Page last updated at 19:50 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 20:50 UK

Reporters' log: Jackson memorial

BBC correspondents log reports and personal impressions from the memorial service for Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1220 (1920 GMT)

It could have been so tacky, based on some of the events of the previous twelve days. But this was a very personal public ceremony. There were moments of humour, moments of sadness. But it was a celebration that surely, whatever you think of him, was worthy of such a global star.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1148 (1848 GMT)

Brooke Shields cries the first truly visible tears on stage. I think I'm right in saying she never talks about her friendship with Michael Jackson, but today she tells us all about their friendship. About how they would laugh together. About how he liked to be teased.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1135 (1835 GMT)

The biggest applause so far, for Rev Al Sharpton as he speaks directly to Jackson's three children in the front row: "Wasn't nothing strange about your daddy."

The audience cheers, the crowd rise up, so too do the family, and his children, who clap gently.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1124 (1824 GMT)

Michael Jackson's brothers are all wearing one sequined glove.

It's hard to clearly see the family but the glimpses I'm getting show a family both in mourning, and in celebration of his life. There are moments of the intensely personal in this very public event.

Magic Johnson has just said that Michael Jackson's children will be looked after by the most amazing grandmother to be put on this earth. The brothers hug him afterwards.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1109 (1809 GMT)

Michael Jackson now talking and singing from beyond the grave as it were. A montage of his life and music.

The crowd punch the air as the video shows him moon walking. Now Stevie wonder. "This is a moment that I wished I didn't live to see coming. Michael I love you."

MATTHEW PRICE, 1102 (1802 GMT)

The father of Motown, Berry Gordy, is telling some tales about the early Jacksons, and he just looked Smokey Robinson, there in the front few rows, in the eye, and told him Michael could sing better. Smokey apparently agrees.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1055 (1755 GMT)

After a devastatingly poignant reading from Queen Latifah, Lionel Ritchie takes to the stage. Images of a cathedral projected behind him. Sometimes the events of the last few days have felt tacky. This does not. So far it's a remarkably simple, and rather moving event.

PETER BOWES, 1050 (1750 GMT)

The Jackson family pastor, Lucious Smith, said Michael Jackson had gone far too soon.

He said he had a beautiful and human heart. Through his words and music, Michael Jackson did, he said, so much to try to heal our world.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1046 (1746 GMT)

Mariah Carey starts the music. Singing directly in front of Michael Jackson's coffin. Not all the seats are full, but in those that are, people are sitting quietly and watching.

A huge cheer now as the song rounds off with an cappella from Carey: "Even through the pain and heartache I'll be there", and then, "we miss you".

MATTHEW PRICE, 1031 (1731 GMT)

The lights have dimmed and the stage is filling up. A gospel choir, with a projected stained glass backdrop behind them. The crowd respectfully claps, and falls silent to listen.

The coffin is brought in and everyone rises to their feet.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1022 (1722 GMT)

The family has filed in, to almost total silence from the crowd. A ripple of applause as the occasional star is spotted. But this is feeling like a true memorial service. It's not a cathedral, but has that atmosphere.

PETER BOWES, 1018 (1718 GMT)

Just counted seven helicopters circling over Staples Centre. Deafening noise. Air thick with fumes from TV satellite truck generators.

Much confusion outside amid rumour after rumour about Jackson's body - and whether it will take centre stage.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1010 (1710 GMT)

Smokey Robinson's just starting the ceremony. He'd reading from a letter Diana Ross has sent. She's not here. Nor are several hundred others. There are some empty seats. People are still coming in.

MATTHEW PRICE, 1008 (1708 GMT)

We've all been given a programme. In it Michael Jackson's sister La Toya says: "Michael I recall you sitting on a chair in your bedroom staring at the television watching the 1980 Grammy Awards show, crying to me because you had won only one Grammy Award and you said, 'watch La Toya, my next record I'm going to sell more records and win more Grammys than anyone in the history of music. I will be the biggest and greatest entertainer of all time.'"

MATTHEW PRICE, 1001 (1701 GMT)

The hall is filling up, and we're being told to take our seats. Huge sprays of flowers at the stage front. "In loving memory of Michael Jackson King of Pop 1958-2009" is written on a huge screen next to a smiling photo of Michael Jackson.

Print Sponsor


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific