Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

The Talent and the Tragedy

The tragedy of Michael Jackson‘s death at age 50, reportedly from cardiac arrest, pales in comparison to the tragedy of his life. To understand all that Jackson had and lost requires wiping away three decades of plastic surgeries that deformed him, erratic behavior that made his name synonymous with the warping powers of fame, and a 2005 trial for sexually abusing a child that, even though he was spared of any finding of wrongdoing, made him a pariah to all but the most brainwashed of fans.

But if you can forgive or forget all that, underneath was one of the most talented entertainers of the 20th century. Quincy Jones who produced Jackson’s quintessential solo albums was devastated by the news of his passing. “I’ve lost my little brother today,” Jones said in a statement, “part of my soul has gone with him.” Said Jones: “Divinity brought our souls together… and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the 80’s. To this day, the music we created together on Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all….” 

Jackson was born in 1958, the seventh of nine Jackson children, and before he reached age six he had joined his brothers in the Jackson Five. By the age of eight he had taken over lead singing duties with brother Jermaine, but there was no question who was the star of the group. Little Michael was the best dancer and singer of the bunch, but he also had the mysterious thing that record bosses and studio chiefs crave: star power. Michael appeared to be his best and most interesting self when everyone in the world was watching.

As Michael aged into adolescence the Jackson Five, renamed The Jacksons after their departure from Motown Records, inevitably lost some of its charm. A solo career followed, and after a steady stream of middling hits that attempted to milk the last bit of innocence from Jackson’s voice, Jackson had the good fortune to hook up with Quincy Jones while filming The Wiz. The two shared a vision for what Jackson’s career as an adult might be and on 1979’s Off The Wall they executed it beyond even Jackson’s dreams. With songwriting help from Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, Off the Wall spun off four Top 10 hits and two number-ones – “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock with You.”

At 22, Jackson not only became one of the most admired pop musicians in the world, but one of the globe’s most famous people. And his fame only increased with the 1981 release of Thriller, which was to become the best-selling album of all-time (until it was eclipsed in the late ’90s by The Eagles Greatest Hits, 1971-1975.) Seven of the record’s nine tracks made the Top 10, and the Quincy Jones-produced hooks remain awe-inspiring. In a cover story about Jackson and Thriller, TIME described him as “a one-man rescue team for the music business. A songwriter who sets the beat for a decade. A dancer with the fanciest feet on the street. A singer who cuts across all boundaries of taste and style and color too.”

While Jackson had few ambitions at the time beyond global domination, it’s worth noting that “The Girl is Mine” established interracial love as a pop music theme and “Beat It” (with Eddie Van Halen‘s guitar solo) bridged arena rock and soul four years before Run DMC met Aerosmith. On March 25, 1983, Jackson may have reached the very peak of his fame when he unveiled his signature dance move, the moonwalk, live on the “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” television special.

The years after Thriller, however, were marked by a slow descent into what was first dismissible as eccentricity. Jackson attended the Grammys on a triple date with Emmanuel Lewis and Madonna, purchased a chimpanzee named Bubbles and was diagnosed with vitiligo, a condition that he said was responsible for the steady lightening of his skin. But his songwriting genius remained undeniable. With Lionel Richie Jackson, he co-wrote “We Are the World,” a 1985 charity single that raised an estimated $50 million for famine relief in Africa and ushered in the era of celebrity philanthropy.

After the release of 1987’s Bad, a disappointing follow-up to Thriller, Jackson purchased the 2,800-acre Neverland Ranch in California, and his public weirdness became almost aggressive. In his biography, Moonwalk, Jackson wrote of childhood abuse at the hands of his father and multiple plastic surgeries, subjects he returned to in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey that was one of the most watched non-sports programs in American history.

Shortly after, Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in a suit brought by Evan Chandler on behalf of his then 13-year-old son Jordan. Chandler told a psychiatrist and police that he and Jackson had engaged in sexual acts that included oral sex; the boy gave a detailed description of Jackson’s genitals. The case was settled out of court for a reported $22 million, but the strain led Jackson to begin taking painkillers. Eventually he became addicted.

To counteract the stigma that came with the allegations of pedophilia, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley in a relationship Elvis’ only daughter later dismissed as a sham. Two years later they divorced.

Given the tumult in his personal life, it’s no surprise that the 1990s were a barren period for Jackson creatively. In 2001 he managed to pull himself together enough to release Invincible and stage two concerts celebrating his 30th anniversary as a performer at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The shows, held a few days before Sept. 11, were a capsule of all Jackson had become. There were bizarre cameos from friends Marlon Brando, Liza Minnelli and Eliabeth Taylor. Macaulay Culkin sat next to Jackson in a royal box. But several hours after the proceedings began, when Jackson finally took the stage, all the years of Wacko Jacko melted away. Then in his early 40s, he could still dance and sing better than almost anyone in the world, and he still had star power. The Jackson on display in those concerts was one the world admired and the one that will be missed.

Posted in Actor News, Uncategorized.

18 Comments

  1. start to Learn The Whats and Hows

    Good afternoon Folks,

    accordingly, It has been a good weekend. Not only was it Canadian thanksgiving here in Canada (yes, Thats why it is CANADIAN thanksgiving holiday) But I have also started to settle into this abroad dating thing and sort out what is what.

    this time, prior to roll your eyes and say I doubt that hear me out.

    Those Unsure of what they really want

    There are the [url=https://www.bestbrides.net/mingle2-review-2020-is-this-dating-site-any-good-to-find-a-girl/]mingle2 dating[/url] usual number of women who are unsure of what they need or not very serious. These ones you can tell pretty quickly because you will send them an expression of interest and they will reply with the standard person is interested in you. You sends them a single email (Or maybe a second one if you make it past the intro) With several photos and then you never hear back from them. They could be unsure of what they aspire to or they could just not be interested. Either of those is fine however like us girls they simply do not let you know. That isn forever the situation however, Take Victoria due to a post or two ago. Although she wasn interested she gained numerous respect in my eyes for simply sending me an email letting me know!

    Those Going Too Many Directions at the same time

    sometimes you will receive an email from a woman whom you have already written to once (if not more) And it says something like this. adopt Sveta (Svetlana, far from Narva, Estonia) as an example. She made first contact with me originally with a manifestation of Interest and so I wrote her a nice email in response to hers, saying thanks to her, Asking about where she was from and the usual meet you kind of stuff. goods on the market I got back from her.

    Your profile is very nice and it would be great to get to know you better. la and orange county Svetlana, connect with me Sveta. I am a calm disposition, But can be zealous in special times, Open and innovative and I like to meet a man frank and honesty. Please email me to the address: gone

    back again, an awfully brief email but hey, something. I post these emails for you folks to read not because I am trying to invade someones privacy but because whenever a a pattern here (And I am not saying there’s definitely) Then maybe we can help some other out because let face it, It may feel like dating sites from North American where you can just pickup the phone and call the girl and meet up with her for a coffee but let face it this is a many different world in terms of real life interaction and it costs a boatload to make it happen. this, We gotta try to get each other!

    regardless, What I got in was this Michael

    Im bad, But i have some complications with my computer, I cant find yourself on the elenas models, Can you are writing me your ID please

    Kinda makes you feel like one of the many doesn it? I mean I can tell each woman that I am writing by their email address and by the title of their subject lines etc. I don confuse any of them for another and I organize them in this manner that it is nice and neat and not confusing at all. It simply would not do to have a future long term love interest be mistaken with anyone else. The same should go backwards! That doesn bode very well for long term potential as far as I am concerned LOL.

    persons that Make Your Spidey Sense Tingle

    These ones are a little harder to spot as it takes a few emails. you will discover one woman I am writing (Her name is Maria and she or he is from Sevastopol) Who seems really sweet and actually puts a little effort into her emails but then she finishes with a Maybe you could send me some pictures of your city and where you live Now, That in and of itself may not be cause for warning but I remember reading something on that Russian Bride Cyber Guide (authored by Elena Petrova) That sometimes generally as the woman wants to know where she would be potentially living. So I took it with a a dose of skepticism and sent her some very vague pictures that do not show the size of my house (It an oversized home) Nor anything that will be considered extremely expensive etc. I took a picture of your kitchen, I took a picture of the downstairs living/tv room and I took a picture of the fireplace in the upstairs living room. Just enough to say that I live in a house an additional photos I sent her were of the city in which I live.

    We will wait and see what she says but she did get my spidey senses going a with that email. wow, I forgot to mention that she said no matter how many letters we write or phone calls we have it would not repalce what we would learn about each other on one date. She is right in fact, However your first response to someone actually so bold. definitely one to watch and see what goes on here.

    Those Who real Set Your Alarm Off

    among the list of other women I write (harbour from Kazakhstan, Not to be mistaken with Maria from Sevastopol) Wrote me last week and her email basically said is a lot of oil and gas in this country, People think our company is poor, But corruption is very bad and I want to get out of here because I do not feel safe She goes on to express the great manufacturing potential but the very poor ecology and medicine, The bad temperature and again the corruption life can be bought and sold This is one I think I will be staying away from.

    Those You Wish You Could Hear nearly

    It was a bit of a long weekend in terms of emails because although I was getting a fairly steady stream of emails the one lady that I really wanted to hear from I didn At least not until today (Being tuesday). She doesn have a computer at home and only logs in from work and that’s she can write that often or for that long. Now this may be the case but it does kind of suck when she is the one with potential so far. remains to be, Her emails are often personal and not form letters, She answers my doubts and asks specific ones of her own. This is one woman that I want to write and could do so every day. Her name isn pressing because I keeping this one to myself gentlemen

    I have also not heard from another woman who I thought had some real potential (Darya from russian Federation) And according to her profile she hasn even logged in in excess of 3 days (Active among Last 7 Days). This one i not really know of. There are a couple with some really good potential however your personal be too sure about these things and unlike local dating where you can just turn the page this type of dating comes with a very hefty price tag for mistakes.

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