Sunday, May 26, 2024

Michael Jackson Would Have Been 53 Today


Michael Jackson would have turned 53 today. Let’s concentrate on the good things–there’s enough bad stuff to keep everyone arguing for a long time. I have no doubt that fighting among fans who “know” it all will turn particularly vicious later this fall when books by Michael’s friend, Frank Cascio, and a muckracker named Randall Sullivan, are published. Also, Jermaine Jackson’s book is on its way.

And then there’s the much dreaded MJ tribute concert planned for Cardiff, Wales–a disaster in the making. Somewhere out there David Gest, who knows how to make a buck off all things Jackson, has his “documentary” that will also tell the “real story.” Let’s not forget that Michael’s father, Joe Jackson, continues to invent new money making schemes that just go pfft once they’re revealed.

We won’t even get into Drs. Murray and Klein.

What do Michael Jackson fans want to celebrate on this occasion? His extraordinary contribution to pop music culture and the canon of songs. From “Off the Wall” through the “Michael” album, as well as the Jackson 5 and Michael’s early solo stuff like “Got to Be There,” the legacy is enormous. There isn’t a club in the world that isn’t playing “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” every single hour of every day.

No matter who wrote, produced or directed a particular song, they are all Michael Jackson. His gorgeous voice is unmistakable, as his sense of rythym and pacing. No matter what you think of the “This Is It” movie,  you can see what made Michael tick. Especially in the dancing, it’s all genius. And of course, in the end, that’s the tragedy.

So happy birthday Michael. Listening to the tracks from “Michael,” and hoping that London would have been a success, it does seem like so much more was possible.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News