Thursday, February 27, 2014


Arlee Bird of Tossing It Out fame posted yesterday about the demise of American pop icon Michael Jackson.

I asked him what prompted this post, and he indicated that it was conceived as a hint for his forthcoming Battle Of The Bands post.

The post sparked a lot of discussion over the relative merits of Michael's musical legacy, the sad tragedy that was his personal life and even the musical merits of the popular music of our time.

Pretty weighty stuff.

What I find interesting is the timing of Arlee's post. 

On this week in 1970, Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 was the number one album on Billboard's soul chart, a position it would hold for nine weeks.

The album, besides being the first album I ever purchased, yielded the group's first (of four) Hot 100 number one singles.

On this week in 1983, Michael's sixth solo album would begin a 37 week run at number one on the Billboard album chart. That album, of course, was Thriller, and while one could debate the relative merits of the music, there is certainly no question that the album had a tremendous impact on the music industry and catapulted Michael into superstar status.

Seven top ten singles.

65 million units sold.

Eight Grammy's won, including Album Of The Year.

Sadly, the artist's idiosyncracy seemed to grow with his success, and his behavior became more and more apparent, first manifesting itself in his various surgeries (I never bought into the rare skin-bleaching ailment) and then in his associations with young children.

I have said it before-Michael was a troubled soul. I want to believe he was too gentle to have molested children, but I certainly do not know the truth.

All I know was that he was a talented artist who suffered from some personal demons, and he died too young.

And I choose to remember him as he was when I was buying his records. Before the mega-stardom and the "King Of Pop" label.

When he was simply Michael Jackson.

And certainly before idols were being erected in his image!




  1. Replies
    1. CW-sadly, there are too many celebrities that America worships as if they were messiahs.

  2. The man/boy had talent. I'm not gonna be his judge as an individual, but I will acknowledge the talent he had. I thought he received a somewhat unfair trashing on my post and ironically he was just a part of what I was posting about. Hardly anybody wanted to discuss Ruth Etting.

    My next post will hopefully add more clarity to what I was trying to get at by bringing up Michael.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  3. There is such a thing as too much success. I have heard it said that Michael never could accept Thriller for what it was: a phenomenon or a Once In A Lifetime success. Instead, he was on this quest to top it, but that was impossible. Even albums that were successes after Thriller gave him no gratification. So, they just led to severe depression and very likely all of the things like the surgeries. I don't know, but I don't think that he harmed any of his kids. I think that they were yet another way for him to try and fill this gaping hole in his life. Kids love you unconditionally and he really needed that.

    There is a great lesson in here for all of us. Enjoy those High Moments of our lives. Accept when they are gone. Enjoy the moments that follow, even if they aren't as great as that Best Moment. It is still good. Accept things for what they are.

    1. Well said-I have long been saying that every day is a gift. People need to remember that.

  4. I missed Arlee's post, so I went back and read it (and the comments). It made me realize that I don't know what was what with MJ and those charges of child molestation. I do know people well enough to think that if they can make a buck off of someone they will try to do it. Was that what happened here or was he another guilty celebrity who got off scott free? I don't know.

    StMc made the point that if he were accused of child molestation that he would DEFINITELY take it to court to prove his innocence. And I think the average (non-famous) person would do the same. The truth is that we don't judge the famous and non-famous the same. We should, but we don't. Would going to court have benefited him even if were innocent? I bet his agent, manager, PR person were all saying "No." That if he drags this thing out by making a media circus of the court proceedings then his entire career will be ruined regardless of the verdict. (After all, OJ was declared Not Guilty but a large portion of the population - me included - thinks he was guilty.) So, would a Not Guilty verdict have validated him in any way? Or would just being tried make him Guilty in the minds of most people? I don't know the answers. I only have questions.

    I doubt he made many choices in his personal life. I think that "his people" made a good many of them because his continued fame was their meal ticket. So, his not taking it to court doesn't prove anything to me. I still have no idea if he was guilty or not.

    I stand by the rest of what I said in my earlier comment... too much fame isn't necessarily a good thing.

    1. Stephen and I once had a long face-to-face discussion on that very point (that MJ should have taken it to court), but not only do I agree with your observation on the different standards fro celebrities, I think MJ was out there by that point-he could not make a good decision on his own and did what his "handlers" told him-and they were more worried about the gravy train than the man.

  5. I liked the exuberance and innocence of the Jackson Five's music. Michael did seem to be a deeply troubled and sensitive soul, but whatever he did or didn't do in his private life, there's no denying his talent.

    1. I agree, Susan-and I can enjoy the talent without getting sucked into the off-vinyl nonsense.

      Had it been determined that he was guilty, I may have not looked for future releases, but I would still have my J5 records.