Michael Jackson Is One of Rolling Stones' Top 100 Greatest Artists of All Times, But.......
.....En route to London, England, I picked up the Rolling Stones Magazine's 'The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time' at the airport. I was not surprised to see Michael Jackson listed alongside Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Presley and Eminem. But as I read the few words that were allocated to Michael Jackson and written by Antonio "L.A." Reid, I realized that the anniversary of his death is coming up this Friday, June 25th and I felt compelled to dig deeper.
With one google entry, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information, adoration, criticism and fascination with this man. I found myself looking at a patchwork quilt of information that alternated between greatness and fame, talent and hard work, but anchored by lawsuits and scandals that peppered his resume of life achievements and, in some cases, overshadowed them. Is this yet another 'same story, new character'? A cynic's favorite 'I told you so' in that we are who we are remembered in death and not for what we contributed while we lived?
What was clear to me was that Michael Jackson lived, and died, in a world that was suspended between truth and myth, fantasy (whether self-induced or not) and harsh reality. Jackson's life story is the ultimate tragedy: a boy who was bullied and beaten by his father in the name of success; himself a father, friend, brother and humanitarian who achieved so much success that the numbers stopped meaning anything to him and money was no object - until he lost it all. And yet, after hours of research, I, like most people, know little about what made him tick, what he cared about most and what the next chapter in his life was going to look like, had he lived on. The irony in all of this is that his estate may actually generate more money because of his death than in his life and his children and family may actually have a chance of moving on and (hopefully) living a more balanced, personal and happy life without the man who was the center of their world - whether they like it or not.
I am by no means an expert on Michael Jackson, just an admirer of someone who had incredible talent and a bystander who watched a tragic end that continues to generate speculation and confusion to this day.Below are the pieces of a life cut short that I collected. I welcome your facts, figures and tidbits of truth, or otherwise, as we zero in on the anniversary of Michael Jackson's passing.Continued on the next page