Sicilian1's Blog

Expert Opinion and Commentary

sicilian1: MICHAEL JACKSON: A Tribute

 July, 6 2009 @7:00pm

  This post is definitely belated. Thoughts have been bouncing around in my head and emotions have been pulling me every which way since Michael died about a week ago. I just had to give Michael my own little tribute and I hope I do this wonderful man some justice, because though I never met him personally, he still meant alot to me and impacted my life in a joyful way ever since I was a little kid.

I LOOOOOOOOOVED Michael Jackson.

   I don’t know if I cribbed this from someone or if I patched it together from different commentators then assumed it for myself. But I’ve been saying it for a long time:

If you take Michael at the hieght of his fame (probably the Thriller/Bad era) and match him up against any celebrity in the history of the world at the hieght of that celebrity’s fame, NO one will ever even come close to comparing to Michael. When Michael was at the hieght of his fame NO one could ever even come within hailing distance of him. And that fact will stand for ALL time.

   I thank God for alot of things, but when I looked back at Michael’s life, I said a special thank you to the “Man” upstairs for allowing me not only to be alive during Michael’s life but for allowing  me to be born in that specific age bracket where I was able to experience the full capacity of the life and times of “The King of Pop”.

    I go back to the Jackson 5. As a little kid I had my 8-track cassette of the Jackson 5 that I’d take into my room and listen to for hours untill I wore the thing out. My mom bought me a Jackson 5 Christmas 8-track that we’d play every year untill the 8-track finally broke. I used to love Michael’s rendition of “Mommy kissing Santa Claus”, asking my mom if it was really true what Michael was singing.

    When “Off the Wall” came out I remembered how much I loved “Rock wit You” and still consider it my 2nd favorite  song of all time behind, “Billie Jean”. After I grew up I got back in touch w/the “Off the Wall” album and couldn’t believe how many timeless hits were on that record. (Don’t stop, She’s out of my life, Off the wall, etc.)

  Then Thriller came out and it changed the world. I still remember everyone with their red “Beat-It” jackets and studded “Billie Jean” glove. Who wasn’t trying to master the “moonwalk” in ’83? And all anyone wanted for Christmas was the Michael Thriller album. Then just when Thriller was losing steam, Michael performed “Billie Jean” and unvieled the “moonwalk” on the Motown 25 anniversary and suddenly an unstoppable wave of Michael mania swept the world. I’ll never forget going to school the next day and everybody talking about what they saw the night before. I didn’t know a girl, no matter the race or age, who wasn’t in love with Michael. For me, I never felt scared about admitting my unabashed love for Michael. Michael was never a guilty pleasure like Niel Diamond or Barry Manilow who you listen to when you’re alone in your car with the windows rolled up then quickly change the tape before you hit your block.

     The greatness of Thriller goes without saying and alot of people like to say that was Michael’s high-water mark. But for me, arguably, “Bad” may have been his best album. (Bad, The way you make me feel, Man in the Mirror, Dirty Diana, Another Part of Me, Leave Me Alone). Bad is where Michael started to express himself while answering and challenging his critics. Here we were introduced to a more edgy Michael; the defiance, crotch-grabbing, macho, trash-talking, screaming, etc. The beauty of all that was that Michael could express who he was (Bad), make a political and humane statement (Man in the Mirror) , show some machismo (The Way You Make Me Feel), talk-trash (Leave Me Alone), engage in existential inquiry of self (Another Part of Me) all while cementing his status as the “King of Pop”.

    “Bad” proved that he was more than just some sugar-coated, pre-packaged pop artist, singing cookie-cutter songs to a hip beat. Michael could touch the fans that were only listening for the entertainment value while at the same time sending a message to prove that he was not some robot but a person who had some deep insights and feelings.

    Michael showed how diverse he was as an artist on “Bad”. While “Thriller” was innovative with the Eddie Van Halen guitar solo on “Beat It’, the Vincent Price “Rap” on “Thriller” and the phatest beat bar none in the history of music with “Billie Jean”, (Tell me what person with blood flowing through their viens doesn’t get excited when the bass on “Billie Jean” kicks off?), it was still an album grounded in Michael’s R&B roots. But “Bad” crossed all genre’s. “Dirty Diana” was a straight rock song that any of the “hair bands” that were popular at the time could’ve put on their album and sold it with a straight face to their fans.

    My favorite song off “Bad” was “The Way You Make Me Feel”. This song was enhanced all the more by the video. To digress for a moment, it can not be understated what Michael meant to the visual medium of a pop artist. Michael melded song and video like never before or since. Michael made it a requirment to have a video to go along with a song. But it couldn’t be just some generic concert flick. With Michael as the innovator video’s became mini-movies where the message of the song’s words were conveyed through the story on  the screen.

    Getting back to, “The Way You Make Me Feel”. At the time there was the rumor and innuendo about Michael’s sexuality. Well, if anybody heard that song or saw that video they would know that it is an experssion of street, macho, misoginy at it’s best or if you prefer worst. Michael, like the best “macho” “thug” was saying to the girl in the video; ‘you’re hot, I want you and I got enough game to make you want this’. That’s how a true “player” would operate; no romance, no chivalry, just the attitude that he’s not going to get fooled by her coquettish ‘hard-to-get’ routine because even if she don’t know, he knows that she wants him, so, ‘what’s up?’ That video had me convinced that Michael liked girls.

     But Michael was still pumping out the hits with his next album, “Dangerous”. (Black or White, Remember the Time, In the Closet, Jam, Heal the World). Again Michael displayed his ability to deliver pop hits while expressing his inner thoughts and feelings and also including a message song or two. For relatively the same reasons I liked “The Way You Make Me Feel” from the “Bad” album, I loved, “In the Closet” from the “Dangerous” album.

    In this song and video Michael was doing his best  Joe Pesci from “Goodfella’s”, ‘so you think I’m funny how? imitation. The rumors about Michael’s sexuality persisted. So it was as if Michael was saying, ‘what, you think I’m gay?’, ‘are you sure you think I don’t like girls?’, ‘are you really sure about that?’

Well, Michael had something for all of us. He put Naomi Campbell in the video and proceeded to sex-her-up like nobody could. Michael had always sexed the female dancers he interacted with HARD. But he sexed-up Naomi SUPER-HARD. If anybody ever had any questions about Michael’s sexuality or if he liked girls, they were put to rest forever after that video. There is NO way Michael could’ve sexed Naomi up the way he did if he didn’t like girls. After seeing that I would’ve never wanted my woman around Michael because that video was evidence that if Michael REALLY wanted to, he could take anybody’s woman.

   Michael put out hits as long as he put out records. On his last record he had the hit, “You Rock My World”. That song was hot in 2001, it ‘s hot today, it would’ve been hot in ’82 and it will be hot 100 years from now. Who thinks that if Michael put out another album he wouldn’t have had another hit?

   Michael was the consumate “pop” artist. Not only did he tanscend races but he transcended cultures, ages, sexes, nations, and taste. As far as that last point, it didn’t matter if you were a rock-n-roll guy, an R&B guy, a Hip-Hopper, a headbanger, liked the hair-bands, dance hall, it didn’t matter. Michael’s core audience was the world. Everybody liked Michael and they didn’t have to be embarrassed about saying so.

    Somebody said to me that, ‘the moonwalk was nothing knew’, because they saw Sammy Davis, Jr. do it. Maybe Michael did crib it from Sammy. Maybe he cribbed from James Brown, Elvis, Stevie Wonder, The Beattles and who knows who else. But who cares? And you know why? Because NOBODY ever put it all together like Michael and NOBODY ever did it better than him. That is a fact. And what also is a fact is that NOBODY ever will. Having lived through the Michael experience, I can truthfully say that none of these psuedo R&B boy bands or solo artisis impress me in the least with all they faux dance moves that are nothing but straight inferior plagerized moves from Michael. Michael laid it all down for all time. Nowadays an artist thinks that the more acrobatics they do the better dancer it makes them. But Michael had moves, real Fred Astaire dance moves.

     And don’t ever take anything away from Michael’s singing chops. While Michael always possessed a soulful voice that in his younger days was bigger than his age, for me as he got older his voice became the definition of silky smoothness. What other singer ever made the transition from child, to teenager, to young man to adult while being bold enough to change vocal styles and still maintain a relevant and beautiful sound, tone, interpretation and meaning through each progressing stage.

     Knowing the tough life Michael had, it saddened me that a man who brought so much joy to so many had so much pain and what I percieved to be demons gnawing at his soul. The only time Michael seemed to be at peace was when he was on stage performing for his fans. He was such an unbelievable entertainer that not only did he get intrinsic value from performing but the intrinsic value he gave to his fans gladdened him all the more.

  I remember Michael’s 30th anniversary performance at MSG in 2001 when at the end of the show Chris Tucker came out and did Michael’s signature leg kick, as he was known to do. They interacted for several seconds then Michael put his hands on Chris’ shoulders and eventually fell to the stage in laughter over Tucker’s antics. That image probably made the most impact on me. It showed the humanity of Michael and caught him having fun just like any old normal person.

    I thank Michael from the absolute bottom of my heart for sharing his life with the world and bringing so much happiness to so many just by doing what came naturally to him. He was a great human being and I pray that his soul eternally rests in peace.


July 6, 2009 - Posted by | blog, culture, entertainment, health, history, Life, music, news, people, personal, philosohy, Politics, random, thoughts


  1. Know how you feel.

    Comment by aestar101 | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  2. CNN did a great job with his memorial service too!

    Comment by Sundjata | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  3. I know. I actually ended up watching CNN as the day closed up.

    I was going to write another blog about the critcs who keep on bringing up all the suppossed deficiencies in Michael’s character.

    But I decided to hold back ad not stoop to their level b/c they’re just plain ignorant.

    I’ll just give you a quick comment on what I mean.

    Are the critics true about all the “sins” Michael was guilty of? Sure. Who knows and who cares. I never believe in speaking of the dead. I could get into a tit-for-tat argument w/these people. But I’m not going to convince them so I’m not going to waste my time.

    They don’t understand that it’s NOT about “deifying” anyone. And it’s not about forcing anyone to accept the “deification” of someone of whom they couldn’t get past his personal struggles.

    First, you are talking about THE #1 POP ICON in the history of the world, bar NONE. So obviously a man in that position can NOT be held to the same standards of the soldiers dying in Iraq that nobody has ever heard of. I am not lessening the heroism of those people BUT they did NOT consciously touch the lives of so many the way Michael did.

    This was NOT a deification. No matter the personal ills and evils this was still a living breathing human being who loved and was loved by family, friends and strangers. He meant something to the people that knew and loved him and b/c of his pop icon status was in a position to effect the lives of others and bring happiness to them.

    And to me that’s all the ceromony on July 7th 2009 was about.

    He might’ve been guilty of violating every one of the 10 commandments. But if all of us had to inventory everyone that came into our lives, sometimes family and friends of which we have no choosing, then we’d all live on an island never interacting w/humanity.

    Michael’s family didn’t choose him, I didn’t choose to be effected by Michael BUT all of us were. And as humand=s we should celebrate that.

    Comment by sicilian1 | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  4. Man, where you been?

    Comment by Sundjata | July 22, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: