Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Michael Jackson becomes Motown’s latest fallen hero

By Dean Goodman
June 26, 2009

jackoWhat was supposed to be a yearlong celebration of Motown Records’ 50th anniversary, turned into a major tragedy with the death on Thursday of one of its biggest stars, Michael Jackson.

The 50-year-old self-proclaimed “King of Pop” died of suspected cardiac arrest as he was about to launch a major comeback with a string of 50 concerts in London.

It comes 25 years after the death of another Motown alumnus, Marvin Gaye, who was also on the comeback trail. Gaye was shot to death by his father in a domestic dispute.

Jackson rose to fame as the youngest member of the Jackson 5, a group that Motown founder Berry Gordy was initially reluctant to sign. “He didn’t want any more kid acts because Stevie Wonder was more than a handful,” said former Motown executive Suzanne de Passe, who lobbied Gordy to sign them.

De Passe toured extensively with the Jackson 5, taking charge of their costumes, schooling, choreography and concert production. “Michael was very mischievous back in those days,” de Passe said, recalling that he loved to hide in closets and behind doors to scare unsuspecting targets. She dubbed him “Casper,” and when she saw him decades later mobbed by fans, she yelled out “Casper!” and Jackson immediately rushed over to give her a hug.

Jackson left Motown for the greener pastures of Epic Records in 1979, and de Passe said she last spoke to him about three years ago. She was on a retreat when she heard of Jackson’s death, and described the news as “the shock of my life.”

Until Thursday, Gaye was probably Motown’s highest-profile casualty. The tortured soul’s career was marked by drugs, divorce, label disputes and bankruptcy. Drugs, poverty, suicide and murder claimed many other Motown figures. A year before Gaye was killed, virtuoso bass player James Jamerson died in obscurity. A raging alcoholic who played on Gaye’s landmark 1971 album “What’s Going On,” Jamerson has since been deified by aficionados.

Other ill-fated stars include:

– Roger Penzabene, the co-writer of the Temptations’ mournful masterpiece “I Wish It Would Rain,” committed suicide in 1967.
– Hard-partying drummer Benny Benjamin, the backbeat of the Motown sound, was silenced by a stroke in 1969 after battling drugs and alcohol.
– Temptations co-founder Paul Williams, the heart of the group and lead singer on “Don’t Look Back,” turned to alcohol and was eventually unable to perform. Two years after quitting, he shot himself dead in 1973, while sitting in a car parked two blocks from Motown.
– Another troubled former Temptation David Ruffin, who sang lead on “My Girl,” died of a drug overdose in 1991.
– Early Motown star Mary Wells of “My Guy” fame died in 1992 of throat cancer. She endured poverty in her dying days, as did former Supreme Florence Ballard, who succumbed to a coronary thrombosis in 1976.


There cannot be a second Micheal Jackson in this world. Take 100 years from now. No Entertainer can even come close to him.Its a loss to us and Micheal you will be missed by every lover of Music.The loss cannot be defined in words.May his soul rest in peace.

Posted by Payal | Report as abusive

Michael Jackson sucked and so did his music. He was just another pedifile working his rounds trolling for little kids. I cant believe all the fanfare over his lack of talent.

kelli sullivan

Posted by kelli sullivan | Report as abusive

who hires a doc to go on tour?…musicians use er’s rather than on tour docs…he was sick…in death only did he get the respect he deserves…sad…

Posted by ramiro | Report as abusive

Last week, the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett created a major cultural event with the passing of two baby boomer icons. My older sister had the Beatles, but those of us born in the final years of the baby boom had Michael Jackson and the birth of MTV.

I graduated from high school in 1979. Farah Fawcett with her long, feathered hair represented the epitome of beauty. A few years before Charlies Angels debuted, followed by Farah’s poster that seemed to be every where. High school girls walked the halls in clouds of hairspray as they tried to imitate Farah’s look. To them, Farah was the most beautiful woman in the world, and a benchmark of beauty.

During my freshman year of college in the fall of 1979, Off the Wall played continuously in the dorm. Everyone loved Michael. Even white girls from upscale neighborhood like me. This was the next step as Michael came into his own and had begun about ten years prior when the Jackson 5 emerged, there was always a positive energy surrounding them.

Thriller released the year I graduated from college. MTV was new. The playlist seemed to consist of around eight videos. Billy Jean, Beat It and Thriller were its backbone. The release of each was surrounded with the fanfare of a movie release, as viewers waited for its scheduled premiere.

When Michael Jackson announced the Victory Tour, first tour after the Thriller album. I rushed to the newsstand to get a Kansas City Star with the original order form which couldn’t be copied, and cleaned out my college student bank account so I could send in a money order for the required minimum of four tickets.

I never minded, as the excitement surrounding the event was huge. Arrowhead Stadium was packed with want to be Michaels wearing tight black pants and red “Beat It” jackets. Their ages seemed to span 8 to 38. Michael went through each move perfectly, and seemed larger than life.

The day after Michael’s passing an LA Times reporter twittered that he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. I think the fuss is about the end of an era.

People my age each have a Michael Jackson story, and memories of their own with his music in the back drop. We all loved Michael, although some of us had forgotten. For the first time, the baby boomer generation who everyone said would never grow old, has been forced to reflect upon their mortality in a way impossible to ignore as two of their brightest stars have faded to black. We will miss the world’s most beautiful girl and the wonderfully talented King of Pop.

Posted by Mary G. | Report as abusive

Michael Jackson is gone but his music will live forever. Peace man!


No, Michael Jackson died long ago

What’s all the fuss and ballyhoo about pop star, Michael Jackson passing away Thursday last week? If the truth be told, Michael didn’t just die last week. He died long ago, many years before June 25, 2009.

A source close to the Jackson family told the Daily Mail of London last week: “It’s so tragic, but he was such a wreck physically that all the signs were there. His back had completely given in and he was in so much pain. His life was slipping away for so long. At least he is now at peace.”

Michael was said to have been reduced to mere skeleton, just bag of bones, before he passed on. Prodigiously talented, his life took a downward plunge when he became fixated about his looks, sending him into plastic surgery after plastic surgery, turning a once handsome black boy into a cross breed, neither black nor white. Incidentally, he had a hit number titled Black or White.
That black boy born in Gary, Indiana, on August 29, 1958, was not the 50-year-old that died last week. Before now, Michael Jackson had evaporated, evanesced, melted, and vanished. His wine of life had been drawn, “and the mere less is left this vault to brag of.” (Shakespeare).

Our Marketing Director, Chief Paul Onyia, raised a poser as we discussed the Michael Jackson phenomenon on Monday. Yes, he was such a huge star, an icon, Onyia said, but how many people would want to live exactly like he lived? Big question. Would you want so much stardom as early as age 11, that you would virtually have no time to be a boy, and miss all the pranks associated with that stage of life? Would you have such an international name, yet you didn’t know who you truly were? Would you be born black, created ebony black by God Almighty, and spend the greater part of your years on earth trying unsuccessfully to look white? Would you do surgeries upon surgeries to change your nose from Negro flat to a pointed one, like a white man’s? Would you do a rhinoplasty to insert a cleft in you chin to enhance your features, and in the process look rather hideous and cadaverous? From black, would you turn gradually pale till you were diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus, becoming quite sensitive to sunlight? Would you?

And yet more. Would you sleep in an oxygen chamber in the bid to prolong life and slow down the ageing process? Could you be so fixated with this life, which is like vapour, and vanishes away, in the twinkle of an eye? And then, would you make hundreds of millions of dollars from a showbiz career, and die with about $400 million debt hanging on your neck? Will your closest friends be monkeys and chimpanzees, with one of them sharing your toilet and cleaning your bed? Then you’ll be bad, dangerous, and wacko. Oh no wonder, Michael Jackson called one of his albums Bad. Another one, Dangerous. And from the name Michael, which he shared with one of the warrior angels in Christianity, he became Wacko Jacko. What a fall from Olympian heights.

I say it again, Michael Jackson died long time ago. When he changed his nose to look Caucasian, and the artificial nose fell off one day, he died. When he was suspected of having developed skin cancer as a result of plastic surgery upon plastic surgery, he died. When he changed the structure of his face, lifted his forehead, made his lips thinner, and altered his cheekbones, just to look white, he died. He was no longer the Michael we knew. No longer the young star, who hit the world like a Tsunami with Off the Wall in 1979, and Thriller in 1982. He had become a stranger in the mirror. Yes, he had a hit track called Man in the Mirror. He was the man, the stranger in the mirror. We did not know him again, he was not the Michael we knew, and we were justified to tell him to beat it. Just beat it.

When 13-year-old Jordan Chandler accused the pop star of sexual assault, and he had to pay $22 million as out of court settlement, Michael died. What else is death, when in that lofty position, cops tell you to strip naked, so that they can confirm whether your manhood is exactly as described by a molested boy.

Death, death, death. Michael Jackson died long ago.
And then, he was so neck deep in debt, that the Neverland ranch which he built for $17 million dollars in 1985, on over 2,700 acres of land, and later valued at $100 million, was sold off. One of the greatest taunts in Yorubaland is to be called Olowo eshi (or Olowo esi). The man who was rich last year. Many people would rather commit suicide than be called Olowo eshi. Rich last year but poor today. Big shame. It happened to Michael when his ranch was confiscated by creditors. And he died. The man in him died.
And what of when he was hauled before a jury in 2003, accused of child molestation again? He went through jeers and derision. He was the butt of jokes, and faced up to 20 years in jail. He got discharged eventually in 2005, but had to spend time away in Bahrain, Ireland and France. He died.

•Michael Jackson

But at what point did Michael miss it? Yes, he was a regular guy when he first hugged the limelight, in the days of Jackson Five. When he began to change his physiognomy, and to do weird things, shoot spooky videos, the downhill journey began. When he began to appear in public, all taped up, with his artificial nose covered, his eyes behind thick, dark glasses, we began to lose him. And he began to lose us. A source in his home said he was distant and withdrawn before he suffered cardiac arrest last week. But it was not the heart seizure that killed him. He had died long before then, when he developed a cocktail of health challenges, and had to live on painkillers. A living dead.

Why do some stars have problem with stardom? Remember Mike Tyson too. From the mega-millions he made in boxing, he is flat broke today. Remember Marlon Brando. The award winning actor had creditors baying at his heels like bloodhounds, before he mercifully passed away. He even had to sell some of his Oscars to stay afloat. Former English soccer star, Paul Gascoigne (Gazza) is now battling his own demons. He’s now a bum. How about George Best? He was really the worst. The ex-Manchester United star was in the grips of alcoholism and illicit sex, despite many warnings from doctors that his life could be cut short by those vices.

Let me recall what I wrote about George Best when he passed away in 2005, aged 59, maybe it may in a way apply to Michael Jackson. “And to think there was a day Best took his first swig of alcohol. That was a very bad day, an evil day for him. And there was a day he first tasted the forbidden fruit, his first illicit sex affair. That was a day his fate was sealed. And like a lamb to the slaughter, dumb before his sharers, he was pulled along the path of destruction. Helpless, hopeless, hapless… All his life, he was a captive, hostage, and bondservant of invisible chains. Pity.”
Michael Jackson was equally bound by those chains. Identity crisis. Tendency towards the occult. Alleged weird sexual preference. A troubled life, despite the initial wealth and fame. Lavish, reckless spending. Fortunes on legal battles. It ended in self-immolation.

As at Tuesday this week, about 12 grieving Michael Jackson fans were said to have committed suicide round the world. No problem. They simply joined their hero in the same self-slaughter. For that was what the King of Pop did. He saw life, and saw death. But he chose the latter.
One good side, though. Michael Jackson made huge donations to charity. He touched the lives of many in that respect. He will be remembered for his good heart. Now that he is finally and physically dead, one prays that his troubled soul will find rest. On earth, he had none of it.

http://www.relationshipstories.blogspot. com


Mr/ Mrs…Nath Ekanem…

First of all, you are talking here in a bad way about a dead man..You will be in the same situation someday…!
Please, respect a dead HUMAN BEING…!!!!

Second of all, you are talking about a kind and generous man,who tried to help the world, who really did something for the others…Did you do something for the world?
Yes, maybe he made plastic surgeries…so what? He wanted to be perfect in his real life, also…
There are so many people in the world who makes plastic surgeries…soooooo????
he had money, good for him….in the same time he was helping children, helping the world…

Third of all, you are talking about not a star…a MEGA-STAR….. !!! Singer, writer, dancer, composer, coreographer…PERFECTIONIST…he had a magnetism to his fans…he loved his fans….and the fans loved him..deeply…!
So, better admire him…and love him…don’t judge him…
Like he sad in one of his songs adressed to all of us: “before to judge me/ try hard to love me..”
We still love Michael Jackson…FOREVER, ALWAYS…


And you: “Leave him alone to rest in peace..!”

Posted by dona | Report as abusive



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P Diddy had very precisely described the genius of Michael Jackson: “He showed that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life. He made me believe in magic.”

Check other notable tributes paid to Michael Jackson by peers: ichael-jackson

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