Friday, 26 June 2009
RIP: Michael Jackson 1958-2009
I was watching a recorded episode of Seinfeld during my breakfast this morning. When I stopped the recording on the PVR, I was shocked to see a headline at the bottom of the screen. There were unconfirmed reports that Michael Jackson had passed away after falling into a coma after a cardiac arrest. It soon because apparent that these unconfirmed reports were true. The king of pop had died at the age of 50.
Being a child of the 80s, there were 3 undisputed popstars who you worshipped as a youngster - Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson. I have never been a huge fan of Madonna, and although I've recently started getting into Prince's music, I wasn't a fan at the time. But I was always a huge fan of Michael Jackson, and he was the first musician I was truly obsessed with.
The songs from Thriller were a massive part of my growing up. The film clip to Thriller is still the best music video clip ever made, an absolute masterpiece of modern film making. It used to scare the living crap out of me when I was younger, and is still a lot scarier than a lot of the modern "horror" movies released these days.
When we used to visit some of our close family friends, they had a copy of the Making of Thriller documentary on VHS. Every time I used to go there, I would ask to watch it. I distinctly remember that there was a video clip of All night long by Lionel Ritchie, and Master blaster by Stevie Wonder directly before the documentary. It's amazing how one remembers little details like that.
Michael didn't really put a step wrong throughout the 80s. Bad was an incredibly solid follow up to an album that couldn't really be followed up. Subsequent follow-up Dangerous had some great songs, but it was really the start of his decline. The HIStory album released in 1995 can almost be seen as a bookend to his career which started out with the Jackson 5: 1 disc of his greatest hits, and 1 fairly patchy disc of new songs which showed the state of his life in 1995.
More recently, I started getting into some of his older music released with the Jackson 5 and, later, the Jacksons. It's hard to believe that the R&B pop masterpiece I want you back, with lead vocals by Michael himself, was recorded when he was only 11 years old.
Let's put the latter, tragic, part of his life aside, and remember Michael Jackson as the fresh-faced African-American musical genius from the 70s and 80s.
Rest in peace, Michael.
MP3: Michael Jackson - Gone too soon [Link removed]
Update: Song links removed.