I still can’t believe it. On June 25th, 2009, Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, passed away. He was just 50 years old.
Having always been a huge fan of MJ, the news really saddened me. I knew he would have never been the same superstar that he was back in the Thriller days, but I always enjoyed watching him try.
His memorial service today made me think back to the early years of Michael’s solo career. In the 80’s you couldn’t turn on the radio, MTV or go into the mall without seeing or hearing something from Michael Jackson. His video debuts were huge events that we would count down the weeks, days and hours until the new one would premiere. I think I watched the Thriller video a hundred times when it first came out.
Sure, we all knew Michael was weird but that is what kept us so interested in him. In the beginning it was just the right amount of weird but in the mid 90’s and then up until his death he got to be a little too much for some people. It seemed that Michael spent the majority of his adult life trying to get back what he was once robbed of...his childhood. As a kid he was forced to stay inside and practice with his brothers while all the other children in the neighborhood were out playing. I think this is why he created Neverland. It was his way to finally get his childhood back. Also, what better way to do it, in his mind, then by having kids constantly around him? I personally never believed that he molested those children but he did put himself in inappropriate situations. This set him up to be an easy target to get sued by families who had potential multi-millions to gain. He was never convicted any crime but he should have remembered what he said in the song Billy Jean “Be careful what you do, ‘cause a lie becomes the truth”.
Michael definitely had his demons and often seemed very unhappy in life. However, once he got on that stage, he looked like he put it all behind him. The stage was his time to shine and he could out sing and out dance anyone in the business. Today, we have some artists who are great singers but can’t dance. We also have great dancers who can’t sing. But we have no one like Michael Jackson who was the whole package. Not since Elvis has someone taken the world by storm like the King of Pop.
Unfortunately, with his death, Michael Jackson has become our generation’s Elvis. He was a singer who had talent above all others but succumbed to his inner demons and left this world way too soon. Kids growing up today may never really understand the magic of Michael Jackson the way us younger people probably can’t really understand the magic of Elvis. Sure, kids growing up now will watch his videos but they probably will not realize how groundbreaking they were. Nowadays so many artists, like Usher and Justin Timberlake, have copied Michael’s moves that MJ's dancing and singing may seem almost commonplace to them.
An superstar like Michael comes around once in a lifetime and looking around now, there is no one who can fill the glitter glove of MJ. However, we, the kids who grew up watching his videos, trying to copy his moonwalk in our bedrooms while listening to his records can say that we truly remember and understood Michael Jackson. We can look back now with great memories of THE KING OF POP and remember an ICON who was definitely “Off the Wall” but certainly a “Thriller”, who was so good that he was “Bad”. Who at times seemed “Dangerous” but ultimately, with his death, his legacy will be “Invincible”.
OK, that was serious Chachi giving a tribute. Now it’s time to switch gears. I wanted to create a list of the Top 10 Michael Jackson Related Videos You May Have Missed
. I figured everyone has seen the music videos for Thriller and Beat It a thousand times so I wanted to throw in a bunch of stuff you may not have seen and actually “learn you” for a change.
1) Indian Thriller
- Donga (somehow not a porn title) is an Indian film which was released on March 14, 1985. This movie features a scene with a song called Golimar (Shoot the Bullet). The music and dancing is actually very similar to the Thriller video. A couple of years ago this video clip made its way to YouTube and is now known as Indian Thriller. In my opinion, it is waaaaaay better than Slum Dog Millionaire and should have received the Oscar instead.
2) Moonwalker: The Video Game – The original Nintendo (NES) was the king on the block for many years until Sega Genesis started to take over. One of Sega’s first big games was Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. This 1990 game is based on the short Moonwalker film and features Michael trying to free little kids from the evil “Mr. Big”. I think this is a different Mr. Big than the one in Sex and the City but I’ve never watched the show so I can’t be sure.
Instrumental versions of popular MJ songs play throughout the game such as Smooth Criminal, Thriller and Bad. When you free all the kids at each stage, Bubbles the chimp will jump on your head and show you the way to the end boss. When Michael uses his magic, he causes all the evil guys on screen to dance to his song and then die. If Michael catches a shooting star he, for some reason, transforms into a Robot. I think the recent Transformers 2 movie really missed the boat for not hiring Michael Jackson to star before he died. MegaTron would have been no match for Jacko Prime.
3) Captain EO
- Ah, Captain EO! Most of you probably don’t remember this because you guys are assholes. Well, it was actually a 19 minute 3D show at EPCOT in Disney World staring Michael Jackson. It was directed by none other than the guy who directed the Godfather movies, Francis Ford Coppola. That is a huge deal. Further more, it was executive-produced by movie legend George Lucas.
You can’t imagine how big this was. This was back when Michael was on top coming right off of Thriller and was gearing up for the Bad album. Francis Ford Coppola made two of the best movies ever in Godfather 1 & 2 and Lucas just finished the original Star Wars trilogy. This was way before Lucas created Jar Jar Binks and before Coppola ruined Godfather with Part 3. So yeah, this was a shitting huge deal!
Was the short film any good? Hell no, but we didn’t care. We were watching an f’n Michael Jackson 3D show at Disney! I’m really not sure of the plot. It was something like Michael Jackson was in space and there was this evil queen and he somehow beat her with…wait for it…dancing and magic.
The song, Another Part of Me, was included in the film and didn’t appear on an album until a couple of years later when Bad was released. At the time, this film was the most expensive movie ever created (on a per minute basis) since it cost $30 million to make and only lasted 19 minutes.
4) Thriller Lego Video - Thank God for people with no life! How else would we have gotten this gem which features a shot for shot recreation of Thriller using nothing but Legos. Growing up I could barely build a damn square house out of these blocks so I have to respect anyone who could emulate a whole music video.
5) Ronald Reagan with Michael Jackson - In 1,000 years from now, when historians look back and try to pinpoint one perfect moment in history, it would have to be when Ronald Regan gave Michael Jackson a Presidential Humanitarian Award. This ceremony was to honor all of Michael’s work against drugs and drunk driving and was used to launch a Drunk Driving campaign on May 14, 1984. Ronald Reagan is my all time favorite president and since I love the 80’s, the meeting of these two pinnacle 80’s icons is almost too much for me to handle. This was a much bigger deal than when Reagan met with with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for the first time. Best line from Reagan was when told MJ he wanted to relay a message from the young people in the White House which was to tell Michael “please give some TLC to the PYT’s”. The laughter from Michael after that joke is priceless.
6) Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial - I’m a Coca-Cola man. I would usually rather drink hot piss spiked with shards of glass than drink Pepsi. However, when Michael started endorsing Pepsi-Cola, that all changed. I wanted to be a part of the Michael Jackson Pepsi Generation.
Nevertheless, the making of this commercial was not an easy effort for Michael. On January 27, 1984 while filming the Pepsi Cola commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Jackson suffered second degree burns to his scalp. This was after some of the pyrotechnics accidentally set his hair on fire in front of a live audience. Now I know we all fucked up at our jobs once or twice but can you imagine being the pyro guy who set MICHAEL JACKSON ON FIRE? WTF? I doubt that guy got a raise that year.
Pepsi settled out of court and Michael got $1.5 million for the "Michael Jackson Burn Center". Sadly, it has been reported that Michael had his 3rd nose job right after this and grew very self conscience about his looks.
7) Inmate Thriller Dance (You may be able to tell that I love Thriller) - If I could go to prison and do nothing but learn the Thriller dance, I would kill a man right now. Well, this is what actually happened in 2007 when the inmates of a maximum security prison in the Philippines learned the choreography of the Thriller video in the prison courtyard. The video featured 1,500 male prisoners emulating the dance. This totally beats the ass raping prisons of the US. Who said crime doesn’t pay? I guess Thriller was more of a safe Michael Jackson song choice because you really don’t want to be singing Beat It around 1,500 horny convicts.
8) Michael Jackson & Webster - I really love midgets…especially when they don’t have knives and are trying to kill me. That why I totally loved this video of Webster dancing with Michael Jackson. Webster was kind of a Gary Coleman clone back when little black midgets adopted by white families were all the rage on 80’s TV. This video is soooooo cute until you realize that Webster here is really a 46 year old man.
9) Corey Felman dances like Michael Jackson - I’m was a huge fan of the two Corey’s (Haim and Feldman) back in the 80’s, especially Corey Feldman. He starred in my favorite movies such as Goonies and Stand By Me. I remember when Feldman was addicted to Michael Jackson then and would dress and even dance like him. Now when I say “dance like him”, I mean he wanted to dance like him but like every other imitator, didn’t even come close. Here is Corey dancing and singing on some Improv show. I have no idea what is going on here but like a kid in the Special Olympics, he is trying. That’s all we can really ask.
10) We Are The World - "We Are the World" was a song from 1985 that was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, produced by Quincy Jones and featured 45 of the most popular musicians at the time. This was really the Who’s Who list of pop stars back in 85. Dubbed USA for Africa, this group featured solos from: (in order of first appearance)
Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles.
We Are the World" raised a whopping $63 million for famine relief but somehow there are still hungry Africans. I have no idea how because $63 million can buy a hell of a lot Ramen Noodles. What did the Africans spend all the money on one night out at the expensive Ruth’s Chris Steak House?
Well, Michael Jackson may be gone but his memory will live on in his music and videos. However, we have to remember, more importantly, that Michael wasn't just an entertainer. Watching the memorial service we were reminded that Michael Jackson was also a friend, a brother, a son and most importantly, a father.
Hopefully when Michael enters Heaven he moonwalks through the Pearly Gates. RIP King of Pop.