Burning Performance: 31 Years Ago Today Michael Jackson’s Hair Caught Fire During Pepsi Commercial [Videos]

Did you know that 31 years ago in entertainment history, Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire while making a Pepsi commercial in front of 3,000 fans?

Apparently it was the fault of stage pyrotechnics and the King of Pop suffered pain from this incident right up to his early death, 24 years later. It happened in the sixth take for the commercial and can be seen clearly in the video above.

BT reports that it was in 1984 when 25-year-old Jackson, along with members of his famous family, was filming a staged concert performance as part of a new Pepsi advertising campaign.

While the performance was ongoing, sparks from a pyrotechnic explosion on the stage caught and ignited his hair. In the video it is possible to see stage hands and Jackson’s brothers pushing him down and extinguishing the blaze.

Michael was immediately rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for emergency treatment. At the hospital his doctor, Steven Hoefflin, said Jackson was “noted to be quite shaken up with palm-sized area of second-degree and small area of third-degree burns” on his head.

After doctors treated Jackson’s wounds, he was then given several different painkillers, as well as a strong sedative to calm his nerves and aid his sleep.

At the time the incident happened, Michael Jackson was right at the peak of his career. He had released his popular album Thriller at the end of 1982 and won a record eight Grammy awards in February.

It turns out that the Jackson brothers had signed an advertising deal with Pepsi in November of the previous year, which was worth $5 million. Apparently after the unfortunate accident, Pepsi gave Michael $1.5 million compensation for his ordeal, which the King of Pop then donated to the Brotman Medical Center, another of the medical facilities that treated him during the burn incident.

According to 1070WINA, other iconic incidents on January 27 in the past include such happenings as John Lennon recording Instant Karma in 1970. In 1991, Whitney Houston sang the Star-Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl, although it later turned out she had sung over a recorded version of the emblematic anthem.

Rather more tragically, on this day in 1968 Otis Redding’s song (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay was released, just six weeks after he was killed in a plane crash.

Of interest to note, the Inquisitr reports that former child star, Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Carlton from ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” appeared in another of the Pepsi commercials with Michael Jackson, which commercial is included below, without any dangerous pyrotechnics.

[Image: CC by SA 2.0 Daniela Hartmann]