I was a teenager in the late 70's and early 80's when the King of Pop reigned over the world. At that time and at that age (at least around here) you either liked Rock-n-Roll or you liked R&B/Soul/Dance Music...never both! I liked Rock-n-Roll. The one-or-the-other approach was wrong, we know that now. My point is that I didn't like Michael Jackson, the man or the music. I've never really been a fan, but there was no avoiding the songs, the image. I was always aware of it, if not into it. Now, with the passage of time, there are many things about his career and accomplishments that we can all appreciate, even we non-fans.
I'm not going to get into the scandals and accusations and pay-offs. There's not much to appreciate about any of that.
Since we are 11 news, I'll do a list of 11, in no particular order. I had to go on-line to get a few specifics, apologies for any errors.
1) He got Eddie Van Halen to play on "Beat It". EVH was THE guitar hero for the rockers. This was the first time I remember a piece of music bridging the one-or-the-other gap I mentioned above. Great solo too!
2) The Jackson 5 - We see so many kids these days pushed into the spotlight by stage parents way before they're ready. MJ was ready when this group hit big. "ABC", "I Want You Back", I'll Be There", just listen to how that kid sang on those records. Amazing. He was all of 11 years old when it all started.
3) Dancing- in general. His style of music was made for dancing. He helped develop the genre, and he created so many of the moves. Even if it's not our thing, we have to acknowledge that few have done it better.
4) The Moonwalk in particular. Original, memorable, remember the first time you saw it?
5) "Ben" - Every elementary school made the kids in music class sing this for years. His is a sweet performance of a melodically pretty song. So what if it's about a rat.
6) Songwriting - He didn't write "Ben" or the Jackson 5 stuff. He did write or co-write just about all the other hits you can name. Writing those kinds of songs is not just about music and lyrics, it's about rhythm and feel too. He was a master.
7) Lisa Marie - OK it was kind of creepy, maybe a little contrived, but in 1994 he married the daughter of Elvis! Less than two years later he divorced the daughter of Elvis!
8) She's Out Of My Life - Great performance of a well-written song. It's from "Off The Wall" which is the one Jackson album I do now have in my cd collection. I remember back then thinking it was funny that "Off The Wall" came out at about the same time as "The Wall" by Pink Floyd. Now THAT is one of my favorites.
9) The Glove - Cheesy, silly, strange at the time, but what a piece of marketing. Everyone knew it, everyone remembers it.
10) "Say, Say, Say" A nice little pop song with another (even bigger) icon. Another gap-bridger, to hear MJ with McCartney.
11) The King Of Pop - Apparently he made MTV introduce him as that or something. The.........guts.... that took. It's a ridiculous demand, unless you can actually get people to do it. They did!
So RIP Michael Jackson. Some parts of his life were so troubled, but the music part of his life was remarkable. Who knows what else he may have done musically. Maybe he would have converted some of the non-fans.
We'll talk again soon
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