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Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009)
Michael Jackson... simply the greatest entertainer ever known! Since my childhood, I have grown up with his music and never once stopped listening! With his music and dancing I was amazed from the earliest memories I can recall!
Michael Jackson was one of 9 children, who made his debut musical career in the Jackson five in 1964. Michael was the lead singer and from that moment he made his name in musical history.
Michael Jacksons first solo career break was when he released "Off The Wall" which was a success around the world and the first ever album to release a record breaking 4 No1 singles in the USA! Michael then went on to complete his next album in 1982 - Thriller! Thriller was the worlds largest selling album of all time! What an achievement!
In 1993, I can proudly say that I went to Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" Tour which covered Europe, America and Asia. The concert took place at Wembly stadium, and was heaving with people! Although I was up in the gods, the atmosphere was truely overwhelming! I can not explain the excitement and joy of seeing Michael! It was a dream come true!
March 2009, I spent days calling and trying to book tickets for the "This is it Tour". This was Michael Jacksons final ever tour - hence the title! Michael was back!!! I remember having my finger on the redial button and kept trying until I heard a response... but it was no good! The lines were constantly engaged and I was starting to get frustrated! I tried for days to book tickets online.. and then suddenly whilst I was on Ticketmaster my order went through!! I had tickets to see MJ again! and I could have fainted!! I was so happy - I couldnt believe my luck!
The tickets were booked for January 2010, but did that bother me...? No way!! I was so happy to had finally got 2 tickets! There was so many people out there that hadn't got the chance of even seeing Michael in concert before, and there I was, it was going to be my 2nd time! Lucky old me! I was beside myself!
As the months went on, the concerts were being put back due to Michaels health and strength. I was a tad worried that he would put off the tour completely as he wasnt looking himself, and the news made it sound worse than it probably was!
Michael never got the chance to tour one last time....
It was June 25th 2009.... I will never forget. I can remember it, like it was a loss in my family, thats the only way I can explain the feelings I had that night. Michael Jackson had suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in the Holmby Hills, in Los Angeles, California. I was watching Sky news and I was hooked, in shock and in disbelief! The news would not say if he had passed and nothing was confirmed... but I just knew. A few hours after, Sky news then made the announcement of Michael's death. I almost wanted it to be fake, I could not take in what I was hearing!!!
Michael Jackson lives on! He truely was one of the greatest ever performers and most caring people. His music will always be known, and there could never be another person quite like Michael Jackson.
Singer, Musician, Writer, Actor, Dancer and Charity worker! How much more wonderful and talented can one human be? Michael brought smiles to the sad and less fortunate! His music touched millions and his dancing was magical!
A true legend, that will never be forgotten! If you havent had a chance to see Michael's movie - This is it, I recommend you see it! I recently bought the collectors edition of this movie and it comes in a steel case. If you had tickets to see Michael, think of this film as the last piece of memorabilia you will have of the concert that never was. The price was £13.99 - a must have for MJ fans!!
Michael Jackson's albums in order:
Got to Be There (1972)
Music and Me (1973)
Forever, Michael (1975)
Off the Wall (1979)
HIStory (1995) (one disc greatest hits album, one disc new studio album)
Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix (1997)
Thriller 25 (2008) (Deluxe and Super Deluxe Editions)
This Is It (2009)
If you were to ask me what started my obsession with music, my answer would simply be "Michael Jackson". I am the youngest of four, and growing up with three siblings that idolised the King of Pop was always going to have a profound effect on me. The first album I ever purchased was "Bad" and I distinctly remember taping all of his music videos off VH1 and having "Bad" and "Dangerous" posters on the walls of the bedroom I shared with my equally as obsessed older sister. We loved the guy and would argue about who loved him the most. I was more partial to the "Beat It" side of things, whilst my sister preferred the gentler side apparent on songs like "Human Nature". Undoubtedly two amazing songs from the biggest selling album of all time... "Thriller".
Today my life revolves around music, I never leave the house without my iPod, my entire life is on that thing. Seeing live music is my favourite thing to do. I was only a small child when I suddenly felt a massive connection to music, and it was his music that set things into motion. One thing about Michael Jackson's music is that it's timeless. He's one of few musical artists that has been there in my life from the very beginning to now. His music will randomly pop up on my iPod and I am more than happy to jam along to the likes of "Billie Jean" "Wanna be startin' somethin'", "Bad" or any of the other musical masterpieces he created. It all sounds just as fabulous today as it did back then. "Thriller" came out in 1982 and to date has sold somewhere in the vicinity of 109 million copies worldwide, thus making it the biggest selling album of all time. Considering the way music is obtained in this day and age, it's not unrealistic to assume this is a record that will never be broken. In my opinion (and I'm clearly not alone in thinking this) the music that he produced with Quincy Jones will forever be some of the best music that's ever been put on record.
When I found out the King of Pop was dead, all I felt was utter shock which soon turned to devastation, an emotion I certainly did not expect to feel. The way the world mourns the death of a celebrity is somewhat dumbfounding to me, how can you possibly feel so much sadness over the death of someone you didn't even know personally? I admit to rolling my eyes at the public outpouring when Princess Diana died, the whole world went psycho and I didn't even pretend to get it. But for the first time, I felt it. I felt like a piece of my childhood had died, as ridiculous as that sounds, I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Michael Jackson was just always there, we grew up obsessed with him, listened to his music constantly and idolised him for his innovative ways. I grew up listening to this guy's music from a very early age, he was my first ever music fandom and it's been something that's stuck with me over the years. To know he was no longer alive was depressing, but it wasn't just that he'd died; it was knowing he died after living such a sad life. He was 50 years old, on the brink of a comeback, yet he never got to prove the haters wrong.
When I watch performances of the Jackson 5 I am actually in awe of the magnetism that little boy had. His voice is so big for someone so little. He's just a kid and yet he has the charisma, swagger and rhythm of someone much, much older. I'm literally amazed; it's no shock that this clearly gifted boy grew up to become the one and only Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson suffered through a very complicated and tragic life. He was catapulted into the limelight from the age of 5 and was deprived of a childhood, something that would affect him for the rest of his life. I truly believe that everything that his father put him through (physical and emotional abuse) left him with many emotional scars, which essentially led him to become what he became. His extreme shyness toward women set off rumours of homosexuality, but imagine being a small child sharing a bedroom with your older brothers or father who were busy engaging in sex with groupies... wouldn't that leave you with a few emotional scars too? It's pretty common knowledge that he had women throwing themselves at him from a very early age, something that made him incredibly shy and nervous. Any normal hormonal boy/man would revel in the fact that gorgeous women were handing it to him on a plate, but Michael was never into that. He seemed more interested in forming friendships with animals, which many considered plain weird, but he also felt a connection to the one group of people that wouldn't judge him... children.
To me, Michael was a hero on stage, so passionate, fierce and just insanely talented. I watched his live performances with nothing but awe, how on earth does he do it?! His fluid and perfectly timed dance moves were just one of the many things he will be remembered for. But off stage he seemed so painfully shy it was almost impossible to believe it was the same man doing the moonwalk and grabbing his crotch at any given moment. It was definitely apparent that on stage he was a natural, when he got up there he set the stage on fire, it was almost poetic. No other musical artist in the world has the same stage presence as him. Up there, he was legendary. His dance moves were iconic, to this day I still occasionally watch the Motown 25 performance of "Billie Jean" and when he does that epic dance move for the first time, I can almost feel the hair on the back of my neck stand. You know what I'm talking about, only the moonwalk! Something that became apart of popular culture and will always be attached to one of the greatest entertainers of all time.
One topic a lot of people need to educate themselves on is the fact that Jackson suffered from the rare skin disease called vitiligo. This disease causes depigmentation in patches of skin, at first patches aren't too noticeable, but can grow larger in size over time. At first many came to the conclusion that Michael was simply ashamed of being black and bleached his skin with the intention of becoming white. Having done some research it's clear for anyone to see, Michael suffered from this disease. In the early years he wore make up to hide the patches, and rumours even circulated that the infamous white glove was simply worn to hide the patches on his hand. After a while the pale patches grew larger and more prominent than his natural tone. He went through a procedure to remove the pigmentation from his skin to even it all out, hence why his skin became so pale in the latter years. I think it's really important for people to know this, as most people share the belief that he was ashamed of his heritage and this added to the "Wacko Jacko" persona the tabloids were more than happy to place focus on.
It's not too bold of a statement to say that Michael's physical appearance was no longer considered normal, actually far from it, but once again, it all links back to his childhood. His father, Joe Jackson constantly made fun of his appearance, his nose in particular, taunting his own son for being "ugly". For a parent to constantly put his own son down is sickening and these insults can be linked to Michael's obsession with getting surgery on his nose. It's so easy to write Michael Jackson off as a weirdo, or a freak. He was a walking punch line for so many years, but there are countless underlying issues as to why he became the way he was. The following extract, taken from his biography "Moonwalker" pretty much sums it all up...
"My appearance began to really change when I was about fourteen. I grew quite a bit in height. People who didn't know me would come into a room expecting to be introduced to cute little Michael Jackson and they'd walk right past me. I would say, "I'm Michael," and they would look doubtful. Michael was a cute little kid: I was a gangly adolescent heading toward five feet ten inches. I was not the person they expected or even wanted to see. Adolescence is hard enough, but imagine having your own natural insecurities about the changes your body is undergoing heightened by the negative reactions of others. They seemed so surprised that I could change, that my body was undergoing the same natural change everyone's does.
It was tough. Everyone had called me cute for a long time, but along with all the other changes, my skin broke out in a terrible case of acne. I looked in the mirror one morning and it was like, "OH NO!" I seemed to have a pimple for every oil gland. And the more I was bothered by it, the worse it got. I didn't realize it then, but my diet of greasy processed food didn't help either.
I became subconsciously scarred by this experience with my skin. I got very shy and became embarrassed to meet people because my complexion was so bad. It really seemed that the more I looked in the mirror, the worse the pimples got. My appearance began to depress me. So I know that a case of acne can have a devastating effect on a person. The effect on me was so bad that it messed up my whole personality. I couldn't look at people when I talked to them. I'd look down, or away. I felt I didn't have anything to be proud of and I didn't even want to go out. I didn't do anything."
I don't think anyone can truly imagine having to endure puberty under the spotlight and be made fun of for the things that every teenager goes through. If you're still thinking Michael was an ugly freak at the time of his passing, try to understand what led him to do that to himself. He had issues with his appearance, but regularly got taunted for the very things he was self conscious about. These insecurities were so deep rooted that nothing anyone could say would stop him from constantly wanting to change the way he looked, it obviously became an obsession. In certain interviews he talked about the physical and emotional abuse he received at the hands of his father, which may also explain his want and need to prevent himself from growing into a man that resembled his abuser - his father. I will admit, even as a fan that his appearance was horrifying, and it saddened me that pre surgery he was so handsome, but when I think about the taunts he received, I can understand why he did it.
His childhood was taken away from him, which explains why he was so childlike in his nature in later years, a permanent state of longing to relive those years he lost out on. His life was far from easy regardless of the fact that he had all the materialistic things he could possibly want and legions of fans that would defend him to their deaths, it didn't change the fact that he was incredibly lonely.
The more I learnt about Michael, the more I felt sorry for him. He had everything in the world. Fame, fortune, talent, vision and yet he was incredibly lonely. A quote from 1984 that stuck out in my mind was "Even at home I'm lonely. It's so hard to make friends. I sometimes walk around the neighbourhood just hoping to find someone to talk to". He was constantly surrounded by people, yet he was completely alone. Michael never had the chance to be a kid, play in the park, goof around, make friends your own age and generally do the things that children do. He was too busy being the cash cow his father forced him to become. He so clearly adored making music and performing, but he never got to live a normal life we so take for granted. From age 5 onwards everything changed. Imagine not even being able to do something as mundane as go to the supermarket to pick up milk in fear of paparazzi and crowds of people gathering around? I can't even think about what that life must have been like. Being so famous would also stop you from making true, genuine friends. After his death how many stories have leaked out from supposed friends? How do you differentiate the people wanting to be genuine friends with you, from those who simply want a scoop to sell to the tabloids? This part of me understands why he felt connected to children, the one group of people that wouldn't judge him or sell him out. And don't talk about those kids that accused him of molestation, look into the cases and it's glaringly obvious the parents had a lot more to do with it, which just proves my point.
I'm a person of a minority and I really admired the work Michael had done to break racial boundaries. He was the first black artist to really appeal to all races on a wider scale. He did so much for race relations all over the world and Michael Jackson was instrumental in paving the way for black artists to become mainstream, he was performing during a time where black artists weren't even played on MTV, but that's another barrier he broke down after "Billie Jean" was the first music video by a black artist to be shown on the station. For a black artist to become the most famous musician in the world that appealed to all races when racial hatred was still rampant says it all, this man was simply born to entertain the world and people saw past the colour of his skin and saw what was really there, pure talent.
One thing that you cannot deny about Michael is that he led the way for musicians after him. It's because of him the music video is what it is today. So many of Michael's music videos were mini movies, something that was completely unheard of before Michael had a vision for his now famous video "Thriller". Though made in 1984, it still ranks as one of the best music videos of all time and it's not hard to see why, he was a true visionary and his originality will always live on.
The most controversial aspect of Michael's life was the accusation of child molesting. At the time of the first trial I was only 8 years old and a die hard fan so refused to believe my hero would engage in something so appalling. What makes the situation even more controversial is the fact that Jackson paid off the accuser, which many saw as an admission of guilt. To be honest, I've never thought he was guilty, ever. I simply think this man was permanently stuck in a state of childhood, unable to move on he simply wanted to spend time with the people he most connected to - children. There are definitely aspects of this situation that aren't right, but I truly believe his heart was in the right place. If Evan Chandler (the father of Jordan, the child who accused Jackson in 1993) really wanted justice, he would have fought the case to the very end instead of being bought off. I'm not a parent yet, but I know with all of my heart, if someone regardless of who they were, abused my child in any way, shape or form, I would want justice, no amount of money could make me think otherwise. Whoever could do such a thing belongs behind bars, which basically leads me to believe the Chandlers were after nothing but money. It might seem to you that I'm being biased, after all I'm a fan, but honestly, it was essential to the fan inside me to do my research so I could make an informed decision on whether or not I thought he was guilty. I won't go into too much detail of the case, but in my opinion, he was innocent, nothing really adds up. Firstly, Evan Chandler was caught on tape saying "If I go through with this, I win big time. There's no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever...Michael's career will be over.". The words of a parent after justice? Hardly. Secondly, more than 200 people who visited the Neverland ranch were interviewed and not one of them could corroborate Chandler's story. Why would a paedophile stop at one child when literally hundreds of children were known to visit the ranch? Thirdly, Jordan Chandler claimed to have seen Michael naked and gave a detailed description of his genitalia, which was later found to be inaccurate. People close to Michael claim he only paid off the Chandlers because he simply couldn't take the accusations and the pressure was getting to him. No one but Jordan Chandler knows what went on, and it's unlikely we'll ever find out the truth. Looking at the evidence (or lack thereof) I truly believe Michael was innocent. If anything, he was naïve and chose to see the good in people. He obviously didn't see anything wrong with sharing his bed with young boys, and I will not defend his decision to do this as its completely inappropriate but unfortunately his naivety paved the way for the accusations, which would lead to his downfall.
This man changed the face of music, sure his life was bizarre, but beneath it all was genuine talent, passion, charisma and a true visionary. It speaks volumes that regardless of the fact that he was accused of a truly heinous crime and turned into something that looked far from normal, his fans stuck by him through thick and thin. It's comforting to know that he died knowing how loyal and dedicated his fans were having sold out his "This Is It" tour almost instantly. I would even go as far as to say he had the most dedicated fans of any celebrity on the planet. One thing you cannot deny about Michael is that he truly loved his fans and was always so gracious to them.
A lot of people have commented on how his death has turned into a media circus and it needs to stop, well even as a fan I can admit, it's been a tumultuous ride, but what people need to remember is that this was the most famous man on earth and has been for so long. You could go to a remote part of the world, and they all knew who Michael Jackson was. M.I.A. talked about growing up in Sri Lanka and the only artist from the Western world they knew of was Michael Jackson, she went on to talk about how the entire village dressed up as him and constantly swapped tapes of his music. My mum knows nothing about music, period. But the fact that she knows a Michael Jackson song as soon as it begins really says it all. No matter what you say, he really was the first artist of this calibre. It was always going to be a huge deal when he passed away, and the fact that he died at 50 only made it worse. People are sick of it, sure, but come on... this was Michael Jackson, a legend. You might dislike him for his personal life or whatever, but you cannot deny the work that he did for music and his continuous charitable donations. He was a hero to the people that loved him, we don't need to hear about how many drugs he was addicted to, we just want to mourn the passing of the man we admired for so many years. I wasn't around when Elvis died, nor had I been born by the time Lennon was assassinated, but now I know what it feels like.
What was it about this charismatic entertainer that captured the imagination of millions all over the world? Why this guy? Out of all the entertainers in the world, what made Michael Jackson a true icon and visionary, that will forever be etched in popular culture until the end of time? As a fan, I can only say is he had it all, his hard work, raw talent, determination and vision took him to the top.
There are plenty of people out there that couldn't possibly care any less about Michael Jackson, you don't care and you love to tell us about it. For us - the fans, it was different. For so many of us, he changed our lives. I went through a really rough period during my childhood, and when I think back to it, I don't remember the array of ugly emotions I was going through, periods of feeling lost, depressed and lonely. All I remember is Michael Jackson's music blaring from underneath my brother's bedroom door, every day, like clockwork. It always lifted my spirits. That was the first time music did something to really change my life, hence why I hold Michael up in such high regard. He meant something to us. I understand that a lot of you just don't get it, and that's fine, but please respect the fact that he meant something completely different to us, you might ridicule us for being devastated at the news of his passing, but do we care... no, not really.
Michael is actually in the Guinness book of world records for being the celebrity that has donated the most amount of money to charity. He may have spent money on extravagant purchases, but he earned that money and had the right to do whatever he wanted with it, and the fact he gave so much of it to charity spoke volumes about the kind of person he was.
You might think I'm being overdramatic, mourning the death of someone I didn't know, but it's not just that. I feel even worse about his death because as much as you want to deny it, he did so much for charity. He obviously cared so much for the world and did what he could and yet the world treated him like shit. He had serious psychological issues and acted what some would call "weirdly". He became a joke. Most of it was his own doing, but did he really deserve to be treated this way? Especially when he seemed to be such kind, gentle man. One thing that I loved about him, is that he rarely ever talked bad about anybody. Michael talked about how he was hurt that Eminem took the piss out of him in his music video, but then went on to talk about how Emimen was such a talented artist... always the class act.
The world has lost it's last truly iconic star, no other living artist comes close to being what he was, and there was only one MJ. You can hate on this man as much as you want, you can call him whatever names you want, but you simply cannot deny the huge amounts of work he did for charity and the fact that he was one of the most original, innovative entertainers of all time. He will always live on through his amazing music, if you know anything about music, you'll agree with me. Michael Jackson has a back catalogue of truly astounding music that I know children today are listening to, and I cannot wait to teach my kids the dance to "Thriller" ;)
Being an MJ fan is hard, I get ridiculed and it's not cool to mourn for him because a lot of you just don't care and think he was a freak or a weirdo and constantly moan about how the media attention regarding his death is over the top, but you know what, I'm not ashamed to admit I was, am and always will be a huge fan. R.I.P. MJ...To me you'll always live on through your amazing work, on and off the stage. Legend.
Ps. I couldn't help but quote Dave Chappelle in the title...
Shiny and Sparkly, And Splendidly Bright. Here One Day, Gone One Night...
June 25th 2009 is a date that will go down in musical history. It is the day that the pop legend Michael Jackson sadly left us. I woke on Thursday morning to my dad telling me that Michael had died. I thought that he was telling me some sick joke but unfortunately this wasn't the case. Michael Jackson died at his home in LA after suffering a cardiac arrest. I was devastated to find out this news was in fact true. It was confirmed by his brother Jermaine Jackson during a press conference. The world has lost the best entertainer it has and probably will ever know. Nobody has inspired people to get up and dance like Michael Jackson did. He will go down in musical history as one the the best singers, songwriters and performers of all time. Does anyone even come close to him? Not in my opinion.
For You Are Not Alone, I Am Here With You, Though We're Far Apart, You're Always In My Heart...
It's been over a month since the death of pop legend Michael Jackson. I'm sat watching his memorial concert and it was still completely inconceivable that Michael Jackson is no longer with us. He is the kind of person that I though would live forever and his memorial concert was so emotional, it showed how so many people were touched and inspired by Michael.
Well They Say The Sky's The Limit, And To Me That's Really True...
Michael first performed at the age of six with his brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon. At a young age, he was always comfortable with putting on a perfomance. He was a natural and had a special ability to perform and connect with an audience. Michael had a very difficult childhood as his father was a disciplinarian who wasn't afraid of teacher his children a lesson using his fists. The family were broguht up as Jehovah's wtinesses and were not allowed to see their friends. Instead, their father made them rehearse constantly, even throughout the night.
We get excited to see children with what we think of as amazing voices when we watch shows like Britain's Got Talent and America's Got Talent. But these children simply don't have a patch on Michael Jackson when he was that age. I ask you to listen to Michael's rendition of Ain't No Sunshine. The purity in his voice is simply phenomenal.
So Keep The Faith, Don't Let Nobody Turn You Round...
The psychological abuse that Michael Jackson was subject to made Michael Jackosn the perfectionist that he became. This may well have aided him in becoming the worlds best artist but we have to question at what price and whether it was really worth it. His fathers constant ugly taunts led to Michael being obsessed with changing his appearance via cosmetic surgery. He had no real childhood to speak of. This was stolen from him and replaced with a life of performing in gentlemen's clubs.
Some may argue that he made a great deal of money through his life, but I bet he would have swapped all of this to have lived a normal life with a childhood that he missed out on.
One Day In Your Life, When You Find You're Always Lonely...
Michael Jackson was hugely misunderstood. This is my opinion anyway. There were times when he didn't help the 'Wacko Jacko' perception of himself, for example when he dangled his baby over the balcony but on the whole his actions were misinterpreted.
There is no question in my mind that the accusations towards Michael Jackson of child abuse are completely fabricated. I am of the opinion that people saw an opportunity to get their hands or a large sum of money and took this chance. Yes, Michael Jackson spent a great deal of time in the company of children but I strongly believe that he loved children in a caring way. I agree with the idea that Michael was a child trapped inside an adult's body. A Peter Pan. And I think that this all links back to his lack of a childhood. I definitely do not believe that there was anything more sinister going on.
And It Cuts Like A Knife, He's Out Of My Life...
Since his death was announced, I haven't listened to music by any other artist. Michael rocked so many people's worlds with his amazing music.
Michael was particularly well known for his high pitched whoops as well as his trademark moonwalk. He changed the face of pop music forever. He was also known for saying Shamone quite a lot during his songs (a deliberate mispronunciation of come on). All of these quirks added to the artist that Michael was.
Heal The World, Make It A Better Place. For You And Me, And The Entire Human Race...
Michael Jackson's charity work was also fantastic and is not to be overlooked. Yet many people seem to forget all of the good that he have did. He devoted such a lot of time and money to numerous charities (39 organisations in total).
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It...
It disgusts me to see the way the press are leaking even the smallest piece of information about him, his death and financial situation. I believe that they should allow him to now rest in peace, although I do believe that this is somewhat hopeful of me.
Jackson is survived by three children: Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II. My heart goes out to these three youngsters as although we have lost a phenomenal artist, they have lost this their father. I pray that the media do not hound them now that their father is no longer here to protect them.
You Rocked My World...
Michael Jackson has not only become a legend himself, but he has inspired and influenced many other artists for example Usher, Ne-Yo and Beyonce to name just a few. Vocally, Michael Jackson was very talented. He has one of the most beautiful voices I think I have ever heard. Add to this the fact that he was very versatile. His music varied from ballads to pop, motown to soft rock.
Michael Jackson sold over 750 million albums worldwide and I have no doubt that this quanity has grown since the announcement of his death. This showed that I am certainly not alone in my thoughts that he rocked my world. Clearly others felt the same way.
I'll Never Let You Part, For You Are Always In My Heart...
Regardless of age, everyone has heard of Michael Jackson. He is the King of Pop. A real music legend. I don't think there is anyone that can deny that he had a huge talent.
Now that he is gone, I would like to say you are not alone Michael and you never will be. You inspired so many that we can only thank you and celebrate your life. The world has lost a superstar. Rest in peace Michael Jackson. Your memory will live on forever and your legacy will continue to grow.
Where were you when you heard the news? The untimely death of Michael Jackson looks set to become one of those memorable moments, like hearing the news of Diana's death and for an earlier generation, the death of JFK. I heard it announced by Andrew Neil at the end of the This Week programme on Thursday 25th June.
Unsurprisingly, I never met Michael, so this is an extremely subjective topic to have as a review, as all we can possibly know of Michael's life has been garnered from the tabloids or Michael's own publicity machine.
~ In the beginning... ~
Michael was the seventh child born to Joseph and Katherine Jackson on 29 August 1958. The family lived in in a two bed roomed bungalow Gary, Indiana, with dad Joe being a steelworker. He evidently had plans as a guitarist himself which came to an end when he married and had to settle for a job with a regular wage.
Three of Michael's elder brothers had started singing together and so along with another brother, Marlon, he joined them at the tender age of five. They changed their name from the Jackson Brothers to the Jackson 5 and starting travelling around the American mid west doing small gigs. It didn't take them long to realise that the cute looking boy with the cheeky smile was a big hit with audiences. His voice was incredible and he seemed to have a natural confidence. By the time he was eight years old, Michael had become their lead singer.
They went from strength to strength, later winning a local talent show contest. This brought them to the attention of Motown, and by the time Michael was ten, The Jackson 5 had signed a record deal with Motown records. Their first single to be released by Motown was I Want You Back. This went to number 1 in the American charts and the Jackson 5 became household names.
~ His music ~
Up until 1970 the family had been splintered. The Jackson 5 were now living in Los Angeles with dad Joe managing them, with mum Katherine and the other four siblings still in Indiana.
I didn't grow up really listening to the music of the Jackson 5, but in hindsight I can appreciate that all the brothers in the group were talented.
Their popularity was made all the more special because of the difficulties many African-Americans faced at that time in making the transition from soul and r & b into more mainstream disco or pop music. Also, these boys appealed to the teen audience because they seemed so cool and cute too, in a way that couldn't really be said of other Motown stars such as Diana Ross or the Four Tops!
I was 12 when the Thriller album was released. Maybe I was a late starter but until then my tastes were pretty much limited to the likes of Wham, Duran Duran with a little David Bowie for good measure. Oh the heady days of the New Romantics. Thriller brought Michael to the attention of a whole new worldwide audience in 1983.
In retrospect, over 25 years after Thriller was released, most people would consider it one of the most seminal albums of the eighties. MTV was probably one of the most popular TV channels in the States for teenagers and musicians were only just realising how powerful a medium these new fangled pop videos could be.
The first single to be released was a duet sung with Paul McCartney: "The Girl Is Mine". Likeable and fun to listen to, but it was bit dull to have as a first single from a new album. Maybe Michael wanted to release this first as a thank you to Paul. They had recorded "Say Say Say" on Paul's earlier Pipes of Peace album and probably now considered themselves friends. This was followed by the more popular "Billie Jean", "Beat it" and then "Thriller".
Now whenever I see the video for Thriller I find it both fascinating and corny. It was directed by John Landis who had recently finished directing an American Werewolf in London. The budget was half a million dollars (the most ever spent on a pop video at that stage) and the video lasts a whopping 14 minutes long. It's hugely camp, chock full of dancing zombies led by Michael, and totally eighties (I can't help wincing at the get up - big shoulder pads and lots of colourful leather). What's not to like?
My personal favourite recording of Michael's is probably "She's out of my life". Although this was written about the ill-fated Karen Carpenter by an ex-boyfriend, Michael brings a poignancy to the song that makes me see it almost as his signature tune.
~ As Songwriter ~
As Michael matured, so he increasingly wanted to write his own material. The "Off the Wall" album contained three of his songs, the best known (and my personal favourite) being "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough". The Album was released in August 1979. Just over three years later, the Thriller album was released. Michael wrote four of the songs on this album in which you can't help but notice the change in direction he had taken. The songs were:
"The Girl Is Mine";
"Billie Jean" and
"Wanna be Starting Somethin'".
While both albums had nice ballads and disco pop, Thriller had darker lyrics. Billie Jean was about an obsessed fan who claims Michael has fathered her child.
"Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son"
"Wanna be Starting Somethin'" was about the sleazy tabloids and the nonsense they spread:
"I took my baby to the doctor
With a fever, but nothing he found
By the time this hit the street
They said she had a breakdown"
"Beat it" was about the gang violence rife in LA:
"You have to show them that you're really not scared
You're playin' with your life, this ain't no truth or dare"
~ Relationships ~
Michael evidently remained close to his mother throughout his life, and became a Jehovah's Witness when she did, although this later faltered. His relationship with his father was more strained though. It's common knowledge that Joseph Jackson used to beat Michael as a child for not practicing hard enough, and made inappropriate comments about Michael's appearance, such as his big nose, or bad acne when Michael hit puberty. Michael has stated this is one of the reasons he became so self-conscious about his appearance, which may have contributed to his later attempts at altering his appearance through plastic surgery.
Twice married, firstly to the daughter of Elvis Presley and the second to his dermatologist nurse Debbie Rowe. Neither lasted, and the second marriage was thought by cynics to be an attempt to project a more palatable image at a time when he was facing police charges on indecency charges against a child.
The more popular Michael became the more withdrawn he seemed to become. As time went on he became obsessed with recapturing his youth, and JM Barrie's creation Peter Pan. He bought a secluded ranch in California in 1987 and named it Neverland.
Although he appeared to be shy and self conscious in public, he seemed to find it easy to strike up friendships with other people who'd also found fame as a child. Elizabeth Taylor, Macaulay Culkin the star of the Home Alone films, and Mark Lester, the young Oliver Twist in the 1968 production were all close friends. The last two are apparently godparents to his two oldest children. Old flames include Tatum O'Neal and Brooke Shields who also found fame relatively early in life.
~ "At worst his scruples must have been quixotic, not malicious" (Louis Auchincloss) ~
I think it's fair to say that as time went on, Michael became increasingly self-absorbed and deluded. For instance, when the rights to the Beatles music were put up for auction, he bought them, knowing full well that this would upset Paul McCartney. Paul had tried to launch a counter bid with Yoko Ono but couldn't raise the necessary money.
Another example is in his choice of lyrics for the song "They Don't Care About Us" from his HIStory album:
"Jew me, sue me, everybody do me,
Kick me, kike me, don't you black or white me."
The uproar over the lyrics being anti-semitic were enough for him to change them quickly, but not before apparently offending another friend, Steven Spielberg.
~ Rumours and speculation abound ~
Michael increasingly became fodder for the tabloids from the mid eighties, with some bad decisions being taken by his own PR people. Some photographs of Michael sleeping in an oxygen chamber were intentionally leaked to coincide with the release of "Captain EO", a film he starred in. The same is true of the story of Michael having bought the bones of Joseph Merrick - the Elephant Man. Bizarrely, both these stories came from Michael's own stable and backfired on him, earning him the nickname Wacko Jacko. It's difficult to know what he felt he would gain from leaking nonsense like this. I can only assume that by this time he'd become so insular, almost like a modern Howard Hughes, he either wasn't able to comprehend how people would react or didn't really care.
~ You can't help the face you're born with, but by the time you're fifty you've got the face you deserve ~
Michael's face has been a constant source of speculation. I don't know how many cosmetic operations he has had (in Martin Bashir's infamous documentary Michael claimed to have had only two nose jobs). This is compounded by the colour of his skin having changed over the years. This Michael blamed on Vitiligo, a condition which causes the skin to lose it's pigmentation. That's possibly true, but he didn't help matters by appearing in public wearing facemasks and strange disguises.
Looking at photos of Michael as a young boy (and there have been many in the newspapers since his death) I can see a good looking, confident boy who looks almost perfect as he is. Not apparently showing any emotional scarring from the years of living under the control of a terrifying father.
I can't help thinking that the twenty year old Michael would have laughed in the face of his fifty year old self.
~ Allegations and pay offs ~
Michael had increasingly surrounded himself with the company of children at his home. This lead to some of them sleeping over, and even apparently sleeping in Michaels own bedroom.
In 1993, Michael faced allegations of sexual abuse made by a young boy called Jordan Chandler. He allegedly told police they had engaged in various sexual acts. Michael settled out of court with the Chandlers for $22 million and the criminal investigation was dropped. Personally, I'm inclined to think that the allegations were false. For a start, how did someone who claimed to have had oral sex with Michael, not know whether Michael had been circumcised? (Jordan told Police he was, on closer examination (!) by Police, it was discovered Michael wasn't.).
In 2003, a 13 year old boy called Gavin Arvizo stepped forward and made similar accusations to the Police against Michael. Following a 5 month criminal trial, Michael was found not guilty.
What worried me more than the allegations was how they came about. Perhaps the first time, had been a stupid lack of understanding on Michael's part, in that he didn't realise that something which seemed perfectly innocent to him could be distorted and used against him.
But for this to be allowed to happen again? He surely had the best people around him money could possibly buy, including lawyers. To leave himself open to possible allegations a second time beggars believe. It shows a naivety about Michael in which you have to suspend belief.
The allegations and criminal trials only served to distort Michael's reputation further. A great many people probably thought there could be no smoke without fire. Even those who haven't formed any opinion could probably only wonder at the strange lifestyle he must be leading.
~ Finally ~
Towards the end, he seemed unaware of how he was coming across to Joe Public. His behaviour was increasingly erratic and unpredictable. He waved his tiny baby over a Hotel balcony in Berlin, and forced his older children to wear face masks or cover their entire heads with colourful muslin type materials whenever they were accompanying him.
This was apparently in a bid to foil any potential kidnappers by keeping their identities private, but only served to make me wonder what kind of life his three children are having. It seems rather extreme and surely only serves to make the kids frightened of people they don't know. Childhood is about experiencing many different things and part of that involves meeting lots of different people. With Michael's behaviour though, it will only serve to give them the kind of sheltered upbringing he himself had, travelling from tv show to recording studio.
So what's his legacy?
There's been much speculation over the parentage of the three children he calls his, but whether or not they are his biologically is less of an issue now he has died. It's sad that the only constant they seemed to have in their life was Michael. Now he has passed away, it seems that they are to be raised by an aging Katherine Jackson, with nobody having any real idea who their closest living relatives are. The through-the-looking-glass existence they had with Michael seems set to continue.
I only saw clips of the memorial concert that was staged in LA on Tuesday. One of the strangest bits was when the Reverend Al Sharpton spoke. Addressing Michael's kids he said: "There wasn't nothing strange about your daddy". Leaving aside the fact that two negatives make a positive, Rev Sharpton seems an odd choice for a character reference.
I've never seen Michael in concert, and don't consider myself a fan.
I did feel sad to hear the news of his passing though. Despite the circus his life had become, he was wonderfully gifted as both a singer and dancer. I'm sure many people will recall his music for many years to come with fondness.
I think this review could be quite controversial as my opinions on the death of this man are not sad, I don't think I really have any opinions on his death, and that'll come across when I write my review. I am writing in the subject of 'What are YOUR thoughts of the life of the King Of Pop?', so I hope I don't offend anyone by my opinion of him.
I am going to lay this out a bit like a biography and then put my opinions about this part of his life, the biography part is all facts that I have read about his life, I don't know everything about MJ so if I get anything wrong, please tell me and I'll alter it.
Michael Jackson- Early Years
Michael Jackson was born August 29th 1958 in Gary Indiana, United States, he was the seventh child to his parents and at the age of 10 he made his debut as a member of the Jackson Five. It wasn't until 1971 that he while still a member of the group flew solo and started the successful career that made him king of pop.
Michael later in 1993 talked about his childhood in great detail to Oprah Winfrey, he said he was a very lonely child and was terrified of his father, even vomiting when he saw him. It came out that he was psychically and emotionally abused by his father from a young age, and 10 years after this interview Joseph Jackson actually admitted to hitting his children.
His childhood had an obvious effect on him when he grew up, was his childhood the reason he was nearly convicted of child abuse? I can't be sure, I'm sure the fact that 'he never grew up' stems from his childhood, there is no doubt about that. It is obvious he never had a childhood and in his later years, maybe all of the allegations that came out were just families looking for a good wad of cash.
I have watched enough Criminal Minds/Bones/CSI over the years to know, that a lot of serial killers urges stem from their childhood, maybe them being abused or not really having a childhood, so there is a good chance that Michael may have become the abuser in later years like he was partially as a child as he thought it was right as that was all he knew.
Michael Jackson- Teen Years
The Jackson 5 left Motown records in 1975 after they realised that they had very little input in the music that they were producing and their sales were declining quite quickly. In 1975 they joined CBS Records (Epic Records later on) and they were now renamed The Jacksons. In the period between 1976-1984 they released a total of 6 albums, and Michael being the lead songwriter of the group had written hits like Shake Your Body and Can You Feel It?.
MJ's love of surgery began in 1979 at the age of 19 when an accident caused him to break his nose. He had rhinoplasty surgery but that was not a success so he was referred to a specialist who fixed that problem and many 'others' later in life.
I think this was the stage that Michael became addicted to surgery, I know he denies having lots of different surgeries, but the only people who can't see he's had a lot is blind people. His obsession began after an accident and it stemmed into the rest of his life and his inability to feel good about his image.
Michael Jackson- Early 20's
In 1982 he wrote and sung Someone In The Dark for the ET movie, which won him a Grammy, and Epic records wanted another album, so Michael delivered with a little unknown album called Thriller. I'm not sure if you've heard of it or not.
All joking aside, this album was the apex of Michael Jackson's career, even I have it and I wasn't alive at the point of the release of the album. It remained in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for 80 consecutive weeks. Thriller went onto sell 109 million copies, and that's not even counting the ones that I'm sure have sold since his death. It was the best selling album EVER.
In 1984, he suffered a setback from the all the success he was having, he was filming a Pepsi Cola advert and suffered second degree burns to his head. This resulted in his third rhinoplasty surgery.
It was noticeable during the 1980's that MJ was growing paler. It drew in a lot of controversy, including people saying he was bleaching his skin to become white. He was however diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus during the mid 80's which meant he was sensitive to sunlight. It was also noticeable that the shape of his face was changing; it looked like he'd had multiple surgeries.
_My Opinion _
This was probably the highlight of MJ's career, Thriller is to this day the best selling album ever, I even have it in my collection and I'm not his biggest fan. Thriller made Michael Jackson a household name, however I think this fame was the reason that Michael may be a little bit twisted towards the end.
The accident that happened with the Pepsi advert probably caused a lot of Michael's problems as well, he lost his hair at this point and from then on had to wear a wig, he suffered second degree burns and that had to do something for his confidance. It was the controversy surrounding his skin in this decade that really was a talking point, was he bleaching his skin or did he really have vitiligo?
Michael Jackson- Late 20's
He started to cause controversy when he brought a Chimpanzee called Bubbles and even the bones of the Elephant Man. It was in the early 90's that he got his nickname, Wacko Jacko.
In 1987 he released his next album called Bad, whereas it did not reach the success that Thriller had, it was in no way a 'bad' album, pardon the pun. This included songs like Man In The Mirror, Dirty Diana, Bad and The Way You Make Me Feel. All of which got great success.
Just before his 30th birthday he released his first autobiography called Moon Walk. He told of his childhood, his experiences within the music industry and probably the most controversial the surgeries he has had or hasn't had. In the same year he brought land in California to build the Neverland Ranch which cost him $17million, this ranch included a ferris wheel and movie theatre, this ranch later became the cause of quite a bit of controversy.
He was however not only nicknamed Wacko Jacko but 'The King Of Pop', the name that is being thrown around a lot at the moment.
This was the time where nicknames came out for Michael Jackson, both of which are well known, Wacko Jacko due to his antics and The King Of Pop, as he was truly the best pop singer ever. He caused controversy when he brought the Neverland Ranch, a place that did him no good in future years when he was facing child abuse allegations. This ranch proved that this man, was truly a Peter Pan at heart, he never really grew up because from a young age, he had to be a man.
Michael Jackson- Early 30's
In 1991 he released Dangerous, it has sold 7 million copies in the US and 32 million in worldwide, and is one of the most successful new jack albums ever. The song Black and White was the albums first release and it is it's biggest hit as well.
The 35th Annual Grammy Awards saw Michael win the Living Legend Award and Black or White was nominated for best vocal performances.
His early 30's were probably one of the hardest part for Michael Jackson, in 1993 he told all on a interview with Oprah Winfrey, and talked about his childhood and the fact that even today he is a very lonely person. In the same year, a young boy called Jordan Chandler came out saying that Jackson had touched him inappropriately. This accusation was fuelled by Chandlers father Evan, who was on the rampage to get Jackson's career to end. His mother however, denied these accusations and said that Jackson was innocent, and multiple children denied he abused them. A year later, the Chandler's stepped down with a healthy sum of $22 million in their bank account.
This was the turning point for The King Of Pop, I don't think he was the same ever again, he started popping pills to stop pain and panic attacks, and he became addicted to the drugs and he became anorexic for a while. In this year however he also met Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, they had met decades prior but met up again in 1993. They married in 1994, but divorced in 1996.
This part of Jacksons career was probably the hardest for him, it finally changed people's opinions of him, I'm sure all of you have heard at least one joke about Michael Jackson and child abuse, which is a shame as we will never know if the Chandlers were just after the $22 million settlement or they were telling the truth. It was weird that the mother was denying all of the claims however.
Even if the claims were false or true, it changed the public's opinion of this icon and he was never really the same again.
Michael Jackson- 30's/Early 40's
In 1995 he released a double album called HIStory, this album was best selling multi disk album ever sold and it received a Grammy nomination. One of the songs on the album was called Scream, which he sung with his younger sister Janet. You are Not Alone was another song from the album and then Earth Song which was his most successful single in the UK/.
In 1997 he met Derborah Jeanne Rowe who gave him two children, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr or Prince, and a daughter called Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, and the couple divorced in 1999, giving the full custody of the children to Jackson. In 2002, Prince Michael Jackson II or Blanket was born by a surrogate mother. He created controversy in this year, by dangling his new son out of window with a cloth covering the baby's face. He later apologised, but this incident has never been forgotten.
In 2003, Martin Bashir released a documentary called 'Living With Michael Jackson'. He interviewed Michael over the span of 8 months, and was probably the breaking point for Michael Jackson. The footage, which was obviously heavily edited, saw the singer holding hands with children and admitting to sharing beds with kids, including a young boy called Gavin Arvizo who later accused him of child abuse.
After this footage was shown, he was charged with seven counts of child sexual abuse and two counts of admitting a intoxicating agent. These charges involved Arivzo who was 14 at the time. The trial began in 2005, and the trial lasted five months and he was acquitted on all accounts. In this time however, he became drug dependant again and lost a lot of weight.
I'm sure this portion of his life was his greatest joy, however at the same time the worst part of his life. He thought the accusations were over, and he had three children who were all in his care, he wanted to boost his public opinion again so let Martin Bashir into his home. It is known now that Bashir heavily edited the television show, including points where he praises Jackson on his parentage skills, however in the television show you see him saying that Jackson should not be allowed kids. I'm sure this was a horrible point in Jackson's life, I know he brought it on himself by admitting to sharing beds with kids, but if you look back on his past and the fact that he still believed he was only a kid, then maybe he was just watching tv with these kids.
The trial was a hard point for Jackson and I don't think he ever really came back from it. It obviously was a hard point in his life and it might have had something to do with his untimely death.
Michael Jackson- Late 40's/50
In 2008, Michael reached the age of 50, and for that Sony BMG released a series of compilation albums called King Of Pop. These included tracks from his solo and group career. This was not a good year for Michael though as financial problems got the better of him and the neverland ranch was threatened to be closed. In November 2008, Fotress sold Jackson's debt to Colony Capital LLC and the ranch's title changed to Sycamore Valley Ranch Company LLC. This deal cleared his debt.
In 2009, Jackson announced that he was to perform 50 concerts at the O2 arena in London. They would have started on the 13th July and finished on the 6th March 2010. The concerts became sold out very quickly, however on June 25th 2009, he collapsed and died.
This was the stage in Jackson's life where we all thought he was turning things around again, when he announced he was doing 50 tours, I know quite a few of my mates went mad, and managed to get tickets for the tour. It was a known fact really that Jackson was not going to do the tour, no one actually believed he'd make it up until 50 dates, I think even a fit young music star would struggle with that, let alone a 50 year old quite frail man.
Michael Jackson- His Death
Unfortunately the first time I heard about Michael Jackson's death was through a text at 8am in the morning waking me up. It was of course a joke, and throughout the rest of the day my inbox slowly filled up with jokes about Michael Jackson.
He apparently died of a heart attack, however rumours that drugs were induced are still flying around, like most things in Jackson's life, we'll never know.
Whether you believed the allegations of Michael Jackson and child abuse or not, you can't deny that this man was a legend, everyone in the world knows who he is and you can appreciate that over the 40+ years that he was in the entertainment business he delivered each and every time he released an album. The songs he produced were catchy and I'm sure a lot of performers look up to him even now.
What are my thoughts on the life of the King of Pop? I think the man was severely troubled, I myself don't believe the accusations of child abuse, I think a lot more names would have come out if it was true, I think a lot of families, used their children to get the settlement after they learnt of the close friendship between Jackson and their child. Yes, the friendship may have been too close for man and child however, I don't think it ever went more than Jackson looking for a friend, he has admitted he was a lonely child and now is a lonely man, so maybe finding a friend of the age he was when he became famous was his way of becoming normal again.
I think he had a very troubled life however people are not going to forget him, he really did produce some amazing, brilliant music and you can't doubt that he was a very talented person. He did die quite young and he has left behind three children, are they better off without him? Maybe, but I still think they will grow up surrounded by all of the controversy that their dad created over the years.
(C) Kirsty 2009
This review is about a man whom right now is making people all over the world cry and sad. Maybe for some his just an artist but for some he serves to be an inspiration.
I can't really say that I grow up listening to Michael Jackson songs, when I was born his already making big in the field that he was in. I saw his video when I was in high school, I was 15 years old, I saw him doing a signature dance move, the MOONWALK. That was the time I started to read and know who Michael Jackson is. Beat it was the first song that I got to fully listen to his music, it really blow me away. Since then I can really say that I became a Michael Jackson fan.
Michael is really one talented man and people like him is not made, they are born with it. He has this talent to entertain and passion to do his craft. He deserves all the fame that he had, all the recognition that was given to him and he really deserves to be called the King of POP. He made songs that made us dance, songs that made us fall in love and songs that will inspire.
I don't have any personal encounter with him but when I heard that his dead, I really got sad and when I saw people crying I can't help but cry too. I don't know if I'm just being a fan for crying or maybe I feel bad that he died without seeing how many people loves him and admire him.
My sister said that half of Michael's life is fame and half of it is shame. I agree with her, maybe he can't really handle the FAME that he has that time. I always believe that too much of everything is bad, and that time everything that Michael Jackson has is too much. Too much wealth and power, if these two are in the palm of your hand at that age, (well during that time he was in his early 20's) you will do things that you like without any hesitation. You think that all that you do is right and you don't really care what people will say.
I admire him as an artist, his music, being a fashion icon but things got bad with regards to his personal life and life style too. We don't really know how he handled his private life, with his family, friends and people who worked for him. He already pay for it, the wrong things that made him look crazy and just a laughing clown to the eye of the people. Now that his dead lets just remember him as a person who entertain us, amazed us and a person who made us scream for more.
Not alot i can say about Michael Jackson that isn't already known, his genuis still ever present in the music world today, inspiring decades of artists into wanting to perform in the first place, copying (or paynig homage) to his famous dance moves, ever present in some new videos today (Ne-Yo for example.)
The man changed the music world around him and as a result became one of the greatest performers, and entertainers in history.
What i want to spend this topic on is the people who can't appreciate the difficulties Michael faced, the difference in upbringing compared to your usual child, the innocence behind what seemed unsuitable behaviour around / with children.
Despite only tragically passing a few days ago, already there have been columnists who choose to instead of pass on condolences instead questions the mentality of a man who "kept a chimpanzee and shares his bed with children" or the ever popular Mick Hucknall coming out to make a quote yet using most of his time in the limelight to say he is closely acquinted with the Chandler family and so shan't say no more than his thought are with Michaels family and that if he speaks for too long he'll say stuff he'll regret, well Mick, best off would have been staying out of the papers altogether, we didnt want to hear you're useless input and certainly didnt want to see your less than pleasant mug splashed in there too.
Consider this, Britains Got Talent a young girl (10 if memory serves me well) cries and effectively has a tantrum on stage to get another go after messing up, the next day we're told children this age should not be put throughthe stresses of perfomring as they are too young, Michael (although a different era and less PC orientated) had already been performing for 4 - 5 years by the same age. Any chance of an ordinary childhood was lost, no time for going out and playing with friends, ding the stuff i and all of you reading this did as children, learning to grow and appreciatign the innocence of being young. Instead Michael was rehearsing spending his childhood in the spotlight, losing touch of reality already.
Yes he went on the reap the benefits of fame by creating a fortune and building a legacy, but we all remember just how precious our childhood is, how we can recall so much about the good and sometiems bad times but ultimately we have memories of what it was like to be carefree and not have a worry in the world. For Michael all he had memories of was performing, practising being in the spotlight. Friends we're then hard to come by as how can you make genuine friends when you're already famous and you have children now camping outside you're home wanting to be "friends". How lonely and isolated an upbringing must he have felt those years when he was still grownig but was well known with his brothers (7 - early teens) going out was made impossible, meeting people impossible for fear of not knowing if they are true friends or just wanting to meet him as a "fan".
Perhaps if people could understand and take the time to just imagine what a miserable and lonley childhood this must have been, they'd start to realise that perhaps he really was still a child at heart, wanting to be around children and partake in a stage of life that he never truly got to relish and embrace. All the signs are there that deep inside he really did mean no harm and was a truly misaken individual by some.
Neverland, immediately you now it's named after the magical land of Peter Pan, clearly already a sign of wanting to live the fantasy of pirates and childhood and flying. Inside Neverland we then had a playground / fairground rides, as with any child how excited did you get when the fair came to town, going on rides and having candyfloss etc. Michael never had this, never in a true calm ordinary setting at least, so hereby from the fortune his talent duly amassed he had the opportunity to purchase and build his own playground, another part of childhood being lived for the first time and brought to life.
Next his animals, again as a child i loved going to the zoo, seeing all this creatures you've heard of in books and seen on telly but actually now being able to see them up close was incredible. Michael as with the fair missed this, at least in a normal child setting environment, so again built his own (though his genuine love for animals was another reason). Bubbles again was perhaps more his love of animals, his position of wealth enabling him to have a pet chimpanzee (now not for all of us but we see shows of peolpe who have pet onkeys all the time yet aren't ridiculed about it half as much as Michael came to be).
Then finally onto the big stumbling point for some, his relationship with children. Ultimately the saddest thing about all that happened in his life, never having children to play with do everythign normal children do. I can appreciate that for an adult to be sharing a bed with childen, having children around alot fo teh time can sound incredibly inapproaprite, however i truly believe (in my opinion) that it was all purely innocence on Michaels part, he truly wanted to share with children a childhood lost, to see the happiness and the joy his ranch gave to those he shared it with.
Some people will say no excuse for an adult man to share hsi bed with children, you're right but this is no ordinary adult, this is an adult yearning for a childhood, i imagine that to Michael it was simply a sleepover with "friends". Something again lost to him due to his upbringing, i know i spent many a night sleeping top to toe at a friends, or camping out and 3 / 4 of us being in a tent, purely innocent and i truly believe this is all Michael intended, to have a sleepover.
If Michael was this predatory beast some facets of the media seem to want to suggest then surely there would have been more children coming forward to testify ( yes peolpe will say they were told to be quiet, paid not to tell, scared) or maybe that he only did it twice but if we consider for the Chandler case he settled out of court, what family if they're child had been molested would settle out of court as opposed to seeing the perpetrator punished ( yes it was a lot of money but i know i'd rather see punishment than a guilty person go free) i assume the Chandler family would have been the same. So im inclined to believe the story of Michael being so down aboutt he whole deable he just wanted it to eb gone and ultimately paid out of court to stop it, and indirectly making some people believe it was a claim of guilt almost.
Secondly we have Arvizo, well this time he was found NOT guilty by a court of law, clearly though again to some peolpe this does not matter as he is guilty to them anyway. Not only was he acquitted of all charges but it turned out afterwards Arvizo's mother was already implicated in her own trial soon after for fraud, ultimately proving she was a sneaky character.
Although she had her own problems arising from this discovery surely if the molestation really happened herself and her family would still be protesting that Jackson was guilty (something that stopped immediatly after the case) Take for example Stuart lubbock, his father Terry is still years after protesting that Barrymore had something to do with his son's death. Wouldnt the Arvizo family if telling the truth still be protesting that Michael was guilty of indecent exposure?
Granted this is my view on everything but it would be nice to thnk that hopefuly someone reading this who may not agree will see the points of view above and think we'll perhaps there is a chance he is innocent and had been all along. Some people will never change their opinion regardless of what is presented before them and for them i feel truly sorry, for not having the mental capacity to acept they were wrong and too quick to judge.
Michael you were a star, an icon and a legend, unfortunately i will never get to see you now after you're tragic passing but i shall be keeping my ticket i had for next month and cherishing it for life.
May you now have the carefree childhood you so sadly missed and craved for you're whole life
Sleep well Michael, You shall never be forgotten.
I needed to write something at the weekend following the tragic death of Michael Jackson- I could only find a suitable location in Archives- so I put it there which satisfied my need to write it- but I knew buried away in the archives it was unlikely to be read as I would like- so I hope you can understand why I needed to take this opportunity to move it to this new category.
Unless you are on the moon today- you would think there was nothing I could tell you about The King of Pop - Michael Jackson that you haven't seen on the hours and hours of television footage or read in the reams of media coverage.
But I wanted to write this review, because I do have something I want to share. I have followed and admired the work of Michael Jackson from Day One- from the release of his first single with The Jackson Five. I am not an obsessive fan, I never have fallen into that category for any artiste(s).
I am in love with talent, always have been, since I was a tiny tot.
I have been to see so many of the greats live- Bing Crosby to Bob Hope to David Copperfield and Madonna. From Placido Domingo to Margot Fonteyn. From Frank Sinatra to Queen. From Liza Minnelli to Live Aid, Torville and Dean to Prince. And of course no list would be complete if I hadn't been to a Beatles Concert and I did In 1964. The list goes on and on and on, it runs into hundreds.
Now to the point I wanted to make today, at this sad time. With nearly 50 years of going to see the GREATS in all walks of entertainment- I want to say, having seen Michael Jackson live three times-(& I was looking forward to seeing him again at the O2 - but that is now not to be);
that he was in my informed opinion and without equal the greatest live performer - ever. We will never see his like again.
As they said at the end of the last concert of his that I saw:-
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN-MICHAEL JACKSON HAS LEFT THE ARENA.
As with Elvis there is a strong possibility we shall never know the truth of how and why Michael Jackson died, there will of course be all the usual speculation and hype and indeed as there should be there will also be praise, for love him or hate him you cannot take away the fact that he has changed music, and changed the way most of us viewed entertainment. In this short life most of us have found some celebrity to whom we aspire, as many will know mine was Marc Bolan who also was tragically taken whilst still young.
At 50 Michael Jackson had in all probability done his best work, but there was a strong belief that the forecast upcoming concerts would be a fitting climax to an exceptional career. I cannot profess to even have a small inkling as to what went on in the mind of this musical genius, but from what little I know I do not believe he would embark on such a large mission unless he thought wholeheartedly that he could do it justice and therefore I have to assume that we have all been stripped of a chance to once more see the maestro in action.
From his humble beginnings and his first performances it was evident that he was something special. The Jackson Five however good they were individually were nothing without the charm and the obvious talent that was Michael Jackson. None of us can presume to know the pressures of being so young and having so much demanded of you, there are but a few who have seen this kind of fame so young, and even fewer who were able to sustain it for almost 50 years. Once he went solo there was no stopping the King of Pop and love him or hate him one must stand up and admire such an awesome talent. He has without doubt set milestones and precedence's that will be hard for any future attempts at the throne to even remotely have a chance.
Most of us will remember Michael for his music and dancing and most of us will probably as we have with Elvis and JFK remember what we were doing and where we were on 25th June 2009 when his untimely death was announced. We will all also still be in awe as we were the first time we were introduced to the Moon Walk, which in anyone's book is just an awesome piece of entertainment history.
I can't say that I have many of his albums or indeed singles in my collection, but I can say that he had many songs, which I was very fond of, and even more performances in which like many he held me spellbound with disbelief. I can remember waiting to see the Thriller video, which had been advertisement weeks before, once again I was not disappointed and once again I was blown away with a brilliant performance. In the later years he was more famous for his lifestyle rather than the music, and the press have made up some really ridiculous stories. He was without doubt a troubled young man, but some of the allegations thrust upon him I just can't believe, I have watched several documentary type tributes to him over the weekend and once I removed all the crap and gumph that the press like to add all I saw was a sad man who had no childhood, who knew nothing but fame and who had a talent that is unlikely to be equalled. What little I can see of the man inside hasn't changed my opinion of him, he seemed a quite shy man who only wanted to be loved and to love...................what's wrong with that. He has undoubtedly filled many hearts with joy and those same hearts are now grieving their idol remembering the good days when he was The King of Pop and put on the type of show you are not going to find ever again. He is of course still the King of Pop and will remain so no matter what. Let us not remember Michael Jackson for the wrong reasons let us remember him as the ultimate performer, and let us remember exactly what he gave us EVERYTHING. We may have lost Michael but Heaven must be rocking now.
A tribute to the genius that is Michael Jackson
As a loyal and avid Michael Jackson fan I still cannot believe what has unfolded in the recent days and will take a lot of time getting used to the fact he no longer lives amongst us.
I have been a fan all my life and have grown up listening to his music and watching his pure talent and perfected techniques. All I know is that he was a perfectionist and never wanted to let his fans down and wanted to be the best at what he did.
Having been a fan I watched many programs and watched his movies and saw the transformation in his mind and body. As we all know he was not happy with his face and body to some extent and had a lot of weird attributes to his personality (yes hanging around with children).
In my own personal opinion I don't believe the accusations that he abused children and that many people abused his weird behaviour in order to pursue a large amount of money. I believe the main reason why he had a child like personality was because he yearned a childhood and having listened to many of his songs he does actually write certain lyrics which he sings of "where is my childhood".
~ The family ~
The Jackson 5 was undoubtedly a great band and was the start of a major career for Michael in music. Although I can still hear Rocky Robin in my head from the number of stations that have played it this week and can get on your nerves a little bit after a while.
I believe that his mother and father were not the best emotionally and to some extent I believe they abused their children in order to pursue a goal of their own to achieve success.
Michael hated his father as he drilled into him that he had to be a perfectionist and that he had to practice, practice and practice more until it was right. Due to his father being so pushy, Michael inevitably missed out on his childhood and was forced to stay with the Jackson 5 band and tour and become famous.
He never got the chance to play with other kids and enjoy his youth as it was taken away. Yes, he got the money and fame but it came at a cost and believe that throughout his adult life looked for what he had missed out on.
There is also evidence that his father physically abused him which also included name calling (which he has stated why he did not want to look like his father, hence the plastic surgery). I believe the evidence speaks for itself, he was abused and his mother was weak for letting his father do this so when he grew up he rebelled and decided to show his parents that he could do it by himself.
~ Charities ~
Michael Jackson didn't get enough praise in my opinion for what he did for those who were not as lucky as us and that he donated millions of dollars to many charities (39 in total).
~ My top ten Michael Jackson songs ~
2) Billie Jean
3) Beat it
5) Heal the world
6) Stranger in Moscow
7) Man in the Mirror
8) The way you make me feel
9) Dirty Diana
10) Speed Demon
These songs were all great singles and sold millions worldwide and still do to this day. The one thing I have noticed is that his songs in particular as a solo artist don't age, people still want to hear his music and is passed on from generation to generation.
Yes, it is very predicable that Thriller was my number one, but what a single (the best ever made in my opinion. The best video made ever and some of the best chorography I have ever seen, although when I first saw this video I was terrified and remember my parents stating that they had to stay up late to see the Thriller video for the first time as it was scary so it had to be shown late at night.
In total Michael Jackson sold nearly a quarter of a billions singles which is absolutely outstanding and has the best selling single of all time with Thriller.
~ My top 3 Michael Jackson albums ~
3) Off the Wall
These were my favourite albums whilst growing up with MJ's music as they had unique beats and I think many people found his songs funky and great to dance too especially the Thriller album.
~ Most famous clips of MJ ~
The most famous video clip I have seen of MJ is when he first moonwalked to Billie Jean and my jaw hit the ground. That along with his feet which seems to move effortlessly left to right, up and down and sideways and with the sparkly glove it was a master class of how to dance and to entertain your audience.
The next video clip would have to be the one where he dangled his child over the balcony and I know we all do things on impulse but what were you thinking? This isn't one of MJ's best days but I can appreciate he wanted to show his fans his child and again acted in his child state by not thinking before he acted.
One more of my favourite clips was the scene from thriller were his face turned to something what he looked like today (pale and gaunt with his eyes sticking out). He was right when he stated that "he wasn't like other guys".
~ Awards he won ~
MJ won many awards and to be honest deservedly so as he was the best in his business and I don't think there will be anybody to grace the earth again that could fill his slip ons.
Awards MJ won:-
Most Successful Entertainer of all time
13 Grammy Awards
13 Number ones
He sold over 750 Million records worldwide earning hundreds of millions over his lifetime. He also has many world records which he holds to his name and one of them being the first entertainer to earn up to one hundred million in one year.
~ Dancing techniques he invented ~
Obviously the moonwalk will be remembered as his main attribute as a dancer but one which I particularly enjoyed was the lean forward technique in Smooth Criminal. Jackson actually has a patent on this which is called the anti-gravity lean which is an amazing achievement for a singer and entertainer.
~ Neverland Ranch ~
No its not out of Peter Pan, although he probably got the name from it. He built a massive fair ground to go with the mansion which was he permanent home from 1988 to 2005 and left it when he was cleared of molestation charges.
~ Famous Quote from MJ ~
I've been in the entertainment industry since I was six-years-old... As Charles Dickens says, "It's been the best of times, the worst of times." But I would not change my career... While some have made deliberate attempts to hurt me, I take it in stride because I have a loving family, a strong faith and wonderful friends and fans who have, and continue, to support me.
~ Weird and wonderful things MJ did ~
He slept in an oxygen chamber which he thought would help him prolong his life (that didn't turn out that well).
He bought the music rights to the Beatles, Eminem, Shakira and Beck which have all made him a rich man although his fortunes were dwindling towards the end.
He burned himself quite badly during a Pepsi commercial which he recovered from. It was believe that he had a condition called Vitiligo which turns the skin colour white.
It was also rumored that MJ had actually bought the bones from the elephant man which he denied. He also owned a chimpanzee called bubbles and in doing so the press started to give him the name Wacko Jacko.
To sum MJ up he was a genius trapped in a child's body. Born in 1958 in Indiana and eventually dying in 2009 in Los Angeles Michael Jackson will go down in history for his endless talent but also for his weird behavior and accusations which is sad for a entertainer who had it all and if he was honest was one of the loneliest people on the planet when really it should have been the other way round.
He leaves behind three children who will probably be dragged through the courts as the women who gave birth to these children will look for the golden egg and try to get custody.
I believe that he died as his body had given up with the amount of drugs and pushing himself too hard for the UK tour which I also believe he was pushed into doing 50 gigs which inevitably took a toll on his body and his heart gave in.
As fan I am sad to see him die but could see this day coming with his health deteriorating and his fast lifestyle.
In the end most megastars end up this way (Elvis, Marylyn Monroe) and maybe we need to protect our children and teach them it's not all about being perfect it's about living your life to the best you can, as we don't live long and we certainly are not gods.
RIP MJ 25/06/2009
Michael Joseph Jackson
29 August 1958 - 25 June 2009
**A Tribute To The King Of Pop**
I don't know where to start... I have been a fan of the Music of Michael Jackson for pretty much my whole life, just 27 years. I know there are many fans out there who have had the pleasure of following him right from the beginning of his career, who would probably say I am not qualified!!
I don't think there is a single Jackson 5 of Michael Jackson song that I do not love, they all evoke so many emotions, sometimes so many that I don't know whether to laugh dance or cry. I mostly dance though, badly.
Just a bit of a personal story.... One of my very close friends was a MegaFan of MJ, sadly he died 5 years ago in a Motorcycle crash. I will never forget his funeral, they played Man in The Mirror - one of his faves (and now one of mine).... Anyway long story short, whilst in labour with my son last year he was delivered to the sound of Michael Jackson and Man in The Mirror and I at that moment decided to name my son after my friend... Christopher (we use it as his middle name).
Another of my favourite MJ songs is Butterflies off of the Invincible Album. I could go on and say they are all favourites, because they are.
I always have Michael Jackson playing in the car, always have, but whilst driving about yesterday it seemed so did everyone else, it was very special to hear.
Where were you?
This is a question now that will go along with JFK, Princess Diana. I was in bed on Thursday evening and had a text message at around 11pm, my partner who was out, telling me to put the news on, he didn't want to tell me himself. Several Gin and Tonics later, at around 3am I went back to bed, perhaps hoping 'they'd got it all wrong'.
I have to say that I am saddened and shocked at his death, but not surprised, if that makes sense.
The man is Musical Genius and True Legend and I am proud to say that I am a fan despite his 'questionable' lifestyle and all of the controversy surrounding him with the well documented Court cases etc. To me, in my mind, he cleared his name years ago and I truly hope that his music will be his legacy and nothing else. I hope he has now finally found peace and that the Media will Leave *Him* Alone.
As sad as it is to be thinking about the Funeral of Michael Jackson, I am kind of looking forward to it, it will be one final live Michael Jackson Spectacular....
Rest In Peace Michael
It has been said "Michael Jackson was a brilliant troubadour for his generation, a genius whose music reflected the passion and creativity of an era. His artistry and magnetism changed the music landscape forever. We have been profoundly affected by his originality, creativity and amazing body of work."