'How Do You Do It?' Read the First-Ever Exchange Between Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson (Exclusive)

PEOPLE happened to be in the room when the Jersey rocker and King of Pop met for the very first time

<p>2023 - Figueroa Mountain Entertainment</p> Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen in 1984

2023 - Figueroa Mountain Entertainment

Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen in 1984

It was Dec. 30, 1984, and Bruce Springsteen had just caught the Jackson's Victory Tour stop in Philadelphia. Backstage, the rocker lingered at an intimate VIP reception, greeted by Michael Jackson himself in a moment captured by a PEOPLE reporter. Funny enough, Springsteen had just been featured in PEOPLE, a moment Jackson was interested to chat about.

Springsteen, then 35, was wearing boots, faded jeans, a short-sleeved shirt rolled up to free his biceps and a red kerchief knotted around his neck. Jackson, then 26, was fresh from a post-concert shower. He wore a pink button-down shirt over a white T-shirt, dusty rose pants so long they accordioned at the bottom and blue slippers with his initials stitched in gold.

Here, read a transcript of the very first exchange between the two icons. And for more incredible moments in pop culture history, pick up PEOPLE's special edition, 50 Years of Stars, on Amazon and newsstands now.

Michael Jackson [extending a handshake]: Hi. I just read about you in PEOPLE magazine. It was very good.

Bruce Springsteen:
Oh, thanks. I really enjoyed seeing your show tonight.

I hear you play long concerts. How long do you go?

Oh, about three hours.

MJ: How do you do it? Do you take a break?

Yeah, about a half hour. It works out pretty good, I guess.

Related: Remembering Michael Jackson's Life in Photos

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Michael Jackson in 1984
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Michael Jackson in 1984

Jackson’s eyes flitted about the room. He seemed anxious to think of another question, the way he seemed anxious onstage at the end of a song to sing another song. Springsteen sucked on an ice cube.

MJ: Did you write that song “Fire” [sung by the Pointer Sisters]?

BS: Yeah, that was a quick one. Only took me about 10 minutes. But I don’t write when I’m on the road. Can you?

No. There’s too much going on.

A reggae song came on the television nearby, and Jackson started a dance step, then stopped himself. Couldn’t he simply ask Springsteen back into his empty bedroom so they could talk like two normal human beings, maybe discover that they both loved watching reruns of The Honeymooners? During the lull Michael seemed to be looking for a prop.

MJ: My secretary, Shari, wants you for Christmas. [He put his arm around Shari and pulled her between them.]

[laughing] What’s wrong with Thanksgiving?

The three posed for Jackson’s personal photographer.

Do you talk to people during your concerts? I read that you do.

<p>Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty</p> Bruce Springsteen performing in 1984

Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty

Bruce Springsteen performing in 1984

BS: Yeah, I tell stories. People like that, I’ve learned. They like to hear your voice do something besides singing. They go wild when you just ... talk.

Oh, I could never do that. It feels like people are learning something about you they shouldn’t know.

BS: I kinda know what you mean — the songs are a protection. But I remember once I played for a Vietnam veterans’ benefit and I had togo onstage to introduce this guy who was a president or something, and I didn’t have my guitar. Man, I was shaking. I realized it was the first time in 15 years I’d been onstage without it, and I’ve never been so nervous in my life.”

MJ: Do you like talking in front of all these people? It feels kind of strange.

BS: Yeah, it is strange, isn’t it? How long did you rehearse for this tour?

MJ: Oh, one or two months ... We’ll finish up in December. Then we’re going to do a movie.

BS: Yeah, I heard about that — with Steven Spielberg?

Related: These Vintage Photos of Bruce Springsteen and Wife Patti Scialfa Will Leave You with a Hungry Heart

PEOPLE's 50 Years of Stars
PEOPLE's 50 Years of Stars

MJ: Yes, as a matter of fact, I just spoke on the phone with him today. It’s not certain just what the movie will be yet, but it will be with him.

Pause. Jackson’s hands rapped the rhythm of the song on his thighs.

MJ: I read you go right to sleep after you perform. You can’t really do that, can you?

BS: No, I feel good after a concert, because I feel like I’ve worked hard. I stay up till about 4. What do you do?

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MJ: I watch TV or read. I can’t go to sleep.

Don’t you ever go out?

I can’t. Too many people would bother me ... How did you decide to let PEOPLE magazine do that story on you?

I just rolled the dice. [Springsteen blew on his fist and tossed imaginary dice.]

Oh, I could never trust anyone enough to do that. [Jackson took a fleeting scan of the room.] Well, I think I’m gonna slide on out now. It was real nice meeting you.

He thrust out his hand quickly and walked through the door. Springsteen lingered for a moment. “You know,” he said, spitting an ice cube back into his cup, “he’s just a real nice guy.”

PEOPLE's special edition, 50 Years of Stars, is available on Amazon and newsstands now.

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Read the original article on People.