I was browsing the news online today when it hit me that we were one of maybe 10 sites online who hadn’t mentioned the passing of Michael Jackson. So here is my personal tribute.
Michael influenced a lot of people now in their 20s all the way to folks in their 40s and 50s. Though his last few years were tainted by his odd behavior and scandal, there is no denying that Michael Jackson was an incredible talent. That voice was just off the charts. I was saddened to see the sorry state that he had entered over the last decade. We may never know if he did the things he was accused of. Personally, I just think he was an innocent soul who cracked under the pressures of fame. We have all seen what has become of so many child stars in the realm of TV and movies. So many committed suicide, ended up in jail or became destitute outcasts. Michael eventually became a victim of those same circumstances fueled by his father’s abusiveness and by the pressures of fame at an early age.
But with his passing, I will reserve all judgment and celebrate a very influential and incredibly talented musician. I am a child of the 80s and the 90s. And MJ was a pivotal character in the pop culture of my childhood and teen years. I wasn’t into parachute pants, break dancing, or moonwalking. In fact, I wasn’t a major fan of Michael Jackson’s music although I did like it. I was stuck on the new wave syntho-pop thing back then. But I do appreciate his music from all eras whether it’s ABC, Billie Jean or Man In The Mirror. He really didn’t ever sing a bad song. It was all incredible.
My favorite song, though, is one I had forgotten until just today from his early years. “Ben” was an incredible, beautiful song. And for a pet lover like myself, it was very touching (even though it was about a rat). Here’s a vid from the Sonny & Cher show in 1972 (before I was born…haha)
On another note, I found a version of Ben sung by child star Billy Gillman at a tribute for Michael Jackson several years ago. I really thought it was awesome – very beautiful. Michael was present and evidently approved. I thought I would post this one too.