Last week, on the 25th June to be precise, was the fifth anniversary of the passing of Michael Jackson. In my opinion, a great loss to the music industry and to his millions of fans. He was not perfect; we all know about his disastrous court cases and out of control drug habit but I believe that was a by product of the life that he was forced to live from a very early age. He has been in the limelight, so working, since he was nine years old. He never had a proper childhood due to the demands of his singing career with his older siblings and managed by his father, by all accounts an unyielding disciplinarian and a bit of a tyrant.
But despite all these obstacles, he made some beautiful music, by himself and with his brothers, and I grew up with his music from his first hits, through my teens and twenties, then motherhood, with my children enjoying his music as well.
Back in the seventies I used to watch The Jackson Five cartoon series on a Sunday morning, along with The Osmonds, who I was more into at the time, but enjoyed both. They were hilarious, with their big Afro hair and crazy plots but you couldn’t fault the music that was woven into the storyline in each episode.
One song that has a special place in my heart from that era is Ben. He sang it so beautifully, even though it was about a rat ironically, he sang it from the heart. On the day he died, I was pulling up in my car when I heard it on the radio and it made me cry. It made me remember that little boy, a year older than me, who had given his whole life to music and suffered as a consequence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1dAQN5QcZU
After watching a documentary about his autopsy last year, it was revealed that his poor body was falling apart and that he did have some quite serious health conditions that were debilitating enough to require medication but not as much as he chose to take. It seemed that he took the lethal cocktail of drugs to give him the strength to get through the gruelling show that he was scheduled to perform at the O2 Arena for his last tour “This is it”. Although it has been claimed that he would not have been physically fit to perform one show, let alone the fifty that he was contracted to do, due to the frail condition he was in.
I watched another documentary about the preparation of the show, which somehow didn’t really show his frailty, which portrayed how wonderful it would have been if it had of got to the stage. He was nothing, if not a great showman and performer. A perfectionist of his craft and literally came alive on the stage. There was no expense spared for the show, he had the best dancers, musicians and production team and worked with them all to make the show the best it could be. It was such a shame that we did not get to see it performed in its entirety on stage, only in the documentary.
I myself, have never seen Michael Jackson perform live but his music has been with me and I am sure most people, whatever their age, most of my life. And that is a great legacy to leave behind. Even now though, his music lives on posthumously, with previously unreleased tracks being digitally enhanced and a whole album has been released called Xscape and I have heard reports that he is earning more money now than he did when he was alive, which seems unlikely. If that is the case, then good on you Michael, it just goes to show that legends do live on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJDdBbgJafU