The Dim-Post

June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson

Filed under: movies — danylmc @ 8:22 am

I don’t really have much to say about Michael Jackson, other than that I quite like Smooth Criminal and Human Nature and a couple of the tracks off Off the Wall and Thriller – but that duet he did with Paul McCartney has to go down as one of the worst songs of all time. It seems a bit odd that the world’s ‘King of Pop’ only made two or three good albums, the last of which was released over twenty years ago.

I was trying to explain the significance of 1980s Michael Jackson to some of the students in my lab yesterday – to them he was just a creepy guy who looked like an asian woman and released the odd terrible album – and I told them to imagine how famous Britney Spears was in the heyday of her mega-stardom and then imagine how much bigger she’d have been if she had any kind of talent and released good songs. I’m not sure they got it though – popular music is now so fragmented and niche oriented, with most commercial music relentlessly targeted at teenagers and despised by everyone else that it’s hard to imagine the kind of cultural consensus there was in the 80’s and earlier about people like Michael Jackson (or Prince, or Madonna, or even U2).


  1. I think your students got it right.


    Comment by JC — June 27, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  2. he was a genius. until he stopped making r&b and went to a white audience.

    did you know that at the height of thriller sales he was personally making $US2mil… a week?

    thriller was the absolute coolest video ever shown on TV. it was a revolution in the early 80s.

    this doesn’t negate the fact he was a pederast who hasn’t made decent music for over 20 year.

    Comment by Che Tibby — June 27, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  3. and now he probably really is a zombie.

    Comment by Che Tibby — June 27, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  4. It’s an absolute abomination that someone who made as much money has he did over the course of his career was in debt toward the end. If he had the right advisors – financial and otherwise – he would have been heading toward being a billionaire.

    Comment by radar — June 27, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  5. I don’t think anyone should need advisors to tell them that building your own personal amusement park and zoo isn’t the best way to spend your money.

    Comment by Helenalex — June 27, 2009 @ 11:40 am

  6. A zoo and amusement park can make money if run properly. It was wasted in other ways. And in payouts to child abuse victims.

    Comment by radar — June 27, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

  7. Jacksons lasting legacy must surely be the coming of age of the music video. Instead of just being an alternative medium for the same sound, he turned the video into a message and a story in and of itself.

    Comment by Phil (not Goff) — June 27, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

  8. Back in the eighties practically everyone went nuts over Thriller, and owned a copy. He sold upwards of 750 million albums; that represents a huge percentage of the planet. At his best, he tapped into a shared dream of humanity.

    Comment by ropata — June 27, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  9. I regret the loss of the King of Pop Michael Jackson! Jacko is a legend. Such humans unfortunately only every 100 years is born. I hope he gets where he is now, finally in peace.
    Leave also your last greeting at Michael Jackson on our site, thanks.
    from germany… a big and now sad fan

    Comment by Big Fan — June 27, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  10. At age 50 years this may count as one of the first of the baby-boomer celebrity deaths. This may prove to be significant in itself. It’s five minutes to midnight for a whole generation.

    Comment by andrew — June 27, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

  11. I was wondering if MJ was influenced by Lindsay Kemp, as Bowie and Kate Bush were, but he certainly took inspiratation from Fosse –

    Comment by Neil — June 27, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

  12. Freddie Mercury? Diana, Princess of Wales?

    Comment by kahikatea — June 27, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  13. Watch a video of a young Michael Jackson singing ABC – he was incredible. The tragedy of his life played out a long time ago.

    Comment by Adam — June 27, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

  14. biggest selling album of all time isn’t it? mj was *huge* back then, and a gifted musician.

    he also broke the race barrier on MTV. before jackson the station “didn’t show ni**ers”. this is 1982.

    Comment by Che Tibby — June 28, 2009 @ 7:58 am

  15. Don’t know about the boomers, but I’m too young to even count as Gen X and the news still gave me a bit of a shock.

    To be honest I never really cared about anything that MJ put out past about 1994, but as a primary school kid in the early 1990s myself and everybody I knew adored MJ – he was the biggest star anybody could think of, and you just had to have a tape or (wow!) a CD of his. I had cousins with a tape compilation of MJ’s music videos and we would go around and just watch it for hours. Everybody tried to moonwalk at the school discos. Towards the end people began to parrot steadily creepier MJ jokes they’d heard on the TV or from older siblings, but for a while there he was the definition of cool.

    Obviously I was very young then and no doubt I’m recalling this through rosy-tinted glasses, but it does make you feel noticeably older when you can recall feeling that kind of adoration towards a star in your childhood, and then you suddenly realise that wow, yeah, they’re dead and gone.

    Sorry to be maudlin but there ya go. I’ll be properly flippant again on Monday.

    Comment by Sam Finnemore — June 28, 2009 @ 11:40 am

  16. McJackson.
    He shoulda put out a burger. Be laughing.

    Comment by analcancer — June 28, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

  17. “Such humans unfortunately only every 100 years is born”
    Eh? I don’t think there’s a 100 year wait between pedo’s, even in the music industry. Just look at Glitter and that producer guy who’s name escapes me, almost the same era as Mickey.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — July 1, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

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