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Arts and Culture

The King of Pop Is Dead

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Posted on Jun 25, 2009
Michael Jackson
AP photo / Joel Ryan

Jackson was scheduled to play a series of comeback concerts in London.

Michael Jackson was rushed to an L.A. hospital Thursday, where he was pronounced dead. He was 50 years old. His astonishing musical career, perhaps unparalleled among solo artists, unraveled into a tabloid mess of child molestation, doctor-sanctioned self-mutilation, bizarre parenting and, ultimately, debt. He was about to launch a comeback tour.

Los Angeles Times:

[Updated at 3:15 p.m.: Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead by doctors this afternoon after arriving at a hospital in a deep coma, city and law enforcement sources told The Times.]

[Updated at 2:46 p.m.: Jackson is in a coma and his family is arriving at his bedside, a law enforcement source told The Times.

Jackson was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this afternoon by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics.

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By Alejandro, June 30, 2009 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another very predictable ending to a very naieve, ignorant non-person; just a tool of corprate America. How sad…

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By Inherit The Wind, June 30, 2009 at 6:28 am Link to this comment

expat in germany, June 28 at 5:06 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

To Inherit the Wind:

I remember Ellen McIlwaine! I played her album “We the People” until the jacket had to be taped. I’ve been meaning to check online for CDs to buy for a long time. I think I’ll do that today. I can still recall her haunting version of “Can’t Find My Way Home.” Thanks for reminding me.
*********************************************

She did a later cover of “Way Home” that will blow your mind!  TOTALLY different! You will love it or hate it—It’s staccato like a machine-gun scat-singing is the best way I can describe it—very percussive!  Later albums like “Looking for Trouble” and “Everybody Needs It” are EM at her best, IMHO.

Here’s her website:

http://www.ellenmcilwaine.com/

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By christian96, June 29, 2009 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

Nestoffour—-It’s not the “daylight” that needs
scared out of you.  IT’S THE DARKNESS! BOO00000!

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By nestoffour, June 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

CJ,

that was a good piece of writing ... also, thanks for the music recommendations.

Christian96,

people like you scare the daylight out of me ..

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By christian96, June 29, 2009 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Thought the following appropriate for some of you
so called intellectuals:

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.  She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.  And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.  How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events…  terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools,  and we said OK.  Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.  The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.  And we said OK..

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock’s son committed suicide). 

We said an expert should know what he’s talking about.  And we said OK.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they

don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. 

I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd,  crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace,  but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list

because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us..

Pass it on if you think it has merit.  If not then just discard it… no one will know you did. 

But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. 

My Best Regards,  Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

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By BlueEagle, June 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

Thought you’d be interested Mike Adams take on the matter:

The mainstream press dare not mention it, but both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett were ultimately killed by Big Pharma’s drugs.

http://www.naturalnews.com/026511_cancer_chemotherapy_doctors.html

———————————————-

I have a theory: Michael Jackson was chemically manipulated by his handlers to pump him full of psych drugs and make him easier to control while they reaped millions from his public events. When you look at the list of all the psych drugs Jackson was on, you’ll wonder what sort of insanity could have been behind his medical “treatment” in the first place!

http://bit.ly/140aiK

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By grumpynyker, June 28, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I forgot to give credit to Joseph Jackson for teaching his sons to play music and the dance steps.  None of these commentators could mention this beyond Joseph’s abusive treatment; but like it or not, a lot of the perfectionism seeped into Michael.  And stop with the child molestation crap, the first boy admitted he LIED.  The cancer survivor who appeared in the Martin Bashir special was goaded by his greedy family.  Stop the comparisons to Elvis; at least Michael wrote many of his songs.  And when he bought the Beatles publishing catalogue, he also bought Sly Stone’s catalogue.

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By expat in germany, June 28, 2009 at 2:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Inherit the Wind:

I remember Ellen McIlwaine! I played her album “We the People” until the jacket had to be taped. I’ve been meaning to check online for CDs to buy for a long time. I think I’ll do that today. I can still recall her haunting version of “Can’t Find My Way Home.” Thanks for reminding me.

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By rodney, June 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When are we in America going to arrest the real drug dealers in America. The doctors and pharmacudical companies.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 27, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

By christian96, June 27 at 9:27 am #

Outraged—-You finally showed your hand last night
in your comments about Michael Jackson.  Where is
your compassion for Michael the person.  No wonder
you aren’t a Christian.  You are full of the devil.
Of course, your comment was posted at 3:19 a.m.
which means there is a good probability you weren’t
in your right mind.  I don’t know anything about you
personally but I would strongly suggest you see a
counselor to try to understand yourself.  You have
some problems.  Perhaps, attending a church and praying to God to help you would do some good.

**************************************************

Wow, I hate to sound bigoted but your religiousness seems to have clogged your brain…did it EVER occur to you that TD’s timezone is not the same as Outraged, or mine?  He may well have been posting at midnight or at 6am and it showed up at 3am.  I’m on the east coast and my posts show up as if I’m up in the middle of the night—when I’m not.

A clogged logic pipeline there…....

**************************************************


Russian Paul, June 27 at 10:56 am #

Inherit, YOU may have forgotten the Fugs, that does not make it so for the rest of the world. They do in fact have a legacy and will live on. So will GG Allin. smile

And Elvis didn’t interpret Black music, he stole it, big difference. If he wasn’t around, someone else would’ve made it acceptable without the blatant thievery. Elvis (who was extremely racist, by the way) was even worse than Jackson; Jackson was at least a competent musician. Elvis could barely play an instrument.

CJ, thanks for reminding me. To me, John Cage was one of the most important “gamechangers” of the 20th century, whither or not he was the great or even competent musician is certainly debatable, but his ideas changed the way people thought about music more than anyone. Outside of academia, barely anyone would recognize the name.

Maybe because I wasn’t around in the 60s, I don’t have that fuzzy, nostalgic feeling you all get about the Beatles. Talented, yes, but EXTREMELY overrated.

It’s been fun, but I’ll be on a train for the next 4 days, getting the hell out of Jersey, so I’ll have to sign off for now,

peace.

*************************************************

Hey, more people have forgotten the Fugs than John Cage.  I have a Cage album—it’s very hard to listen to, but fascinating if you try.  I heard Cage in concert once in the early mid 70’s….I admired the man and still do.

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By Paracelsus, June 27, 2009 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

@ Outraged

Thank you christian96, I hoping my comment would be clear.  How fitting it is that “you the christian” would run defense for the child molester.

Exactly.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/010605jackson.html

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By Outraged, June 27, 2009 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Re: christian96

Your comment: “Outraged—-You finally showed your hand last night in your comments about Michael Jackson.  Where is your compassion for Michael the person.  No wonder you aren’t a Christian.

Thank you christian96, I hoping my comment would be clear.  How fitting it is that “you the christian” would run defense for the child molester.

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By ardee, June 27, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Piling on , a game for the whole family.

Jackson was an entertainment giant, period. His “Thrilla” album was the biggest seller of all time, and his business acumen, insofar as buying the Beatles catalog and merging with Sony Music, seemed , at least then, to be top notch.

Many geniuses seem flawed in some way, and Jackson was certainly such a one, but now he is dead, and his music will live long after his aberrations are forgotten or forgiven.

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By ellen, June 27, 2009 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Am I the only one to note the remarkable resemblance of the latter-day MJ to Nancy Pelosi?

check it out.

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By tyshalle38, June 27, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Michael had raw talent in the stratosphere when he was only 5.  In later years, Qunicy Jones, a genius IMHO, brought that incredible talent full blown into Thriller.  I attended a Thriller concert at Dodger Stadium and it was awesome!  I’ve always thought of Michael as a musical genius in his own right.  And like many geniuses, no matter what medium, he couldn’t quite get it together in his own life. 

I am sadden by his loss, by his self destruction, his self-mutliation (with the help of plastic surgeons).  May he rest in peace.

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By Russian Paul, June 27, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Inherit, YOU may have forgotten the Fugs, that does not make it so for the rest of the world. They do in fact have a legacy and will live on. So will GG Allin. smile

And Elvis didn’t interpret Black music, he stole it, big difference. If he wasn’t around, someone else would’ve made it acceptable without the blatant thievery. Elvis (who was extremely racist, by the way) was even worse than Jackson; Jackson was at least a competent musician. Elvis could barely play an instrument.

CJ, thanks for reminding me. To me, John Cage was one of the most important “gamechangers” of the 20th century, whither or not he was the great or even competent musician is certainly debatable, but his ideas changed the way people thought about music more than anyone. Outside of academia, barely anyone would recognize the name.

Maybe because I wasn’t around in the 60s, I don’t have that fuzzy, nostalgic feeling you all get about the Beatles. Talented, yes, but EXTREMELY overrated.

It’s been fun, but I’ll be on a train for the next 4 days, getting the hell out of Jersey, so I’ll have to sign off for now,

peace.

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By christian96, June 27, 2009 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

Outraged—-You finally showed your hand last night
in your comments about Michael Jackson.  Where is
your compassion for Michael the person.  No wonder
you aren’t a Christian.  You are full of the devil.
Of course, your comment was posted at 3:19 a.m.
which means there is a good probability you weren’t
in your right mind.  I don’t know anything about you
personally but I would strongly suggest you see a
counselor to try to understand yourself.  You have
some problems.  Perhaps, attending a church and praying to God to help you would do some good.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, June 27, 2009 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

Wow…. I could not stand Michael Jackson, especially his later years, didn’t like Donny Osmond either.  Although, Michael had talent and Donny Osmond…..cringe, what was that about? 

Cuter than anything as a child, but I don’t remember that portion (only in reruns), but, I’m about Michael’s age and NO, only the complete idiots liked him, at least in my and HIS age group.

No…no….no.  A figure of the imagination is what he was, IN MY AGE GROUP…. he molested children for god’s sake and was attempting to make himself white…...WHY!  I understand he had a messed up childhood, but c’mon…. he was or became whacked himself.  While I can empathize that it may not have been his doing from the “get go”, I’m sorry, HE WAS FOURTY SOMETHING when he molested these children.  Bullshit.  Time to stop blaming “mom and dad” or the world for your actions.

I won’t miss him, AT ALL.  I don’t care IF he can sing, my god…. that’s not a ticket to abuse.  What the hell are some of you thinking?  Talk about hook, line and sinker…...

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By CJ, June 26, 2009 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

Year Zero MJ, just over 24 hours in. If media gets its way, resurrection late tomorrow night sometime. 

Tonight appeared Liza Minnelli, for crissake. Yelling. Of how she yelled at Jackson about something or other at some time or other. Whatever.

Poor bastard, MJ, whether genius or not. Not, but not really that important whether he was or wasn’t. What with term, “genius” having lost any currency.  By now, everyone is genius. At something or other. Maybe that really is more democratic. There’s the old Pop-Front rub.

Do we really need genius? Then, before? Now? Still? What for? Term of derogation, by dint of exclusion.

No one will agree, Russian Paul, that Beatles weren’t of some considerable originality, genius possibly together as foursome. Which is kinda fascinating. How that happened. Not that I was huge fan, but then came “Sgt. Pepper’s,” which really no one anticipated. (Had to be there at the time.)

No serious artist can claim that “A Day In the Life” wasn’t a whole new deal. But sure, there was jazz happening all along; although, Miles eventually said he was bored with Bebop. I suppose Miles really was some kinda genius, if only for having come to that conclusion. And after having indulged for so long. Very well too. Jones should know after Montreux with Miles. Hellacious work. Still not so good as Duke in 56 at Newport. With Paul Gonsalves. Anyone? Paul Gonsalves? Listen up sometime. You aint’ heard it ‘til you heard it.

Sharpton has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.

But Bebop had become boring. There was Ornette, and then…John Cage. (Friend of mine loves Ornette.) But there’s a point at which avant-garde just ain’t. Term was always political anyway, not for aestheticians—theorists or practitioners. Same happened in painting when flat became the sole point, Morris. Okay, we knew canvases were flat. No one was ever fooled, ever tried to enter one. No reason to beat to death the obvious. But…the goal had become to be proclaimed genius. Eventually, Bill Walsh was so proclaimed as pro football coach. Actually, since onset of Romanticism, which happened along with the development of finance capitalism.

Finally just so much fetishism.

So TiVo happened to record an old Johnny Cash TV thing I was just watching. Kid was good. Really good. What a voice and what a player. And a good man too. A good human being. He played prisons a lot, as I recall. He had that “man in black” thing goin’ on. Not too serious. He really was down-home. Probably conservative, though I don’t really know one way or the other. Don’t care. Don’t matter. He did that cover of Nine-Inch Nails not long before he passed—without so much notice. Thankfully. No mobs of people sobbing and weeping while media captured “moment.” Jesus, what a freak-show lately!

Awhile back I was listening to some guy talk of Sinatra’s last concerts. About how it didn’t matter by then whether Sinatra hit every note. What mattered more was how he spilled his guts in the singing of each and every song. Also Romantic, but slightly genuine during a time of excess of worthless ingenuity.

I think that’s about all that’s left. Sinatra too was adored by mobs. More than Jackson ever was. As was Elvis. Younger people have no idea. They were teen idols too. (Not Cash, though he started with Elvis at Sun.) We’ve developed this “idol” thing, which is function of a certain ideology. Very complicated and very damaging to idols and worshippers. But when it’s only about dough…long story.

To be an idol is to be consumed. Elvis didn’t get far as Jackson, while Sinatra was far tougher. (As any might have been with Ava Gardner!) R.I.P. Mike, I hope never resurrected, hard as media’s praying for that event, I’ve not a shred of doubt. Media has become Murder, Inc., final restless place for idols fallen.

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By christian96, June 26, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

The night before I heard about Michael dying I watched a movie about the singing group “The
Temptations” on VH1.  I remember when I was teaching
at Washington State University in 1971-72 I would
occasionally go to a local pub, drink a few beers,
drop a quarter in the jukebox, and play the Temptations song “It Was Just My Imagination.” I
would sit next to the jukebox so I could look at
the various colors of the juke box as I listened to
the Temptations.  I never thought much about the
Temptations personal lives beyond thinking they
were getting a lot of attention and making a lot of
money.  After watching the movie I realized their
personal lives were filled with a lot of problems
and tragedy.  Then, the next day I learned of Michael’s death.  His life also was filled with a
lot of problems and tragedy.  When all is said and
done, I believe it came down to the fact that Michael
wanted the security that comes with feeling loved,
which he probably felt little of if at all.  I don’t
know how many so called “stars” have to die before
our young people will realize that fame and fortune
will not make them experience love and happiness!

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By Inherit The Wind, June 26, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Oh, and BTW, give Elvis his due: He made Black rock’n'roll and the early R&B ACCEPTABLE to White audiences because he could interpret it so well.  He was a White guy who truly sounded like a Black singer and made it OK to like that music, when our country was in the worst throws of racial separation.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 26, 2009 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

RP:

Sure, it’s all opinion.  My opinion is the Fugs were raw and nothing else and that appealed to adolescent boys, which I was back then.  They’ve been forgotten—I hadn’t heard their name in, I guess, 20 years or more, maybe 30.  Maybe the reason is..they weren’t very good.

Here’s the reason why I see Sgt Pepper as genius.  Rock was one way before it, and another after.  Are You Experienced had the same effect.  Nothing was the same after.  Sgt Pepper, the White Album and Abbey Road form a stunning musical statement breaking forms and establishing new norms unequaled in popular music. (Magical Mystery Tour didn’t cut it).

Yeah, there are great musicians out there. How many people know Ellen McIllwaine? She may be simply the most brilliant rock/blues guitarist who ever lived. She studied and worked with Hendrix, who admired her as well, and she’s an AWESOME interpreter of both Steve Winwood and Jack Bruce.  Her covers go light years and galaxies beyond them.  And how many people know about her?

But I consider game-changers as the true benchmarks.  Consider 2001, a Space Odyssey. Before that movie, all Sci-fi in space looked like Star Trek’s original series—or Lost In Space.  After Kubrick’s film, they all looked like 2001—Star Wars ripped of it’s ENTIRE space look from 2001—even the landing scene on the Death Star is a visual quote of the landing scene on the orbiting space station in 2001. 

Kubrick made a lot of game-changer movies—even Spartacus.  But he made 4 or 5—Dr. Strangelove, 2001, Clockwork Orange, and The Shining that were all, ALL revolutionary.

So where does this leave us?  With MSNBC spending all day on coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, just like they of Anna Nicole Smith’s death—and she was a TOTAL no-talent blessed with a gorgeous face, a great big body and “enhanced” with silicone boobs.

I’m sorry he’s dead. Really. I wish it weren’t so. But to be purely selfish, his dying right now was very bad for me and bad for the nation.

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By Paracelsus, June 26, 2009 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

@ hippie4ever

I wish the same for you, man.

Thank you. But I doubt my death would distract a whole nation from a tyrannical tax and control grid being enacted. Have a blessed day.

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By hippie4ever, June 26, 2009 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

Paracelsus said: “Jacko sure chose a great time to die.”

I wish the same for you, man.

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By Paracelsus, June 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Jacko sure chose a great time to die. The House just passed an energy tax on “carbon”. No one knows what’s in that huge bill. Perhaps we’ll be as hag ridden with citizen inspectors as the UK is now. They’ll insist on inspecting people’s homes to make sure they are ecologically lawful. Who knows what niggling fines and fees are in the bill.

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By radson, June 26, 2009 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

I never was a fan of Michael Jackson ,not that I don’t appreciate people that appreciate his music ,maybe that’ s why there exist so many different types and styles of music there,s something out there for everyone.
Disco never interested me apart from the seductive attire that the genre introduced ,perhaps a little to provocatively.If one was to listen solely to the music and interpret the lyrics of say Brittany Spears without actually seeing her ,I do believe that her popularity would suffer considerably.Michael had a certain fondness for Lady Di and I may add that Lady Di was not ‘dirty’ by any means ,but then again as the Beatles have
stated ‘you can’t buy me love ’ and the saga continues.Having said that if one was to consider Ella Fitzgerald in the same context as Brittany the correlation would be reversed.Personally I prefer melodic music and
classical music during the Baroque epoch appeals to me along with a good dose of Jazz and a touch of metal in the artist of Uli Jon Roth.

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By Brite Spot, June 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Say no to drugs !  Legal drugs kill more americans every year then illegal drugs, violence and exotic sex. Michael RIP .

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Russian Paul's avatar

By Russian Paul, June 26, 2009 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Inherit - The Fugs were incredibly original and yes, outrageous. I think your taste in music is far more mainstream than mine, not necessarily a bad thing, I just prefer more subversive/underground music, much of it is very RAW, which the Fugs certainly were. I do consider much of what they did genius, and they had an indelible influence on rock, folk, punk, protest music, etc…

I will agree with you on Zappa, I consider him our “Beethoven” of the 20th century, still underappreciated, but he is starting to get a little more credit, especially in academic circles.

You also missed my point: Mozart and Hayden’s time was one of the most barren in music

Well that’s just based on the music histories we are provided. There were likely other brilliant minds left behind…lower class musicians who had no patrons, popular folk musicians, who knows? I tend to believe a lot of brilliant minds slip through the cracks of history, but there’s no way of knowing.

I enjoy some of Sgt. Pepper, but I still think they were overrated. I love V.U. Lou Reed has more talent than all the Beatles combined. But that’s just arguing taste.

Anyways, it’s been fun discussing this, but I think we can agree that Jackson was a sly businessman, not the “musical genius” so many people claim it was. This scares me. Look at how people still call Elvis the thief “King of Rock n Roll.” Will Michael be remembered as reverently?

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By Inherit The Wind, June 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

Russian Paul:

You think the Fugs were geniuses?

The FUGS???????????

You’d make a better case for the Velvet Underground or the Mothers.  The Fugs were simply like a 60’s version of bad punk rockers—anything to outrage—them and Iggy Pop and Stooges in his first incarnation.

BTW, Bach was barely recognized as anything more than a regional composer. Even in Mozart’s time he was barely known.  Mendelsohn, if I remember correctly, re-popularized Bach well over a 100 years after Bach’s death.  Scarlatti didn’t get recognized for his genius until the 20th century.

You also missed my point: Mozart and Hayden’s time was one of the most barren in music—only those two have stood the test of time.  Both earlier and later eras have far more memorable composers.

Also, the early Beatles that made them stars was nothing special.  Some good songs, some REALLY good songs, and some mediocre songs that are now badly dated.

Their true genius emerged on the Revolver album and came to full flower in Sgt Pepper—Rock music’s equivalent to Picasso’s Guernica.  Even the Rolling Stones tried to imitate it with “Their Satanic Majesty’s Request”—as un-Stones-like an album as they ever made.  Only “Are You Experienced?” had a similar impact. 

IMHO, I think those are the two most important albums ever released in the history of Rock and Roll.

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By purplewolf, June 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Though not a follower of Michael,my daughter had most of his albums, I still enjoyed many of his songs from the time he and his family appeared on the music scene. “Rockin Robin” brought out the enthusiasm not often heard from artists in any time period and “I’ll be There” may have been considered bubblegum rock, it is better them most of what I hear today. Michael was also the first black performer on MTV-I am not a fan of pointing out “the first” list for any race, as I fell it causes more problems by making a big deal out being “a first”,  rather than letting people just be people.

I watched the HBO special on Michael’s Dangerous tour in Live in Bucharest and was amazed at the showmanship Michael, as well as the rest of the performers displayed, the energy, professionalism and talent as well as the choreography and have never seen anything close to what Michael and troop delivered in the many live performances I have seen on stage, be it plays, musicals or musicians. All of them paled in comparison for talent and just the sheer energy spend by all during one of his concerts. The way the audience responded to Michael and the command he had over them was like nothing I have witnessed any President, televangelical preacher or other performing artist over their audiences. When I saw that show in 1992 I made comment that if at that time Michael Jackson had wanted to run for President, hands down he would have won.

Yes, he had problems, many going back to his childhood, so do many people, he is not alone in that and that may accounted for some of the bizarre behavior. But people need to remember, he still did a lot of good for others less fortunate. Regardless of what some may think.

May Michael find peace as he walks through the western door.

I know, some of you out there will feel the need to bash me for this comment. If it makes you feel better or superior, be my guest.

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By AT, June 26, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s beyond our wildest imagination. MIchael Jackson died. This bit of news sure eclipsed Farah Fawcett’s death. The spotlight is off. That worked out just fine. We prefer to yield the spotlight so we can think of an exit strategy but We wont leave till the economy is sound. A few more of these wedge issues… dont worry, we will take care of your money for you,  you are in good hands. Just keep focusing on his death and cried in front of the camera, we’ll arrange in depth coverage of this monumental event, all day ad all night so you will get your mind off money. That’s where we came in says Ben.

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By Sepharad, June 26, 2009 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

grumpynyker, with you on the rip-off comment. But really, even if imitators made money none of them ever QUITE sounded like Chuck Berry, Bo Didley, Muddy Waters and the rest.

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By Sepharad, June 26, 2009 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

greenriverkate—Are you so lucky as to be living around Wyoming’s Green River basin? One summer we rode our horses all over the place, up the river, on the old stagecoach road, around Boar’s Tusk, with the wild horses, slept on top of Pilot Butte and did it all again. One of the most joyful times in my life. Not surprisingly, feel the same as you about Michael Jackson.

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By RAE, June 26, 2009 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

Perhaps he came to the conclusion that no matter what he did from now on there wasn’t a chance he could lift his reputation and prospects for recovery out of the hell hole into which they had fallen.

We likely will never know the real story of his “heart attack.” I think Michael understood clearly his “reign” was over. It was time to exit. Just like Elvis who, at the end, was a mess.

Good bye, MJ. Hope you find peace, quiet and true, supportive love wherever you are.

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By grumpynyker, June 26, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh well, parasites like Diane Diamond have to find someone else to exploit for ratings/profit. Parents will have to offer their kids as altar boys and pray they are molested.  Groups will have to comb through every Michael Jackson lyric to find anything racist/anti-semetic and sue for defamation.  Have fun bloodsuckers; I’ll fondly remember when my cousins and I doing the Robot while watching Soul Train.  I’ll dust off my old Jackson 5 records and cry now.  At least he died still owning the Beatles publishing rights; I still remember the older blues/r&b music acts swindled out of their royalties.  Chuck Berry and the late Bo Diddley had to tour into their seventies while the whites that ripped off their style are financiall set for life.

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By Russian Paul, June 26, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Inherit, I’m not sure if real genius does survive. We all know Bach and Mozart, and they were great, but were there other lesser known artists of equal brilliance left behind in obscurity? I think it’s likely.

As for The Beatles, I respectfully disagree, I would put them in the same category as Jackson, and I know NO ONE will agree with me on that, but I’m used to it. I see them as the most overrated artists in musical history. They gained popularity for what others had already done, but they marketed towards the right audience and they became a “hit.” They were great songwriters, I do enjoy some of their songs, but I always felt their music lacked a certain depth. And so many great artists of the same time aren’t given any credit.
As far as the 60’s goes, The Fugs were more important in creating a new sound and influencing a new generation of subversive artists and eclectic music styles, while the Beatles influenced the capitalist pop musicians who wished to follow in their avaricious footsteps.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 26, 2009 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Well, all I ever said was that I don’t understand the attraction of his music. 

To say he was “bigger” than the Beatles, means he had a greater influence, and that is pure bullshit.  Even his “pioneering” of the music video (a useless medium to my mind that detracts from the music) did nothing more than pickup on what the Beatles did in “Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!”—the REAL pioneers of the music vid.

Musically? There is NO WAY the MJ’s music influenced the world the so many others did.  To play fair: Compare him to the OTHER Motown-originated composers like Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding or Stevie Wonder.  The only MJ song I recognize was used for a Coke commercial.  But I can recognize dozens of Wonder’s songs.  If ANYTHING, MJ is an imitator of Wonder’s sound, no more.

I don’t think Rock’n'Roll has created many geniuses—200 years from now 99.9% of the songwriters will be forgotten—that’s the nature of all art eras—the REAL geniuses survive.  Think I’m kidding?  During the era a Hayden and Mozart name 2 TRULY great geniuses besides them…The only other composers I know from that time are the sons of Bach:  C.P.E., J.C, and W.F Bach.

I think Frank Zappa was a genius that we truly don’t yet understand.  I think Lennon and McCartney writing together was pure genius.  And I think Stevie Wonder is a genius.  I think Jimi Hendrix was a genius.  (while Eric Clapton is brilliant and wonderful, I don’t think him a genius). I don’t know of anyone else in Rock who qualifies, who has that super game-changing vision of the music itself, not the crap surrounding it.  Maybe some of the hip-hop composers. 

But Michael Jackson was only a genius at marketing, just like Madonna—at best a mediocre singer and composer with super marketing flair.

Since I cannot stand hip-hop, I cannot judge what is genius, good, bad, or pure crap.

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By Paracelsus, June 26, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Have you ever wondered why so many pop stars come from abusive environments? Why is it so many act in a bizarre manner? Britney Spears is an example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS92bfajUcw

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By Russian Paul, June 26, 2009 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

Morally bankrupt indeed, or perhaps you feel simple envy. Sorry you never made it big RP.

The idea that “making it big” should be a goal for young artists is sickeningly wrong. If one gets that popular, it is because one’s music is simplified and sweetened enough to attract the masses. The same goes for Speilberg’s films, Rockwell’s paintings, McDonald’s burgers, ugh I think I’m going to puke now.
My music and the music that I admire is not written or marketed for a particular audience, I write music for myself. If others can get some enjoyment out of it, that’s cool too. Michael’s purpose was to make money.

Somehow, MJ’s comeback concert STILL sold out in a matter of weeks. People STILL flock and scream when he appears. People STILL listen to the music.

Again, you are proving my point, the majority of people have lowbrow, easy-to-please tastes. Millions of screaming fans are not indication of musical genius, it is usually quite the opposite.

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By greenriverkate, June 26, 2009 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

I am almost 65 and know talent. This kid was talented and no one can say different. His videos were wonderful and showed his talent. I agree, he was different. I have followed his life since he was a little boy so it isn’t like I just take his “side” in his death. I saw many try to blackmail him, mostly low lifes that were greedy. I don’t know if he were guilty or not of anything except being different by “normal” standards. When he was 25 years old, he had made 25 million dollars. I have always felt he wasn’t happy unless left alone to his ways and out of public life. I wouldn’t have traded my life for his, that’s for sure. Give this kid some credit. His home life wasn’t great and his adult life wasn’t great. As an old lady, I still like to watch his videos and his dance routines. As far as the gay comments and grabbing his crotch, who the hell cares? He had talent. Elvis was called some pretty bad names in his day and said to corrupt us young. What bunk. My heart breaks for this man but I hope he is finally at peace and happy.

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By Louise, June 26, 2009 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

Russian Paul,

Kinda fun going to a concert these days. (Actually always fun.) There in the audience is grandma and grandpa, the kids and their kids. Rock and Pop have become family institutions. And Michael was no exception! In fact, Michaels universal appeal was universal.

The tragedy is Michaels life and love ... his family and his families exploitation. And while there never was a shortage of folks who condemned him ... like every other kid who ever made it big ... that only proves some folks can not do or say or think, or even function unless they condemn.

Morally bankrupt indeed, or perhaps you feel simple envy. Sorry you never made it big RP. (Or perhaps I should be thankful.)

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By wanked, June 26, 2009 at 6:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Im trying to remember what happened during the child molestation trials. Didnt he buy off the parents?

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By Political Insurgent, June 26, 2009 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

Interesting to read the comments by the haters/people with no taste in music because, as strange and eccentric as MJ was, it seems like a lot of people love him to pieces. Music wise, he is/was as big or perhaps bigger than the Beatles. He pioneered the music video and the way that pop/rockers dance and play their music. He was vocal about civil rights, especially in his music, which I can understand plenty of (white) people didn’t appreciate, along with his assertion of his blackness in his lyrics and his “sleazy, tasteless” dance moves. Simultaneously, he is the most hated, loved and revered entertainer in American history.

The media tried to break down his artistic reputation by using the usual veneer of subliminal tactics: disrespectfully calling the man they chase after in helicopters and vans “Jacko”, claiming he was “mental, freakish, insane, disturbed” (as they plotted ways to stalk him everywhere he went and new ways to dethrone him from the seat the people raised him to), insisting he was “a fallen king” (while the radios played his music and another popular actor/dancer used another of his moves), using “King of Pop” in a mocking fashion (how Herod-ish of them), accusing him of hurting children, probably one of the biggest slanders against him, and it all nearly worked…nearly. In the end, nothing they say/said matters. The media is trained to lie and create spectacle. So what is the fact about Michael Jackson? What legacy did he leave? Somehow, trumped up court charges don’t leap to mind.

The haters say their worst (based on Lies the Media Told Them). They condemn pop as tripe, and while I’m not technically a giant pop fan, I can recognize the rhythms and the subtle outside musical influences within it’s beat-you-have-to-dance-to. Pop is good if the right person is playing it. So all this hatred of the music and the man is supposed to mean something? Somehow, MJ’s comeback concert STILL sold out in a matter of weeks. People STILL flock and scream when he appears. People STILL listen to the music. People STILL wear the bizarre outfits and do the crotch grabs and moonwalks. Today’s young musicians are STILL trying, unsuccessfully, to become “just like” or “as good as” Mike. They STILL use his visage and loops from his songs and his dance moves as if hoping some of his fairy dust will brush off on them. Many of the musicians currently active in the business know and acknowledge how much they owe this man for their careers. It isn’t feckless admiration, it is simply a pure, musical factoid. If one truly spectacular thing had to come out of American civilization, one thing that the entire world, regardless of it’s relationship with the U.S. really does love, it has to be Michael Jackson.

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By Paracelsus, June 26, 2009 at 12:39 am Link to this comment

I saw a video that speculated that Beat It was about a gay sex orgy among teenage boys. It made sense to me. Most popular music is subliminal in some way. Here is the website with lyrics and video.

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/m/michael_jackson/beat_it.html

If you watch the video be aware of a young man who is grimacing and gesticulating as if he is climaxing by auto-stimulation. I think that is why some find MJ repellent and tasteless. All that crotch grabbing can be upsetting to some. I enjoyed his music. It has a good beat, but I am always aware that good art is rather manipulative. I suppose that one song was to encourage the acceptance of gay sex, after all there are plenty of songs that already encourage hetero sex. This is just an observation, not a condemnation.

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By Gulam, June 25, 2009 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment

We had Otis Redding for a fraternity party and rock and roll was happening in the Carolinas of my youth. In grad school I had a close friend who was a drummer for Junior walker, and he knew well and taught me all about California rock and roll. I rode hippy busses bound for India many times where rock was a constane, and I worked on archaeological excavations where we listened all day and night to rock. My daughter now keeps me well up of Indie Music. I listened to The National all morning. All this life-long contact with rock and yet when I saw on a news site a list of Michael Jackson’s most famous songs I did not recognize a single title. I can never remember anyone ever mentioning him in any context other than as a freak and a joke put on by the California media.

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By mike112769, June 25, 2009 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

His music was pure pop-for-cash tripe, but he sure as fun to watch in his hey-day! smile

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By Inherit The Wind, June 25, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

cyrena, June 25 at 10:07 pm #

Well Russian Paul,

You won’t get many takers to your blatant hatred. But then, we’ve heard from you before.

Anyway, you’re in a teensy tiny minority here, (and across the globe) since there’s no denying the man’s musical genius.

No doubt he also weirded out along the way, but that doesn’t negate his talent.
*********************************************

Maybe, but when it comes to music I see the genius in Beethoven, Brubeck, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Dylan, Ochs, Stevie Wonder, Hendrix, Prince, Nirvana and Public Enemy, just to name a few.  I have NO idea what people saw as genius in Michael Jackson. His music’s attraction simply baffled me. And his behavior repelled me.

I don’t hail his death—I can’t do that.  I cannot rejoice in it.  But I am hard-put to feel much more than pity for the man.

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By idarad, June 25, 2009 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Russian Paul wrote -

It’s career was the beginning of a huge decline in popular music and it’s morally bankrupt personal life was only a reflection of it’s integrity as an artist.

and in response to my -

you are trying to mix art with money pop music - pop music is not art its money

He wrote -

Exactly, and that’s what Jackson did, it mixed the two together and that’s why I have always been disgusted by it and it’s ilk.

I guess my point is pop music did not decline by Jackson - it made money - that is what it is intended to do.  It is not art… it is not music… it is money.  You can’t bring pop music into the arts, it doesn’t work, e.g. britney spears (however you spell it)

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By Sepharad, June 25, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Russian Paul, lots of us who are into classical, bluegrass, r&b, jazz, and rock and roll also appreciate Michael Jackson’s wildchild talent. Our 12 and 8-year-old granddaughters summoned him up on the computer, mugging and doing the “1-2-3-a-b-c” routine with Carol Burnett then on to the other memorable Michaels. He may have been, as coloradokarl says, poor, sad and confused in his later years but if you ever saw him perform at his peak, you—as a musician—you’d have to admit he was special, if not in the same way that a Yehudi Menuhin or Itzak Perlman were. Spent the balance of the evening teaching the girls some of the finer points on piano and guitar. They’re always keen to learn, but galvanized to greater efforts in Michael’s wake (amidst the humongous thunder and lightning storm outsided).

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By Russian Paul, June 25, 2009 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

you are trying to mix art with money pop music - pop music is not art its money

Exactly, and that’s what Jackson did, it mixed the two together and that’s why I have always been disgusted by it and it’s ilk.

Cyrena - I am not a hateful person, I don’t wish harm against anyone, but now that Jackson is gone, I just want to be truthful about who it was. A successful businessman and child molester. The fact that the majority of people accept it’s “musical genius” says a lot about the kitschy, superficial and unfortunately lowbrow musical tastes of the general public.

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By CJ, June 25, 2009 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Here Russian Paul. Right on.

Nothing is so telling of pop-driven culture than how mega-(pop)-media reacts on occasion of death of most popular as measured in dollars. “Icon.”

As also an artist, though not musician, I more-or-less have to agree with Russian Paul here. Jackson’s real genius was for marketing. As a musician, he was fairly so-so. Nothing nefarious about it, but the guy had serious issues. I don’t think he ever got a chance to be a person. Which is saddest part.

“Thriller” might be one of 50 or 100 good albums of 20th Century music. Or not. The fact of sales numbers utterly irrelevant to quality, which can’t be quantified that way, nor by any other way, but by passage of time. Will album stand up? Not likely. While “King of Pop” was Elvis. And I’m not a huge Elvis fan either. And while Beach Boys were more “revolutionary” than was Michael Jackson—pop-music-wise. The history of music didn’t begin with Mozart and then jump to The Beatles and The Jackson Five. Though to listen to big media this day…. According to M.E. Dyson, Michael much admired the Delfonics (Wilbert Hart). Outstanding! They were terrific, better than Jacksons.

More generally, there’s a difference between art and entertainment. Jackson was akin to Sammy Davis Jr., who’s the one Jackson always reminded me of, and after whom he modeled himself, apparently. I preferred Davis, but can’t say which was better entertainer. Sammy never got credit due him. Al Sharpton wasn’t around. There were rumors concerning Sammy. He loved Nixon. Whoops.

Jackson’s songs are formulaic, though he gets credit for discovering a formula that worked commercially. There’ve been so many really fine musicians who’ve passed with barely a mention. Not long ago, Max Roach, for instance. Americans have very seldom known of their home-grown artists of serious capability. Sometimes: Ella Fitzgerald.

Michael Jackson’s recordings were and still are consumed. By now we’re mere consumers of what’s then labeled “art.” As opposed to students of real deal. All too sticky-high-brow-elitist crap. If it sounds catchy or looks pretty, must be great art. (When de Kooning’s death was announced, anchor-girl referred to him as “William,” during five seconds allotted. Despite sweet paintings. Great ones of extraordinary genius.)

Media again! Exploiting identity politics. Overreaching even more on this occasion with adulation over countless hours of “coverage.” Bizarrely on the same day similar went on earlier over Farrah Fawcett on her passing. Until that was buried under avalanche of media attention to that of Michael Jackson. Farrah who? She’s not been mentioned since, though one can read of her passing in crawls. I was never fan of her either, but wonder if more posters of her weren’t sold than copies of “Thriller”? Would that mean she was somehow better?)

Olbermann had on a “Flo Anthony” who declared Jackson, “the greatest artist.” Huh? Say what? But then Dyson (rather more serious intellectual) who instructed as to how we have to “reach back to Mozart…” Etc., etc.: The apotheosis of Michael Jackson.

There WAS Charlie Parker, if people insist on making the issue one of skin color. Same as there was Georgia Okeeffe for those who insist on making the issue one of gender. Along with a host of other black (and other colored) jazz (and other-genre) musicians whose recordings might very well still be listened to five hundred years from now. Certainly Charlie Parker’s. Same as Okeeffe’s paintings will still be looked at 500 years from now. She was one of the greats—painters, not “female” painters. Content/form more feminist than any theory by same name I ever read. 

We don’t hear and we don’t see. And we sure as hell don’t feel. We only consume.

There’s a difference between art and entertainment.

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By squeaky jones, June 25, 2009 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I see MJ’s haters are out again (russian paul), amongst the many. I am one of MJ’s biggest fans. To be the lead singer of a big music group at the age of five is amazing. I can still hear him singing Ben, and Billie Jean, oh so beautiful. Also, he had amazing dance moves i.e. the Moon Walk was all pure, and amazing. You do not get to where MJ got by being an imposter. Love ya MJ, you got a beautiful soul. Squeaky.

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By idarad, June 25, 2009 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

russian paul
nice - it is hard to decide the lower level of moral bankruptcy - Michael Jackson or Russian Paul - might be a tie.

you are trying to mix art with money pop music - pop music is not art its money

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By cyrena, June 25, 2009 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Well Russian Paul,

You won’t get many takers to your blatant hatred. But then, we’ve heard from you before.

Anyway, you’re in a teensy tiny minority here, (and across the globe) since there’s no denying the man’s musical genius.

No doubt he also weirded out along the way, but that doesn’t negate his talent.

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By coloradokarl, June 25, 2009 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

I say He Overdosed, I have been wrong before, though. He just sold out 50 concerts in 4 hours , what is that $50 million? That would have bought a lot of hugs and kisses from adoring fans. Poor,sad and confused Michael. GOD has a new Jester tonight…

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By Russian Paul, June 25, 2009 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

Good riddance.

As a musician, I’ve always been sickened by it’s music. It represents all that is wrong with the music industry: simplified, sugary, monopolizing pop crap. The idea of a musician and businessman merging into one. The concept of marketing a song before you even write it. It wasn’t the first, but it certainly perfected such sleazy techniques. It’s career was the beginning of a huge decline in popular music and it’s morally bankrupt personal life was only a reflection of it’s integrity as an artist.

Good riddance.

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