By Benjamin Njoku
In the 1980s, there were two names that dominated the world music scene: Michael Jackson and Prince They were the musical superstars who jostled for supremacy in a golden age of pop. But despite being ‘musical geniuses’ and rivals of sorts, the two superstars shared similar love affairs that were better imagined than said.
While Michael Jackson who died on June 25, 2009, resulting from acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication at his home on North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, kept his affairs with women under wraps, Prince took his own overboard.
Reports had it that MJ had secret affairs with two women whom he “made out with” in the back of a limousine. He was also said to have lived in fear of being secretly recorded, which inadvertently affected his love life. While he lived, the “King of Pop” was dogged by allegations of child molestation in his later years, and died just before launching a comeback tour in 2009.
Still on his love affairs, an assistant to his former manager Sandy Gallin,Shana Mangatal once claimed she was the King of Pop’s gal pal for four years starting in 1990. “Michael’s a normal man who love women,” she was quoted as saying, adding “ He was the love of my life. When you look at him you don’t see the freakish appearance that comes through in pictures. I see his heart.”
But unlike Michael Jackson, Prince who died on Thursday was romantically linked to many celebrities, including Kim Basinger, Madonna, Sheila E. and Carmen Electra, but he was only married twice.
At 37, the Grammy award winner wedded his 22-year-old backup singer and dancer Mayte Garcia on Valentine’s Day in 1996.
According to reports, the former couple met six years earlier when Mayte was a 16-year-old dancing prodigy attending one of his concerts. After their nuptials, Garcia became pregnant with their first child, and Prince shared with ET the joy he felt during the experience.
“The most profound thing that has happened to me is the way I view women now,” Prince said in 1997. “Going through my wife’s pregnancy had a really powerful effect on me. It just gave me the utmost respect for all of women.”
Apart from having similar love stories, the two heavyweight musicians had one of the most epic rivalries in pop music history. Though they denied ever having a beef, tensions between the two superstars sometimes spilled over into public. One of such instance, recorded on grainy videotape, reportedly occurred in 1983 during a James Brown concert in Los Angeles.
At one point, the Godfather of Soul summoned Jackson to the stage. He promptly moonwalk across the stage and pulled off some impeccable Brown moves. Then Jackson whispered something to Brown, who demands that Prince join them.
The diminutive legend played a couple of licks on guitar and showed off some deft dance moves, but Jackson notably ignored him.
In 1985, Prince was criticized when he pulled out of contributing to Jackson’s song “We Are the World,” which raised money for famine-stricken Ethiopia.
In 1987, Jackson offered Prince a duet on his upcoming album “Bad,” but Prince declined. Both born in 1958, the two singers came from very different backgrounds.
Whereas Jackson had been sculpted from his early childhood to become a pop sensation, Prince was a self-made musician from Minneapolis.
The two showmen presented radically different images, with Jackson cutting an iconic figure in his red leather jacket while Prince preferred thongs, ruffled blouses and overcoats.
Jackson’s pop seemed innocent and clean-cut, in contrast to Prince’s lewd lyrics and overtly sexual performances. One anecdote, recounted in the 2015 Jackson biography “MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson,” tells of a time in 2006 when Prince invited Jackson to his show in Las Vegas, then proceeded to walk into the audience, find Jackson and play “aggressive slap bass” very close to his face. “Prince has always been a meanie. He’s just a big meanie,” Jackson supposedly complained afterwards. Prince was the only one of the pair to publicly criticize the other, singing in the 2004 song “Life ‘o’ The Party” that “My voice is getting higher/And Eye ain’t never had my nose done,” in a reference to Jackson, who had multiple plastic surgeries. But then, both MJ and Prince would be remembered for transforming pop music and pop culture in the world.