Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P King of Pop

The Varsity Letters is dedicated to high school sports, particularly those involving teams from Washington and Greene counties. Today is going to be a little different.

It's been about 30 minutes since several news sources confirmed the death of Michael Jackson, the undisputed King of Pop and one of the great entertainers of all-time, at the age of 50. MJ's music had a profound impact on this blogger, particularly growing up during the era of "Off the Wall", "Bad" and, of course, "Thriller." Yes, I had the Thriller jacket, the white glove and, as a 10-year-old, I moonwalked any time the opportunity presented itself.

Michael Jackson, rest in peace.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted child star who rose to become the “King of Pop” and the biggest celebrity in the world only to fall from his throne in a freakish series of scandals, died Thursday. He was 50.
Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Ed Winter, the assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County, confirmed his office had been notified of the death and would handle the investigation.
The circumstances of Jackson’s death were not immediately clear. Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m., Capt. Steve Ruda told the Los Angeles Times. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told the newspaper.
Jackson’s death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music’s premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.
His 1982 album “Thriller” — which included the blockbuster hits “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” — remains the biggest-selling album of all time, with more than 100 million copies worldwide.
The public first knew him in the late 1960s, when as a boy he was the precocious, spinning lead singer of the Jackson 5, the music group he formed with his four older brothers. Among their No. 1 hits were “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” and “I’ll Be There.”
He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched voice punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks second only to his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.
“For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words,” said Quincy Jones, who produced “Thriller.” “He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him.”
Jackson ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time. In fact, he united two of music’s biggest names when he was briefly married to Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie.
But as years went by, Jackson became an increasingly freakish figure — a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grown-up life. His skin became lighter, his nose narrower, and he spoke in a breathy, girlish voice. He surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, often wore a germ mask while traveling and kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions.
In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him. The case took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.
Jackson was preparing for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13. He was in rehearsals in Los Angeles for the concert, an extravaganza that was to capture the classic Jackson magic: showstopping dance moves, elaborate staging and throbbing dance beats.
Singer Dionne Warwick said: “Michael was a friend and undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest entertainers that I fortunately had the pleasure of working with........we have lost an icon in our industry.”
Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital as word of his death spread. The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson’s rented home, was roped off with police tape.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson has just died,” a woman boarding a Manhattan bus called out, shortly after the news was announced. Immediately many riders reached for their cell phones.
In New York’s Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.
“No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow,” Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend sent to his telephone. “It’s like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died.”


Anonymous said...
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mike_kovak said...


Did Michael Jackson have issues? Absolutely.

Unless you have proof to back up those accusations (I can't remember MJ being convicted of anything) don't bring it here.

Anonymous said...

how about separate multi-million dollar settlement payouts to the families of children after said accusations. Not proof enough for you?

mike_kovak said...

How about his court acquittal?

Someone as rich as Jackson was at the time can pay multi-million settlements to get rid of headaches. Not saying he's innocent or guilty, but I'm not making accusations when people could have just as easily been gold digging.

So no, that's nowhere near enough proof.

Anonymous said...

knowing all that would you let your child go there unless your looking for the money.Mike was a true WIZARD R.I.P. MIKE

Anonymous said...

R.I.P MJ and Billy Mays

Anonymous said...

what does this have to do with high school sports?

Anonymous said...

yeah, 'cause i know every time someone makes a false accusation about me i just offer them money to shut them up

come on

Brant said...

And O.J. didn't kill anybody, either. ;-)

Anonymous said...

you must of been an ALTER BOY and liked it it`s ok for the church to do it and be found guilty. O.J. went to a trial and the verdict was not guilty so no he didn`t kill no one

Brant said...

How incredibly stupid. Do you believe that only guilty people are convicted and only innocent people are acquitted? Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

you know he did it for sure? I didn`t read he was found guilty unless you seen it.its the american must have something agianst black people first M.J. then O.J.

Brant said...

Please refer to my previous post.

Anonymous said...

DNA evidence points to OJ.
Circumstancial evidence points to OJ
Hindsight points to OJ.

How come every time someone makes a statement like I just made...they must have "something against black people?"