Thursday, June 25, 2009
The biggest music story since the Lennon murder and the story that will overwhelm us for the next few weeks. Maybe, the most recognizable face on the planet. Along with Elvis and The Beatles, Michael Jackson influenced not only music but culture. MTV was never the same after him, his dance moves and ground breaking videos paved the way for a completely new generation of performers. KY 102 in Kansas City played "Beat It", over the tumultuous objections of the masses. We would have never ever considered any other artist of that pop genre. I started listening to him and his brothers in the summer of 1970. "The Love You Save" blasted out over the crackling AM radio waves from cities far away. Then "ABC", "I'll Be There", "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Ben' From 1972 to 1979, his career didn't shine so brightly. In 1979, "Off the Wall" was about as good as it got. It got better in 1982. "Thriller" has sold 45,000,000 copies and is one of the best selling albums of all time. He released "Bad" and then it all went south. Constant surgeries, weirdness and charges of child molestation tarnished all he accomplished and made him seem down right creepy. Like Van Gogh, he crossed the fence from being crazy to a genius consistently. I could not ever imagine growing up like that, having been pushed and manipulated to an exponential degree. We wonder why he was "eccentric".
I feel more bummed and sad than I thought I would. Yes, I know he's been accused of some heinous crimes. He was one of the more strange men on the planet. He was also quite the performer. I saw him and his brothers at Arrowhead in 1984. They were all about one inch tall, that's how far away the seats were. I'll never forget that night because it was the first night of the reunion tour. I brought my niece and a friend's daughter. They squealed.
From Elvis, to The Beatles, to Michael Jackson. This is one of those moments in your life that you will remember exactly where you were when you heard the news. I was prepping for the show when the local sales manager said .."you won't need any show prep, Michael Jackson just died." I tried to get it confirmed before I went on the air. TMZ had it, no one else. I interviewed the author of "Etta", a story of Etta Place, the girlfriend of The Sundance Kid, played a game, talked about what a weird day it was, then at about 5:27, it broke on the national news and I announced it. Still find it difficult to comprehend. Someone somewhere today put it like this: "The only thing that can eclipse the strangeness of the last 20 years of his life...was the pure genius that was Off The Wall and Thriller."
One of my favorite songs by him:
Posted by RR at Thursday, June 25, 2009
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