Michael Jackson had the talent, but it was a mixed blessing…

Unfortunately the only thing that really sticks in my mind about the now what I understand is the “late” Michael Jackson, reportedly dead at age 50 as the result of cardiac arrest, is him holding his crotch while he performed and maybe that weird thing in Germany some years back when he was photographed holding his little baby over the railing of a balcony.

I remember him performing with the Jackson Five and being the little brother in the group who stood out – a kind of show off, much like the young Donnie Osmond who used to perform with his family on the old Andy Williams Show and mug the cameras.

For a time, as I recall, there was a kind of rivalry between the white Donnie Osmond and the black Michael Jackson. Obviously Jackson won out, having sold more records than any other star ever with his all-time number one album “Thriller”.

I was never a Jackson fan nor was I a Jackson detractor. I just thought he was weird. He was noted for among other things turning whiter in skin color. He claimed to have some type of skin disease. And through a strange metamorphosis via apparent plastic surgeries his appearance became bizarre. In fact, that’s what he was: bizarre.

There was that sensational trial in Santa Maria, Ca. A few years ago in which he faced child molestation charges. He was acquitted, but many are now saying he really never got over the trauma of all that. The price of fame is high, indeed. Coincidentally I was in Santa Maria at the time. I was a truck driver picking up strawberries and other produce. I think I passed by the crowds at the courthouse.

While I thought some of his dance routines for which he was so famous were vulgar, I also have to say he was phenomenal in his dancing ability.

I recall a guy a few years younger than I in the Army who could do a good imitation of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk dance, and that was not so long after the first moonwalk. Jackson was a little after my time in teenage music memories, but probably for that soldier and certainly for so many millions, he was the number-one icon of music.He was considered the “King of Pop” music.

So maybe the word of Jackson’s death had the effect on his fans as the death of Elvis Presley had on me. Actually I was not devastated by Presley’s death, but it had some profound meaning to me because I connect Presley with some of my earliest memories of Rock N Roll and recalled that he even had some hits when I was in High School, a decade after he first came on the scene in the mid 50s. I was a fan of the earlier Elvis Presley. I thought the jumpsuit version, the fat version, was pathetic.

I liked the younger Michael Jackson well enough, although I was no real fan. I even somewhat enjoyed a few performances of the older more streamlined (or weird is still the better word) Jackson – but he just got too weird for my taste.

I’ve heard as everyone else he had a rough childhood, being under pressure by his family to perform, and because of his talent he never had a chance to grow up like a regular kid.

The talent of an entertainer is so often a mixed blessing.


Actress and poster girl Farrah Fawcett also died today, as well as perennial pitchman and famous Johnny Carson sidekick Ed McMahon earlier this week. But with the coverage the Jackson death is getting you’d think a great world leader had died. Well, he did coin his own description, the “King of Pop”. In death, Jackson is larger than life. And for now he continues to draw an audience worldwide — still a commercial commodity.

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