Consequences Of Falling

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“Listen Out Loud“ - While Weisner’s name is virtually unknown outside the tight-knit world of the music business, he in fact helped craft the careers of some of the biggest names in pop.

One of his biggest clients was Michael Jackson. He was originally hired by Joe Jackson to represent The Jackson Five in the late Seventies, but would go on to manage Michael at the peak of his megastardom during the Off The Wall and Thriller years.

He last spoke to Michael less than 24 hours before his death.

‘We remained close to the end. Michael was rehearsing for the London O2 shows in downtown Los Angeles.

'I went to see him and was shocked at what I saw. He looked like someone who had come from a concentration camp. He was clearly sick, weak and suffering.

'I said, “Michael, you need to take more care of yourself.” He smiled and said, “I know, Ron, I know. But this show has to be the biggest and the best ever.”

'Right to the end Michael was a perfectionist. He wanted everything to be as good as it could be, but his body wasn’t up to it.

‘We said our goodbyes and the next day LaToya called me from the hospital and told me he was gone.’

In his new tell-all book ”Listen Out Loud”, Weisner describes family patriarch Joe Jackson as ‘a hustler who was always trying to bully and cheat his way to an extra dime’.
‘Her aim from the beginning was to shock,’ said Ron of Madonna
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'Her aim from the beginning was to shock,' said Ron of Madonna

Over lunch in a sunny cafe near his home in Santa Monica, California, Weisner tells me: ‘I was representing Gladys Knight and had a roster of famous names and Joe came in and started off by telling me he needed a “white Jewish guy” to deal with the record company.

‘He treated the Jacksons like his personal cash cow. Joe and I had massive confrontations on a weekly basis. He would accuse me of being “a Jew just out for yourself”.

'I took it in the hope I could protect Michael and give him space to create his magic. But he was petrified of his father.’

Weisner developed a particularly close friendship with Michael who he describes as ‘almost like a son to me.’

He says: ‘From the beginning there was something other-worldly about Michael.

'On stage he was the most talented performer I’ve ever seen.

'But off stage he was a child, permanently damaged by his abusive father and was always seeking the childhood that had been denied him.

‘Michael was terrified of his father. That’s why he always wanted to be white. He didn’t want to be reminded of Joe Jackson.’

Weisner says that once Michael launched his solo career he became like a surrogate parent to the superstar, accompanying him on trips to Disneyland and pandering to his every whim, including once being dragged out of bed to go to watch Liberace perform.

On another occasion, Weisner was watching Top Of The Pops in his London hotel room when Adam Ant came on.

‘He looked incredible, wearing this military-style uniform. Michael flipped out. I went to a costume shop and bought up dozens of military uniforms and had our costume-maker turn them into stage suits.

'Later I said to Michael, “Are you going to credit Adam Ant for giving you the inspiration?” but he never did.’

The manager says he witnessed Michael with young boys but never believed he was a child molester.

‘Was Michael normal? Absolutely not. But did he abuse children? Never. There was an innocence about Michael but also an ignorance.
On Paul McCartney: ‘He’s one of the most consummate professionals I ever met,’ he said
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On Paul McCartney: ‘He’s one of the most consummate professionals I ever met,’ he said

'My own son was around him from a very young age and I trusted Michael completely. He was a man-child. He never grew up. He loved children because they were the only ones who never took advantage of him.’

Weisner says Jackson’s drug problems were evident for years.

He even attempted to stage an intervention, which he now admits ‘was more like a kidnapping’, ten years before the superstar’s death from a propofol overdose at the hands of Dr Conrad Murray.

He explains: ‘It was clear Michael was abusing prescription pills. I was no longer his manager by this stage but we still spoke regularly.

'I called LaToya and told her we needed to do something.

'Michael was in Bahrain and I arranged for a team to get him and a plane to take him to a rehab facility in the Caribbean.

'But two days before it was all set to go down, LaToya freaked out and called it off. Something had rattled her. I never found out what.’

Weisner also represented Paul McCartney, and arranged for McCartney and Jackson to record their famous duet The Girl Is Mine (1982). But he says McCartney was later devastated when Jackson ‘betrayed’ him over a business deal.

‘Michael was obsessed by The Beatles’ back catalogue. He grilled Paul about how the business worked and Paul was patient and answered every question in great detail.

'Three years later, Michael bought The Beatles’ back catalogue from under Paul’s nose.

'Paul felt terribly betrayed by this. He didn’t speak to Michael again until the late Eighties.

'I was there when they made their peace, but it was an uneasy truce.’