Published : Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 6:12 AM
A pair of Bill Whitten custom crystal socks that the late Michael Jackson wore when he performed his “moonwalk” on stage for the first time in Pasadena could fetch for up to $1 million at an online auction of rock and roll and pop art that begins on Wednesday, November 13.
A pair of Bill Whitten custom crystal socks that the late Michael Jackson wore on a Pasadena stage when he performed his “moonwalk” dance moves for first time could fetch for up to $1 million at an online auction of rock and roll and pop art that begins next Wednesday, November 13.
Jackson performed his first moonwalk moves for his iconic song “Billie Jean” at the historic Motown Special concert, titled “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever,” which was taped before a live studio audience at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on March 25, 1983. The concert was broadcast on NBC TV on May 16, 1983.
GottaHaveRockandRoll.com, the auction organizer, said Michael Jackson gifted the socks to his manager Frank DiLeo during the 1984 Victory Tour and wrote and signed a letter to DiLeo to accompany them.
The socks are presented with the letter in a 21.25 x 6 x 19 plexi display box and come with a letter from Frank DiLeo’s wife, Linda DiLeo, attesting that Jackson wore the socks when he did his moonwalk at the Motown Special and then subsequently gave them to her husband during the Victory Tour.
An email from Jimmy Darren confirming their authenticity is also included in the lot.
In “very good, stage worn condition,” the socks also come with a Gotta Have Rock and Roll Certificate of Authenticity.
Hollywood fashion designer Bill Frank Whitten designed the socks for Jackson. Whitten designed stage clothing and high-end fashion for a number of other musicians and celebrities. The designer started out in 1974 in a custom shirt business called Workroom 27 on the second floor of a building on Santa Monica Blvd.
At the height of his business, Whitten had a factory with 50 employees making stage clothing for 20 groups including the Commodores, the Jacksons, and Edgar Winter.
In 1990, Bill Whitten he opened a store in his name on Melrose Avenue. He died of cancer in 2006.
DiLeo had a prolific career as a top executive in the record business and was best known for his work with Michael Jackson. The magic began when Epic Records released “Thriller” in 1982, when DiLeo was Vice President of National Promotion at Epic. After the stellar success of “Thriller,” Jackson was so happy with DiLeo’s innovative work in promoting the album that he asked DiLeo to become his manager.
DiLeon managed Jackson from 1984 to 1989, and worked with Jackson again in 2009 for the “This Is It” concert series. He was Jackson’s co-executive producer for the full-length movie “Moonwalker,” executive produced three of Jackson’s Pepsi-Cola commercials (including negotiating a landmark endorsement deal with Pepsi), and eight Michael Jackson music videos including the Grammy-winning video “Leave Me Alone.”
Last week, on Halloween, Forbes magazine declared the King of Pop the highest-earning dead celebrity for 2019, despite recent controversy. His records generated up to 2.1 billions U.S. spins within the past year, up from 1.8 billion a year ago, his estate making over $59 million in the last 12 months. Jackson retains his postmortem cash crown for the seventh year in a row.
To follow the Michael Jackson auction, visit www.gottahaverockandroll.com.