for eight hours. He stayed there and wanted to chat and talk. And we took pictures.
I think I took the first picture of him with his hat off. Because he said, I want to see what this looks like. So -- but it's just -- he was just such a special guy. You know? And you don't meet guys who have that kind of success that really are able to communicate at a different level. And that's a success I would not wish on anybody.
KING: Kenny, as a success -- you're a country artist. How did you view him artistically?
ROGERS: Well, I mean, how do you view anybody that has had that kind -- first of all, you start off envying and then you're just thankful you don't have to go through what he went through. I mean, that would have been treacherous for anybody. And so I loved his music.
I thought that between he and Quincy Jones, they started a whole new -- they literally revolutionized the music business, literally. And there are very few people that represent certain eras of music. And he definitely was one of them.
KING: Thanks, Kenny. As always.
KING: Hope to see you soon.
ROGERS: Thanks for having me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What do you make of this anniversary of "Thriller"?
JANET JACKSON, SINGER, SISTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: It's huge. It's big, number one everywhere. Good for him.
Twenty-five years, how fast did that go by?
KING When that came out, when it was recorded, did you think it would be what it became?
JANET JACKSON: I knew I loved it. I knew that I loved it. As a matter of fact, he played, as he always did -- when we were very close growing up. And every time he'd complete a project, he'd play the entire album. He had a great sound system in his car.
So we'd sit in the car and we'd listen to the album from front to back. And I loved every song I heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Randy Jackson, a great judge of talent, is still shocked over the news when he called in just hours after Michael's death.
KING: In the lexicon of music, Randy, where does Michael Jackson stand?
RANDY JACKSON, "AMERICAN IDOL": Well, I'll tell you what, Larry, I mean, I'm just saddened as everyone else. I mean, it's the biggest shock, I think, in -- probably one of the biggest shocks in my lifetime. I think, you know, he's one of the greatest performers, if not the greatest performer ever.
I mean, when you look at how many people he inspired, and how the music inspired people, I'm saying, I mean, this guy lit up the stage like no one else.
KING: Did his private life affect the professional appreciation?
R. JACKSON: I think maybe it marred it a bit. But, I mean, you know, when you're that great, I mean, when you're miles beyond everyone else as a performer and an entertainer -- I mean, you know, we would always say, you know -- some people would probably disagree with me, but you would always say Michael Jackson is like one song away from a big, huge comeback.
KING: What -- if you were writing the story of "Thriller," what did "Thriller" do that no other album ever did?
R. JACKSON: I think that "Thriller" did a bunch of things. I think music-wise, the great Quincy Jones and Michael, I think it changed the face of music forever. It also broadened the base of music. I mean, it brought theatrics into music. It merged different styles of music together. There was a lot of theater, a lot of Broadway in it. There's a lot of soul, a lot of pop, a lot of rock.
It had -- it was just a melange of every kind of musical genre. And then video-wise, he completely changed the game, Larry. I mean, the videos were just monumental. They were just great pieces of work. I mean, you know, we will look back on this and people will look back on this for a long time. This is really legendary status. This is not pop star for the moment.
KING: When you say he transcended race, too, as a performer, did he not? I mean, Michael Jackson was colorless.
R. JACKSON: He transcended everything. He was colorless. I mean, just so talented. I mean, there's such a barrage of people that he inspired. I mean, everywhere that I've been today here in L.A., in the studio where I'm working, everyone is just so saddened. I mean, I just -- you know, I haven't seen something affect people like this in a really long time.
KING: At the time of his death, he was rehearsing for what was supposed to be his comeback, an unprecedented 50 shows in London, was set to open July 13th. But I -- on good information I have that they had postponed it one week. I know Elizabeth Taylor was scheduled to fly out for its opening. What was that going to do to the career?
R. JACKSON: Well, I think that was just going to elongate the career, and just remind people that he's a true legend and an icon. And, you know, I had gotten reports a couple of days ago that the rehearsals were going amazingly well, and that, you know, the band was sounding great and he was sounding great. It's just -- I'm just so still in shock. I mean, I just can't even believe it's even possible, you know?
KING: And now he had a down period. The last album did not sell, right, or did not do as well as others?
R. JACKSON: Right, right.
KING: How well would he have come back in your musical, professional opinion?
R. JACKSON: Well, I think he would have come back greatly. Because if you remember, I don't know if people realize this, those '02 shows in the UK were all sold out. They all sold out in a matter of hours, if not minutes, 50 shows.
So I mean, you know, they put the first 10 up, and another 30 sold, then another 20. And, you know, I think it was really going to just reinstate him. And it put him back in the arena that was perfect for him, because he is still one of the greatest performers ever.
KING: Do you rank this death with that of Presley and John Lennon?
R. JACKSON: I really, really do, Larry. I mean, we've really, really lost a great one. I don't think there will be anybody ever like Michael Jackson, again. I think some will try to come close in some ways. But I mean, a true original.
I mean, you know, it inspired everyone. When you look at *NSYNC, when you look at the Backstreet Boys, when you look at Chris Brown, when you look at Usher, when you look at Rihanna, when you look at Madonna, just everyone that you think about, I mean, you know, this guy inspired everyone.
KING: Randy -- Randy, thanks.
R. JACKSON: Thank you so much, Larry.
KING: Randy Jackson. Quite a talent in his own right, judge, "American Idol," and, of course, a famed musician and producer.
Aaron Neville is now on the phone. Mr. Neville, a legendary musician and recording artist, third-youngest of the famous Neville Brothers.
What's your reaction, Aaron?
AARON NEVILLE, MUSICIAN: I'm so shocked. I was just -- seemed like he was getting ready to start his tour. You know, I was hoping that I would have gotten the chance to see him. I've never seen him live.
KING: What was his impact to you as a performer?
NEVILLE: Oh, man, it hit me in the heart. I was on an airplane. When it landed, somebody texted me and told me what happened. I didn't believe it at first. I said, it can't be. You know? I was just calling him -- I called him the Muhammad Ali of the entertainment world, you know?
KING: Did he affect the way you -- did he affect you as a performer?
NEVILLE: He affected everybody. You know, I never would have tried to do no Moonwalk or any of that stuff he was doing, but I know everybody and his brother tried to copy him, you know, in some form.
KING: Did you ever work with him?
NEVILLE: No, I haven't. No, I never got to meet him. But I feel like I know him, you know? I feel like I know him. I know his heart.
KING: Yes. Would you have liked to have worked with him?
NEVILLE: I would have loved it. It would have been so real.
NEVILLE: Yes, man, it's sad.
KING: His effect is worldwide. Have you spoken to your brothers?
NEVILLE: You know, I just landed. I'm in Denver. I'm going to meet up with them in a little while in Reno. But, yes, you know, coming from a musical family, I can understand how his family must feel right now, you know, and his extended family around the world. Because, I mean, everybody loved him.
KING: They sure did. Thank you, Aaron. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
NEVILLE: All right. Thank you, Larry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: He is a talented person. He is a wonderful person.
KING: And he's a complex person. Obviously, he's a complex person.
JERMAINE JACKSON: Yes, but look, there was Michelangelo, who was very -- essentially very different, who dressed weird and this and that. And they called Einstein weird, he was known as one of the greatest minds ever. William Shakespeare, who, we still today can go see his plays and...
KING: Yes, genius has it's...
KING: But it's fair to try to examine it. In other words, we look at someone like Michael Jackson...
JERMAINE JACKSON: Right, right. True. But still, look at his heart. Look at his music. Look at what he has done for people. Look at the influence, and we've been influenced.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Michael's body was transferred from the UCLA Medical Center to the coroner's office. And while the body was en route, we talked to Michael's longtime friends, Jesse Jackson and Donna Summer.
KING: Reverend Jackson and yours truly, and Michael Jackson were all together at a dinner in 2007, where I was proud to be honored by Jesse Jackson's group. And so was Michael. We were all at the same table.
Jesse, what are your thoughts right now?
REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Well, I'm traumatized. We are out of our joy and he's out of his pain. I have been listening to Michael since he was maybe 13 years old. We were doing our first expo. And we had the lineup. Quincy Jones was there. Nancy Wilson, Sammy Davis; it was really a very tight show.
And so someone said these kids want to perform. They're over at the Regal across the street. But Junius Griffin, who worked with Dr. King, said, you've got to hear them. I said, I want to hear them, but we are busy. He said, well, come downstairs and meet them. They were in the station wagon, you know, with the U-Haul attached to the Jackson 5, with Joe. We said, well, we can't say no. And they performed "ABC," you know, at that particular expo. And of course, it took off from there.
KING: Yes. By the way, we are now showing the body being -- has left the helicopter. It's going into the vehicle that will take it to the coroner's office.
How do you deal -- what do you say to a family at a case like this? Do you have to do this a lot, Reverend Jackson? How do you put this in words?
JESSE JACKSON: Well, it is a -- death is a mystery. And when the suddenness of death appears, we have to lean to our faith and not to our own understanding. And you simply pray to ask God to, in time, reveal the mystery and to relieve the burden from your heart. That's all you really can do.
And again, having been with him across these years and his family to watch him grow up, I think so much about the Victory Tour that kicked off in Kansas City, with Don King, at the time that Michael was performing, of course, at the great theaters around the word. And I was on my way to London, really, to be with him July the 7th, before the -- he delayed it one day.
So I would say that we all (INAUDIBLE) tonight, because Berry Gordy, Suzanne De Passe, and Quincy Jones were great factors in his stellar career, because he had all of the raw stuff, but Berry Gordy brought a special touch to this.
JESSE JACKSON: I remember Suzanne De Passe taking him and the kids out at Fred Segal's store getting blue jeans. And, of course, there's the Michael Jackson and there's the Quincy Jones in that whole "Thriller" drama (ph). So he had that...
KING: You're not kidding. He sure did. Thanks, Jesse. We'll be calling on you again.
Now joining us on the phone, the disco icon, the one and only Donna Summer.
Donna, you knew Michael, did you not?
DONNA SUMMER, DISCO LEGEND: Yes, I did, yes.
KING: And there we're seeing the vehicle transporting the body now over to the coroner, who will, I gather, begin the autopsy I would guess tomorrow, not tonight. What are your thoughts, Donna?
SUMMER: Well, I have just -- I have to go on stage and sing tonight. It is extremely difficult. It is such an incredible shock to me. I -- you know, I've known Michael for many years. We've worked together. We've had -- we've done different things together over the years.
And I know his family. And it's just -- it's a total shock. And I don't even have words to say. I mean, I'll miss Michael. The world will miss Michael. And I'm sure that the world is in a state of grief right now.
KING: Where are you performing tonight?
SUMMER: I'm up north of Los Angeles at a casino, Chumash.
KING: Will you talk about him?
SUMMER: I certainly will. We're going to try to dedicate a song to him tonight.
KING: All right. Donna, what was his greatness?
SUMMER: His greatness was perfection. And when you meet people like that, who are so given to doing things at the utmost and the highest level, then it makes you up your game. And Michael was one of those people who wouldn't stop until he was perfect. And he kept going even after that.
So I will personally miss him. I will miss his light. I will miss his star. I will miss who he has caused other people to become because of his greatness. He upped -- he upped the standard.
KING: Did you let the stories about his personal life affect your feelings about him?
SUMMER: Not at all. Not at all. Because I don't, personally, know that those stories are true. I tend to want to not believe them because I know Michael, and I can't even imagine that he would ever try to hurt a child.
I think it -- I felt more like it was exploitation, personally, from other people. I don't know if it's true or not. I just -- you know, I just think he was a sitting duck at times.
KING: We'll be back with more of our tribute to Michael Jackson. Don't go away.
KING: Michael has said he didn't have a childhood.
JANET JACKSON: Yes, for sure.
KING: All right. Now that's sad, don't you think?
JANET JACKSON: Yes, of course it is, yes.
KING: You want to be like a normal kid.
JANET JACKSON: But that -- you know, it's kind of like a Catch- 22. That was normal for me as well. Like I saw it with my brothers and then I got into it. But once again, I still had, you know, a little taste of the other side as well.
KING: We're back and we're now joined by -- on the phone is Sean "P. Daddy (sic)" Combs, a record producer of fame, rapper, actor, and businessman. And he has won multiple Grammys and MTV Video Music Awards. Smokey Robinson remains with us.
J.C. Chasez joins us, singer, songwriter, producer, and a former member of *NSYNC. They performed with Michael Jackson several times and were the presenters when Michael was inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame.
And Corey Feldman, actor, musician, was once a close friend of Michael's and hoped to repair a rift that occurred nine years ago. We'll ask him about that.
But let's start first on the phone with my dad, Mr. P. Daddy (sic) Combs. How are you handling this?
SEAN "P. DIDDY" COMBS, RECORD PRODUCER: You know, my heart is just hurting. It's hard to explain the words. When I first heard the news, you know, I was just shocked.
And as you just watch -- as you watch television and you see all the old videos, this man was the greatest recording artist of our time. This man, through his music actually, like, made a change in the world.
He was the only artist that you could say people knew of this man in every country, no matter if his song was in English, but no matter who country it was in, everybody knew the words to his song.
And you know, when I heard the coverage today, and I hear everybody talking about the controversy and the downs, everybody has downs in their life. This man had so much positivity and so much of a positive effect, especially on my generation.
You know, I didn't grow up listening to Elvis or the Beatles. This guy was like my hero. And he gave birth to all of the artists in my generation. And I just think it's so sad to watch everybody talk about things that weren't proven. And I think it's important that we give him his day, man.
He changed the world. Like, he made me believe in magic. He made me -- he made me actually visualize the music. And he made me want to make music. And I just think it's important for all the artists out there to call in and for us to be heard and let the people know how much this man meant to us.
KING: I called you "Daddy" because you're the daddy of what you do. But I know you're Diddy. And it's also getting late.
Stay right with us, P.
J.C., how did you -- how did *NSYNC and Michael Jackson come together?
J.C. CHASEZ, SINGER, *NSYNC: Yes, we have a lot of strange coincidences, actually. Our first hit single was a song called "I Want You Back." His first hit single was "I Want You Back" with the Jackson 5.
But really, what it was about is we were a group that wanted to emulate that kind of performance. Really, he was, kind of like Diddy said before, he just -- he presented something for my generation to emulate, you know. And it was about the scope of things. He just wanted to do it bigger, more dynamic. And he did. He made you believe in magic.
KING: What was he like to work with?
CHASEZ: You know what? He was the nicest guy ever, you know.
KING: Very professional.
CHASEZ: Professional, but you know what? Surprisingly, it was -- when you first meet somebody that you look up to, you're a little awestruck, because you have an idea in your mind of what they are.
And then you meet somebody backstage, and they're chomping on a sandwich or something and you're like, oh, OK, so you eat like me. And then, you know, he cracked a joke and made everybody comfortable right away.
KING: Corey, what was the rift?
COREY FELDMAN, ACTOR: Oh, well, that's kind of a complicated one.
KING: Well, can you simplify it?
FELDMAN: Well, based on the fact that, you know, we just lost a great artist today, I'd rather not focus on the negatives, Larry.
KING: All right. Had you resumed the friendship near the end?
FELDMAN: We hadn't yet. But we had been -- the family and I had been communicating a lot. As a matter of fact, my wife Susie and I were invited recently to La Toya Jackson's birthday party, which we attended three weeks ago, which was thrown by Jeffrey (ph), her manager, and Janet. And we actually got to see the whole family. So it was very nice, and it was a nice...
KING: All right. Since there was a form of separation, we don't have to get into it, how did it hit you today?
FELDMAN: That's a good question. I've been kind of a nervous ball of nerves all day, just a wreck. It was the last thing I expected. As a matter of fact, when I heard the news initially, I thought that it was possibly some sort of publicity stunt to push back the concerts in July, and I didn't think he was really passing.
And once I heard that he actually passed, I haven't stopped shaking. I mean, my hands have just been shaking all day.
KING: I can sense that.
Do you think he would have come back, Smokey?
ROBINSON: Larry, I was in London about a month ago, and that was where he was going to have the 50 initial concerts that he said would probably be his last 50 concerts. But I knew that probably he was going to go around the world with those concerts.
And I was in London, and the promoter who was promoting those concerts, I was talking with him and he said, well, we had to cancel the first five concerts because Michael wasn't feeling well.
So I said, OK, fine, everybody is entitled not to feel well. And -- but the proof of him being Michael Jackson, who he will always be, is the fact that he was going to do 50 concerts. And the place he was playing is a big arena-type place over in London. OK?
Ten minutes or so after the tickets went on sale, they were all sold out. OK? So coming back...
KING: He would have come back. He would have. Where did he go?
KING: We have a statement from J.C.'s former band mate, Justin Timberlake: "I can't find the words right now to express how deeply saddened I am by Michael's passing. We have lost a genius, a true ambassador of not only pop music but of all music.
"He has been an inspiration to multiple generations, and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones."
And we'll be right back.
KING: Carlos Diaz returns to the set, the "Extra" correspondent. With us on the phone is the brilliantly talented Sheryl Crow.
Sheryl, how did this -- how did you react to this today?
SHERYL CROW, MUSICIAN: I think I felt really shocked. You know, I worked with him in 1988 and '89 on the "Bad" tour, and I always wondered what, you know, what -- what would happen to him as he got older?
Would he -- I mean, would we get to see him grow old? And it's just -- it's just shocking today that, at 50, he's not going to be here with us anymore, even though it has been kind of -- you know, it has been hard to imagine what he might be like as an older man.
And now, of course, we will never know and -- but it is shocking. You know, he's going to be sorely missed. And I feel extremely grateful to have gotten the opportunity I had to watch him every night for nearly two years, sing backup for him.
KING: Carlos Diaz wants to ask you something.
CARLOS DIAZ, "EXTRA": Well, first off, Sheryl, we're watching video of you in concert with Michael right now. I want to say, great hair.
CROW: That's fantastic hair.
DIAZ: That is fantastic hair you have there. But what did -- what did Michael Jackson teach you in order for you to become the successful singer that you've become over the years?
CROW: Well, I think that he was absolutely, undeniably the greatest performer of my -- certainly of my generation and maybe of all time. Every night was an amazing show.
And he was just different. He -- I think he knew what it was that set him apart, and he tapped into it every night. And 75,000 screaming fans were right there in the palm of his hand.
And you know, he had a different take on life. He was famous from the time he was 5. And so his relationship with people was from having been just, you know, mobbed all the time. So he was a little bit isolated but definitely a child at heart.
You know, he would rent out amusement parks (INAUDIBLE) and take the band. We'd go to Tokyo Disneyland, and ride rides all night. And he was a real prankster. Loved practical jokes.
And you know, just really child -- when he stepped out on that stage, you'd never seen anyone that was more professional or more -- really truly more gifted than he was.
KING: Everyone has said that tonight. Sheryl...
KING: ... I thank you very much. It's so good hearing from you.
CROW: Thanks, Larry.
JERMAINE JACKSON: This is hard. My brother, the legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson, passed away on Thursday, June 25th, 2009, at 2:26 p.m. It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are known.
His personal physician, who was with him at the time, attempted to resuscitate my brother. And as did the paramedics who transported him to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Upon arriving at the hospital at approximately 1:14 p.m., a team of doctors, including emergency physicians and cardiologists, attempted to resuscitate him for a period of more than one hour. And they were unsuccessful.
Our family requests that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time. And may Allah be with you, Michael, always. Love you.
KING: J.C., you're a judge on "America's Best Dance Crew."
KING: How has the Jackson dancing affecting dancing?
CHASEZ: I mean, you know, when you think about Michael Jackson and what he has presented to the entertainment world, I mean, essentially he has become a part of terminology now.
When it comes to singing -- like, when it comes to percussive and rhythmic singing, it's like, oh, that's what Michael does. When it comes to dancing, it's like, if you're doing something sharp, clean, it's a style of dance.
He really -- he embraced, you know, popping and locking, but he really did it in his own style. And then when he -- when you added the dimension of the music videos, with especially "Smooth Criminal," somebody leans forward nice and slow, man, that's -- everybody knows "Smooth Criminal."
Everybody knows the Moonwalk. Everybody knows the kick and the pushdown from the Motown reunion show. I mean, he's a term in entertainment now. It's like, oh, that's like Michael Jackson, oh, that's like, you know...
KING: I'll never forget him at the Super Bowl.
CHASEZ: He's unbelievable.
Corey, do you think he could have been an actor? FELDMAN: Yes, well, he was an actor. I mean, his whole life was a performance. You have to realize that when you become somebody as large as Michael Jackson, you're on 24 hours a day, whether you like it or not.
So every time, you know, you see a fan, every time you have to stop and take a picture, even if you're not feeling happy inside, even if you don't have a good feeling, you have to put on a smile, and you have to make people warm and welcome.
KING: I had a kind of intertwined life with Michael Jackson. I first interviewed him when he was, I guess, 10 or 11 years old with the Jackson 5 in Miami. I was doing my radio show and they were great guests. And he stood out.
In fact, everyone there, the control room, they would all say, who was this kid? He was just so ebullient and effusive. He was fantastic to be around.
Later on, of course, things would be up and down in Michael Jackson's life. I saw him at RFK Stadium. I sat way, way up near the top of the stadium, could barely see him, but I did have binoculars, and got to enjoy that concert immensely, what I could hear of it. Saw a little of it, what I could hear of it.
Then when he went on trial in 2005, I had overheard a conversation at Nate-N-Al's restaurant here in Beverly Hills, at the next table and then the conversation dwelled over to our table in which a lawyer was saying that the people who were pressing charges against Michael Jackson were in fact extorting from him.
So I had told this to people and they subpoenaed me to come and appear at the Jackson trial. And before I appeared, there was a hearing and the judge did not allow me to testify because it was all hearsay. I was saying what someone else told me. I understood that completely. So did Michael, he gave me a nice smile on the way out.
And then the last time I was with him, you see right there, was at this Jesse Jackson's wonderful charity. Had this special dinner they give every year where they honor people and I was one of those proud enough to be honored and so was Michael.
And we sat at the same table and talked with conversation like everybody makes. Who are your guests coming up? Some day I will do your show. Yes, I wish. That never happened. But that was the last time I saw Michael Jackson.
And then I learned information the other day from a friend of mine who had arranged for the plane that was going to fly Elizabeth Taylor over to London for opening night of Michael Jackson's soon-to- be 50 night concert that sadly will never take place. Thanks for joining us on our look back at celebrity tributes to Michael Jackson. We'll have updates all through the week on LARRY KING LIVE. Time now for the latest news on CNN.