Friday, 26 June 2009

Two heroes gone in one week

“The thing that sometimes seems to get overlooked about Michael Jackson is what an absolutely phenomenal singer he was. He had one of the greatest gospel shouts of the 20th century, quite possibly the last of its kind. The outros of some of his songs especially, such as ‘Wanna Be Startin' Somethin’ were ecstatic, and, or, full of pain, like the one about the environment [‘Earth Song’] which Jarvis Cocker attacked him for. I like Jarvis, but I personally didn’t really understand the reason for that.”

Jerry Dammers, founder/main songwriter of The Specials
On the eve of Glastonbury word comes through that the inspirational Steven Wells has passed away. There couldn’t be any further big news for the twin worlds of music and journalism before the weekend could there?

In the end speculation counted for nothing. Michael Jackson couldn’t manage any of his 50 sold out London dates. Frail, financially uncertain and dogged by allegations of child abuse he may have been in later years, but the MJ that really mattered was a true entertainer. He could sing, write and dance better than almost any man alive.

He lived with a chimp, dangled his infant son from a window, slept in an oxygen tank, lived in a theme park of his own design and invented the moonwalk before dying at 50 years old.

Millions of fans around the world have been playing the King of Pop’s tunes since the news of his death was confirmed yesterday with some dancing and singing in the streets in Los Angeles. I sat through Off The Wall, ‘Thriller’, ‘Bad’, ‘Billie Jean’ and a handful of others.

We may never see his like again and it’s fair to say his influence on the world of pop, rock, rap and dance can’t be underestimated. You can’t have a decent house party without a few Jacko tunes, while remixes of his tracks are always surfacing in clubland.

Predictably tributes have been flying around almost too quick to even read. There's even a mass moonwalk at Liverpool St at 6pm tonight.

Can there be anyone else in the world whose death would provoke Gordon Brown, Martin Scorsese, Beyoncé, MC Hammer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Uri Geller to say words of thanks and loss?

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