I was never really a fan of Michael Jackson. There I said it. So I'm not going to pretend phony grief. I won't be digging out my "Thriller" LP. (I never owned a copy.) And I won't be going out of my way to watch all the instant obit documentaries that are inevitably going to dominate the airwaves in the next little while. (Unfortunately these will be hard to avoid.)
Of course, that doesn't mean that I don't recognize Michael Jackson's iconic status in American popular culture, nor his exceptional talent (particularly in his younger years), nor his occasional flashes of innovation and brilliance (most often in collaboration with the great Quincy Jones).
But, if there is one other thing that Michael Jackson did better than just about anybody else, it was scene stealing. Even on the occasion of his death today, he managed to steal the scene from another truly iconic person, Farrah Fawcett, who lost her two-year battle with cancer today.
If I think of Michael Jackson at all, I would prefer to remember him for having recorded songs like "ABC-123" or "Rockin' Robin". It's just a damned shame his childhood was stolen in the process. Maybe, if those he trusted had cared as much about his best interests in childhood as they cared about his earning potential, he wouldn't have turned out to be such a basket-case in later life.
Incidentally, this is also how I would prefer to think of Mariah Carey -- as she performed her cover of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" for her MTV Unplugged session.
On second thought --
I wasn't going to include this. But, oh, what the hell.
And, just for good measure, there's this too.