Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!



Michael Jackson: Remember the time
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin

This article shared 6315 times since Sat Aug 1, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

It has been two weeks since Michael Jackson passed away. The world's biggest pop icon is gone, yet truths behind the myth are unraveling. Constant news reports and tasteless jokes about the King of Pop are rampant.

His body of work transcends age, gender, race and nationality like no other. Whether it was the disco-flavored "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," the guitar-driven "Dirty Diana" or the uplifting "Will You Be There," Jackson blurred musical barriers.

In his prime, Jackson had multiple number ones on the pop, R&B and dance charts. His career also saw a slew of awards, including Grammys, a Golden Globe, American Music Awards, BET Awards and an induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Few realize that Jackson composed a significant portion of his catalog by himself. Some of his lyrics reflect a life of solitude. On "Stranger in Moscow" he asks, "how does it feel, when you are alone and you're cold inside?" Abandonment is the theme of "Who Is It?" as he cries out, "I can't take it, cause I'm lonely." On History Continues, the spirit of a cornered animal is captured on "They Don't Care about Us," "This Time Around" and "D.S."

Jackson's legacy thrives, as many, including Missy Elliott, Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Lady Gaga and Robin Thicke keep his spirit alive in their art. Even rock musicians embrace the gloved one, as Soundgarden's Chris Cornell has transformed "Billie Jean" into an acoustic gem, Fallout Boy redid "Beat It" and Alien Ant Farm scored big with a cover of "Smooth Criminal." The King of Pop collaborated with rock heavy weights Eddie Van Halen on "Beat It," Billy Idol's musical partner Steve Stevens on "Dirty Diana" and Slash on "Give in to Me."

Rihanna brilliantly samples the chant from "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" on "Don't Stop the Music." Portions of The Jackson 5's "ABC" are worked into Naughty by Nature's smash "O.P.P." The rhythm of the Jacksons' "Can You Feel It" is present on 1998's "Feel It" by The Tamperer. SWV incorporates Jackson's vocals from "Human Nature" into the hit "Right Here." Comedic musician Weird Al Yankovic had chart success with his humorous treatment of Jackson's material on "Eat It" and "Fat."

Stars at the recent BET Music Awards paid tribute to Jackson, citing him as an inspiration and sending prayers to his family.

The groundbreaking music video "Thriller" is being turned into a stage production. The musical will be more than just a translation of the classic video, it will also have material from Thriller and Off The Wall per . Can't wait that long? A choreographed remake of the werewolf video has become a YouTube sensation when it was redone by inmates from The Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines.

Other videos highlight the King of Pop's career are "Billie Jean," "Smooth Criminal," "Black or White" and the most expensive video ever made, the $7 million "Scream." The first videos from his 1991 Dangerous album debuted on Sunday night TV on multiple channels. His work became a must-see event. Also, Jackson was the first African-American artist to have a video played on MTV.

Then there was his dancing. Shalamar's founding member Jeffrey Daniel moonwalked during a performance of "A Night to Remember" on England's The Top of the Pops in 1982, a year before Jackson did so on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. When Jackson debuted his moonwalk twice during "Billie Jean" the crowd went into a frenzy. He claimed the dance move as his own. Then there was the anti-gravitational lean from "Smooth Criminal" and his trademark moves: the spin, the kick, the thrust and the crotch-grabbing.

Some of Jackson's hits like "P.Y.T. ( Pretty Young Thing ) ," "Smooth Criminal," "Dirty Diana," "In the Closet" and "Give in to Me" did not appear on his first major retrospective HIStory in 1995. Part of me wonders if the content of these songs—mostly my favorites I might add—were omitted due to their content and how his poor public image needed much mending following child molestation charges.

The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Jackson as the most charitable pop star. At the height of his popularity, Jackson stated that he was donating all of his earnings from the Victory Tour to charity. He also co-penned "We Are the World" to assist the famine relief in Africa. His tender voice urged for the betterment on "Man in the Mirror" and "Heal the World."

The tabloid fixture befriended Ryan White, helping de-stigmatize the myths surrounding AIDS and PWA. White, like the Jackson family, was from Indiana. "Gone Too Soon" was dedicated in White's memory.

Acting as paparazzi fodder, Jacko was Madonna's date to the 1991 Oscars. Per biographer Mark Bego's Madonna: Blonde Ambition, the Material Girl suggested "that Michael was a closet homosexual who needed to be dragged out of the closet." She later allegedly referred to him as a space-alien drag queen.

In the '80s, there was nobody comparable to Jackson; there still isn't. Based on dwindling record sales, it is doubtful another artist will sell as many copies of an album, as Jackson had done with Thriller.

Madonna, Prince and Jackson were born within months on each other in 1958. This threesome crossed over into mega-stardom in the '80s as MTV revolutionized the industry.

There was only one African-American boy in my fourth-grade class in the suburbs. He proudly wore a red jacket with his sparkling glove like his idol. During recess he would play Thriller on a boom box to entertain his classmates with reinterpretations of Jackson's videos, having me sometimes as his back-up dancer.

The Michael Jackson doll even worked its way into pop culture. The toy's wardrobe became a recurring joke on Courtney Cox's short-lived '80s sci-fi series The Misfits of Science.

Seeing the video of Jackson dangling his baby out of the window in a Berlin hotel in 2002, one can tell Jackson was not of sound mind. Celebrities all have had moments. Remember Mariah Carey's rants around the time of Glitter, Paula Abdul being doped up on American Idol or any embarrassing moments from Britney Spears?

Now let's question the intentions and competency of those close to Jackson. Was he such a personality that doctors would blur the line of ethics in regards to his prescription intake? Will Jackson's untimely death be a wake up call to those taking prescriptions liberally? No more than Anna Nicole Smith's premature passing. Was his family or management unable to say that one child molestation charge is enough and to monitor his play dates with underage boys?

Jackson underwent multiple plastic-surgery operations, so much so that a photo of the modern-day Peter Pan had not graced the cover of one of his albums since 1987's Bad.

Multiple retrospectives of Jackson's tremendous musical legacy remind us of his remarkable achievements. Available are the 18-track Number Ones; the four-disc career spanning The Ultimate Collection; the '80s- and '90s-focused Greatest Hits History Volume 1; and solid double-disc The Essential Michael Jackson.

This article shared 6315 times since Sat Aug 1, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Ravinia Festival announces 2021 summer programming 2021-05-06
--From a press release - HIGHLAND PARK, IL — The Ravinia Festival, under the direction of its new President and CEO Jeffrey P. Haydon, announced the concert schedule for 2021 today, celebrating the reopening of the park for the first time ...

Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot, DCASE announce Chicago summer events 2021-05-06
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Choose Chicago, and Chicago's cultural community today announced "Open Culture" — the next phase of ...

Gay News

Northalsted plans to hold Market Days Aug. 6-8 2021-05-04
- The Northalsted Business Alliance plans to host Market Days August 6-8, adding a Friday night edition, the first in its 38-year history. As vaccinations increase and Illinois begins planning for stage 5 reopening, organizers of the ...

Gay News

Heather Headley to headline Goodman Theatre's May 22 virtual gala 2021-05-03
- Goodman Theatre announced that Tony-winning Broadway actor and Grammy Award-winning singer Heather Headley will headline the company's "Together Center Stage" virtual 2021 gala fundraiser. "Together Center Stage" is slated to stream Saturday, May 22, ...

Gay News

Jeannie Tanner show at City Winery on May 20 2021-05-03
- On Thursday, May 20, at 7 p.m., City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., will host the first in-person performance of "3 Martini Jeannie." Throughout the pandemic, every Friday at 5 p.m., Tanner celebrated the close ...

Gay News

Vintage House show honoring Chicago House Music with DJ Lori Branch May 5 2021-05-03
--From a press release - Chicago, IL. May 3, 2021. Paving the way for every DJ behind her, DJ Lori Branch is continuously receiving flowers for her talents and dedication to music. Currently, through May, Spotify ( billboards highlighting Chicago music ...

Gay News

Windy City Smokeout to return July 8-11 2021-04-29
- The outdoor country-music/BBQ festival Windy City Smokeout will return to Chicago on July 8-11 outside the United Center, 1901 W. Madison St. Hosted by BBQ joint Bub City and the venue Joe's Bar, the event will ...

Gay News

Pride in the Park' on June 26-27 2021-04-29
- There will be at least one big LGBTQ+ event in Chicago this summer. Pride in the Park is slated to take place June 26-27 in Grant Park. It will be 2-10 p.m. on June 26, and 3-10 p.m. the following day. ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Joe Exotic' series, Luther Vandross, singer's announcement, star couples 2021-04-25
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch's John Cameron Mitchell has been tapped to play the title character opposite Kate McKinnon in the series Joe Exotic (working title), Deadline reported. The limited series centers on Carole Baskin (McKinnon), ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Brandi Carlile, 'Legendary,' children's book, film festival, Janet Mock 2021-04-18
- Lesbian musician Brandi Carlile memoir, Broken Horses, debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Sellers list, a press release announced. In addition to the hardback book, a very special audiobook edition of the ...

Gay News

Belting for Life Sunday May 16, streaming through May 31 2021-04-16
--From a press release - CHICAGO - Jeff Award-winning director and HIV+ activist Christopher Pazdernik presents the 6th annual Belting for Life (formerly known as Chris' Birthday Belt Fest), an annual benefit concert for Howard Brown Health, one of the nation's ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans singer, 'Pose,' Kate Winslet, Lil Nas X, Broadway 2021-04-11
- Trans femme indie-punk artist Evan Greer (she/her) released a dystopian new music video for the song "Surveillance Capitalism," a press release noted. She is using it to launch with Fight for the Future, where she ...

Gay News

Movie about art sensation born into slavery to premiere April 16 2021-04-08
- Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts—a film about a man who was born into slavery, and whose works became sensations in the art world—will premiere Friday, April 16, in local virtual cinemas of Music Box Theatre and Facets. ...

Gay News

Story of Chicagoan and Broadway influencer Sister Rosetta Tharpe on to Broadway 2021-04-06
--From a press release - NEW YORK (April 4, 2021) — Prolific writer and Chicago native Cheryl L. West (FANNIE: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer; Jar the Floor), will be joined on the creative team of SHOUT SISTER ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Special,' Bonnaroo, Broadway items, Rita Moreno, Bridgerton 2021-04-04
- The second season of the Netflix comedy series Special will premiere May 20, a press release noted. The series revolves around Ryan O'Connell, a gay man with mild cerebral palsy, and is based on his memoir ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.