First David Carradine, then Ed McMahon, Farrah and now the King of Pop. Frankly, this is very upsetting to me, mostly because I had Cronkite in the office death pool…who would have thought Michael Jackson would be taking the eternal dirt nap before Walter Cronkite, or even Patrick Swayze? Nobody puts Billie Jean in a corner.
Hearing the news of Michael’s death immediately brought me back to a friend’s house, watching “Motown 25”, right after the release of “Thriller.” To watch Michael Jackson perform that evening was mesmerizing. What he could do with his feet and the rest of his body was crazy. Who among you have not tried to duplicate his “Moonwalk”? I know some of you even have one of those red leather jacket tucked into a closet. As I told the Junior Palette today, Michael Jackson changed the musical landscape of the ‘80s by ushering in the MTV era. Say what you will about “Video Killed the Radio Star” but the Buggles have nothing on Michael Jackson and “Thriller.”
Michael Jackson’s life unfortunately parallels that of his late father-in-law Elvis (a more legitimate marriage there never was between him and Lisa-Marie…). Elvis burst on the scene as a young performer, hit his stride young, had to make a comeback in 1968, then turned into a bloated shell of his former superstar self. Michael made it 8 years longer than Elvis, but he probably was just a few steps from having cardiac arrest on the crapper. His life had taken tremendously tragic turns, mostly brought on by his own psychosis. Whether it was the issues with skin pigmentation, plastic surgery, sham marriages, his obsession with monkeys and the Elephant Man, or with little boys, his personal life was in shambles. He was “friends” with McCauley Culkin, Liza Minnelli, Liz Taylor and Schmuley Boteach…would you be proud of those? It is unclear to me whether society will remember him more for his music, or for his personal failings.
If anyone saw the 1995 Playboy issue with Farrah Fawcett, we know why we’ll remember her.