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  • Michael Jackson: 1958-2009 1
Michael Jackson

It wouldn’t be all that risky to say everyone of a certain age has a Michael Jackson moment. He was a cultural phenomenon on a much larger scale than almost anyone else making music today (in some circles he’d get a little competition from sometime singing mate Paul McCartney, but not really). Most impressive, though, is how many years the phrase “a certain age” could potentially encompass: His reign was ultimately tragic, but it was also epic. There are the folks who grew up with the Jackson 5, those who came of age with Michael’s first post-Jackson 5/Jackson recordings to his more adult solo efforts (especially Off The Wall in 1979) and then that entire age of kids and adults who encountered his biggest moment, Thriller. Of course, there was more to come after that — Bad in 1987, Dangerous in 1991, etc. — but especially as grunge hit, he never again reached the perfection or pop culture importance of the early/mid ’80s Thriller era. He continued to be relevant as an oddity, sadly, but it was much different being a kid in grade school and encountering the “Thriller” video, “We Are The World,” etc., and finding relevance in his music, not simply in who he became. Kids who idolized him bought red zipper jackets, parachute pants, and copped his moves. The man invented words and worlds. Broke down walls. Watch how folks gasped and lost it when he did the Moonwalk during his performance of “Billie Jean” at the Motown 25th Anniversary Special. (It’s fitting he appeared up there alone.) He was 24 at the time, which is one of the reasons it seems important to discuss Jackson in terms of age and agelessness. From when he was a kid to his death yesterday at 50, he never seemed his actual age. We all know the Peter Pan comparisons, the way things allegedly took a wrong turn. Less salaciously, a friend pointed out the look of calm and joy in his eyes when he climbs a tree during Living With Michael Jackson. As he put it, “This is how I like to remember Michael. The man-child who finally gets to be 5 years old. When I first saw this a few years back it was clear that this is the real Michael (or at least who he strives to be).” Anyhow, maybe none of us knows (or will know) the “real” Michael, but we all have a Michael that we thought we knew and that meant something to us. We also know every news outlet is doing constant MJ coverage, and we don’t want to add to the noise, but we thought it was appropriate to touch on how the King Of Pop touched the musicians we cover everyday. Here are their thoughts on Jackson, along with a chronological photographic timeline of his many faces. We hit folks up on short notice, so expect more to be added over the weekend..

Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio)
I’ve never had a dream bigger than to be part of something like Thriller. We are kids when we hear those songs. we are lovers when we hear those songs. Michael brought the music out of the speakers and affixed it to the most important moments in our lives… all with love… all without cynicism. Nobody moved the needle like him … Nobody moved the people like him. He will be missed … and revered.

Peace be with you, Michael.

John Vanderslice
The first time I really payed attention to “Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’” I was sitting in a car at Montgomery Mall in Rockville, MD with my stoner friends. What initially floored me was the heavily orchestrated vocal arrangements, which included chanting, response choir, heavy use of pitch shifting and backwards effects, and very little actual harmonies.

In the intro, Michael sings along with the bass and growls a “OOOOWWWSH” to start the song. He is fucking around, just playing, his delivery shifts from demonic to jokey in one bar. Total freedom. He sings as if nothing was on the line. The great Quincy Jones can not be underestimated here as a collaborator and producer (and like Tyson without Cus D’Amato, MJ was unmoored without Quincy.)

So these four suburbanites, stuck in pre-internet hell, sat transfixed in a parking lot for a 6 minute vamp, with its almost unchanging bass line and triumphant “Mama-se, mama-sa, mama-coo-sa” outro. We hadn’t heard anything like it.

Rob Barber (High Places)
As a five year old, I completely drove my Mom crazy listening to a completely destroyed single of “Ease On Down The Road.” It skipped terribly, needle jumped like crazy, and the weird army surplus record player with a built-in speaker (that I had stabbed holes into with safety scissors, I was a very stabby child…) made it sound more like Wolf Eyes being dissected by the Invisible Scratch Pickles. I remember putting it on over and over, and jumping on my bed in my underwear.

That record was a hand me down, but the first two records I bought with my paper route money was Thriller and Metal Heath by Quiet Riot. My Mom was way more freaked out by the cover of Thriller for some reason and was really angry for me buying it. Which is odd, being that I still feel Metal Health is a really creepy and unnerving cover. Both “Thriller” and “Off The Wall” are perfect records, but I would have to say my standout tracks (depending on my mellow vs. boogie mood swings) are “Human Nature” and “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).” As a side note, the night before he passed away, I was walking a few blocks from my new home here in LA, and my friend says, “oh hey, check it out, that is the house from the ’Thriller’ video.” I think I will go leave some flowers tomorrow morning.

AND…. Let’s not forget the best tribute ever…

Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes, Swan Lake)
01 Michael Jackson was my first musical purchase. I not only bought Thriller, I bought the poster. A person’s first musical purchase is pretty important. Of course, it should be said that later accusations muddied the crystal clear waters of nostalgic memory for a time.

02 I couldn’t watch the director’s cut of the video. I had to run out of the room shivering in fear while my cruel family roared in mockery at my lily-livered cowardice.

03 According to Melanie, the combination of toasted after-eights and “Billie Jean” was, to her nine-year-old psyche, positively sophisticated: the aural and the taste work together to create a sense of velveteen “softness.”

Randy Randall (No Age)
When I was a kid Michael Jackson was the shit. This was way before any of the child molestation charges. My cousin and I used to have the Moonwalker VHS tape. I remember the video where MJ is being chased by these two fat twins on mini motorcycles. I think it was claymation. That was my favorite video. I also remember the “Bad” video with the all the little kids battling Mike and his crew. I wished I could have been part of the “Bad” kid crew. So funny!!!

Dean Spunt (No Age)
When I was a kid I was really into MJ and Madonna. I remember rushing out to buy the Michael Jackson shoes that came out from LA gear — they didn’t look anything like they did on the commercials, but I remember thinking I could moonwalk better with these bad boys. They are actually still a pretty cool looking shoe.

I always felt bad for MJ, G-D rest his soul.

Sara Quin (Tegan & Sara)
The album Dangerous was huge when i was in grade six. MJ as an artist was new to me because my parents weren’t massive fans and Thriller (the only album we owned) hadn’t resonated. Keep in mind I was a tween and really into Supertramp.

When “Black Or White” had its music video premier I was thrilled to discover that Macaulay Culkin had a cameo. My confusion around wanting to be Macaulay Culkin so I could kiss Anna Chlumsky in the move My Girl meant that my eleven year old brain connected MJ to MC and i was a fan from that point on.

It’s very surreal to know he has died.

Nick Harmer (Death Cab For Cutie)
Michael Jackson, for me, will always be a red jacket covered in zippers, sequined glove, and the moonwalk which I could never do. When Thriller was all the rage and every kid in the neighborhood wanted to be him. I actually took a class offered for free at a local park that promised I could learn the moonwalk. That I too could move like the King Of Pop. I must have backwards walked a thousand times to “Billie Jean,” shuffling my toes, slide, heel up daydreaming how popular I would be when I showed up at school and casually busted the move out on the playground. I never even came close. I still can’t figure it out. But every time “Billie Jean” comes on I’ll be damned if I don’t keep trying.

Michael Jackson’s death is as tragic as it is surprising. I just wasn’t ready for it. But Michael Jackson is not dead. He just left the body we all know he was so uncomfortable in and moved on to a place where he could be the perfect, happy person he always wanted to see in the mirror. He will forever live through his music and continue, as he did in life, to inspire countless creative people and set fire to countless dance floors. Long Live MJ, the world will miss you.

Alex Naidus (The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart)
I was talking to a friend today at lunch about MJ and was reminded of a bootleg I have from a few year’s back that mashed up “Heal the World” with Lil’ Jon’s beat on The Bravehearts “Quick to Back Down.” It’s a pretty simple A+B mashup, but the effect is incredibly spooky and affecting. The production is really minimal, all minor key and bass-y, with these huge gong sounds and Michael is just doing his whisper cooing about how “there are people dying” and the whole thing is juuuuuust off-key enough to sound truly unhinged.

It sounds/feels extra spooky today and honestly made me feel a bit like a freak that this was my version of “commemorating.” The same friend who I was reminiscing with at lunch sent over a pretty incredible video of Michael’s Motown audition from 1968 — possibly just to counterbalance the downer-vibe of the mashup, but regardless it’s pretty wowing considering he was 10 at the time.

Brandon Welchez (Crocodiles)
My Micheal Jackson memories start pretty young because I have an older brother who was the perfect age to get into MJ with all his friends. My parents wouldn’t buy him “the jacket” but my mom took a similar one and sewed a bunch of zippers and stripes and shit on it for him and tried to make it look as much like the real thing. He rocked that all the time when I was little. I think my mom also may have made him a sequined glove but it might be a false memory being that I was pretty young.

I was super into Weird Al when I was little, and my favorite songs were his MJ parodies, “Eat It” and “Fat.” In retrospect, I probably liked those the best because the actual songs were way better than whatever else he was parodying (with the exception of Madonna, of course).

It’s sad when anyone dies young, but it’s pretty sad that he never got a chance to redeem himself in the public’s eyes. He definitely had a fucked up childhood and maybe suffered from some sort of mental illness. Pretty sad that people busted his balls so hard.

Max G. Morton (Cold Cave)
My friend Matthew would host the best slumber parties. His house was the closest thing our town had to an amusement park. Microwave, movie theatre-sized TV, MTV, punching bag, dirt bike, Boa constrictor, pinball machine, a treasure chest filled to the brim with weapons, and Jennifer.

His sister, Jennifer was not a mutant like us but nonetheless humored us. She got the Thriller VHS the day it came out. $80 later every girl from school was sleeping over. Animal-print clad underwear youth in corpse-like face paint doing synchronized dance routines, high on soda and all-you-can-eat pizza. Heaven. The boys and their binoculars, “Best night ever!”

Not even in that suburban Tomorrowland was there a state-of-the-art gadget to document such a moment. Detail was key. The ads in comic books lied, the magic shop-spy gear did not allow you to see-thru a girl’s skin. So you really had to memorize every bump, curve, scrape, mark, hair, step, or breath said, if you were going to report back Monday morning in homeroom. Word got out. The gang least-likely to, had seen more of the girls than their preppie boyfriends had. Blood was to be shed at the all-night New Wave roller skate party. Like magic, the Thriller video for one night had brought everyone together.

There were looks between Tammy and I. Giggles too. She was completely uncomfortable around me all week in school. It had to mean something. For reasons unknown I thought that even if she wasn’t speaking to me in school, she totally would at Skate Wars. I was young, still figuring out the wardrobe but a statement had to be made if I was going to be seen at such “gay” event. The innocence of the past Friday was fading. Rapidly.

After-school special, punk make-over, cranked-up really high. War paint and spikes, posers beware! In true rebel spirit I stomped on over to Tammy, right across the rink with my sneakers on. A redneck Duran Duran devotee in a referee shirt blew a whistle at me. I felt so cool. Unfuckablewith. It was in my walk. Oozing my newfound confidence, seconds away from having a girlfriend. Getting closer. Tammy was laughing, a bit nervous in the eyes when I go back to the moment but in no way shape or form was her body language preparing me for what came next. A flying knuckle sandwich, packaged in a white, bedazzled Michael Jackson-signature glove. Her boyfriend laid me out!

//

“Billie Jean” (Home Demo, 1981)

Comments (81)
  1. All of a sudden, everyone claims they are MJ’s fan.

  2. Whomever said yesterday that Michael Jackson died a long long time ago and that yesterday’s passing was just a formality, said it best.

    I have a little bit of a problem with people celebrating his life as if the last 10 years didn’t happen–no one deserves to have their atrocious, predatory and destuctive behavior completely over looked because they made amazing music. Especially when your victims are children.

  3. chance  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    Chance to promote oneself with death of other. Sweet

  4. Daniel  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    My first MJ memory is getting the Dangerous album on cassette for Christmas. I used to blast it out of the kitchen tape player and sing around the backyard to ‘Black Or White’. His reign has indeed ended in tragedy as it had begun in tragedy, but nothing can deny the power of this mans music and the power of his performance. Just watching that Motown anniversary with Billie Jean where he first pulled ou the moonwalk is enough to show me that in his prime, MJ was the greatest entertainer on earth. That is my favorite performance because it is just him, no fancy dancers, no million dollar theatrics, just the king and his genius.

    He will be sadly missed by the people who truly appreciated him. I find it disgusting the way the media turned on him until his untimely death. As Billy Corgan said today, ‘I wish we could find the strength we do in life as we do in death’. The modern media is a dispicable entity that had to get one last photo of a dead MJ entering the hospital – we have to learn to respect each other in this society and appreciate true genius, and true artists when they are here, not when they go. I hope the media only focus on his genius as an artists, and not on the circus show that the media helped create in his later years.

    LONG LIVE THE KING OF POP. YOU WILL BE MISSED AROUND THE WORLD.

  5. uh?  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    “Kids who idolized him bought red zipper jackets, parachute pants, and copped his moves.”

    Parachute pants? MC Hammer didn’t die.

  6. also, picture caption guys, thriller came out in 1982 not 1984.

  7. ccv  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    does the world really give a shit about what someone from “The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart” thinks????

  8. DG  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    Spent the last two days thinking more about the day Nirvana knocked MJ off the top of the charts… I just couldn’t relate to my middle school friends dancing to Black or White while I was digesting Nevermind and Achtung Baby after Christmas vacation 1991; changed my world forever.

  9. ccv's mommy  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    I do.

  10. Steve  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    Him passing and people re-examining his music is no different when an actor dies and everyone is suddenly interested in his/her career (Natasha Richardson, anyone?).

    Besides – anyone from the age of 25 to 50 remembers growing up with his music in one form or another – they just may have forgotten they used to like him prior to all of the allegations.

    Plus he had a pet monkey. Who doesn’t like a pet monkey?

  11. Matt  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    Seriously rediculous to pay any attention to a pedophile who killed himself with drugs??? At the least, mention the kids that were PAID OFF to go away. The fact he paid to have is own kids is beyond wierd. NO MUSIC is that fucking good. The fact he didn’t die in jail is the real downer.

    Lastly- WHERE IS HIS CLONE BEING HIDDEN???

  12. jjazznola  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    MJ has tons of songs that people still play years after they came out which is more than I can say about 95% of the boring indie music that comes out these days. That being said he was a drug addicted child molesting weirdo!

  13. Daniel  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    I honestly believe people aren’t mourning Michael Jackson the person, it’s the music. I’m 23 years old and I have significant memories of his music throughout my childhood and it is etched on my soul, carved into my heart, it is a part of who I am as a person and as a musician and lover of music. I didn’t know Michael personally, I had a sense that he was a deeply troubled and tortured sould who relied on pain killers for the last decade, but as they say, you can’t cure a broken heart, and that’s what I believe he had. He wanted to be loved by his father and that love was never recieved.

    The radio station I’m listening to at work in Australia right now is playing all of his songs. Each song has a special place in my heart and that is why it is sad. As another comment said, it feels like the final nail in the coffin of my youth. It’s a mourning period for the end of an era. His music has made people happy the world over, play ‘Billie Jean’ at a club and everyone smiles and dances like their life depends on it. That is why the world is sad, It’s not so much that we have lost Michael, but we’ve lost a bit of ourselves. We reflect on the past and his songs that are tangled up in nostalgic memories of times now gone.

    It is indeed the end of an era, and for that, I am deeply saddened.

    • very well put Daniel, I feel exactly the same way. The miring of his legacy in controversy is all the more tragic when you look at the whole picture of his life.

      And I love the comments I’m seeing all over the web about how all of the sudden everyone is an MJ fan. Thriller is the best selling album of all time you assholes, of course everyone is an MJ fan.

  14. Mike  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    I think we’re all having some trouble reconciling Michael Jackson the entertainer with Michael Jackson the alleged child molester, so there’s mixed feelings across the board. When I was 5-years-old, “Bad” was the first tape I ever purchased in my life with some birthday money. I listened to it until the tape actually broke.

    I know all about what people say Michael Jackson was, but for the next little while, I want to remember Michael Jackson for who he was to my 5-year-old self, trying my damnedest to moonwalk in my room. A little piece of my childhood died yesterday.

  15. Reglear Dude  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    I’d be curious to hear thoughts on this subject from someone who won’t be completely and wholly forgotten in 5-10 years ;)

  16. Al ROker  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 0

    My introduction to MJ was via the old nickelodeon show, “THe Nick Hit List”. Growing up multiracial, I felt out of place often. THe song “Black or White” will forever be one of the most important songs of my life.

  17. ZZ Top  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z – all these artists coming out to talk about MJ = press whores.

    • AA Bottom  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

      Not really. This isn’t exactly a huge media outlet. Plus, if you read this blog, chances are you already know these bands.

      Quite possibly, these guys might be (who would’ve thought!) sad that such an important music maker has passed, received the email from Stereogum, and wished to share their feelings.

  18. TT Boy  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    the first time i heard MJ was the first time i went anal with my high school sweetheart, fond memories

  19. Pygmalion  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    Reglear Dude, I couldn’t agree more

  20. Nobody with any indie cred talks or worships an overrated mutli millionaire super star who was accused of being a pedophile.

  21. I agree with Mike. My mom sent me an email earlier tonight saying she couldn’t believe all of this public support and “reverence” of a child molester. This made me irrationally angry, especially given that he probably WAS a child molester. But he was also a defining part of my childhood and, if you think about it, my teenage years and even now, given the amount of artists he influenced.

    Which is why I’m choosing to focus on the other stuff, like how my high school BFF and I would have dance parties to “Thriller” (in 2001), how “Billie Jean” is appropriate for almost any playlist, and how I can still listen to Dirty Diana and Man in the Mirror on repeat without getting sick of them.

    I’ll deal with the other stuff later. But for now, the man was a legend and changed the face of pop music forever. RIP.

    • Fair Lady  |   Posted on Jun 29th, 2009 0

      He was ACCUSED of being one, but it was never proven beyond the accusations. You and your mom should know the difference. But of course, the American media has done such a good job of spoon-feeding you lies that there’s no way that you’ll ever believe otherwise, even if the accusers came out of the woodwork today and admitted that everything they said about Michael was a lie.

  22. Last night I tried to stir the pot a little bit by making the kiddie mj jokes and granted they are funny, But I just attended one of many mj parties tonight and all across the house were people reminiscing about the man and what he did. Its been said a million times and i’m just going to say it once more. The man made a major mark in the history of music regardless of your personal stance on the man. Mj played on repeat all night tonight, I danced with dozens of eighteen somethings to thirty somethings and loved every moment of it. The mans music is now timeless and will forever be replayed.

  23. Marko  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    I always found the song “Golden Age” to really remind me of “Wanna Be Startin Something”

  24. Thanks for the eulogies! Some very powerful and relatable stuff.

    My fond memories of MJ started with the Thriller album and even today, when dragged to some horrible dance club where the music is mostly stuff that I don’t enjoy, whenever an MJ song like Wannabe Startin’ Something or PYT comes on, even this cynic can’t resist shaking my thang.

  25. checkonthered  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    I’m too young to have what many folks call “an MJ moment”.

    I realize he affected pop music greatly and that he’s had a HUGE influence. But I also think it’s absolutely ridiculous to pretend the last twenty years haven’t in many ways cast a huge shadow on that influence and on his music.

    I think it’s also ridiculous for the black population specifically to act like this is their loss, specifically, because for decades now, Michael Jackson had denied his own blackness, tried to erase it.

    My “MJ moments”, if you can call them that, are the many times he creeped me out and made me forget why he was famous to begin with.

    You can’t erase twenty years of pervy pedophilia and racism and self-hatred just because the man wrote influential pop hits and danced well. Those years are memorable, but more memorable to me who was born as his career plummeted, are the many things he did to jeopardize his reign as the king of pop and to constantly usurp his own thrown.

    He was a freak. He could have killed his own children. That’s not an exaggeration. Let’s not forget that, please.

    Those are my MJ memories.

    • what do you mean “denied his own blackness, tried to erase it” ?? He had a skin disease that caused his color to fade. It was only irrational rumors about him bleaching his skin or other bs. Correct me if i’m wrong but i never remember a time when he tried to deny his own blackness.

  26. “But Michael Jackson is not dead. He just left the body we all know he was so uncomfortable in and moved on to a place where he could be the perfect, happy person he always wanted to see in the mirror. He will forever live through his music and continue, as he did in life, to inspire countless creative people and set fire to countless dance floors.”

    Right on, Nick from DCfC. Beautifully put.

  27. It’s been a strange couple of days since Michael Jackson’s death. I finally feel I am able to reflect on the loss the world is encountering right now. While hearing of his death several days ago it all felt so surreal, as if it all was just another hyped tabloid-story like the countless others that have appeared about him during the course of his career. There are people out there who are much older than I who probably remember Michael Jackson from when he was a little ten-year old dancing and singing with such passion to the tunes of The Jackson 5. For me it was more of the red-jacket 20-year old in the thriller video. I was just a little four year old kid in the 80s listening to the radio and/or watching images of Michael splattered all over the television. It was 1983 and on that year it was nothing but Michael Jackson. At the height of his career Michael Jackson had just released Thriller and was about to revolutionized the whole music industry in the way videos were to be made, creating new fashion statements such as the red jacket, the white glove, the short pants, the hat.. etc.. He seemed to keep pushing boundaries and paved the way to many other artists who would follow his lead in the years to come. Michael himself took cues from others before him as well. Emulating James Brown but then went a step further and added his own style to it and made it his own to the point that even the father of soul was impressed.

    Michael Jackson was not just simply a pop singer or one of the best performers in the history of music. Michael is a point in history where we will all look back on and see the impact he left behind not only on the musical landscape but on popular culture. He was a humanitarian who believed in making the world a better place for everybody. Realizing how far his own popularity could reach, he would always put a spotlight on the problems and injustices he saw taking place around the world. Like John Lennon before him, Jackson knew he had the power to change people’s lives while at the same time inspiring others to do the same. It’s the same message the Beatles got across to everybody during their heyday, “Love Is All You Need”. For this alone Michael Jackson will be remembered. I wish I could say that I had bought and heard all of Michael Jackson’s music. But I didn’t. I didn’t need to. His music has always been a part of me. Songs like “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” can automatically begin playing inside my head. They have and always will be in there somewhere inside of me. And it is now that I am recalling all those songs I had heard as a young child and later as a teen. Through tributes being done on radio and television I have finally realized how important he really was. Like the Beatles and now with Michael Jackson many people will forever be asking themselves if there will ever be another artist like him. Will we ever see someone talented enough and popular enough to sell-out any venue he is set to perform at? Will we ever see someone capable of selling over one-hundred million copies of just one of their albums all around the world?

    There will be much written about Michael’s personal battles for many years to come. The years while he was being charged with molesting young children I have to admit I was on the bandwagon of those who believed he was probably capable of doing such things. Why not? I mean he was not a married man and his sexuality had never really been set in stone. But even then I knew there was more to this than what the media would portray in the news. Michael’s life is something nobody will ever understand. I cannot say that I knew what he was going through. Nobody can and nobody ever will. All we know is that Michael was a troubled young soul who was robbed of his childhood from early on in his life. Growing up he did what he loved to do but he never received the approval of those he cared about the most. The only love that kept him going was the love he received from his fans. The legal battles he was going through affected him more than we will ever know. Michael Jackson knew of the legacy he would leave behind after his departure. Today, after his death I have finally realized he was never the person the media were trying to make him out to be. But none of this will matter because Michael Jackson will not be remembered for any of that. He will be remembered for his music… his dance-moves… the moon-walk… the thriller video… the white glove… the young ten-year old from Gary Indiana who carried a spark in him that would later lead him to become the world’s biggest performer of all time.

    The Beatles were big before I was born. I would always wished I had been alive during the Beatle-mania. Today I feel lucky to have been alive during the Michael Jackson-era. Yes, an era. An era that will be remembered years after all of us are long and gone.

  28. the Rob Barber one is just about the cutest thing ever. love you rob barber. love you high places.

  29. That was a classy, pitch perfect preamble. Kudos. Brandon?

  30. iburke  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    It makes me really sick to see everyone boo-hooing this freak. He was a child molesting freak. He made some good tunes, but so what? Does anyone want to hear that kind of synth-pop jagoof music anymore? (well besides you Kanye fans, that is.) He was a drug addled, surgery addicted, serial child molester who created a sum total contribution to the word of music of ZIP for the last 15 years…. and he deserved to die. Period.

    • anonymoose  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

      he was acquitted of all those things, if you believe in our justice system at all.
      barring that- he was ill. not well. he was sick. that doesn’t make his contribution to music negligible.
      there’s got to be an anti- jackson website where all you haters can go and do your thing. because right now? nobody wants to hear it.

      nick harmer said it best, “Michael Jackson’s death is as tragic as it is surprising. I just wasn’t ready for it. But Michael Jackson is not dead. He just left the body we all know he was so uncomfortable in and moved on to a place where he could be the perfect, happy person he always wanted to see in the mirror.”

      very very sad days.

  31. I just remembered something. When I was younger my brother and I had a Michael Jackson video game. That was some of the funniest stuff ever. You’d go around beating up bad guys, and your special move was you’d hit a button and start dancing and all of the bad guys that were attacking you would join in with the synchronized dancing. At the end you’d throw your arm up in the air and all the bad dudes would die. That was awesome.

  32. oreo  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    I was never fan of MJ, and although I do recognize that the dude did some stuff that was “groundbreaking”, it’s not of big relevance. MJ died, big deal. So does thousands of people everyday.

    • the white stuff  |   Posted on Jun 28th, 2009 0

      Look, put it this way, if say, Miley Cyrus (or insert your own icon here) was a HUGE indelible part of your childhood, you’d feel like part of you was gone too, even if a little. That’s what happened to me with MJ. Admittedly, it may happen if something happens to any one of the Spice Girls. That’s childhood memories work.

  33. Grand  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    Incredible dancer, though I can’t say I like his music too much.

  34. zahid  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    great article and great photo spread stereogum. RIP Michael Jackson, The King of Pop.

  35. eddie  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2009 0

    Thank you

  36. Ace  |   Posted on Jun 28th, 2009 0

    I think it’s less about being a fan, but recalling a lot of the good he did. That’s what happens when most people die. I was never much of a fan, but his death certainly has made me recall how big of an event his music could be, how cool that was, how catchy his songs could be, and how it’s shame that he had to go down the road he went down, regardless if certain things are true or not.

  37. Andrew J.  |   Posted on Jun 28th, 2009 0

    I’m not saying for certain he was a pederast, but where there’s smoke, there’s generally fire…and there’s been a hell of a lot of child molestation-smoke coming from Wacko for a long time. And innocent people don’t shell out $20 million in hush money. Sorry, they just don’t.

    To me, this sudden media-driven celebration of his life is farcical and disingenuous.

  38. Mark L.  |   Posted on Jun 28th, 2009 0

    I can see why people want to pay tribute to MJ, he did do a lot for music but i dont understand why people are sobbing for him outside of the hospital, you didnt know him and you most likely forgot he even existed. Sure he did a lot for music but he was a shady guy and he owned the beatles catalog so paul mccartney had to pay MJ to play his own songs

  39. jjazznola  |   Posted on Jun 29th, 2009 0

    Just remember this is the guy who insisted on being called “The King Of Pop”, may have molested young boys, was at least $400 million in debt, dangled his baby over a railing etc….

  40. c.  |   Posted on Jun 29th, 2009 0

    running the risk of being lambasted myself: given that the last mj thread basically descended into either sentimentalizing jackson or beating down people who did not feel the same, i’m glad to see that there are a few comments here that remark cogently on the fact that, despite making some truly untouchable music, he also almost certainly committed some ethically atrocious acts, without being voted deep into the red. i understand that this is a blog about music, populated by people who love music — and, i can understand having an emotional connection to a deeply troubled person whose actions in the real world don’t always live up to the glorified image that our minds tend to unconsciously construct around our favourite artists. on the other hand, i think that it’s possible to love music and art without completely losing perspective on reality. e.g., it is possible to love jackson’s music and lament the passing of the man that made it, without feeling the need to defend the man that (probably) did some fairly despicable things. and, in fact, the idea that artistically gifted rapists should be given a get-out-of-jail-free card is a downright scary bit of false logic…

  41. Sorry to add another comment to this thread, but on the subject of eulogizing and tributes and such, check out this dope mix by DJ Premier of Gangstarr and otherwise fame (ie one of the most prolific producers and DJ’s around) http://www.zshare.net/audio/61934373dba0571d/ Blast it loud friends

  42. Remember the part when he turned into a zombie for real?
    That was kinda rad if you think about it… from a whole fulfilling a promise perspective.

  43. blah  |   Posted on Jun 29th, 2009 0

    My two cents on MJ:

    I remember hearing, “She’s Out Of My Life” and laughing with friends that he cried at the end but secretly thinking it was kinda touching

    No matter how much I despised him as a person, “Wanna Be Starting Somethin’” is STILL the jam.

    My daughter was born the day MJ died. It should be interesting explaining his cultural impact 10 years from now when it always comes up on her birthday

    Godspeed you crazy man-child.

  44. +++---  |   Posted on Jun 29th, 2009 0

    oh, please. now we’ve stooped to ironic sympathy? i liked a lot of dumb shit when i was five years old. hardly seems worth overlooking what an almost imcomprehensibly worthless human being this man was. hopefully a little bit more of pop culture died with that demerol injection.

    • anonymoose  |   Posted on Jun 30th, 2009 0

      what the fuck is so ironic about it? do you just not like r&b or are you just a stone cold robot? the man made significant impact in the world of music and if you just cant see that fact then there’s no hope for you. you know as little about him as any of us. don’t pretend you have any insider information about what REALLY went on. you know nothing.

  45. chloe  |   Posted on Jul 1st, 2009 0

    >> And innocent people don’t shell out $20 million in hush money. Sorry, they just don’t. >>

    Yeah, but delusional people do. He had the means to make the accuser go away and he did it, obviously not thinking like a “normal” person who would automatically assume this meant he was guilty. He saw a way out of it, and took it.

    No one can deny Michael Jackson was obviously a very strange individual, but I don’t believe he was a predator – if anything people preyed on him. He made some great music (which I am rediscovering, and really loving all over again), was an incredible dancer, fashion icon etc etc.

    I think it’s really sad the way the media and many people have been so cynical and have tried to sexualise and sensationalise everything he’s done over the past 15 years. Granted, he courted a lot of the media attention, and did some questionable things, but at the end of the day he was just a wounded, lonely, misunderstood creature who had a huge impact on so many people’s lives because people can pinpoint happy times in their own lives with his music and his talent. RIP, Michael.

  46. Chelsea  |   Posted on Jul 1st, 2009 0

    Holy shit, John Vanderslice! Him talking about Montgomery Mall in Rockville, MD blows my mind a little because it’s like 10 minutes from my house. Weeird.

  47. jay  |   Posted on Jul 1st, 2009 0

    I find it humorous that people with negative comments like to claim that they’re being the realists by pointing out certain allegations that may or may not be true. He made tremendous contributions to charities, and made many successful singles with other artists for charity as well. And to the person who commented on “black population” claiming MJ’s death as their loss…he really did change they way many viewed the “population” in the music industry. Along with many others, but you can’t overlook the fact that he was a big contribution. “Billie Jean” was the first video by a solo African American artist to ever be shown on MTV. I’d say that he’s very much deserving of all of his cred.

    But, hey, I’m sure you just didn’t know that, or bother to look into it.

    RIP MJ

  48. Jay  |   Posted on Jul 1st, 2009 0

    I find it humorous that people with negative comments like to claim that they’re being the realists by pointing out certain allegations that may or may not be true. He made tremendous contributions to charities, and made many successful singles with other artists for charity as well. Why not remember that? At least those are facts. And to the person who commented on the “black population” claiming MJ’s death as their loss…he really did change they way many viewed the “population” in the music industry. Along with many others, but you can’t overlook the fact that he was a big contribution. “Billie Jean” was the first video by a solo African American artist to ever be shown on MTV. I’d say that he’s very much deserving of all of his cred.

    But, hey, I’m sure you just didn’t know that, or bother to look into it.

  49. Well said Jay. Its a shame that so many are quick to judge ones personal life when all they have to go on is what shock-media leads them to believe. Its tragic that we lost such a powerful icon who left an untouchable legacy that will go down in the history books, but it is even more devastating to try and imagine what this human being had to endure for his entire life. Michael’s demons are the stuff of nightmares. So complex that as everyday folk it would be impossible for us to empathize. Michael’s death is a reminder of how backwards our society and media treats celebrities and their “personal” lives.

    I believe that Michael Jackson had a very big heart. I believe that he dealt with an enormous amount of trauma the only way that a billionaire, superstar icon, could. He was a spokesperson for positive change and used his resources in the hopes that he could have a positive impact on the kids in this world.

    We live in a media frenzied, litigious-happy, fucked up society that feeds of the ills of others and the greed of our own selves. We are judgmental and full of self-entitlement. If MJ’s passing teaches us anything it is that he did more for anyone in this world than anyone of us could hope to do. He dealt with an entire world’s total admiration and absolute scorn. He dealt with being abused, neglected and used by everyone around him up until his final days.
    Anyone who can just brush off all that this man did musically and philanthropically like its just another tmz headline should not even bother to comment.

    rip MJ

  50. WhatupDekalb  |   Posted on Jul 3rd, 2009 0

    haha what a girl

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