Jun. 25th, 2009

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Forget the tragic tabloid death, the skeezy 90s/00s behavior, the circus sideshow that was his life from "Thriller" on. I'll always remember Michael Jackson as he was in the late 60s/70s--a joyful, exuberant kid with just boundless musical gifts. I think anyone who grew up in the 60s or 70s knows what I'm talking about. The Jackson 5 were everywhere. Late night talk shows, variety shows, Saturday morning cartoons. The records were fantastic. Listen to the Miracles' feeble original version of "Who's Lovin' You" and then play the Jackson 5 version, and listen to 10-year old Michael school Smokey on how it's done. I didn't share the national fascination with "Thriller"--I thought "Off The Wall" was vastly superior--but I think you see the last of the "real" Michael in the playfulness of some of Thriller's videos, and a few of the tracks are still pretty great. After that, unlimited fame and wealth did what it does. I think anybody who truly wants to be famous has not been paying attention. In the coming days, in the onslaught of tweets, commentary, lionization, deification, ridiculous Al Sharpton news conferences, terrible tribute albums, etc, I'm just going to remember that joyous, soulful kid who rocked the Apollo. And hope he found some kind of peace in the next world, because there's too damned little of it here.


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August 2009

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