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MJ...the greatest ever?

Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009, at 12:47 PM

Michael Jackson is the single greatest solo entertainer of all time.

For a moment, let's forget all the publicized controversy that surrounded Jackson's life even up until the King of Pop died June 25 after suffering a cardiac arrest -- the skin bleaching talk, the changing faces, the odd public behavior, the child molestation allegations.

Despite all this, the fact remains that Michael Jackson died as one of the most commercially successful and influential artists in history. That fact makes all the scrutiny and criticism that Jackson endured throughout his life pale in comparison. His career as an entertainer has not been matched. And he has influenced countless of today's top artists.

Yes, MJ was an odd character, yet a great, unique human being. His talents and contributions to the music industry, people and organizations all over the world overshadow the controversial aspects of his life and career.

There have been numerous talented singers, songwriters and dancers that have entertained audiences throughout the years, but when it came to pure talent and showmanship, none of them came close to Michael Jackson. The style, the fashion, the moves. No one else really compared.

MJ put on a show like no other, and attracted legions of fans everywhere he went. He was also a notable philanthropist and humanitarian and one of the top celebrities ever in terms of charitable giving. These endeavors alone speak volumes in the story of Jackson's life.

I remember growing up listening to his music. I remember, as an imaginative 9-year-old, trying to make the squares of sidewalk outside light up when I walked on them, much like he did in his famous "Billie Jean" video. I had the zippered jacket, the glove, the records, the tapes.

I remember practicing the robot, the moonwalk, and other famous Jackson dance moves in front of the mirror and family and friends. I remember playing his "Thriller" album over and over again until my mom wanted to smash the record. But my mom, also an MJ fan, knew she couldn't do that. She knew what that record meant to me, and to her, too.

I was saddeded when I heard of his death a few months ago. I think it will be thought of from now on as one of those "Where were you when...?" moments in history. I was on vacation with my family, dining in a restaurant when I heard the news. I was stunned, not really knowing what to think at first.

Not long after, as the news media began running around-the-clock coverage of his death and the surrounding controversy (it was a little much, the TV specials are still out there), I began listening once again to Jackson's music.

Before that, it had regrettably been several years since I had really listened to Jackson's music or watched him perform. Looking back on his life and career made me remember how I felt as a child, and glad the world got to experience such a fabulous musician and entertainer.

As popular and influential as he was throughout his life and career, it still made me kind of sad to realize that it took his death for me, and maybe other people, to look back and appreciate how much of a positive effect he had on the world, and to be grateful we got to experience his passion for music and entertaining, and for all that he gave to the world.

Jackson, who would have been 51 Saturday, is expected to be buried on Thursday. But his spirit, legacy and music are far from gone.

Thank you, MJ.

Showing comments in chronological order
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Your idea of a fabulous musician is obviously based on your ideas when you listened to and watched him perform as a child. For people of an earlier generation, who grew up hearing people who actually knew how to sing, write music and perform, Michael Jackson was a joke. And that doesn't even go into his behaviors with children and his drug usage. He's not exactly a role model for any person, and certainly not for children. I fail to see how he had any kind of "positive effect on the world" (your words).

-- Posted by Fort Scott Person on Thu, Sep 3, 2009, at 7:15 PM

Sooo, is it right to "idolize" this man, or should we just acknowledge that he was an artistically gifted individual?

-- Posted by like2b_onree on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 8:05 AM

I'm not trying to idolize MJ, even though he was an idol to millions. This blog may sound a little like I idolize him, but that's not the case. I simply think he was the most talented and gifted entertainer I have ever seen or heard, and his efforts as an artist and humanitarian should be remembered. But I never put him on a pedestal and worshipped him. I am simply a fan of his music and performing style, and his giving nature.

Now granted, I was not alive to hear alot of music prior to the 1970s, but through TV and radio many artists are still out there..i've seen and heard them and I still think no one compares to MJ in terms of pure entertainment value..sure there have been better singers and songwriters over the years, but in my opinion, no one holds a candle to MJ in terms of dance and showmanship. The man was the definition of an "artist."

No positive effect on the world? Um, let's see....earned the title of King of Pop, numerous charitable acts to needy children and organizations all over the world, top selling album of all time, and his albums STILL keep selling well three months after his death, Heal the World Foundation, We Are the World...MJ gave ALOT of his money he earned over the years to charities because he was a great person...philanthropy efforts, one of the most charitably giving celebrities ever... i guess none of these are positive though, right?

And I also mentioned in the blog that I think his career accomplishments overshadow the allegations that followed him during his life. Sure he did some weird things and he had some major issues, but who in this world doesn't or hasn't? And MJ was in the public eye consistently throughout his life and career, so there was the stress of that as well.

In my opinion, to look at his life and only remember the controversy and negative aspects is closed-minded and that is truly the joke.

-- Posted by Jason Silvers FST staff writer on Fri, Sep 4, 2009, at 9:22 AM

Fort Scott Person:

And I quote, "For people of an earlier generation, who grew up hearing people who actually knew how to sing, write music and perform, Michael Jackson was a joke. And that doesn't even go into his behaviors with children and his drug usage."

While I respect all opinions, I do have to comment on this one. Let me add that I am not a fan of MJ's. However, I do respect what he added to music as a legend in his own right.

However, this earlier generation you speak of, I assume the what 50's, 60's and 70's? Let me throw a few names out for you here: Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Karen Carpenter, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Hank Williams Sr...I could go on. None of these musicians mentioned where what could be considered, "role models." However, they too have their place in our history of music and are widely liked and respected.

So MJ was weird, he may have molested children, only allegations, but so what? His personal life has or will never have nothing to do with the impact he placed on the music industry. No matter how much you want it to, it just doesn't.

-- Posted by farmspice on Sat, Sep 5, 2009, at 1:48 AM

Sooo, Jason, who would be the #2 greatest singer/entertainer of all time in your opinion?

Just curious!

-- Posted by like2b_onree on Mon, Sep 7, 2009, at 10:00 PM
Jason Silvers' response:
Dan, that is a tough one, especially since there have been so many great singers/entertainers over the years..but I'd probably put Elvis at #2, IF I sat down and started to rank them all..but that would be a hard task that I don't think I would want. To me, MJ was just the best as far as talent and the whole package. Lots of better singers over the years, as far as vocalists, but when it comes to dance and performing, showmanship and making it all into an art form, and wowing a crowd, MJ was the best.

Lynyrd Skynrd**** FREEBIRD!!!!!!!!!!!!

just had to yell that! LoL

-- Posted by like2b_onree on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, at 11:18 AM

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