On November 30th 1982 one of the greatest album’s of all time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was released!!! Just over a year later, in 1984, it won Album of the Year at the Grammys. Since its release it has sold somewhere around 110 million albums worldwide!!! That makes it an 11 times Diamond record!!! Now if you follow this blog you know from a post from a few weeks back that Michael Jackson is tied for my #1 artist of all time with The Beatles and OutKast and “Thriller” just goes to show you the heights that true talent can achieve. What makes “Thriller”, an already infinitely great album, even better, for me, is the fact that one of my other #1 favorite artists, Paul McCartney, was featured on it, on the song “The Girl Is Mine”. There really isn’t much I can say about “Thriller” that has never been said a million times before. It was…well…a “Thriller”. It blended just about every and any genre of music known to man with perfect Pop sensibility, which of course made it appealing to just about anyone who loved any kind of good music. It actually also played a pivotal roll in breaking down racial barriers in America. Among the many racial barriers broken down, the popularity of “Thriller” and Michael Jackson made him the first black artists to be played in regular rotation on MTV (when they still actually played music). In honor of one of the greatest albums ever recorded and another GREAT Album of the Year winner at the Grammys, today’s song of the day is “Thriller”!!!
The #5 artist/group on my top 7 artists/groups is Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC. They are my favorite contemporary (from my generation) Pop act. Let me explain why Justin/*NSYNC is on this list with such legends and icons. First, you really have to understand that Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC are pop icons of my generation. Just like Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson were of their generations. These guys were so wildly popular when I was in middle school and high school. I grew up on them/him. They are one of the first groups/artists, I remember liking, all on my own, from my generation (the very first, I can remember, is actually #6 on this list and you will hear about them tomorrow). The first concert I ever went to was *NSYNC (with my mother). It took me a while to admit that. But they were awesome!!! They have the top 2 fastest selling albums of all times. When Justin went solo he got even better as an artist. I’ve seen him solo in concert also, with a friend, back in 2007 and he was great as always and showed he was also a respectable musician by playing piano, guitar, drums and even keytar!!! You can see the exact concert I was at, on DVD “Futuresex/Loveshow – Live From Madison Square Garden”. People have made a lot out of who is the “new” Michael Jackson”. People have said Justin Timberlake, Usher, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown, but the real inheritor of M.J,’s impossible to fill throne is without a doubt, Justin. Not only is he the most successful of this aforementioned group of performers, as well as super talented, his music is often uncannily similar to that of M.J., he was a child star like Michael (Mickey Mouse Club), he was in a boy band like M.J. (Jackson 5 of course), and let’s not forget that Michael Jackson gave his personal stamp of approval to Justin by performing with *NSYNC at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, as well having *NSYNC perform with him at what turned out to be his final concert. Justin Timberlake is without a doubt the biggest male star of his generation. He’s made so many catchy, well crafted pop tunes with and without *NSYNC. And he is still young. Unfortunately he hasn’t had a new album since 2006’s, “Futuresex/Lovesound”. Come on with a new album already J.T. (also known by his initials like M.J.). You too OutKast!!! OutKast also hasn’t had a new album since 2006’s, “Idlewild”. All you guys need to come on!!! So today in honor of #5, Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC, check out “Rock Your Body” from Justin, “Bye, Bye, Bye” from *NSYNC and I’ve also included the two videos of Michael Jackson and *NSYNC performing together, all for your viewing pleasure.
The death of Michael Jackson on June 25th, 2009, caught me by complete and utter surprise, as it did with millions of people, worldwide. The sadness enveloped me very quickly and I found it hard to breath. His music started pumping out of every radio station as I drove home and I couldn’t help but tear up. I know many people will say it’s weird to be sad or even affected by the death of a celebrity you never truly knew, but with Michael Jackson as is the case with many celebrities, you feel like you truly know them. His sudden death came as especially eerie to me seeing as only 2 days before his death, I bought Michael Jackson’s CD “History”, which was the last CD to complete my whole Michael Jackson collection (from Off the Wall to Invincible). I was listening to him non stop for the days leading up to his death. I go on music binges every now and than with artists. I’ll be completely enthralled with their music for a while and listen to only them and that’s what I was doing the days leading up to his death. I was speaking with my friend only the night before he died about how much I loved him and his music and how along with The Beatles and OutKast, is one of my favorite artist and biggest musical influence. I was also telling her how if I tried really hard to think back as far as I can to my first memory, I can’t remember anything before the first time I ever watched the Thriller video. Truly that is as far back as I can remember. There is nothing before that. My mother, step-mom, and even my brother had him playing around the house and in the car all the time. When a person is in your very first memory and their music, style, dance moves, and charisma is engrained in your psyche and in the fabric of your life (from childhood to adulthood) you are bound to be deeply sadden by their passing. Just like the passing of Elvis, John Lennon and any other great legend in the past, people are deeply sadden by losing someone so talented, influential, and important to them.
People have had a lot of horrible things to say about Michael in the past because of ignorance and a lack of tying to understand a person who was different from them. You don’t get to be who M.J. was by being just like everyone else (for good or bad). No doubt Michael Jackson had some problems, but I never believed him to be a molester. This is America and everyone is innocent until proven guilty and seeing as he was never proven guilty, he is innocent. You have to keep in mind Mike was one of the most famous people in the world. When you are on top, people want to bring you down, We have seen that time and time again with many great people. Michael Jackson was a very easy target too because he was so soft spoken and tender hearted. Everyone knows Michael Jackson had an affinity for kids. That in no way means he was a molester. He had psychological problems stemming from his childhood. When he was a kid he seemed so grown up and when he was grown up he seemed like a kid. He really felt like he was a kid and that’s why I don’t think his relationships with kids ever became sexual. A kid does not have those sexual desires. He was a very lonely man. He had millions of fans, but very few real friends. Everybody wanted something from Mike (money mainly). That is the main reason I believe people tried to sue him on molestation charges. He was an easy target because of his eccentricity and because he had so much money. People wanted to take him for a ride. The court cases never held up in court because the kids and parents testifying against him were lying. When they were put on the stand, their stories fell apart.
As for Michael’s physical appearance over the years, it’s time to put all the rumors to rest. Michael Jackson did not bleach himself to be white. He had a skin disease called Vitiligo, which causes you to lose the pigment of your skin. If you look at pictures of him from the Off the Wall, Thiller era you can see he had a lot of acne. His acne was a result of the layers of makeup he had to wear to just look normal and cover up his blotchy leopard skin. Eventually the white part of his skin got too much for him to cover up with make-up so he completed the process by bleaching out the rest of his skin so he wouldn’t be all spotty. If you had the same disease you would have more than likely done the same thing, especially if you were in the spotlight everyday with pictures being taken of you all the time. Once he was white, his African-American facial features still were there. Black people have more pronounced noses and lips so once he was white he felt it necessary to thin out his nose and lips to look more normal for his new skin tone. I think that is understandable. Everybody in the world wanted to pass judgment on his childness, his skin, his nose, everything. So he became ever more reclusive over the years and more “strange” because of people’s constant picking him apart. He was already painfully shy and lonely and pointing all his flaws out and problems out caused him to further fall down a spiraling road.
In the end Michael Jackson should be remembered for the things he did. He sold over 750 million records worldwide to people of all races and religions and musical persuasions. He broke the racial boundary on MTV (before him no black artists were played) and in turn made MTV what it is or was. He invented Pop music which was more or less a mix of Rock, Disco,/Funk, R&B (everything). His songs had a little something for everyone and that is why is music touched so many people. He innovated the art of music video with every one he made. He innovated the art of dance. He was an activist for world peace, and against world hunger, child abuse etc. He inspired scores of dancers, singers, artists, everyday people etc. He was truly the King of Pop!!! He will be sorely missed by the billions of lives he touched. I know I will miss him and I deeply respect him for what he accomplished in his life. Let’s all respect his memory and just enjoy his music, moves, and all around greatness. Mike you were a true idol/icon to me. You were the first musical artist I ever listened to. There will never be anyone like you ever again. You are truly the greatest. In your own words “I just can’t stop loving you.” R.I.P. Michael Jackson A.K.A. The King of Pop.