Artist: Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson (born August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, died June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California), often referred to as The King of Pop, is the biggest-selling solo artist of all time, with over 750,000,000 sales. Jackson is an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and double inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His awards include 8 Guinness World Records, 13 Grammy Awards, and 26 Billboard Awards. He is also credited for popularizing many physically complicated dance moves, such as the robot and the moonwalk, and has influenced and spawned a whole generation of a wide variety of artists including Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey and Usher, among others.
Jackson's musical career began in 1967 as lead singer of The Jackson 5, when the group made their first recording with a local label before signing up with Motown Records in 1968. He made his first solo recordings in 1971 while still a member of the group. But it was Off the Wall (1979) which marked the start of his full-fledged solo career, and he formally parted with his siblings in 1984. In his solo career, Jackson recorded and co-produced the best-selling album of all time, Thriller (with worldwide sales over 100 million), received thirteen Grammy awards and charted thirteen #1 singles in the U.S. Throughout his four-decade career, Michael Jackson has been awarded numerous honors, including the World Music Awards Best-selling Pop Male Artist of the Millennium. He is also a double-inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1997, and in 2001 as a solo artist. He is also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In the mid-1980s, TIME magazine described Jackson as "the hottest single phenomenon since Elvis Presley". He has had a notable impact on music and culture throughout the world while also tearing down racial barriers and paving the way for modern pop music.
From 1988 to 2005, Jackson lived on his Neverland Ranch property, on which he built an amusement park and private zoo for the enjoyment of economically disadvantaged and terminally ill children. In 1993 and 2003, separate accusations of child molestation that allegedly occurred in Neverland were made against Jackson, which drew intense negative media coverage. While he was never charged for the first case, Jackson
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Michael Jackson: Blood On The Dance Floor Uncut, Jul 1997
HISTORY IS written by the victors. Or, in our times, is remixed by the fashionable.
The King Of Pop doesn't make albums any more: he makes marketing concepts. Thus History, which was rather good, was joined at the hip to a greatest hits collection, which was sensational. Each would have made more impact alone. The danger of such Zen sales projections, which have their head up their own niche, is that a "new" Michael Jackson record, in being only "half-new", becomes less of a media event.
Now there's another hybrid. Blood On The Dance Floor consists of five new tracks (three of which are perky and raw, for a beast of this nature), plus eight remixes of History cuts. There will be a multiple choice test at the end of this review.
Why is our generation's cross between Fred Astaire and Moby Dick being shot in the foot/blowhole? 'Blood...' was his best single in aeons: it kicks, crackles and spits, and rediscovers the narcissistic sass which launched him to where he was yesterday. Yet it didn't break the bank, and this can't be solely because the Brit tabloids are sluggishly spurning Jackson's genuine mad-guru insanity in order to walk a million miles for one of a gurning Gallagher's grunts. Is there mileage in Michael still? There is. This record's better side shows there are as many tigers in his tank as bats in his belfry.
Teddy Riley buttresses the title track, which is a wicked step-sister of 'Billie Jean' and equally afraid of women. Someone called Susie is going around stabbing "hot men" dancers, whatever they might be. Michael probably watches too many bad (as in bad) movies, which would account for the re-emergence of his hammy horror sub-Thriller themes on 'Ghosts' and (get this for a title) 'Is It Scary', both of which are staccato and compulsive. The breaths, the whoops, the groin-clutches are back and proud. There are moments hereabouts where you realise it's amazing how unseriously we take this possessed, pulsatile nu-soul singer. Even exiled from the requisite price-of-my-entire-postal-code video, he sounds massive.
'Superfly Sister' is monotonous and stubbornly stationary, but 'Morphine' (now there's a title to feed the enigma, Mikey) is striking, incongruous, and rocks like an illegitimate person. And then goes all classical. And then rocks again. When Jackson's this high and wide, he's a sexy messiah reborn, unsuitable for children. Which is all we ask of him.
Next to which such "top remixers" as Tony Moran, Tee, Hani, Old Uncle Tom Cobbly and all are plankton, tiddling about with 'Scream', 'Stranger In Moscow', 'Earth Song' and so on. The Fugees' Wyclef sticks his ubiquitous oar in. The words "club" and "house" appear on the credits about 59 times. When did golf become so hip? It must be something to do with Tiger Woods, who, if Michael doesn't pull his ultraviolet socks up, will be his replacement as the idol for the lipsmacking, thirstquenching, black-lite-loving masses.
Out of His Life: Michael Jackson New Statesman, Aug 1984
BY NOW, of course, youve been told more than you could possibly want to know about Michael Jackson. Such has been the media saturation of the huge American tour undertaken by Michael and his brothers this summer that the only thing that will henceforth make them interesting is total and irreversible decline.
Above all, what youve been told about this strange, almost deified youth is that we know nothing. We dont know what he feels, we dont know what he thinks. Nor does he, apparently. In Gerri Hirsheys superb new history of soul music, Nowhere To Run (Times Books, $17.95), Michael is searching for a 60s film of James Brown that he thinks will help him to "understand what I do".
Now, while I cant deny that Im as much a Jackson junkie as the next hack, the feverish need to explain Michael somehow to bind up the contradictions of his life strikes me as faintly unhealthy. Surely the whole enigma of Michael has been created by the pressure of the fame that we have built up around him. We were already asking him what he was before he had the chance to be anything. Consequently, he runs in terror, not just from the press, but from anyone whose personality isnt as much a by-product of show business as his own.
Joan Didion called Howard Hughes "the last private person". She didnt allow for an entertainer so famous that he hardly exists for himself. Fame cocoons Michael to the point where his own existence is no longer a real, tangible process, and the tension of his best songs is that he is having to confront the reality of his own fame, his own unreality. When he sings about the "vegetable" in Wanna Be Startin Something, he is describing himself as the sacrificial object we are trying to devour. Recluses like Brian Wilson turned to drugs when they couldnt handle the fame. Michael chose abstinence from reality.
The concert I saw at the Giants football stadium in New Jersey a couple of weeks ago revealed little to me that I hadnt already felt. Once Id got past the sense of the event as simply a 400-ton Mass American Fantasy, run by blacks for white suburbia, as grossly hyped and materialistic as a war, I was at last a few hundred yards from the thing that is Michael and that was ... well, Im not a teenybopper anymore. (Im nearly as old as him, actually.)
Forty-four thousand people and a couple of helicopters watched as five narcissistic knights of the San Fernando Valley descended to the churning, stuttering pulse of Wanna Be Startin; as emerald-green laser beams were diffracted into the sky; as magnesium explosions were triggered between songs; as the famous white socks tapped and twirled on a giant holograph screen; and as Michael lay on his back in self-consuming grief for Shes Out Of My Life. Every set piece, every bumbling monster and every evil, purpled-eyed triffid seemed to be part of the Never-Never Land of his mind.
The synchronisation of effects and the brothers dance moves was enthralling but the fact that not a single song was taken from the Jacksons awful Victory album was further proof that the show revolved around one thing alone: the spectacle of Michael Jackson, in flawless voice and total command, "getting out of himself".
I saw that this figure lost in song and dance was in the right place, and it was all I needed to know.
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