First Ed McMahon, then Farrah, and then, inexplicably…Michael Jackson? Yikes! What a lousy week to be a 1970’s icon. Not only is Jackson’s death completely shocking, but, it’s also very sad to me for one key reason.
See, I loved Michael’s early stuff with the Jackson 5 and his groundbreaking music videos are literally seared into my memory banks from watching them so many times, but the thing I’m most sad about today is that Michael Jackson never got to truly come back from crazy town.
The upcoming farewell concerts (that, sadly, will never be) in London aside, Jackson never got to have the true career resurgence I always felt he was owed. I mean, love him or hate him, the dude was a freaking musical genius that we will probably never see the likes of again.
Not only could he sing and dance with the best of them, but the dude knew how to write and market amazingly beautiful pop songs. I defy you not to move your body when “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” is playing. I mean, seriously, his music shimmered!
The problem with Jackson was always his personal life. And while a huge chunk of Jackson’s personal problems can be laid square on the bulky shoulders of Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson, I gotta say that a lot of the craziness that haunted Michael Jackson in later years was sorta self-inflicted. Sure, he had a hard-ass childhood, but that doesn’t excuse everything.
And whether he really was guilty of all the stuff he was charged with over the years or not, the fact remains that Jackson was a very strange dude who long ago lost touch with reality. My sincere hope for him was that someday he would put out an album on par with some of his best early solo work. You know, something that would make even the most jaded Jacko hater remember what he was famous for in the first place.
I mean, shit, if Britney Spears can come back after shaving her head and going batshit crazy on a nightly basis for years, why couldn’t the King of Pop? Sadly, the answer to that question is that he just didn’t have enough time. And while the grand Michael Jackson comeback I always hoped for will never be, I can take solace now in the fact that the music he left behind is pretty damn spectacular.
So, rest in peace, Michael J. I know your time here was brief and not always sunny, but I can assure you that the worst days are behind you and that your legacy as the once and future King of Pop is pretty rock solid in our book.
Keep on rocking, amigo, and, by all means, make sure and say “hey” to your ex-father-in-law, Elvis, for us…