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Thursday, June 25, 2009

There will never be another

Michael Jackson

Comments (26)

LA Times has confirmed his death...

I had my music library on shuffle last night as I worked on a writing project. At the end of a long night, the Jackson 5's "Sugar Daddy" came on. Jermaine got a few words in edgewise, but Baby Michael dominated. "I'll even let you drive my Caddy -- when I get one, baby."

"Thriller" was one of the musical highlights of the last century. He had gotten the first nose job, but he was still very black and very beautiful. The moonwalk on the "Motown 25" TV special? The world watched in amazement.

A monster talent, a troubled guy.

Jackson, Madonna & I were all born on the same day. Considering their lives, I am very greatful for my boring little life.

I wouldn't give MJ's problems to a monkey on a rock. But he had the shining. A tragic figure.

Wow! I just listened to "Billy Jean" for the first time in years last night online. You said it all quite well, Jack. Wait 'til Hollywood gets a load of this funeral. It could be the biggest televised funereal spectacle since Giovanni Paolo II. THAT one had some great music in it, too. The dancing wasn't much to write home about, of course.

A guy I went to college with has said it well here.

Our mayor just tweeted that he's especially sad for all of the underage boys in the country.

It seems to always happen in three's.
Ed Mcmahon, Farrah, now Michael.

the Hollywood dead pool was almost right on, they had it as Ed, Farrah, and Swayze. No one saw this one coming.

His subsequent decades of troubles have raised doubts about his greatness.

That performance is the perfect reminder. Truly one of the greats.

Watch City Hall very closely during this news cycle. This is precisely the type of event they rely on for distraction. They will no doubt convene for some after hours voting and slide some high-dollar resolutions by us while everyone is busy watching MJ retrospectives.

The Legislature will probably do the same.

Two memories for me that seem to cover the glory and the descent:

1. Going with my eventual wife to Vancouver, B.C. to see the Victory Tour. I can honestly say I went to another country to see the Jackson 5 - one of the great groups in history. When they came down the steps and slowly took the shades off and launched into "Wanna Be Starting Something", it was electrifying. These were some of the best entertainers ever.

Incidentally, one thing I noticed during the talking parts: When Jermaine or Tito said something their voices sounded good but like a huge PA system in a giant dome stadium. When Michael talked his voice cut through - the difference in quality was surreal. One great voice.

When we got back to Portland, it was early in the morning and I remember heading home to go to sleep. Just before I crashed I got a really sad feeling - clearly Michael Jackson's level of greatness and fame was too much. It had to end badly just as it did for Elvis.

2. Fast forward to the trial of 2005. The same kid who had accused Michael had tried to get a charity donation from Leno so the judge put him under a gag order. Therefore, he had to bring out other comedians to do the Michael Jackson jokes about the trial. That's how I got to say that Roseanne has delivered one of my jokes.

I had long since processed a lot of this. What had looked like one of the great show biz stories turned out to be big-time ugly, and Michael for all his talent, turned out to have a problem. He was attracted to young boys.

Since I just saw them taking his body away in a van on TV, I'm going to avoid thinking about that part tonight, and remember the talent.

Actually, talent doesn't really describe Michael's musical ability. This level is much heavier like a blessing or a gift. Talent? He had enough "musical talent" to make a million musicians rich. This was way beyond that.

Of course, it doesn't make up for molesting kids though and some of the greatest music ever will always be associated with the ugliest behavior humans have to offer.

I'm so glad I saw the Jackson 5. I'll always love them.

Michael Jackson was a mess. I'm sad about his death for his family, but I've been sad about Michael for a long, long time.

Wierd dude but great music...

There's an easy moral here: Take care of your talented children. Grow them, let them bloom, but care for their souls in the process.

Sadly, it became apparent years ago that Michael Jackson happened upon the wrong "mentor" early on. R.I.P. now, Michael.

"So many people wanted to verify the early reports of Jackson’s death that the computers running Google’s news section interpreted the fusillade of “Michael Jackson” requests as an automated attack for about half an hour Thursday evening." -- AP, updated 8:16 p.m. CT, Thurs., June 25, 2009.

Motown 25 was the Beatles on Ed Sullivan of my generation. Nothing else comes close. Every kid at Moss Jr High tried to figure out the moonwalk the next morning. At least one of us never has.

While everyone spent the last few years piling on him, I've been hoping for one last comeback. He was one Oprah special away from putting the tabloids on their heels and giving himself enough space and goodwill to erase the last decade. He could have done it too.

As they say in Hollywood, "Die young, leave a strange corpse." (Sent to me by a friend.)

In the late 60's I took a year long class in "The Art of the Film, where we examined many facets of film making. When we came to advertising, only one film was necessary, Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will". Looking at Jackson's presentations, I am struck by the similarities, including the puffing up of the main character by exaggerated histrionics. It empowered Hitler and it got Jackson 28 Platinum albums.

That's show biz.

It's the planned tour that killed him. We'll soon hear that he had a cocktail of drugs in his system when he perished.

I heard that his family tried an intervention a couple of years ago to try to get MJ off the booze and pills.

Who would have thought that Michael would go out like Elvis?

What I dont get is the continuous coverage by the news channels. I was out at lunch, and CNN had a live feed with some guy commenting about how they suspect its a drug-related death.
I expect this to go into next week, maybe even a miniseries by the end of summer.

The only part I truly enjoyed was the idea of the insurance executives who covered the London concerts. Of course, I don't know how much money is at stake but imagine their expressions when they first heard the news:

"How are the concert preparations coming along?"

"Splendidly, Michael rehearsed just last night and things are going great.

(Ring, ring)

"Just a sec, it's Monford calling from L.A. I better take this call."

Bill M,
I'd like to thank you for your music posts here...the one above perfectly reflects the conflicts in being a fan of Jackson's music. I especially enjoyed your post about Bob Dylan from last Friday. He is, in my opinion, the most important artist of any kind of the last 50 years, and as acclaimed as he is, I still think he's underrated. Have you ever heard his radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour, on Sirius/XM? In addition to everything else, he's also the world's greatest living DJ.

Well, WW liked it, so that takes the sting away.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has another nice consideration.

Not that "Steve",
Thanks for the kind words. I don't have Sirius but I'm glad to hear Bob is doing well.
His book Chronicles is also great.


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