Long before Robert Pattinson appeared with Ray Ban sunglasses, the late King of Pop Michael Jackson has been known for the brand as well. Over the years, he was rarely seen in public without his RAY BAN AVIATOR or WAYFARER SUNGLASSES. In fact, Ray Ban Sunglasses has been MICHAEL JACKSON’S TRADEMARK along with the Fedora Hat, single sequined white glove, tight and military-style jacket.
Michael Jackson was first recognized with the sunglasses on his “THRILLER” era, 1982 – 1985. As his second solo album shot to the top of the Billboard charts, Michael Jackson style came to fruition. He set up the aviator craze in the 80’s.
MJ wore the AVIATOR SUNGLASSES when he met President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan at the White House (1984) as he was personally thanked for donating the song “Beat It” for use in drunk-driving prevention television and radio public service announcements. In 1985, singing “We Are The World” together with a super group of 45 popular musicians billed as USA for Africa (United Support of Artists for Africa), MICHAEL JACKSON came up with his TRADEMARK SUNGLASSES complete with the golden jacket. Later on, Michael constantly wore the sunglasses as part of his overall look and style.
Michael Jackson wearing sunglasses at the White House when he met President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan
The Video of Michael Jackson wearing Aviator Sunglasses while recording “We Are The World” in studio
One of Jackson’s most acclaimed performances with the RAY BAN SUNGLASSES came during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII, January 31, 1993 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. As the performances began, Jackson was catapulted onto the stage as fireworks went off behind him. As he landed on the canvass, he maintained a motionless “clenched fist, standing statue stance”, dressed in a gold and black military outfit and sunglasses; he remained completely motionless for several minutes while the crowd cheered. He then slowly removed his RAY BAN SUNGLASSES, threw them away and began to sing and dance. His routine included four songs: “Jam“, “Billie Jean“, “Black or White” and “Heal the World“. It was the first Super Bowl where the audience figures increased during the half-time show, and was viewed by 135 million Americans alone; Jackson’s Dangerous album raised 90 places up the album chart.
MJ’s motionless standing statue stance with Ray-Ban sunglassess at Superbowl half time show (1993)
The Video of Michael Jackson’s Superbowl XXVII half time performance (1993)
MICHAEL JACKSON’S CHOICE, Aviator Sunglasses are characterized by dark, often reflective lenses having an area two or three times the area of the eye socket, and metal frames with either paddles or wire temples which hook behind the ears. Contemporary models are often polarized which create a mirrored effect and offer the wearer the ultimate in eye protection from the harmful effects ultra violet and infra-red radiation when out in bright sunshine.
Also known as “Pilot shades”, AVIATOR were given their name due to their oblique teardrop shape, which matched those of the smoked-lens flying goggles which Ray-Ban was then selling to the Army and Navy. The Aviator became a well-known style of sunglasses when General Douglas MacArthur landed on the beach in the Philippines in World War II. Photographers snapped several pictures of him wearing them for newspapers, and Americans instantly fell in love with them. The Ray-Ban Aviator has been popularized in films by celebrities and become one of the most copied styles in history.
Of the three classic Aviator models of ranging sizes (small, medium/large, extra large), Michael chose the AVIATOR LARGE RB 3025. It has lens base 6: 55/58/62 mm. The flexibility of the super-light arms has an integral flex to the weight of the lenses.
Ray-Ban Aviator Large RB3025 as worn by Michael Jackson
On his first world concert tour as a solo artist covering Japan, Australia, United States and Europe: “BAD WORLD TOUR”, Michael Jackson introduced his other sunglasses: RAY BAN WAYFARER. He wore the sunglasses frequently during the tour from September 12, 1987 to January 27, 1989. It was the tour which then added two new entries in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest grossing tour in history and the tour with the largest attended audience. The tour was also nominated for “Tour of the Year 1988” at the inaugural International Rock Awards in April 1989.
SunglassesID.com noted that The Simply Greatest Entertainer Ever Lived also wore Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses when he made his famous surprise appearance on the Arsenio Hall talkshow, together with Eddie Murphy (1989). It was WAYFARER RB2140.
Michael Jackson wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarer “BAD” Era Sunglasses
The video of Michael Jackson at Arsenio Hall Show with Eddie Murphy
The modern Ray-Ban Wayfarer has the Ray-Ban logo on the sides and written on the lens, but the ones worn by Michael Jackson do not have the text “Ray-Ban” on the side of the temples or on the lens, and instead have a similar chrome ‘diamond’ on the front as well as on the sides.
Ray-Ban Wayfarer 2140 of the 1980’s as won by Michael Jackson
The ORIGINAL WAYFARER RB 2140 has lens base 6: 50/54 mm. The scratch/impact-resistant lenses ensure 100% UV protection & superb optical clarity.
Wayfarers were designed in 1952 by optical designer Raymond Stegeman who procured dozens of patents for Bausch and Lomb, Ray-Ban’s parent company. The design was a radically new shape, “a mid-century classic to rival Eames chairs and Cadillac tail fins.” According to design critic Stephen Bayley, the “distinctive trapezoidal frame spoke a non-verbal language that hinted at unstable dangerousness, but one nicely tempered by the sturdy arms which, according to the advertising, gave the frames a ‘masculine look.’”
WAYFARERS, which took advantage of new plastic molding technology, marked the transition between a period of eyewear with thin metal frames and an era of plastic eyewear.They are sometimes cited as the best-selling design of sunglasses in history (although Ray-Ban Aviators have also been credited with this achievement) and have been called a classic of modern design and one of the most enduring fashion icons of the 20th century.
Ray Ban Original Wayfarer 2140 Sunglasses - Michael jackson’s choice
For a few years, JACKO seemed to diversify from the Aviator style, but in the end he always came back to them in the end. Up to his last days, Michael has been a fan of the AVIATOR SUNGLASSES. He sported his trademark sunglasses when announcing plans to perform 10 live concerts at the London O2 Arena in July, with the first set for July 13. At the last rehearsal for “This Is It” tour, two days before his death, Michael was also spotted wearing the Ray Ban Aviator.
MJ announcing his final curtain concerts - “This Is It” Tour © Solarpix/PR Photos
In this May 6, 2009 image released courtesy of Michael Jackson, pop star Michael Jackson, center, is shown in Los Angeles during rehearsals for his upcoming final concert “This Is It” in London. (Associated Press photo)