I like Mike, still Do!

root - Posted on 01 January 2000

by Staff Writer

I like Mike, still do. Truth be told, I didn’t buy the later albums and I only watched the Thriller video once or twice. To me, Michael was at his best when he was singing with his brothers. I loved the way Michael and Jermaine switched lead roles and the way the Jackson Five moved across our black and white TV set and living room floor. How could he move like that, such a young boy?

He seemed more than human, super-talented, in command. Of course he owed a debt to the singers that came before: James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Billy Stewart and others. Of course there’s the debt to Berry Gordy for signing him and his brothers to Motown but let’s not forget the secretary at Motown who kept bugging Mr. Gordy to give the group a shot, a listen. To me, Michael was the young kid at the forefront of the Jackson Five, wearing those cool hats and singing with a range and emotion beyond his years.

I talked to one of my coworkers, a musician. We debated which song was Michael’s best. We pondered the songs in our minds—too many to remember—too many great albums. I said, “Got to be there” and “Never can say goodbye”. He shook his head in agreement. A few minutes later he said, “What about Working Day and Night” from the “Off the Wall” album. The debate goes on, as we work day and night.

To me, “Thriller” was both Michael’s biggest success and biggest downfall. The best selling album of all time. How do you top that? He tried. The songs crossed over radio formats, songs like “Beat it”. I remember a radio DJ announcing the song, not mentioning Michael but proclaiming “That was Eddie Van Halen on guitar”.

It’s hard to stay on top. Michael did it for nearly 4 decades. To call him the king of pop is an insult. Somehow, genius doesn’t quite apply either. But for all his success, he had insecurities, fears, doubts—just like the rest of us—perhaps even more so. I like to think of Michael as a soul singer, a great soul singer. Is there more to it than that?

The media has been very disrespectful in its coverage of Michael. The media has made millions off Michael in life, and continues to thrive after his death. The drug allegations, the vilification of father Joe Jackson, his finances and the child molestation allegations have been the subject of talk shows while hosts have shown little compassion or empathy to the Jackson family. But, like millions, I sit and watch as these half-talents spew their disrespect through the clogged up cables reaching into millions of homes sponsored by companies whose products clog our arteries as well as our minds.

The man was the best in the world at his profession for nearly 40 years. Do you know anybody personally that is or was the best in the world at anything for 10 years, 10 minutes, 10 seconds? Tell me, do you?


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