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The Death of Michael Jackson is Overkill
As the American icon newscaster Walter Cronkite once said, "and that's the way it is", so goes the death of another celebrity. Death always seems a bit early at any age before 70. Michael Jackson to many was an oddity, much like David Bowie was in the 70s. Some think he was a pervert. Others an icon, the King of Pop. If Elvis is the King of Rock and Jackson the King of Pop, then, what of rock's most famous band, The Beatles? Simply a rock legend? Clearly, just labels with little meaning.
Like anyone not impacted directly by Jackson during his tenure as a pop star, opinions differ greatly as to his worth and value. He was more like a Frank Sinatra to pop. Clearly, his creativity was not in songwriting as in Lennon & McCartney, Rogers & Hammerstein. It was not arranging or playing an instrument. His sole contribution was his now famous moonwalk and other dance sequences and showmanship. His vocals were clearly identifiable. Just as you know when you here a Beatle song, you know when its Michael Jackson. The Jackson 5, despite how cute they were, that is about it as far as powerhouses of pop music. There were a lot of other cute pop bands in the late 60s and into the 70s. Their music was targeted to the then age group of 8-13. These are the people so greatly impacted by his death. They grew up with him. To all others, just another pop band.
Michael Jackson did not manage the total universal appeal of Elvis or The Beatles until his Thriller LP in the 80s. It started with a previous LP, Bad. Thriller was Michael Jackson's Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band. The LP contained something for all genre's of music likes, just as many of The Beatles' LPs consisently did. Thriller crossed all race barriers and it was no accident. Jackson, himself, was a huge Beatles' fan, even though his music did not reflect it. He bought and outbidded McCartney for all the rights to their songs. He knew a good investment when he saw it.
Jackson was a performer and singer. Thriller was his moment in the sun because afterwards he failed to continue the successful formula of that LP, and instead, fell back into the pop-rap humdrum that makes one song sound like another. He was an astonishing dancer and no one can forget his moonwalk glide across the floor. That was his most famous moment of his career. Elvis shook his hips. Girls went into frenzy. When John Lennon or Paul McCartney made a sudden movement or shook their hair as they screamed, the girls went into a frenzy. Still, when Jackson glided across that floor doing his moonwalk for the first time, everyone watching was just in awe. How did he do it?
Unfortunately, Jackson fell way like many famous people-into being an oddity, a recluse. The public does not like that. Then his face changed colors from black to white, why? did he not like being black? Then he changed his physical attributes into a femme, this bothered a lot of people. They liked his music, but not his weirdness or vice versa. Then, he became a father via test tubes, now there is chatter about what really happened. The bottom line is that Jackson fell deeper and deeper into his own quagmire of pain that haunted him since childhood. Great stars come from such troubled backgrounds. It is the pain they suffer as kids that propel them into a different persona. Look at Marilyn Monroe. Elvis. John Lennon, Marlon Brando and Jackson.
The media frenzy over his death continues and really just makes everyone care a little less about it. Its overkill. Yes, he was a great performer, he did some great songs, BUT, 100 years from will he be remembered as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Rogers & Hammerstein, lennon & McCartney? I don't think so except for that moonwalk moment.