Michael Jackson is gone.
And soon, so will be all of the jokes about the plastic surgeries and the scandals that ruined what could have and should have been the most memorable career of an entertainer in this — and arguably any other — generation.
Such a talent.
Such a tragedy.
On a day like this, we should be remembering the brilliance of a man so gifted and so charismatic, yet what is the first thing that popped into your mind when you heard he had died? Was it the hideous figure he had become from the surgeon’s scalpel, or the scandals that branded him an alleged pedophile? He became known as “Wacko Jacko” in the world’s press and did little to discourage the negative publicity.
Was it the alleged abuse he received as a child from his tyrant father figure that helped turn him into such an enigma? It is a discussion that will probably never have any sort of final resolution.
It seems fitting the questions that currently cloak Jackson’s death are much the same as the mysterious circumstances that seemed to swallow his life in the late 1980s. What could possess a man so successful, so beloved and so talented to do the things he did — to himself and allegedly to others?
Unfortunately, we’ll probably never know.
I’m guilty, like many during the past two decades, of cracking Michael Jackson jokes, but as of today there will be no more. I prefer to remember the music.
My 10 favorite Michael Jackson songs, including the period when he was part of the Jackson Five:
1. “The Way You Make Me Feel”: I know many will say their favorite Michael Jackson video/song was either “Thriller” or “Beat It” or “Billie Jean,” but mine was always this offering. I felt it provided a glimpse into “all” of the Michael Jacksons we came to know, and the energy of the video coincided perfectly with that of the song.
2. “Human Nature”: Jackson had that rare ability to be convincing, no matter what the genre might be. I felt this song established him as a true force in adult contemporary, as well as the world of pop.
3. “Black or White:” The social commentary was obvious, but what an incredible track. “American Idol” contestant Adam Lambert reintroduced this Jackson classic to America and blew everyone away — including me. Not only was Lambert’s take on the song incredible, it underlined how brilliant the original version was — and remains.
4. “The Love You Save”: I think my favorite line in any Jackson song was in this one: Alexander called you, he said he rang your chimes.
5. “Mama’s Pearl”: This was never a huge radio hit, but was always popular among Jackson junkies back when he was “Little Michael,” one of those high-energy songs that to this day makes me hit “replay” on the CD player.
6. “Never Can Say Goodye”: So smooth.
7. “The Girl is Mine”: ” … the doggone girl is mine.”
8. “I Want You Back”: This was the song that started it all, 40 years ago
9.”Rock With You”: Wouldn’t you give anything to have this Michael Jackson back?
10. “Billie Jean”: I actually liked the video a little more than the song.