He was driven by his hunger to learn to constantly top himself to be the best. He was the consummate student. He studied the greats and became greater. He raised the bar and then broke the bar. His talent and creativity thrust him and entertainment into another stratosphere. The Motown family mourns the death of our friend and brother Michael Jackson who was like a son to me. Our deep condolences go out to all his family, his parents; Joe, Katherine, his beautiful children, his sisters and brothers and his nieces and nephews. Michael Jackson was 10 years old when he and his brothers auditioned for me in Motown in Detroit that July day in 1968, and blew us all away. The Jackson 5 were just amazing, and little Michael's performance was way beyond his years. This little kid had an incredible knowingness about him. He sang with such feeling and inspiration. Michael had a quality that I couldn’t completely understand but we all knew he was special. Aside from singing and dancing like James Brown and Jackie Wilson, he sung a Smokey Robinson song called Who's Lovin' You. He sang it with the sadness and passion of a man who'd been living the blues and heartbreak his whole life. And as great as Smokey sang it, I thought Michael was better. I went to Smokey and said hey man I think he got you on that one. Smokey said me too. That was Motown. Motown was built on love and competition and sometimes the competition got in the way of the love but the love always won out. We competed on everything. And California we had a baseball game every week, the Jacksons vs. the Gordy’s. Unfortunately for us, Tito and Jackie were big homerun hitters. They would knock the ball out of the park. But then so was my son Barry and I’m not going to tell you who won most of the games but I will tell you that the Gordy’s cried a lot. And even though little Michael was the catchers for the Jackson’s and missed a lot of balls we still cried a lot. But we swam and we joked and we played games and when Michael performed his songs you could feel the hipness in his soul because that’s what he loved to do. Michael inspired me so much that for days I walked around humming a bright little happy tune with him in mind…then I put a group together and we came up with 4 hit records for them, I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save and I’ll Be There. The Jackson 5 was the only group in history to have their first 4 records go to number 1. In 1983 the brothers reunited and returned to do Motown 25th anniversary show. After a high powered dazzling melody of their songs Michael took the stage alone and made pop history. From the first beat of Billie Jean, I was mesmerized. And when he did his iconic moonwalk, I was shocked. It was magic. Michael Jackson went into orbit, and never came down. At 10 years old, he had passion. He had passion to be the greatest entertainer in the world and he was willing to work as hard to do whatever it took to become what he indeed became the undisputed King of Pop, the world over. What kid wouldn’t give his right arm to fulfill his wildest childhood dreams? Michael loved it all, every moment on stage, every moment in rehearsal. Michael loved creating what have never been done before. He loved everything and everybody especially his fans. I must say though that he did have two personalities. Offs stage he was shy, soft spoken and childlike, but when he took the stage in front of his screaming fans he turned into another person. A master, a take no prisoner show man. It was like kill or be killed. I mean Michael was awesome, totally in charge. In fact the more I think about Michael Jackson, the more I think The King of Pop is not big enough for him. I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived. Michael, thank you for the joy. Thank you for the love. You will live in my heart forever. I love you.
Berry Gordy gives a speech at Michael Jackson's Memorial Service.