OA Rock Cesario Column July 03, 2009
There is nothing like a trip to the California coast to see the ocean and the redwoods to put things in your life in perspective.
So there we were on Thursday, June 25, just entering the Redwood Forest in Northern California via the Avenue of the Giants when I received a phone call from Ann Wright, my editor at The Daily Sentinel, asking me if I had heard about the death of Michael Jackson and hoping I would have a quote for her.
Well, of course I had a quote, but unfortunately I lost cell service before I had a chance to respond and by the time service was available it was too late to make the next edition.
Initially, I was going to tell Ann that I liked The Jackson 5 when I first heard the group’s music in the late 1960s.
I found their music to be a lot more interesting and entertaining than that of the Partridge Family or the dreaded Osmonds with Donny and Marie leading the show.
The music of The Jackson 5 had soul that the others lacked and even as a 10- or 11-year-old boy it was easy to see that Michael Jackson was a dynamic performer.
Later, as a solo artist, Jackson was even more dynamic, and he had the rare ability to write great and catchy pop songs such as “Billie Jean” and “Thriller.”
I have always thought that Jackson was a big part of the bridge between James Brown and Prince.
As far as what happened to Jackson in the 20 years or so since his all-time classic “Thriller” ...
I don’t know, but musically, every songwriter hits a point where he or she is not as creative or productive as in the past.
It happens to most songwriters at some time or another in their careers, and it has happened to some of the greatest.
As far as Jackson’s personal life goes, I am not going to pass judgment any more than I would on any other musician or artist.
If I were to base my exposure to any musician or artist based on my moral values, there would be a lot of art and music and movies I would miss.
Unfortunately, the way that a lot of the media sensationalizes things it is very hard to keep your perspective.
I don’t remember this kind of hype when John Lennon was murdered, and that was an incredible tragedy when it happened but that was pretty much it.
In fact, I first heard about it from Howard Cosell during a Monday Night Football game and later on ABC’s “Nightline.”
Now, we have CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and Fox News, all 24-hour news networks trying their hardest to outdo each other. It is truly pathetic.
All I really know is that in both Jackson’s and Lennon’s deaths children lost their fathers and that is the greater tragedy.
What the rest of us think doesn’t really matter a whole lot.