Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP: Michael Jackson

From Motown 25:

The King of Pop was 50.


UPDATE: Here's a slideshow of Michael Jackson's life.

Eerie. He was my age. I remember watching him on the Ed Sullivan Show when we were both kids. From the Jackson 5 to a worldwide pop icon; recognizable everywhere, with no hype needed to explain his fame. When I was in Russia two summers ago, Michael Jackson was far and away the most popular choice of DJs at the clubs I attended--frequented by Russian locals as well as Western expats--and the favorite pop star among many of the Russians with whom I hung out.
My driver Kuril--a young Russian club-goer and hardcore dance-music freak--talked about Michael Jackson constantly, cranked up his music on a tinny, rattling Toyota Prado stereo and told me he loved "Billie Jean" best.
I think I heard that damn song almost as much on Sakhalin Island as I ever had on U.S. soil...

UPDATE: Thinking back now about Kuril, it's evident that in many ways Michael Jackson was one of our greatest exports. Shortly after I arrived in Los Angeles, a rival freight forwarder down the street from my office was held up, its crew duct-taped together and stuffed into their company truck as thieves made off with pallets of Jackson's "Bad" CD. The crew had been preparing shipments of "Bad" to be flown to destinations worldwide. Such was the demand for Jackson's music at his peak--here, there and everywhere.

Click here for a statement from mentor, friend and collaborator Quincy Jones.

Here's a timeline.

Here's Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth (Tim Russert's widow) on the dark side.

BeltwayBlips: vote it up!

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