Tragedy Strikes In Threes...

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Friday, June 26, 2009

WHOA! Ed McMahon...then within 24 hours, Farrah Fawcett and now MICHAEL JACKSON!!!!!

This one is out of left field. The other two had been ill for a period of time, so not too shocking. But MICHAEL JACKSON???

August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009

Let's for a moment, put aside his life outside music. As we all can agree, his personal life was a total shambles. Throughout his life he wavered between a bit strange and totally outrageous.

Within his music world, it is hard to argue that he was not a true genius.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, the 7th child of 9 children born to Joseph Walter "Joe" Jackson and Katherine Esther (née Scruse).

In 1964, Jackson and his brother Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers — a band formed by brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine — as backup musicians playing congas and tambourine, respectively.

Jackson later began performing backup vocals and dancing; at the age of eight, he and Jermaine assumed lead vocals, and the group's name was changed to The Jackson 5. The band toured the Midwest extensively from 1966 to 1968. The band frequently performed at a string of black clubs and venues collectively known as the "chitlin' circuit", where they often opened for stripteases and other adult acts. In 1966, they won a major local talent show with renditions of Motown hits and James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)", led by Michael.

The Jackson 5 signed with Motown Records in 1968. Rolling Stone magazine later described the young Michael as "a prodigy" with "overwhelming musical gifts", noting that Michael "quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer" after he began to dance and sing with his brothers. Though Michael sang with a "child's piping voice, he danced like a grown-up hoofer and sang with the R&B/gospel inflections of Sam Cooke, James Brown, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder".

The group set a chart record when its first four singles ("I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There") peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Starting in 1972, Jackson released a total of four solo studio albums with Motown, among them GOT TO BE THERE and BEN. These were released as part of the Jackson 5 franchise, and produced successful singles such as "Got to Be There", "Ben" and a remake of Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin".

The group's sales began declining in 1973. Although the group scored several top 40 hits, including the top 5 disco single "Dancing Machine" and the top 20 hit "I Am Love", the Jackson 5 left Motown in 1975.

Michael Jackson and his brothers signed with CBS Records and continued to record and tour internationally. At the same time, in 1978, Michael broadened his area when he appeared as The Scarecrow in the movie THE WIZ.

While making the movie Michael and Quincy Jones (who was scoring the movie) agreed to collaborate on his next solo album.

That album was OFF THE WALL. Sometime the year Jackson released the album (1979), broke his nose during a complex dance routine. His subsequent rhinoplasty surgery was not a complete success; he complained of breathing difficulties that would affect his career. He was referred to another doctor, who performed Jackson's second rhinoplasty and other subsequent operations.

Off The Wall was a huge undertaking with songs written by Jackson and Heatwave's Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. It was the first album to generate four US top 10 hits, including the chart-topping singles "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You". Off the Wall reached number three on the Billboard 200 and has since been certified for 7 million shipments in the US and eventually sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

In 1980, Jackson won three awards at the American Music Awards for his solo efforts: Favorite Soul/R&B Album, Favorite Male Soul/R&B Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Single for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". That year, he also won Billboard Music Awards for Top Black Artist and Top Black Album and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"). Despite its commercial success, Jackson felt Off the Wall should have made a much bigger impact, and was determined to exceed expectations with his next release. In 1980, Jackson secured the highest royalty rate in the music industry: 37% of wholesale album profit.

Off The Wall was a hit, Jackson's next album THRILLER was and is the biggest album ever released in terms of strength of songs and units sold. Here are the facts:
* Remained in Top 10 of the Billboard 200 for 80 consecutive weeks and 37 of those weeks at the #1 position.
* The first album to have seven Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles, including "Billie Jean", "Beat It", "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", "That Girl Is Mine", "Thriller", "Human Nature" and "P.Y.T.".
* Was certified for 28 million shipments by the RIAA, giving it Double Diamond status in the US.
* It is often cited as the best-selling album of all time, with worldwide sales between 47 million and 109 million copies.

On March 25, 1983, Jackson performed live on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever television special, both with The Jackson 5 and on his own singing "Billie Jean". Debuting his signature dance move—the moonwalk—his performances during the event were seen by 47 million viewers during its initial airing, and drew comparisons to Elvis Presley's and The Beatles' appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.

A five year gap ensued as Michael began to exhibit strange characteristics and his appearance began to change.

In 1987 Jackson released BAD. The album had lower sales than Thriller, but was still a substantial commercial success. In the US, it spawned seven hit singles, five of which ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana") reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, more than any other album. As of 2008, the album sold 30 million copies worldwide, including eight million shipments in the US.

In 1988, Jackson released his first autobiography, MOON WALK, which took four years to complete. Jackson told of his childhood, his experience in The Jackson 5 and the abuse he suffered as a child.

Jackson's success resulted in his being dubbed the "King of Pop", a nickname conceived by actress and friend Elizabeth Taylor when she presented Jackson with an "Artist of the Decade" award in 1989, proclaiming him "the true king of pop, rock and soul".

Jackson released his eighth album DANGEROUS in 1991. As of 2008, Dangerous has shipped 7 million copies in the US and has sold 32 million copies worldwide; it is the most successful New Jack Swing album of all time. In the US, the album's first single "Black or White" was the album's biggest hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and remaining there for seven weeks, with similar chart performances worldwide.

Since that time there has been music, but it has not been anything of consequence and has, unfortunately been overshadowed by the accusations of being a pedophile, his financial disasters, and his marriages and the children he has left behind.

As I listen to CNN, the Jackson Family attorney/spokesman, Brian Oxman, was just interviewed and he pretty much blamed Jackson's 'handlers' for this death. He says the family has talked about the death of Jackson many times. He claims he has warned 'people' that this would happen and his warnings were ignored.

He claims Jackson was abusing prescription drugs. His rehearsals for his comeback concert reportedly were marred with the realization that Jackson could not carry a full concert in his weakened condition. And he just equated the Michael Jackson situation to the Anna Nicole Smith debacle.

Michael Jackson changed the landscape of the music industry, for good and bad. His outrageous contracts caused a burden as other acts followed suit. Would there be Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera or Britney Jean Spears without Michael?

As they mentioned on So You Think You Can Dance last evening, the John Landis video for the song "Thriller" was groundbreaking and shaped the world of music and dance/

I would have liked to have seen what Mr. Jackson could have accomplished had he not had his problems.

Our condolences go out to his three children and all those who truly loved him as a person and not as a paycheck or status button.

"Why not just tell people I'm an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They'll believe anything you say, because you're a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, 'I'm an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,' people would say, 'Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He's cracked up. You can't believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth.'"
—Michael Joseph Jackson(August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

16 Of Your Sparks

  1. They always come in threes, but even this was strange in that they happened so dang close together. I'd be very interested in hearing what the official cause of Jacko's death.

    The Jackson 5 - brings back smiles from my childhood.

  2. i was in bed and it dawned on me
    vinny will have one of his post about michael

    and as always, you did not disappoint

    tell nancy i said hello

  3. BeckEye Says:
  4. Sad and unexpected.

  5. Matt-Man Says:
  6. I feel truly sad for MJ's father. Joe's such a peach and a warm human being. Cheers Vin!!

  7. Ralph Says:
  8. I like the Motown Jackson's from 1970 - 'I Want You Back' still stands up well. granted, all Hitsville were polished, but the 11 YO Michael shone.

    'Thriller' is a tour-de-force. It works well, Quincy certainly got the best out of an artist. The choreography works well still.

    A fragile psyche many artists have. But the best of any artist makes a true work of art. For MJ, the good memories will outweigh the bad...

  9. I'm real sorry about Michael Jackson who was a true musical genius. thanks Vinny for all the info. :)

  10. ...Billie Jean...Billie Jean...Billie Jean...

  11. Travis Says:
  12. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

  13. Angell Says:
  14. Excellent tribute Vince. I'm with Trav...still can't believe it.

    I thought he went off the deep end in his personal life, but have always respected him as an artist.

    The world today is a poorer place for the loss.

  15. katherine. Says:
  16. Michael Jackson was odd and unconventional...and often very, very sad.

    Any one on one in depth interview came away with how damaged he had been by being in the spotlight...and being exposed to such adult situations...since he was five years old.

    While he did surround himself with children there was never any actual evidence of pedophilia. There were extorsionists...and one guy out of control in Santa Barbara law enforcement.

    Michael Jackson was an incredibly talented man. His songwriting...his singing..his dancing. My folks are fans, my kids still dance to his music...and several milestones in my life are marked by his music.

    Brilliant people battle demons most others will never comprehend. And putting matter what their the public eye and forcing them into adult situations...rarely works out well for the child.

    Many of the fond memories we celebrate of Michael Jackson cost him deeply. However odd he became was a direct result of the sacrifices made in his life to bring us his talent. I hope his children can grow to be less damaged.

    Michael Jackson's musical legacy will be forever.

  17. Micky-T Says:
  18. I was entertained by him, he truly was a star......
    but I could never say, "I liked him"

  19. I would have had trouble with this. I guess I can't overlook the weirdness. You did an outstanding job. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done, my friend...

  20. DrillerAA09 Says:
  21. Michael is one of those sad souls that did not deal with success very well. The entertainment industry is littered with the bodies of those who don't cope well, Marylin Monroe, Janis Joplin, Anna Nicole Smith, Carl Wilson (Beach Boys), Elvis, and on and on. Quincy Jones said, tonight, that one must be spiritually grounded in order to deal with success. Otherwise, success may destroy you. Michael was eventually destroyed by his own success and his inability to maintain that success decade after decade.

  22. Dana Says:
  23. ... or fours ... did everyone forget David Carradine died just 3 weeks ago?

    Anyway ... never was a huge Michael Jackson music fan (I know, what's wrong with me?) and certainly am not a personal fan of Michael Jackson *shrugs*

  24. Tug Says:
  25. Insane, isn't it? Besides Carradine, there was also Natasha Richardson, and now today Billy Mays (although not near the status of the rest of them).

  26. Starrlight Says:
  27. We found out via a text message from one of Kidlet's friends while we were touring Pearl Harbor. It still has not fully sunk in. The truly sad part of it is that the Michael we grew up with died a long time ago and what we had left was a tragic figure.


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