Friday, 25 June 2010


Hard to believe that one year ago today saw the sudden death of Michael Jackson. He joined the holy trinity of music superstars who died young but boy did they leave a lasting musical legacy. Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Michael Jackson certainly left their mark on musical culture and will live on for a very long time in the hearts and minds of many millions of fans who still play their music. 
For me, Michael Jackson was a huge  part of my growing up and listening to music. I value an eclectic taste in music stemming from many influences growing up in the seventies and eighties. Motown music always featured very heavily on my youngest brother's record player and I have very vivid memories of the early Jackson 5 and this little black boy looking pretty cool whilst dancing in perfect sync with his afro'd brothers. And years later, one of the best albums ever made was hardly ever off my record player - Michael Jackson had come of age, gone solo and with a little help from producer Quincy Jones, gave us 'Off The Wall'. What a bloody sublime masterpiece of an album that was. If you can, go onto You Tube and watch him perform Don't Stop 'Til You Enough' to see MJ at the very top of his game... healthy, happy, effortlessly cool and still black! It's a performance of such sheer brilliance from an album that will stand the test of time. After the excellent 'Off The Wall' it all went a little silly and downhill from then on in. MJ went on to superstardom with 'Thriller' and 'Bad' but for me, the plastic surgery, the over the top musical and video productions made Michael a parody of his former self. He lost the 'soul' and began the bizarre transformation that saw the slippery slope which eventually spiralled out of control to his sad and sorry demise with awful allegations of child abuse, dangling babies over balconies, sleeping with chimps and having the face of a bomb-blast victim. A sad ending to a life of brilliance mixed with a little lunacy.
I'm very, very glad I got the opportunity to see him live at Roundhay Park in Leeds (1986?) on a barmy August bank holiday. He was of course, superb but in that Las Vegas, showy sort of way with illusions and spectacular visual trickery. Call me old fashioned, but he will always be remembered for the Jackson 5 and his black tux on Off The Wall. 
And just for a bit of sheer indulgence, here's my Top 5 Michael Jackson hits.... 

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (Off The Wall)
I defy anyone not to dance to this track. How I wished I could find a lad at the local Blackpool nightspots who could dance like this... sadly, I never did. 

Rock With You (Off The Wall)   
Cool and very sexy track. Check out the video for Michael's uber-gay outfit which he just manages to pull off as cool with his wicked dancing. It's easy to see where Peter Andre gets his influence from...

It's The Falling In Love (Off The Wall)
Written by Carole Bayer-Sager and another feel good summer record.   

Billie Jean (Thriller) 
Great song and memorable video of MJ stepping onto the pavement whilst it lights up.  

Man in The Mirror (Bad)
The last track he sang at Roundhay Park Leeds and the most memorable. Ignore the mawkish message within the lyrics and just listen how the song builds up until the final gospel-like ending. Sheer class and one to blast in the car.  

Oh hang on... results just in on the inquest into Michael Jackson's death. On the morning of his death he apparently tripped over a pram and bumped his head. The coroner's verdict... blame it on the buggy.           

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