03/08/2005: Thought for the Day:
Like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson was the rare artistic innovator who managed to reap the full rewards of his innovation. Blending the showmanship of his superstar idols (Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Smokey Robinson) with the rhythmic inventions of the architects of disco, Michael Jackson made himself into an exquisite musical artist. By luck and design, the majority of Michael Jackson's most accomplished art--"I Want You Back," side one of Off the Wall, the twin peaks of Thriller: "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," the most astounding one-two punch in pop music history--connected with an unprecedented mass audience. Just as Elvis sold more than Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley combined, Michael Jackson outsold his influences. And like Elvis, Michael Jackson was destined to be a Superstar For Life.
Then things started to get weird. Time and again, Jackson would do something impressively odd--take a monkey to the Grammys, appear in public wearing a surgical mask, marry Lisa Marie Presley--which his fans, myself among them, would rationalize away. We comforted ourselves with, "It can't get any weirder than this!" But without fail, it always did.
--David Schmader [in The Portland Mercury]
Len on 03.08.05 @ 07:10 AM CST