Michael Jackson: What were your favorites?
Thriller always gets all the props, but in many ways, the Beat It video (above) was Michael Jackson’s masterpiece — a gritty little drama with the classic Michael look and moves. You can look at this and see where a clip like the mini-movie of Thriller came from.
Last night, I wrote about how time has not been kind to Jackson’s public image and many young people today are probably mystified as to why there’s so much fuss about the gloved one.
The thing is, his legacy is a matter of multimedia history: the videos, the albums, even a few film appearances. Beat It is the first video I would send people to. And as iconic and historic as Thriller was, I’m one of many who would call the Off the Wall album that preceeded Thriller Michael’s best. It was the coming-of-age album for the former child star, and bash disco if you want, but Jackson did it as well as anyone.
Fortunately, he didn’t pursue film with as much verve as other pop icons. But even there, The Wiz features a nice little performance by Jackson, and it was one of the keys to launching his career.
Those are a few of my favorites, evidence of his greatness. What are some of yours? Comment below and share.
8 Responses to “Michael Jackson: What were your favorites?”
Tony F June 26th, 2009 at 1:58 pm
I always liked “Human Nature”.
I just wrote about MJ today, and I included my top 10 Michael Jackson tunes. I put PYT as my favorite song, which a lot of people would bash me for seeing as how it didn’t quite jive with the rest of the upbeat Thriller hits. But I really think that song has more lasting power than even some of his more rock n roll-inspired hits. Plus it’s got a killer bass line and remains one of the funkiest tunes Michael ever released.
Rich Copley June 26th, 2009 at 2:50 pm
I just heard PYT on the radio last night and thought it was a really good song I had kind of forgotten.
joe tackett June 26th, 2009 at 3:30 pm
I will never forget when his hair caught on fire while he was filming a commercial. It was all anyone talked about at school the next day. We even had a school-wide assembly about fire safety the day after. It may seem silly now, but at the time it was a huge deal.
LOVED the “Off the Wall” album, but I think “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” is my favorite of his tunes.
While I enjoyed many of Michael’s performances and recordings, he ultimately just became too distrubingly bizarre for me (even before the child molestation allegations…which did not come as any surprise) and his cartoonish appearance and outre life finally overshadow his talent for me.
But then, I’m of the Elvis generation. And while Elvis could be weird too (I’ve never tried one of those fried peanut butter, jelly, bacon, banana sandwiches yet), his passing was a momentous occasion that reverberated across the nation and world too. I still have a huge stash of news clipping from the weekend he passed away.
Interestingly, Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is covered up by the Bruno movie premiere, so fans are gathering around the star of Michael Jackson, an elderly, white, British talk radio personality who has been a fixture in LA for years (and a very intelligent, lovely man). I’m not sure the fans who are leaving flowers there and singing Michael’s songs even know they’re in the wrong place.
ukwriter June 27th, 2009 at 12:58 pm
Michael was almost a part of our family when my children were young. They would dance to and sing his music from the time they were barely walking. That was the seventies and his music just brought people together. When MTV picked up on the Jackson phenomena, my children were older and all of their friends would come to our house for sleepovers and to see Michael’s videos on “cable”. When Thriller premiered, I had 30 kids sleeping in my den. It was great fun. His music is still the best.
Ukwriter: I think that’s a really neat story you shared. It’s that kind of story as to why we will all miss Michael so much. His music was great, and he simply brought people together. I do agree with Pogue however, that Michael got a little to strange for me in the later years. But hopefully we’ll remember the King of Pop from his glory days.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich