30 Years Since ‘We Are The World’ – When Lindsey Buckingham Bumped Into Michael Jackson In The Bathroom

Written by New Zealand broadcaster Tim Roxborogh
28th Jan 2015

It’s 30 years today since USA For Africa’s We Are The World was recorded. The perennially cool Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) was part of the all-star chorus and I remember him telling me that one of his defining memories of that day was bumping into Michael Jackson in the bathroom.

Lindsey Buckingham 2nd from the right at the top.

Lindsey Buckingham 2nd from the right at the top.

For the record, I was interviewing Lindsey just after Michael’s death in 2009. He said he already could tell – even at that stage in Michael’s life – that MJ was a troubled soul. And a genius too.

Lindsey Buckingham: “I think I walked into the bathroom and he was in there and it kind of freaked him out! He was quite nervous just to be startled by someone walking in and I just nodded my head. I didn’t feel comfortable trying to engage him in a ‘hello’ at that point. He was really at the top of his game and I think probably even then was dealing with a lot of demons that were probably from way back when he was a kid. You know, I just didn’t want to intrude at all on his trip…”

Me: “Certainly not in the bathroom…”

LB: (Laughs) Yeah, especially not in the bathroom but not otherwise either.”

Innocuous as it is, this anecdote does give a sense of how even at a gathering with as much talent and ego as 30 years ago, there was an understanding that Michael Jackson was something altogether different.

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