David Bowie Once Offered a Young Michael Jackson Drugs — According to Janet Jackson

It’s hard to picture Michael Jackson and the rest of his family entertaining David Bowie at a party, but it happened nevertheless. By the 1970s, the Jackson family had already rubbed elbows with some of Hollywood’s elite. Not to mention, they’d also worked with some of the music industry’s finest. So seeing Bowie in their home probably wasn’t too shocking.

What was shocking was what Bowie did at the party. Janet Jackson saw the “Ziggy Stardust” singer disappear into a room where he offered her brothers drugs.

(L-R) Michael Jackson wearing a tuxedo at an event in 1974. David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust in a hotel room in New York City, 1973.
(L-R) Michael Jackson and David Bowie | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

David Bowie offered Michael Jackson and his brother Randy drugs at a party

In the new Janet Jackson documentary, which premieres on Lifetime and A&E in two parts on Jan. 28 and Jan. 29, Janet revisits the time Bowie showed up at a Jackson family party.

“I remember one of the parties that we had, [David] Bowie came,” Janet said (per the New York Post). “And I guess to get away from everyone, he was looking for a little room.”

When Bowie strayed from the party into one of the mansion’s rooms, he encountered a young Michael with his younger brother Randy.

“Michael and I are sitting in one of the other rooms away from the party,” said Randy. “So Bowie walks in and … he offered us some of what he was doing to get high. We just looked at each other. We were like, ‘No.’ We didn’t know what it was, but it was like, ‘Nah, no thank you.'”

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Bowie and Jackson both had No. 1 albums in the 1980s

Years after that strange encounter, Bowie, and Jackson dominated the charts with their respective albums in the 1980s. Jackson’s popularity skyrocketed when he released Thriller in 1982, and Bowie released one of his most mainstream albums, Let’s Dance, in 1983.

According to Jacksons Number Ones, Jackson’s “Beat It” entered the Hot 100 chart in February 1983. It topped the chart in April. The previous No. 1 was “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners. The next No. 1 after “Beat It” was Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” It was Bowie’s first and only single to top the charts in both the U.S. and the U.K.

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Bowie first smoked pot with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones

Like Bowie had done to Jackson, a pre-Led Zeppelin John Paul Jones offered a pre-fame Bowie some pot once. Only Bowie accepted it, unlike Jackson.

“I’d done a lot of pills ever since I was a kid,” Bowie told Playboy in the 1970s. “Thirteen or fourteen. But the first time I got stoned on grass was with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin many, many years ago, when he was still a bass player on Herman’s Hermits records.

“We’d been talking to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott somewhere and Jonesy said to me, ‘Come over and I’ll turn you on to grass.’ I thought about it and said, ‘Sure, I’ll give it a whirl.’

“I had done cocaine before but never grass. I don’t know why it should have happened in that order, probably because I knew a couple of merchant seamen who used to bring it back from the docks.

“So I watched in wonder while Jonesy rolled these three fat joints. And we got stoned on all of them. I became incredibly high and it turned into an in-f***ing-credible hunger. I ate two loaves of bread. Then the telephone rang. Jonesy said, ‘Go and answer that for me, will you?’ So I went downstairs to answer the phone and kept on walking right out into the street. I never went back. I just got intensely fascinated with the cracks in the pavement.”

“The only kinds of drugs I use, though, are ones that keep me working for longer periods of time. I haven’t gotten involved in anything heavy since ’68; I like fast drugs.”

So, whatever Jackson must have thought about his odd encounter with Bowie, it probably wasn’t all that big of a deal to Starman.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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