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R.I.P. Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

1mj     [Comment on the HEAT DRAFT in the blogpost immediately below this one, and click on Twitter.com.gregcote to join the following].  

     Like many of you I am stunned by the news that, yesterday afternoon, singer Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest at age 50. I believe we have lost a titan, an American treasure (warts and all). I believe we have lost a giant of pop culture and one of the most talented, charismatic and influential performers in the history of entertainment. For me, in my lifetime, his loss ranks with those of Elvis Presley and John Lennon in terms of music deaths that have touched me.

1moonwalk      Michael's music was important to me, integral with my life's soundtrack from his early days leading The Jackson 5 through his peak, "Thriller" years and beyond. The memory of him doing the Moonwalk on TV is seared in my mind.

     His later life, beyond the commercial success, was in many ways an American tragedy. There was the freakish obesssion with facial surgery and pigment. There were the more uncomfortable, darker elements involving an obsession with children. These things are an undeniable part of the whole picture. These things are why a friend of mine's reaction Thursday was, "Michael Jackson died years ago." That's harsh, but surely resonates with many.

     For me, though. stepping back to see the whole picture, the entire life, Michael Jackson is the talent, the music, to a degree overwhelming the weirdness and bizarre afterlife that followed.

     Your thoughts on Jackson's legacy and what he meant to you are invited here.


     Favorite songs: Also wondering your one favorite Jackson song or the one you most associate with him. For me the early-era song would be "I'll Be There," and the peak-years song would be "Billie Jean." Click on Ten Gems to see the videos for A-B-C, Beat It, Billie Jean, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, I Want You Back, Man In The Mirror, Rock With You, The Way You Make Me Feel, Thriller, and Wanna Be Starting Something.

     Click on Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough to listen.