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"He could have been the next great song and dance man!"---Gene Kelly

  • Jun 25, 2009
Rating:
+4

Michael Jackson died today.  He was only 50 years old.  There is no question that Michael was one of the most talented entertainers of his generation.  As the story goes he and his brothers were discovered at the Indiana State Fair by none other than the great Diana Ross.  Diana recommended the boys to her boss Berry Gordy at Motown and the rest as they say is history.  The Jackson 5, led by 10 year old lead singer Michael were an immediate sensation.  Their debut single "I Want You Back"  shot to the top of the charts in late 1969.  Over the next five years The Jackson 5 would churn out hit after hit.  Still, bigger and better things awaited Michael.  

Michael Jackson left his brothers and Motown behind in 1978 to pursue a solo career.  He signed a deal with Epic records in 1979.  His very first solo album "Off The Wall" was a huge commercial success and remained on Billboard's Hot 100 Album chart for more than 3 years!  The album also spawned a number of highly successful singles including "Rock With You", the title track "Off The Wall" and the haunting ballad "She's Out of My Life".   But Michael's masterpiece would prove to be the 1982 release "Thriller".  Produced by Quincy Jones and co-produced by Michael himself "Thriller" would prove to be the biggest selling album of all-time.  Current estimates are that "Thriller" has sold between 65 and 70 million copies worldwide!   Meanwhile, of the 9 tracks on this album 7 would become Top Ten hits!   

The hits would continue for a few more years for Michael before his personal life took a precipitous turn for the worse.  Most people are quite familiar with Michael's sad downfall from grace so I have no intention of rehashing those events again here.  Suffice to say that Michael Jackson would never be thought of in quite the same way again by a large segment of the American public.  I think that it is safe to say that there was a lot more great music in Michael Jackson that we will never get to hear.   Perhaps the greatest tribute I ever heard paid to Michael was by the legendary Gene Kelly who once quipped:  "He could be the next great song and dance man."  Gene Kelly should know as he practically invented the art form.  So maybe there wasn't really a market for another song and dance man as we drew close to the end of the 20th Century.  But had he stayed on the straight and narrow Michael Jackson would have become a household name to generations of Americans.  He had the ability to do just about anything he wanted to in show business.  Such a shame.     May he is rest in peace!

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June 27, 2009
He really good have done anything he wanted to do. Wow....what a profound statement and how true. A lot of people in life can't say that! I just wish this talented man would have had better guidance. This kind of thing happens so often to celebs with so much power, money and fame. I hope this gentle fellow rests in peace....after all he's been through, he certainly deserves it.
 
June 26, 2009
always enjoy your take on things paul, thx! I'd never heard that quote - really interesting. while I have to agree about what a tragedy his personal trials were, I'd only contest that he IS in fact household name to generations of Americans, without a shadow of a doubt. needless to say, my objectivity is heavily skewed, having come of age in the 80's : )  - witnessing him in his prime, watching him dramatically shift the entire landscape of artistry when it came to choreography, songwriting, producing, and the art of storytelling through music video. the magnitude of the millions he's moved, around the world is nothing short of awe inspiring.  as always, thx for the review - you always bring a thoughtful perspective.
 
June 26, 2009
I am so sad to hear about Michael passing away. He songs and performances were always fun, creative and entertaining. It's unfortunate that his personal life was so bizarre and pained, but watching the coverage of his passing on TV definitely shows how much of an impression he made on the public during his life. Can't help but also compare this to Elvis Presley who also died young and tragically. Thanks for your review.
 
June 26, 2009
This is very well-written. Thank you.
 
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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Died on June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson was unquestionably the biggest pop star of the '80s, and certainly one of the most popular recording artists of all time. In his prime, Jackson was an unstoppable juggernaut, possessed of all the tools to dominate the charts seemingly at will: an instantly identifiable voice, eye-popping dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and loads of sheer star power. His 1982 blockbuster Thriller became the biggest-selling album of all time (probably his best-known accomplishment), and he was the first black artist to find stardom on MTV, breaking down innumerable boundaries both for his race and for music video as an art form. Yet as Jackson's career began, very gradually, to descend from the dizzying heights of his peak years, most of the media's attention focused on his increasingly bizarre eccentricities; he was often depicted as an arrested man-child, completely sheltered from adult reality by a life spent in show business. The snickering turned to scandal in 1993, when Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy; although he categorically denied the charges, his out-of-court settlement failed to restore his tarnished image. He never quite escaped the stigma of those allegations, and while he continued to sell records at superstar-like levels, he didn't release them with enough frequency (or, many critics thought, inspiration) to once again become better known for his music than his private life. Whether as a pop ...

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Details

Filmography: Men in Black II, The Wiz
Nationality: American
Bands or Musical Groups: Jackson 5
Instruments: Vocals, piano, drums, beatbox, guitar
Genre: Pop
Debut: 1964
Country: United States
Birth Date: August 29, 1958
Birth Place: Gary, Indiana, USA
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 11"
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