Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson - A Tribute

Michael Jackson was the Peter Pan of pop, the man who refused to grow old. It seems completely unfair that something as unremarkable as a heart attack should put an end to a magnificent career that survived scandal after scandal relatively intact. Unlike the majority of increasingly macabre media reports currently flooding the internet, I refuse to focus on the tragic side of Michael's life. The King of Pop clearly had his demons but he achieved more by the time he was 10 than most of us will accomplish in a lifetime. Instead, I'd like to pay tribute to an amazing artist by writing about my brief stint as one of his many devoted disciples. My love for Michael's music might have waned over the years but he never lost my admiration.

In the mid-80s my family finally got around to buying a VCR and one of the first videos we owned was "Thriller". I have no idea who chose it but I'm guessing it was my older sister. The clip was frightening stuff for a 5 year old and I had nightmares for a week. However, as I got older, it became one of my favourites and I watched that battered VHS compulsively. "Thriller" got me hooked on Michael and by the time "Bad" was released in 1987, I was already a loyal fan. More than twenty years have passed but I still remember purchasing the cassette with my pocket money and literally playing it until the tape broke. I listened to the album today and it isn't quite the masterpiece I remember. While "Bad" doesn't match the brilliance of "Off The Wall" or "Thriller", it's so intricately connected with my childhood memories that I find it hard to be objective. There's a bit of filler but time has been very kind to "Man In The Mirror", "Smooth Criminal" and "The Way You Make Me Feel".

I discovered Stock Aitken Waterman in the late 80s and my musical taste evolved radically (many would say in the wrong direction). By the time "Dangerous" was released in 1991, I had already lost interest in Michael. That's not to say I gave up on him entirely. Once you've caught the Havenhurst bug, there's no going back. Instead, I increasingly focused my attention on his fabulous siblings. My undying love for La Toya is pretty well known but I keep my admiration for Rebbie, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Randy on the downlow. I'm starting to ramble now but I just don't know how to end this post without sounding completely trite or overly dramatic. I guess I just want to thank Michael for being the soundtrack to so many happy childhood memories. My deepest condolences to his family and army of faithful fans.


tommie said...
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tommie said...

Great post.

I don't remember what the first Michael Jackson song I heard was as he's always seems to have been more or less present, but I think the first video I caught was Black & White. At that age, I honestly didn't know what to make of him. I'm not even sure I found him that strange as a kid, even if as I grew older I started to figure out that something wasn't quite right.

Still, considering everything that went on around him, it's pretty amazing that people time and time again has been able to put that away and appreciate his catalog for what it is - great, sometimes groundbreaking, pop music. The fact that the Swedish iTunes top 100 chart (and most iTunes charts around the world!) right now consists 1/4 of Michael Jackson songs really says a lot about the musical legacy he leaves behind.

Peace out dude. I hope you're in a happier place.

John said...

Amen to that. Thanks for sharing.

Kevin said...
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Kevin said...

Great post, Mike. Show the other wannabe (bloggers) how it should be done.

Hopefully, Michael has found the place he always looked for. :(

PS: Michael suffered a cardiac arrest, not a heart attack.

Jay said...

Poor Queen Toy Toy!

My favourite Michael moment was him writing "Dirty Diana" about the slutty Spencer - so perceptive and ahead of his time!

Kevin: a "cardiac arrest" IS a "heart attack" (in medical terminology)...

Jamie_movietrip said...

A lovely little tribute, Mike. This is just all so sad, just as Michael was about to show the world how good he was once again, it all gets taken away from him. My love to Toy Toy and best wishes to the rest of the family - I can't imagine how horrible these last 24 hrs or so have been for them all.

Kevin said...

Actually, they are not the same thing. Yesterday, as the news kept coming in, they had some experts and clearly indicated that a "cardiac arrest" is not the same as a "heart attack". In fact, a "cardiac arrest" is much, much worse (and deadlier) than a "heart attack".

Michael Jackson’s Death: Why Cardiac Arrest Is Deadlier Than Heart Attack.

Tim Baland said...

That was really nice and well put, It's funny how I felt his music lost direction by the end.. But the funny thing is I never stoped buying the CD in hope.. Rest in peace Michael you will be missed. xx

Johnny D said...

Apparently there are 100 or so unreleased songs that MJ was saving in order to earn some money for his kids future. So this might not be the day the music died.

I was never a huge MJ fan, more a Janatic, but reagardless of everything that attempted to overshadow his music, when you play Thriller, Billie Jean, Man In The Mirror, or Wanna Be Startin' Something, you can recognize the pure talent of the king of pop.

In every music store I went into today, every MJ cd/dvd was sold out. I suspect the UK, US and AU charts will change greatly tomorrow.

RIP Michael.

The Prophet said...


Anonymous said...

Loved the Havenhurts reference!

PS: He didn't mention Tito, either.

Mike said...

Kevin - thanks for clearing that up. I really didn't understand the difference either.

Prophet - it's not my fault that Janet has a horrible voice and no charisma!

Scott - Havenhurst is amazing! I didn't mention Tito because he's the only Jackson not to release a solo record (that I'm aware of anyway). He's so lazy!

tidusin said...

I didn't have the chance to thank you for adding me!

I love your blog and this entry is the kind that I love: statistics, different opinions... great!

undisco_me said...

I hope Michael is in a happier place too. Nursery?

There are actually quite a few MJ tracks I really like - Give In To Me and Stranger In Moscow were songs I seemed to store in my head as I never started buying music regularly until I was 14. I'll buy his music but right now just want to avoid all the gorging on rumors.

I can't wait for the tribute concert - Liza is going to be wheeled out with Liz, Toy is going to give a tearful, uniting speach and Janet will perform Scream with Justin Timberlake climaxing when she rips off her leather studded bra and then rips out her implants just to prove a point. Actually, I hope Justin isn't allowed to perform at such an event as I still have not forgiven him over Nipplegate and his arrogance with Timbaland over preaching to Britney via radio interviews regarding writing her a comeback song.

Anyway: Dannii, Sheena Easton, Cher and many others exclusively gave my blog their own personal thoughts on his passing. Some people are all about tacky self-promotion...

Mister TJ said...


When i saw the title of this post i have to say i was almost too nervous to read! you can be quite the bitch at times... (which of course i love) But i wasn't ready to hear jokes about Michael.

I have been completely under the spell of Michael's magic since i was a kid and i was really devastated at the news of his death... hell.. i still am.

I feel so bad for the family, and especially his children.. It' nice that they are with Katherine and surrounded by love but i hope Joseph doesn't try and take control.. cause he'll fuck everything up!

anyway.. thanks for being kind to Michael!