In Lenny Kravitz’s bedroom, at his grand home in the centre of Paris, there is a photograph on the wall in a gold frame. It was taken on 16 July 1971 by his father, Sy Kravitz, and shows the Jackson 5 onstage at Madison Square Garden. It was the first show little Lenny ever attended. It was a night that changed his life.
“I was seven years old, but I remember the show completely,” says Kravitz. “It made me want to do what it is that I do.”
Watching a 12-year-old Michael Jackson work his magic in New York that night wasn’t even Kravitz’s first encounter with musical greatness. His father – an NBC television news producer who moonlighted as a jazz promoter – had already introduced him to the likes of Miles Davis and Duke Ellington, and they’d even dropped by to sing Lenny “Happy Birthday”. Those early experiences set the tone for his Zelig-like life, populated by a cast of characters and collaborators featuring everyone from Mick Jagger to Al Green and David Bowie to Prince. He even ended up, years later, in the studio with Jackson himself. “There I was working with the person who started the whole thing for me,” he remembers. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many of my heroes. It’s wonderful. My path was laid out with so many amazing artists who gave me my education.”