Michael Jackson: A Life?

  • Russell Brown,

    The Los Angeles Times is confirming reports that Michael Jackson has died. What to make of such a strange, strange life? Thoughts, clips, quips go here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

200 Responses

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  • Tom Semmens,

    A musical genius who never lived a normal life.


    Given his increasingly bizarre habits, financial strife and questional sexual proclivities, maybe going at fifty has been a bit of a relief all round.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The strangest thing: this morning I keep thinking of him as a kid with his big pudgy nose, and in my head for some reason I have the song Tomorrow from Bugsy Malone, which wasn't even sung by his namesake in that film, and besides Fizzy looked nothing like him.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I like this one best. How annoying that every instance on YouTube seems to have embedding disabled.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,


    If I hade to choose one song it'd be Off the Wall, but right now I'd like to remember him this way.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    At the risk of repeating myself a million times today: this is a worse story-arc than Elvis'. It's a tragedy in the formal sense of the word, I suppose.

    Also, this. Because he was preternaturally talented, a long time ago before it all went so terribly wrong.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    To me (since I'm also not above repeating myself) it's the Marylin parable, in spite of the significantly different ending. Insanely talented and iconic, we couldn't handle them and they couldn't handle us.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    I wonder who’ll inherit the rights to the Beatles songs.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I was just reminded on Twitter that he broke MTV's colour barrier. (When he was, erm, stil black. :) )

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Tragic, utterly. Despite how completely off the rails it all went, the first thing I pictured when I heard the news was the clip for "Billie Jean" -- unquestionably one of the great songs of the 20th century. So I suspect that we'll remember the talent and come to forget the weirdness. And I feel like the reverse will apply to Phil Spector.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    So I suspect that we'll remember the talent and come to forget the weirdness.

    When so much of the "weirdness" involved an emotionally stunted man's creepy interactions with children, I respectfully doubt it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I wonder who’ll inherit the rights to the Beatles songs.

    Hasn't Jackson been deeply in the fiscal merde for a long time? If so, I have a funny feeling the kids aren't going to be inheriting much at all.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hasn't Jackson been deeply in the fiscal merde for a long time? If so, I have a funny feeling the kids aren't going to be inheriting much at all.

    Yeah, good point. He's been raising debt against those assets for years. It'll all have to be liquidated now. And it's going to be a hell of a mess.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The man has sold 750 million albums. Anybody want to bet how many he's going to sell in the next twelve months? I have a feeling the estate will pull through somehow.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Joe, that song's one of my all time guilty pleasures. And a heartbreaker, especially if you imagine that the boy is pretty much singing to himself, rather than (or as well as) to his pet rat.

    All downhill from there.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The man has sold 750 million albums. Anybody want to bet how many he's going to sell in the next twelve months? I have a feeling the estate will pull through somehow

    Also a good point. But who knows how leveraged he was? I'm thinking, very.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    So I suspect that we'll remember the talent and come to forget the weirdness. And I feel like the reverse will apply to Phil Spector.

    I think I'll probably *try* to remember the weirdness and talent equally for both. I mean, Spector had been threatening people with guns for years, and Jackson's been a walking punchline for over a decade. I think it's actually harder for people to remember the music, which in both cases is objectively great for the first flush of releases...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And while Michael Jackson's life was one the phrase 'hot mess' was coined for, he at least was responsible for one of the few charming moments in the usually charmless oeuvre of Kevin Smith:

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    It's a good reminder that men in their 40s and 50s are more likely to just hit the floor with a heart attack. Females have a much higher rate of survivability for some reason. It's a very mundane death for an extraordinary guy.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    As an aside, all that mask wearing nonsense didn't do him much good

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Breif interview, 1971

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Farrah Fawcett has died. Of course her death will be overshadowed by Jackson's, which is a shame.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Janet Digby,

    The first record I ever bought was Thriller, when I was 10. I wish I had been born a few years earlier so I could say it was Off The Wall, but not to be.

    I can vividly remember in Standard Four watching RTR and Beat It had been number one for eight weeks or something like that. Thinking this was my music.

    I feel as though that Michael Jackson hasn't been around for a very long time. Sadly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I mean "brief."

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson... And now twitter is going nuts that Jeff Goldblum has died on set??

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Also a good point. But who knows how leveraged he was? I'm thinking, very.

    Indeed. I recall an interview where Gérard Depardieu was asked why so many of his films -- and he does a lot -- are utter crap, and the answer was rather endearing. He likes to eat and drink, and not from the cheap end of the menu either. He just can't afford to turn down anything he's offered.

    I don't know how far living off your back catalog takes you when you've tastes as expensive as Jackson but you don't tour and your only album of new material in 18 years tanked. Compare and contrast The Rolling Stones or US -- who may be equally past their creative prime but never seem to be off the road and are putting new material out there.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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