Tales of Groupies, Strippers & Prostitutes
Yolanda Lewis, Groupie with Jermaine, Magic/Madness 1972
When Marlon was fifteen and Michael fourteen, they would share a hotel room with Jermaine, seventeen, who would wait for their security man, Bill Bray, to go to sleep before sneaking down to the lobby to pick up girls. Often, he would bring them back to the room and instruct Michael and Marlon to, as Marlon recalled it, “play sleep.”
(One night Jermaine goes to the lobby where he finds Yolanda Lewis and invites her back to the room. The rest is told from her p.o.v.)
“The next thing I knew, I could see in the dim light that Jermaine was sitting on the bed in a lotus position, naked and frantically rubbing some kind of lotion–baby oil, I believe–between his legs, all the while moaning to himself. He had the smoothest body I’d ever seen on a young man, and I remember being a bit disappointed because I hoped he would be muscular and cute like his brother, Jackie, who I had slept with the last time the group was in Cleveland . Even in the dim light, you could see Jermaine’s ribs poking out from under his skin. I began taking off my clothes slowly, but Jermaine’s whole thing was, “Strip, baby, and let’s get to it now ‘fore I come without you.” So I jumped into bed with him and he quickly climbed on top of me. We made love. That was not disappointing. Jermaine was very experienced. He knew positions I still don’t know how to get into. It was like he was double-jointed or something. As we climaxed, he shuddered so loudly I was afraid he would wake up Michael and Marlon, who were sleeping three feet away together in the next bed.
“Or at least I thought they were sleeping. As I was slipping out of the room, I heard Michael say to Jermaine, “Nice job. Now will you please go to sleep?”
Michael Jackson, Moonwalk, 1988
“In those days, touring with the Jackson 5, I always shared a room with Jermaine. He and I were close, both onstage and off, and shared a lot of the same interests. Since Jermaine was also the brother most intrigued by the girls who wanted to get at him, he and I would get into mischief on the road. I think our father decided early on that he had to keep a more watchful eye on us than on our other brothers. He would usually take the room next to ours, which meant he could come in to check on us anytime through the connecting doors. I really despised this arrangement, not only because he could monitor our misbehavior, but also because he used to do the meanest things to us.”
Marlon, Interview in 1988/9
“Michael was just as promiscuous as Jermaine. I remember back in the early days, Michael was something to keep up with where the girls were concerned. Believe me, Michael ain’t no virgin. No way.”
Susie Jackson, Magic/Madness, 1991
“I remember that his brothers used to tell us these wild stories about how they used to go out and get girls and bring them back to the hotel room for Michael,” Susie Jackson said. “Then Michael would supposedly have sex with these girls.”
Jermaine, March 31 1973
Will the same thing happen with Michael when he gets a few years older? Does he go out with girls?
“No,” smiles Jermaine. “Marlon doesn’t either.”
Because they’re not interested or because they’re too young?
“Oh, they’re interested! But I guess my mother won’t turn them loose yet! ” Watch out when they do….
“Yeah!” Jermaine agrees, laughing. “Another thing is that when we go to places we never really get mobbed unless Michael’s with us,” says Jermaine.
What about groupies?
“Well, there’s groupies everywhere! Seriously though,” he shakes his head. “I hate to say that about the fans! But it’s just that we hardly ever go out with girls on the road. We’ll go to a show and if they’re there, fine. But we never would take one our separately. We don’t get bored though, because we know that we’re there to work – and to make money!”
Merv: How do you handle the girls situation? ‘Cause that is..
Marlon: The fans? They know, uh, (laughs, embarressed) sometimes they’re knocking on our doors and I throw Michael outside and…
Merv: You get thrown outside Michael?
Michael: (embaressed) Sometime.
Merv: Do you all have girls? Oh you’re married, Jackie?
Tito: I’m married
Merv: Tito’s married?
Tito: We were just in St Louis and um, they knocked on my door all night long. (brothers laugh)
Merv: And what does Mrs Tito say?
Tito: Mrs Tito wasn’t there. (laughs)
“You know, when you’re on the road, you get a chance to meet a lot of girls. I’m only scared of them when they’re in a group watching our act. Sometimes I think we’ll never get off the stage in one piece. They do some strange things, like taking off their underwear or whatever you call them and throwing them onstage. I’ve heard of this happening to other entertainers but until it happened to us, it was hard to believe.
“When we were in Chicago, three girls tried to storm out hotel room. And they meant business. Now I have grave doubts as to who the weak sex really is.
Groupies, to Michael, are the girls who succeed in climbing over the wall of their house and then get thrown out by the security guards. And the guards are the people he sneaks by to have a good night out. And when Michael has a good night out, he is smart enough to keep it to himself.
Bruce Swedien, Thriller sessions 81-82
I clearly remember one rather interesting event that happened early on the project,while we were working at Westlake’s Beautiful Studio D on Beverly Boulevard in Hollywood. A healthy Los Angeles young lady walked slowly by the front window of the studio. That window was made of a one-way glass facing the sidewalk and the street. All of a sudden, while we were watching, she pulled her dress high up over her head. She was wearing absolutely nothing underneath! Quincy, Rod and I got a very good look! We just there gawking! We turned around and there was Michael, devoted Jehovah’s witness and all, hiding behind the big Harrison mixing console, getting an eyeful, all the same! True story.
MJ, on Billie Jean a song about a groupie, 1982
“Of all the songs on the Thriller album I think I’m more happy about Billie Jean than any of them because there’s a lot of truth in the song.”
Quincy Jones on Billie Jean,
“Michael wrote Billie Jean – and that stuff, you know, it was just highly, highly personal. According to him, he said it was about a girl who climbed over [his] wall and he woke up one morning and she was laying out by the pool, lounging, hanging out with the shades on, bathing suit on… and Michael said she had accused him of being the father of one of her twins [laughs]. ”
Quincy Jones, Thriller 25, 2007
“Michael’s songs, even if it’s on a abstract base to me, were somehow always autobiographical, you know? It always felt that way of knowing him really well and the complexities in and out of his life. They always felt autobiographical even if it was something he was resisting. You know? It would come out in the song.”
Quincy Jones on Dirty Diana, a song about groupies, 1987
“Dirty Diana came from a deep place from Michael.”
Glenda Tapes 2:3, September 91-92
M:Welll… (silence)I seen my brothers, you know, when we were travelling and stuff and doing the circuit and all that. Joseph would be in another room messing with a girl and it was obvious they were having sex
M: I know… but I didn’t wanna tell mother, and Marlon and I didn’t wanna tell them but.. all my brothers kind of just… did the same thing, so, Joseph…
G: Are any of your brothers still married? Or isn’t everybody married right now?
M: well, they broke up but, Marlon and Carol have been, they’re trying to work it out. I admire Carol because Marlon was gonna divorce her but she still wanted to make it work
G: And Jermaine, what is he doing?
M: Oh GOD…
M: I remember, like I told you before, when Marlon and I had to share a room with Jermaine and Bill was asleep. Jermaine would have girls up there all the time screwing and stuff. I always (said I’d never ??) Marlon said the same thing. I felt so guilty when we used to home from the circuit and stuff before we made it, y’know we used to do the club circuits and stuff. I felt so guilty, and I just cried and Joseph choked me, almost broke my arm one day. But he was proud of it. It’s like, (joseph’s voice) “Oh, this is what you should do, boy.” I mean, he didn’t say that but he was screwin’ women in the other room and stuff.
G: What an awful thing to witness. From your father, your role model. (sighs) Especially doing stuff to your mom. What an awful thing.
M: Mother would say when we came home, she and the girls would be in there you know, waitin’ back at the house and all happy,Joseph’s back!. Joseph would come home, so glad to see mother. It’d just make me sick. And then Jackie and everyone, they started doing that. I told this girl – Jackie saw her when we were on stage (I). I told this girl, I said, “Don’t go with Jackie.” He found out and he went backstage and stuff and I said, “Don’t go with him, please don’t go with him.” She’s like, “Why?” I said, “Please don’t go with him, he’s gonna hurt you.” So, she went. She met him. She was a virgin. And he had sex with her and stuff like that. And in the limo, we were in the limo. And they were gonna take this girl home. Like, I said, “Why did you do that? Why you didn’t just listen to me? Why did you do that? Why did you go with him?” And she was just crying. I said, “Did he hurt you?” and she said, “No. But he told me after we had sex that he never wanted to see me again.” I said, “why did you go with him? I told you backstage don’t go with him.”
Another morning the entrie family was awakened by a heavy crash! and ran outside to investigate. We saw a tiny young woman tramping along the perimeter of the swimming pool, shrieking at the top of her lungs, and toppling these solid marble statues it had taken four brawny men to move into place. When all the statues were lying on their sides, she commenced turning on the gas valves that feed the heating units in the pool, the jacuzzi, and the gas lamps.
“I’m going to kill all of you” she screamed hysterically. “Every last one of you!”
My father managed to calm down the woman while waiting for security to arrive. They brought her in the house and he demanded, “Okay, what’s your name? How did you get in here? Why are you doing these things?”
She glared at Joseph, Mother, Michael, Janet, Randy, and me, lifted her skirt, and in a deranged voice declared, “My name is Pussy, and I’m gonna give it to all of you! All of you! And I hate you! Because you’re close to Michael!”
“What are you talking about?”
“I hate you!” she said, looking at me. “And I’m gonna make sure you don’t live. God’s gonna strike you dead!” When I’d heard about enough, I walked out of the room.
Shmuley Tapes, 2000/1
SB:Let me just share one thought. You said your father would humiliate you when you were in concert and push you out on stage in front of all the girls who loved you… to do what? To show his power over you?
MJ:Well, um, no. He wouldn’t do it on stage. Like after a show, there’d be the room full of girls. He would love to bring the girls in the room, my father. And after the show we’d have something to eat, or whatever, and the room would be just lined with girls giggling, just loving us, like ”oh my god” and shaking. And if I was talking and something happened add he didn’t like it he’d get this look in his eye like… he’d get this look in his eye like that would scare you to death. He slapped me so hard in the face, as hard as he could, and then he’d thrust me out in the big room, where they are, tears running down my face and what are you supposed to do, you know?
SB:And how old were you now?
MJ:No more than like twelve… eleven, something around there.
Flo Anthony, 2004
“Jackie’s wife Enid, actually told me that when they were teenagers, they had a bunch of women just up in the room.
I think that’s the cleaned-up version of what Enid told me.”
James McField , the group’s former pianist and band director recalled. “Sometimes, Michael just needed someone to talk to and maybe once or twice, a woman would be introduced to him as someone very nice he could be with, to have the company of a female. But he wouldn’t have sex with her. As far as I now, to my knowlege nothing intimate ever went on. He liked nice girls, pure girls, who appeared to have no street background.”
Song written by Michael, street walker is a slang word for a prostitute.
The video was released in 1993. It begins with Jackson in what seems to be a hotel, singing about his girlfriend. He is distressed because he found a silver card in with the name “Alex” on it. To him, it implies that “Alex” is another man who his girlfriend is with; thus, she is cheating on Jackson. However, as the story in the video unfolds, this is not true, because the girl takes on different identities (I.e. Eve, Diana, etc.) for her job. “Alex”(which is also a girl’s name), just happens to be one of them. The video alternates scenes from where Jackson is singing about his pain, to where the girl is being changed into her different identities and taking care of her jobs (mostly meeting with other men and making love with them). Towards the end of the video, Jackson has packed up his bags to leave town, because of his distress. A helicopter comes to pick him up from his house, where he is only seen again on it, trying to sleep. The girl comes to Jackson’s house, and she asks the doorman to let her in. The doorman shakes his head, implying that he left. When she asks why, the doorman drops a flutter of silver nameplates (including the one that said “Alex”) from a slot in the door. The girl only nods and walks away.
Michael Jackson, Moonwalk 1988
“We’d start the song and somewhere in the middle I’d go out into the audience, crawl under the tables, and pull up the ladies’ skirts to look under.”
“We worked in more than one club that had strippers in those days. I used to stand in the wings of this one place in Chicago and watch a lady whose name was Mary Rose. I must have been nine or ten. This girl would take off her clothes and her panties and throw them to the audience. The men would pick them up and sniff them and yell. My brothers and I would be watching all this, taking it in, and my father wouldn’t mind. We were exposed to a lot doing that kind of circuit. In one place they had cut a little hole in the musician’s dressing room wall that also happened to act as a wall to the ladies’ bathroom. You could peek through this hole, and I saw stuff I’ve never forgotten. Guys on that circuit were so wild, they did stuff like drilling holes into the walls of the ladies’ loo all the time. Of course, I’m sure that my brothers and I were fighting over who got to look through the hole. “Get outta the way, it’s my turn!” Pushing each other away to make room for ourselves.”
Great Greenland Mystery, April 1981
Interviewer: What sort of material did you start with in those days?
Marlon: Temptations, James Brown….
Michael: I think the song that really tears the house down was Skinny Legs and All by Joe Tex.
Interviewer: With all the theatrics?
Michael: Oh yeah. You know I used to go in the audience and lift all the girls’ legs up! God, I’m so embarrassed about that. I would never dream of….
Marlon: Favorite part of the act-lifting up all them skirts.
Michael Jackson, Timothy White Interview, August 24th 1977
TW: What would you say is the worst thing you ever saw in your life?
MJ: Well, can it be anything?
MJ: It was probably during the hard days on stage. Some of the things I use ta see when we used to do nightclub acts. [Giggles] You’ll probably say, “Aw, that ain’t nothing,” but to me, especially at that stage, I had never seen anything like it.
TW: Seen what?
MJ: [Giggling harder] See, we used to do club shows, and there was this one lady — you probably know what she did — but I thought it was awful. I was around six, and she was one of those stripteasers, and she would take her drawers off [giggles] , and a man would come up, and they’d start doing — aw, man, she was too funky! Ugh! That, to me, was awful.
After we were done with those sessions – they’d usually go until about 2 AM or so – Michael would wander into the bathroom and come out with a sack he’d pulled out from under the toilet. In it, he kept several thousands of dollars. He’d ask me how much I wanted. I just sort of shrugged and he’d hand me a couple of thousand dollars. Soon, I’d be packing my dictionaries and thesauri and rhyming books in my backpack, calling my friends and telling them to meet me downtown. Within an hour, we’d be at Flashdancers “making it rain.”
Michael was always envious when I told him about my adventures with my friends. More than a few times, he’d get dressed up – dawning some sort of quasi-disguise – preparing to go with me, only to back down at the last minute or be held back by his security who would shake their heads and plainly say no to his misguided ambitions. Instead, he’d pour himself a tall glass of orange juice and settle in for the night to watch an old movie on TV, telling me to spend a few extra bucks for him. I happily complied.