Michael Jackson Dead Aged 50

Wow, bit of a surprise this one. I didn’t know he was ill, or any more ill than he always appears to be. The LATimes are just now reporting that his death has been confirmed

A proper nutcase, and quite a scary one at times. But also a musical genius. When teamed up with Quincey Jones, he made some of the greatest soul/funk/pop music of late 70s/80s. His music went on the slide at the same time as the madness around his personal life became stranger than fiction.

Here’s a video. What do you think: Genius or just a lunatic?

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19 Comments

  1. BBC saying it’ll have a ‘huge impact on the world of music’ – which is nonsense. He WAS a vital, incredible creative artist in up to and including Bad, but after that, he’s been a bigger celeb than he has been a musician of consequence. I saw him play in 1998, I think, and it was a great show, but was pretty much greatest hits. Nothing recent made any kind of impact.

    So yes sad, a seriously screwed up disaster of a life, still under the cloud of suspicion after his child sex offense court case…

    I was surprised that he sold out the 50 shows in London he was meant to be doing, but I guess that says more about how out of touch I am with pop superstardom than it does about him

  2. I think he was a bit of both, I saw him in concert during the late 80’s – and it was atmospheric and full of energy. But the guy had serious issues, I agree, Steve, that it started to go a bit odd after/during ‘Bad’.

    As far as being a musician, without Quincy Jones and his start with the Jackson 5, he wouldn’t have turned into the ‘superstar/celebrity’ that he became. John Landis’ Thriller video, was a landmark moment for him and many of my young peers of the time.

  3. I’ve been jammin’ away on the sofa to the CNN coverage of this, Beat it is in E flat and Billie Jean F sharp, I never knew that.

    I never saw him live, Jeffrey Daniels taught me to moonwalk in a pub in Maida Vale.

  4. “As someone who served as Michael Jackson’s publicist during the 1st child molestation incident, I must confess I am not surprised by today’s tragic news. Michael has been on an impossibly difficult and often self-destructive journey for years. His talent was unquestionable but so too was his discomfort with the norms of the world. A human simply can not withstand this level of prolonged stress,” Michael Levine, his long-time publicist, told BNO News on Thursday evening.

    Levine did not know how Jackson died.
    At the time I am posting, the coroner is still in Jackson’s home (he’s been in for an hour) investigating on the causes of his death and will have a press conference soon (they said so for the last 45 minutes).

  5. /…/”Michael Jackson’s death is not just a terrible tragedy for three young children who will now be orphaned. It is also an American tragedy that affects us all. Our culture, in which fortune and fame readily eclipse family and life nurturing-values, is claiming an increasing number of casualties. There was a great beauty and gentility in Michael’s soul. His talents far surpassed those of his contemporaries and he yearned deeply to make the world a better place. I am saddened that the emotional pain he lived with prevented him from finding the meaning and connectedness which he longed for.

    The saddest aspect to this tragedy is that so many watched it happen and few did anything to stop it. I pray that Michael’s death will not be in vain and that we see a return, even among Hollywood celebrities, to the spiritual and family values that are life sustaining.”

    From the statement of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach who counselled Michael Jackson until 2001
    Statement by rabbi Shmuley Boteach

    Maybe these are not answering to your question, but I am struck at the comments that people who loved him and approached him are giving, in the light of Michael’s unexpected passing.

    1. re: the comments people are giving – it’s become a bizarrely unmeasurable free-for-all, it seems, where the heartfelt thoughts of those who cared about him are buried under the nonsensical ramblings of a bunch of fans and attention-seekers, former staff and random celebs…

      I’m fascinated by the processes of ‘public mourning’ and the number of people willing to hijack that process for their own ends…

      Also of interest to me is the way that the language we use to describe someone we never knew at all can change overnight, thanks to their death… May have to explore this more in a proper blog post at a later date.

      Otir, thank so much for posting – it’s lovely to read your thoughts here xx

  6. And let’s not forget Thriller which redefined what video could do, broke the MTV colour bar & seriously impressed me & all my Prog Rock loving friends. Suddenly it opened up whole new areas of music to us. I still don’t like everything he did but it is undeniable the cultural impact & influence he had on the music industry.

    Not sure about genius though.

    1. ‘genius’ is a loaded term. Measurable by IQ for ‘intellectual genius’, but harder to measure for genius in the arts or ‘physical genius’…

      1. People have moments of inspiration that don’t normally stay through out a life. For MJ it lasted through the 80s but he was out of the loop for the last 15 years or so

  7. A tragic loss? I’m not sure. I think the tragedies of Michael Jackson life took place long ago, when his childhood was sacrificed on the hit-machine altar and his sanity was allowed to fester inside gold-lined walls. Some people are going to miss out on another evening’s over-priced entertainment in July and August but, meanwhile, innocents are still being blown to pieces in Iraq or starving to death in poverty.

    Michael Jackson’s death will be a sad loss to those who knew him personally but I’m not going to be spending any money rushing out to add his music to my collection.

  8. For someone with such immense musical talent, as undoubtedly he had, and who had amassed such a considerable wealth, as evidenced by his Neverland ranch. It did always bother me that he could never find trousers that fit him properly. Always just that little bit too short.

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