He Slept in a Hyperbaric Chamber: Odd Facts About Michael Jackson

MOONWALKER, Michael Jackson, 1988.
Dream Quest Images/Courtesy Everett Collection

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Michael Jackson was an influential person in the world of music. The world was shocked when he passed away on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50. As we celebrate what would have been his 65th birthday on Aug. 29, 2023, let’s share some odd and interesting facts about the late singer’s life.

He brought llamas with him to record music

382639 01: Entertainer Michael Jackson poses with his pet boa constrictor September 15, 1987 in the USA. Jackson, who was the lead singer for the Jackson Five by age eight, reached the peak of his solo career with 1982''s "Thriller," the best-selling album of all time and recipient of eight Grammy awards.

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Jackson famously loved animals and had a whole zoo, including his beloved chimpanzee Bubbles. He apparently brought two of his llamas, Louis and Lola with him to record music. Turns out they were the reason Queen’s Freddie Mercury never finished recording music with Jackson because he didn’t like the llamas. Some of his other pets included a snakes, tigers, giraffes, alligators, bears, and many more.

He was inspired by Fred Astaire and Charlie Chaplin


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Some of Jackson’s most famous moves were inspired by dancer Fred Astaire. He was also a big fan of comedy and loved Charlie Chaplin. He said that one of his biggest inspirations was Chaplin.

He slept in a hyperbaric chamber

hyperbaric chamber

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Jackson was obsessed with his looks and wanted to live a long life. For many years, he slept in a hyperbaric chamber, which is a special space that contains pure oxygen and has an air pressure that is higher than normal to help the lungs get more oxygen. At one point, he stopped using it and donated his oxygen tank to a hospital in California.

He could have died during 9/11

404248 10: Musician Michael Jackson performs at the taping of "American Bandstands 50th...A Celebration" television special honoring the music show April 20, 2002 in Pasadena, CA.

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Less than a decade before he actually passed away, he had a close call. Jackson was supposed to be in the World Trade Center during the devastating events of 9/11 but overslept and missed the meeting.

His hair caught fire during a Pepsi commercial shoot

In 1984, his hair caught fire during a Pepsi commercial shoot and caused second-degree and third-degree burns on his head. He would often wear wigs to cover up the bald spots and scars from the accident. Pepsi ended up paying him $1.5 million in damages. He didn’t keep it though. He donated all of the money to the hospital that treated him. The hospital later renamed their burn unit after Michael Jackson which you can find at the Brotman Medical Center.

Jackson owned the rights to hundreds of Beatles’ songs

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, from left: John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, 1964

Everett Collection

He purchased a catalog that gave him publishing rights to music including 200 of the Beatles‘ songs. The purchase cost him $47.5 million.

Happy birthday, Michael!

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