Friday, June 26, 2009

2 passings of pop culture icons on same day

...or 3 if you count Ed McMahon's death which happened a few days ago. I admit I wasn't a fan of his. Don't get me wrong. The man served his country good and he had the right personality to be an announcer. Every broadcasting student dreamed of having his job(s). But Ed came at the right place, right time. In the late 1940s and 50s, it seemed easy to get an announcing/hosting job. After reading Howard Stern's Private Parts years ago, my attitude towards him changed as Howard made him sound like a complete, well, you know. I couldn't help but agree that Ed had the easiest job in the world (besides Vanna White), just sitting there laughing at Johnny Carson's jokes. But that's Howard Stern for ya. Farrah Fawcett passed away after a long battle with cancer. She is best known as the Charlie's Angels lady. She was pretty much a 70s icon, or a 70s reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe, but with a hero-like twist.

Last night I woke up at 9 and checked my fb and several statuses mentioned Michael Jackson. So I had to see what's up. Obviously I knew he was dead, but I had to see it in real journalistic print. Of course, I was shocked like very many. And believe me, I'm so sick of hearing about it and I know it won't end just yet. Him and Farrah (and maybe Ed) will battle it out for the tabloid and magazine covers next week.

So, going back to the King of Pop, where do I start? Of course, I was sad to hear about it since it was sudden. Here was a guy who America watched grow up and who saw mega-fame and saw his career go down the toilet. For the longest time, I was hoping he'd make a great comeback and all of his troubles would go away in people's minds for once. One of my earliest memories was listening to Thriller, which at one time was the best-selling album of all-time. (It is safe to say that it's the best selling non-compilation lp) In fact, I was once afraid of the album cover due to its striking nature. I remember listening to Bad and all the hit songs off of it, especially that one day I came out of Children's Hospital and I heard 'The Way You Make Me Feel'. And I remember getting the Dangerous cassette tape from my aunt for Christmas. The guy was also known to be selfless, giving away chunks of his dough to charity, as well as co-writing 'We Are The World'. I even read about the down-to-earth guy Michael was in Ryan White's autobiography.

It is sad to say that the generation below me arguably knows Michael as a freak. He's mostly known to generations for his eccentric behavior and bizarre mannerisms. The last 15 years of his life had to be tough on the guy. He was also known for his outrageous spending, especially on art and his Neverland ranch. Michael was reportedly going broke, but I knew he was still rolling in the dough. After all, he owned all the rights to the Beatles songs. I believe that was one of the first things that led to MJ's downfall, was outbidding his friend/duet partner Paul McCartney for the rights to the Beatles catalogue. According to the Jump the Shark! book, Jon Hein notes that he 'jumped the shark' when a sudden pale-skinned Michael showed Wesley Snipes 'who's bad!'. Most people have come to Michael's defense. Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men backed MJ up saying that Michael spent his childhood performing in strip clubs and never did hang around kids his age. In other words, he would not grow up like a normal guy and lived it in his adulthood.

Dick Clark once said in an interview, "You either love and appreciate Michael Jackson for his music, or you dislike him for his personal life'. I will say Michael did more than his share to contribute to the entertainment industry. MTV (which he arguably single-handedly built) did the right thing doing a video marathon tribute to MJ. On my part, I will do a one-hour tribute to him on WLC80s. I'll play his stuff off Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad, and possibly some stuff he did with the Jacksons in the 80s. It'll be this Sunday night.

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