Thursday, June 25, 2009

501. Rest In Peace, Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

The King of Pop dies at 50, reads The Washington Post.

I'd say for my generation, he was the King of Music. Perhaps like Frank Sinatra from the 40s and 50s, and Elvis Presley in the 50s and 60s, Michael Jackson occupied the top of the charts for my generation, of the 70s and 80s and into the 90s, well after my generation had gotten into their 30s. And in a few weeks he was planning of a return to the stage on a worldwide tour. He started in the 1960s as a kid appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show - and that gives him a near-omnipresent role in the music of my entire lifetime. He was almost exactly two years older than me. He is someone my age. We shared the same timeline more or less - until today. It was the music of Michael Jackson and his brothers I grew up with, me a white kid in southern Jefferson County, listening to the Jackson Five, a black group from Gary, Indiana.

Between his work with his brothers and that on his own, he became (and remains) one of the top selling vocal artists in the world. He places fourth on the list of all time sales behind The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Bing Crosby. There are a whole bunch of songs of his that are favorites of mine. I've copied the words of three of them below, first I'll Be There, released by the Jackson Five on the day before Michael's 12th birthday, a song I skated to many, many times at the Okolona Skating Rink on Blue Lick Road; followed by Ben, released a month shy of his 14th birthday, which eerily may have been a look into what proved to be a lonely life at times; and Billie Jean released when Jackson was 24, when he was at the beginning of the top of a career that stayed at the top for the next five years. Finally, he also co-wrote with Lionel Ritchie the collaborative song We Are The World, released in 1985, written to raise money for the hungry children of impoverished areas of Africa, the lyrics of which are listed last, along with the names of the forty-five stars who participated and the lines they sang.

*****

I'll Be There (1970)
Great video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4QyZH0EXcQ - or this where he looks every bit of 12 or younger - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmxT21uFRwM

You and I must make a pact, we must bring salvation back
Where there is love, I'll be there

I'll reach out my hand to you, I'll have faith in all you do
Just call my name and I'll be there

I'll be there to comfort you,
Build my world of dreams around you, I'm so glad that I found you
I'll be there with a love thats strong
I'll be your strength, I'll keep holding on

Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, well thats all I'm after
Whenever you need me, I'll be there
I'll be there to protect you, with an unselfish love that respects you
Just call my name and I'll be there

If you should ever find someone new, I know he'd better be good to you
'cause if he doesn't, I'll be there
Don't you know, baby, yeah yeah
I'll be there, I'll be there, just call my name, I'll be there

(just look over your shoulders, honey - oo)

I'll be there, I'll be there, whenever you need me, I'll be there
Don't you know, baby, yeah yeah

I'll be there, I'll be there, just call my name, I'll be there...

*****

Ben (1972)
Video from the Sonny and Cher Show - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSqo17o2a1w

Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I'll never be alone
And you, my friend, will see
You've got a friend in me
(you've got a friend in me)

Ben, you're always running here and there
You feel you're not wanted anywhere
If you ever look behind
And don't like what you find
There's one thing you should know
You've got a place to go
(you've got a place to go)

I used to say "I" and "me"
Now it's "us", now it's "we"
I used to say "I" and "me"
Now it's "us", now it's "we"
Ben, most people would turn you away
I don't listen to a word they say
They don't see you as I do
I wish they would try to
I'm sure they'd think again
If they had a friend like Ben
(a friend) Like Ben
(like Ben) Like Ben

*****

Billie Jean (1983)
- the original video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En-cHBv7UpA

She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene
I said don't mind, but what do you mean I am the one
Who will dance on the floor in the round
She said I am the one, who will dance on the floor in the round

She told me her name was Billie Jean, as she caused a scene
Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one
Who will dance on the floor in the round

People always told me be careful of what you do
And don't go around breaking young girls' hearts
And mother always told me be careful of who you love
And be careful of what you do 'cause the lie becomes the truth

Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

For forty days and for forty nights
The law was on her side
But who can stand when she's in demand
Her schemes and plans
'Cause we danced on the floor in the round
So take my strong advice, just remember to always think twice
(Do think twice)

She told my baby we'd danced till three, then she looked at me
Then showed a photo my baby cried his eyes were like mine (oh, no!)
'Cause we danced on the floor in the round, baby

People always told me be careful of what you do
And don't go around breaking young girls' hearts
She came and stood right by me
Then the smell of sweet perfume
This happened much too soon
She called me to her room

Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son

Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son
Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son
She says I am the one

Billie Jean is not my lover
Billie Jean is not my lover
Billie Jean is not my lover
Billie Jean is not my lover
Billie Jean is not my lover

Billie Jean is
Billie Jean is
Billie Jean is

Not my lover
Not my lover
Not my lover
Not my lover

Billie Jean is not my lover (she is just a girl)
Billie Jean is not my lover (she is just a girl)
Billie Jean is not my lover (she is just a girl)
Billie Jean is not my lover (she is just a girl)

Billie Jean is
Billie Jean is

Billie Jean is not my lover
Billie Jean is not my lover

*****

We Are The World (1985)
- this video has them all - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmxT21uFRwM

Lionel Richie: There comes a time when we heed a certain call
Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder: When the world must come together as one
Stevie Wonder: There are people dying
Paul Simon: Oh, and it's time to lend a hand to life
Paul Simon and Kenny Rogers: The greatest gift of all

Kenny Rogers: We can't go on pretending day by day
James Ingram: That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
Tina Turner: We're all a part of God's great big family
Billy Joel: And the truth
Tina Turner and Billy Joel: You know, love is all we need

Michael Jackson: We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving

Diana Ross: There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
Michael Jackson and Diana Ross: It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Dionne Warwick: Well, send them your heart
So they'll know that someone cares
Dionne Warwick and Willie Nelson: And their lives will be stronger and free
Willie Nelson: As God has shown us by turning stone to bread
Al Jarreau: And so we all must lend a helping hand

Bruce Springsteen: We are the world, we are the children
Kenny Loggins: We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
Steve Perry: Oh, there's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
Daryl Hall: It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Michael Jackson: When you're down and out
And there seems no hope at all
Huey Lewis: But if you just believe
There's no way we can fall
Cindi Lauper: Well, well, well, well let's realize
Oh, that a change can only come
Kim Carnes: When we
Huey Lewis and Cyndi Lauper: Stand together as one
Kim Carnes: Yeah yeah yeah yeah!

All: We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving

All: There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

All: We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving

Bob Dylan: There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

All: We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving (so let's start giving)

All: There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
Bob Dylan and all: It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Ray Charles: Alright, let me hear you!
All: We are the world
Ray Charles: We are the world
All: We are the children
Ray Charles: Yeah, we are the children
All: We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
Ray Charles: Let's start giving

Ray Charles: There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a finer day
Just you and me
Come on now, let me hear you!

Stevie Wonder: We are the world
Bruce Springsteen: We are the world
Stevie Wonder: We are the children
Bruce Springsteen: We are the children
Stevie Wonder: We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
Bruce Springsteen: So let's start giving

Stevie Wonder: There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me, yeah, yeah

Stevie Wonder: We are the world
Bruce Springsteen: We are the world
Stevie Wonder: We are the children
Bruce Springsteen: We are the children
Stevie Wonder: We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
Bruce Springsteen: So let's start giving

Bruce Springsteen: There's a choice we're making
Yeah, we're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me
Stevie Wonder: It's true, woah woah woah woah

All: We are the world (woah woah woah)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving (so let's start giving)

All: There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

James Ingram: We are the world
Ray Charles and all: (We are the world)
James Ingram: We are the children
All: (We are the children)
Ray Charles: Yes, so!
James Ingram: We are the ones that make a brighter day
So let's start giving
All: So let's start giving

Ray Charles: There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me, hooo hoo

All: We are the world
Ray Charles: Get down!
All: (We are the world)
All: We are the children
Ray Charles: Yeah!
All: (We are the children)
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving

Ray Charles: Alright, need to hear what I'm sayin'!
Ray Charles and all: There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Ray Charles: Alright, I will say it again!
Ray Charles and all: We are the world
All: (We are the world)
Ray Charles and all: We are the children
All: (We are the children)

*****

Rest In Peace, Michael Jackson, 1958-2009. +

1 comment:

Carol said...

Oh he planned for the worldwide tour but he couldn't do that!!!
Carol
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Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Single, male, bald, overweight, early 50s, seeking . . . Oh wait, that's goes on the other website. How about this - never married, liberal Democrat, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.