July 4, 2009

Michael Jackson and Fred Astaire

It's not widely remembered today, but Fred Astaire was a sizable singing star in his day, who introduced such standards as "Night and Day," "Cheek to Cheek," "The Way You Look Tonight," "They Can't Take that Away from Me," "Something's Gotta Give," and even that noir classic "One for My Baby." Although he had a light voice, his perfect timing and professionalism were much appreciated by composers. Today, anthologies of Great American Songs that can't afford the rights to Frank Sinatra's recordings will often choose Astaire's 1952 re-recordings of his work with Oscar Peterson's quintet as the next best thing.

In other words, Astaire's talents were roughly similar to Michael Jackson's: great dancer, pretty good singer.

But, jeez, look at the difference in their careers and lives: Astaire lived to be 88, exemplified the concept of growing old gracefully in how he slowly wound down his show biz career, enjoyed a decorous private life devoted to his family and his grown-man hobbies (horseracing and golf), and left behind an enormous body of creative dance work in his movies. With Astaire, there's no single peak that overwhelms everything else.

Astaire didn't write songs, but Jackson, who couldn't play an instrument, wasn't particularly fertile of melodic invention, either: even "Billie Jean" succeeded because of an enormous amount of production effort -- it was mixed 91 times -- that went into making it sound minimalistically under-produced. Jackson would have benefited from the pre-Dylan assumption that singers didn't have to write their own music.

For Michael as a dancer, what to do we really have? The live "Billie Jean" on the Motown 25th Anniversay show, the "Beat It" video, and a few other peaks, but most everything else is overshadowed in the build-up to or let-down from 1983.

One of Jackson's career problems was that, unlike Astaire, he appeared in only one real feature-length musical movie, The Wiz. Our popular culture had largely lost its ability to make musical movies. In contrast, the lightweight musical comedies of the 1930s provided Astaire with an established genre, routine frameworks within which he could repeatedly exercise his genius without worrying too much about script, acting, the Meaning of It All, etc. The studio system took care of that kind of thing. (Berry Gordy modeled Motown on 1930s Hollywood studios, and had remarkable success that has never been surpassed, but the cult of authenticity makes that impossible to reproduce in pop music today above the teenybopper level.)

Musical comedy movies gave Astaire a reason to get up and put in a hard day's work doing something he knew how to do. He didn't wait around for inspiration to strike him; the inspiration would come during the drudgery. Astaire was by no means psychologically bullet-proof. He was insecure and used his inner nagging voice to push him to constantly revise and improve his dance sequences. But then get up the next day and start on the next one.

The more ambitious genre of musicals that Rodgers and Hammerstein introduced with Oklahoma in 1943 were a great leap forward aesthetically, but perhaps they began to introduce that note of megalomaniacal artistic ambition into American pop music -- notice how, say, Leonard Bernstein was permanently stuck by his inability to top West Side Story -- of which Jackson's later career was a sad exemplar.

Unlike Fred Astaire, Michael Jackson didn't have any kind of framework. Astaire was a craftsman who happened to be a genius. Jackson was a genius for about six months at age 25, and spent the rest of his life having people tell him he was a genius.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

87 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

No better testimony to Astaire's versatility can be found than his co-starring role in 1959's On the Beach. It was a straight dramatic part, no singing or dancing, in a movie that literally had the most depressing ending possible (the end of the world with no survivors). Astaire was nearly 60 at the time, playing a part written for a man in his early 30's. And yet, he did an excellent job, fitting into such an unaccustomed task almost seamlessly.

Peter

steve wood said...

Great point about how the difference between these two careers exemplifies the way entertainment has changed in the last 60 years.

However, I don't think one can totally ignore the influence of personality and character on career. In this regard, Astaire and Jackson are 180 degrees apart irrespective of changing times. There were plenty of screwed-up celebrities in Astaire's generation, and there are performers today who seem to "have their heads on straight," as the saying goes. So, to the extent that Astaire had a more durable and diverse career, it's probably as much because he was a stable and mature person as because times were different.

Anonymous said...

happy independence day, steve

Anonymous said...

BTW- Fred Astaire was H.L. Mencken's favorite movie actor, according to Terry Teachout.

Here is a typical sample of Astaire. Watch to the end.

Anonymous said...

Although I have nothing but respect for Astaire's monumental talents - and I completely concur with ironrails' critique of his fine dramatic performance in On The Beach - I still think Gene Kelly was an even more accomplished performer. Like Astaire, he was a true triple threat: a phenomenal dancer/choreographer, a more-than-passable singer, and a creditable actor. Unlike Astaire, he had a leading-man quality face and physique to go with all those skills, making him a much more believable romantic lead than the angular, somewhat gangly Astaire.

RKU said...

Well, unless Astaire was a notorious child-molester, I can think of another significant difference between the two individuals...

Given America's planned national day of mourning for Jackson, I suspect the Chinese leaders have grown more committed to some version of their Green-Dam anti-porn filter, lest Hollywood eventually transform their own society in the same way.

And I'd bet that a lot of former Catholic priests are wondering whether they'll get the same sort of lavish funeral when they get stabbed in the prison cafeteria one of these days.

I'm no great expert on movement-conservative ideology, but I've sometimes heard talk of the "Frankfurt School strategy", an alleged conscious plan to destroy Western civilization by exalting the deviant, the abnormal, and the disgusting. I must say it sounds much more plausible after the public reaction of the last few days.

Anonymous said...

I dislike Jackson's type of hysteric music. This is what I think:

- Jackson was just a drug-addict who died of an overdose
- The media hyped him because he is black and he made a lot of money for his producers
- His legacy is really atrocious, but he needs to be painted as some kind of a saint, so the media glorify him and Obama and even Mandela ooze over him.
- They have to save his legacy so his labels keep making lots of money for his producers, and so the diversity crowd has another cultural icon. So they bury the juicy details.

Nesta said...

It'd be interesting to have a professional opinion on the technical qualities of Jacko's voice. As falsetto voices go, I've always preferred Morten Harket's.

Harket, 49, is a year younger than Jacko, but he's aged a lot better.

Anonymous said...

billie jean is an awesome song, it doesnt matter how many ties it as mixed.

Cal said...

I'd go a bit further than you about Fred Astaire's singing. While his voice was just pleasant, his phrasing and timing were considered master class, and many songwriters of the day wanted him to sing their songs (Cole Porter, Gershwin, etc). Even today there's a fair amount of scholarship on Astaire the singer. His IMDB entry begins with his soundtrack work, as the listing is longer and presumed by the automated display to be the most important aspect of his work.

I also agree with Steve Wood that there were plenty of screwed up artists in Astaire's day--Barrymore, Errol Flynn, to name just a couple. Astaire's prosperity goes to temperament as well. He lost his first wife to cancer and didn't remarry for 30 years, which suggests her death hit him hard.

His sister's life also suggests that same temperament. She retired happily to marry at 36, and was twice widowed after reasonably long marriages.

Similarly, there are many musicians who live happy lives today. I don't think you can blame the "cult of authenticity" for Jacko's whacko.

Anonymous said...

Thriller may have been his peak, but "Bad" was nearly as good. He was doing weird stuff in the mid 80s, but (in my mind) it didn't overwhelm his music until after Bad. Even "Dangerous" was pretty good, but I would pinpoint his downfall in the early 90s not the 80s.

Cal said...

Oh, a couple other things:

Jackson's song writing is widely considered to be more impressive than your description here:

I agree that once he hit puberty his voice wasn't anything much more than Astaire's, but his songwriting through the 70s and 80s was well above par, at least as assessed by critics.

"Our popular culture had largely lost its ability to make musical movies."

This isn't true. The public itself actively rejected musicals at the end of the heyday of the mid-50s. There was no money in it. The only musicals that got made for 40 years, for the most part, were Broadway musicals (West Side Story, Annie, Cabaret, Sound of Music). Even Disney got out of the business after a few bombs. It was just considered too risky. The public might like it (WSS, SOM, Cabaret) or hate it (Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dr. Dolittle, Star! and, of course, The Wiz). Given the expense, the risk wasn't worth it.

Disney's success with The Little Mermaid in the late 80s and subsequent musicals (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King) caused everyone to give musicals a second look. And from the moment they started, the musicals were pretty good.

So it's not that the ability was lost. It was that the public lost the taste for it until recently.

Anonymous said...

Astaire was a genius, Jackson was not. Thus, only a fool would compare them

Truth said...

This supposition is a little silly Steve.

Micahel Jackson was a superstar not for 6 months but for roughly 15 years from about 1973 to 1988. "Bad", believe it or not sold 32 million copies worldwide. I personally liked Jackson's pre-Thriller stuff best; "Off the Wall" was a classic album that sold a paltry 20 million copies, and the Jackson 5 was, basically Michael Jackson.

Watch some of the old clips on youtube, it's like Jermaine and the rest were not even onstage. The Jackson 5 had their own TV Show, Cartoon, lunchboxes, etc. and were absolutely huge during the 1970's. So huge, everyone was looking for the "Next Michael Jackson, be it Donny Osmond, Rickey Silvers, etc. Only absolute superstars, ever get a "next" designation.

testing99 said...

It's not the cult of authenticity that killed musical innovation, it's demographics. Not enough White teens to both provide innovators, and the market for it. At the same time, the tragic collapse of Black Culture, from Miles Davis and BB King and Langston Hughes to ... Tupac and Snoop Dogg killed one of the main engines of musical creativity -- risk taking, synthesizing Black musicians, who depended on cross-over White audiences to be successful.

Disney made (the recession killed the tween girl market and spending hundreds of dollars on this stuff) tons of tween girl oriented musicals, from Hannah Montana to HS the Musical, etc.

Bret Ludwig said...

I wonder how much of MJ's writing really was his. My guess is that much attributed to him may not be really his-but rather, a hired gun song doctor.

As a dancer MJ was no Astaire or Kelly, but he was pretty good, and in an age where pop music had been largely undanceable for a lot of years, that was enough.

Astaire's voice seems astringent to the casual listener, but his timing and phrasing and even pitch made many of the standards era "classic pop" writers prefer his renditions of their songs to those of Sinatra. Sinatra in fact often annoyed many writers, especially Cole Porter, with his liberties with phrasing and lyrics.

ironrailsironweights said...

Fred Astaire was actually quite a fan of Michael Jackson.

According to Stephen King's column in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, Astaire once called Jackson "a helluva mover."

Also, as recently noted in Slate:

On March 25, 1983, NBC aired “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever,” featuring a reunion of the Jackson 5, a group the Peacock’s audience no doubt remembered fondly from AM radio play, variety hours, and Saturday morning cartoons. As their medley wound down, volume came up on the predatory beat of Billie Jean; and something new and else began to throb through both Jackson and the audience.

An astonished Fred Astaire was in the home audience of 47 million—the most ever to watch a TV music special—and he was moved to phone up Jackson the next day. The two have similar body types: sylph-like elongations for limbs, responsive to every unlikely command. Astaire had seen what everyone had seen. The fedora, the spangled jacket, the slink, the moonwalk—in sum, the rebirth of the total superstar—but he also saw something else. “You’re an angry dancer,” he reportedly told Jackson over the phone.


Peter

Anonymous said...

Thriller may have been his peak, but "Bad" was nearly as good. He was doing weird stuff in the mid 80s, but (in my mind) it didn't overwhelm his music until after Bad. Even "Dangerous" was pretty good, but I would pinpoint his downfall in the early 90s not the 80s.

I agree. In another post I said that his music went into the crapper after Thriller but I recently changed my mind. I think that bad was his last worthy effort. After that he went severely downhill.

Astaire was a genius, Jackson was not. Thus, only a fool would compare them

I disagree with this. Jackson, regarded as a combination of singer, song writer, dancer and entertainer did have some degree of genius. You say "only a fool would compare them" but Astaire himself once complimented Jackson on his dancing. (Jackson claimed this was the highest compliment he ever received.)

He was an almost jaw-droppingly weird person. I just learned that his public speaking and singing voice was much higher pitched than his natural voice.

Anonymous said...

The Astaire link one poter put up, "watch to the end indeed", was glorious.

The performance started out subtlely and built in intensity and action and rose to a cresecendo with all the "mirror dancers" in the end. Perfectly choroeographed and utterly tasteful, yet tittilating entertainment without any sexual innuendo whatoever (ever notice how much Michael Jackson made crotch-grabbing gestures, or heavy breathing gestures with his lowerer jaw portruding that just say, "lechery" in bold type, or pinched his mouth shut in an expression of lustful intenions with his brown frowning?---he did this stuff in most of his video's).

That kid, David Elsewhere, the "robot dance" guy has done some things dancing Ive not seen before, but Jackson's been pretty much copped by others quite a bit now.


Jackson did start one trend though, and everyone pretty much has to admit it: the singing/dancer "performing" while lip-synching. Jackson at the Apollo Theatre in 84' was showing theretofore new dance moves, but he wasn't singing. That was lip syched, it sounded just like the record.

"Off the Wall" was his best album in my opinion. My parents had it. "I Cant Help It", "Girlfirend", "Off the Wall", "Rock With You" were the standout tracks. Thriller was his second best, he kept devolving from there, and was producing pap by the Lisa Marie Presley era. Neverland is not a decrepit dump from what Ive read. You can run a theme park/zoo, but only if you have paying customers. I dont know what that guy was thinking.




In other shocking developments: Steve McNair and an unidentified women in her early 20's have been found murded in a condo in Nashville. This has been a weird month folks. Bristol Palin isn't a suspect though (thats for you Sigma).



Miles

agnostic said...

So it's not that the ability was lost. It was that the public lost the taste for it until recently.

That's not true. When the golden age studio system was busted up by the Paramount anti-trust decisions, studios could no longer have long-term contracts with a "stable" of talent, they couldn't sell a portfolio of films in "blocks" to exhibitors, and so they started looking at movies one by one instead of as their portfolio for the year.

This leads them to focus on cash-cow blockbusters rather than diversifying by, for example, including lots of lower-budget and lower-risk movies like musicals.

And in fact, G, PG, and PG-13 movies are less risky than R movies and have higher return-on-investment than R movies. There's a huge untapped niche there that no one is filling. Why is another matter -- but it's there.

Read Art De Vany's *Hollywood Economics*. Packed with data, models, and lucid commentary.

Anonymous said...

I still think Gene Kelly was an even more accomplished performer. Like Astaire. . . Unlike Astaire, he had a leading-man quality face and physique to go with all those skills, making him a much more believable romantic lead than the angular, somewhat gangly Astaire.

But I don't think he has any chemistry with Debbie Reynolds in _Singing in the Rain_. I later found out that she was only 19 and he was 40.

Antoine Zhang said...

"Given America's planned national day of mourning for Jackson, I suspect the Chinese leaders have grown more committed to some version of their Green-Dam anti-porn filter, lest Hollywood eventually transform their own society in the same way."

The death of Michael Jackson was front page or headline news in just about every single mainland Chinese media publication, and all the reportage of him lauded him as one of the great icons of 20th century music.

I think you're being a little harsh in your assessment of Michael Jackson though Steve - it was more likely the (still substantiated)child molestation accusations, and the repeated attempts of unscrupulous grifters to destroy him, that contributed to the relative brevity of his peak period, rather than any intrinsic limitations of talent.

Jackson also had ample recourse to a perfectly-apt medium for the expression of his gifts, in spite of the decline of the Hollywood musical by the 1980's. That was the newly-emerging artform of the music video - for which Michael served as a pivotal innovator.

Lucius Vorenus said...

So how did they get the canes to jump up off the floor and back into their hands?

Did they film the entire thing backwards and end by dropping the canes during the filming?

Or were there thin wires pulling up the canes?

Or was the special effect of the rising cane airbrushed in afterwards?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the commenter above who said Gene Kelly was far superior to Astair.

Here is Kelly tap dancing. While wearing rollerskates.

Michael said...

Great posting.

Anonymous said...

"Steve McNair and an unidentified women in her early 20's have been found murded in a condo in Nashville."

McNair was one of my favorite players toward the end of his career, but what shocked me the most when I read this news is just how little it surprised me. The black community is so predatory, so vicious, that these stories have become routine. Michael Jordan's father, Bill Cosby's son, Sean Taylor, Tupac and Biggie...

The really sad part is that the media is afraid to pick up the racial angle of these stories because of groups like the NAACP, who use bullying tactics to silence critics rather than using their clout to help stop the violence.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Astaire didn't write songs...

For Michael... most everything else is overshadowed in the
build-up to or let-down from 1983.

Not only did Astaire write songs, you damn near quoted his most famous one! Astaire wrote the tune to "I'm Building Up to an Awful Let Down" in 1935. Johnny Mercer supplied the words.

Astaire didn't publish or record many of his own works, but they did give him an insider's knowledge of the craft. That's why he could inspire the best work from the best writers.

By the way, "Something's Gotta Give" was Mercer's last-minute solution to a desperate Astaire's dilemma. He had to chase Leslie Caron without appearing a dirty old man. Mercer's fatalistic lyric saved the day.

foxfry said...

missed him badly!!

dearieme said...

It's just a matter of peronal taste, but I always found Kelly's smarm much less appealing than Astaire's charm.

beowulf said...

Checking out Astaire's wiki page, I was surprised to see that he (and his sister) were child performers on Broadway. However they had a more stable home life than Michael Jackson. Plus the pesky Gerry Society led to a two year hiatus from performing that Jackson and his brothers never had.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Astaire

In the late 1870s Gerry persuaded the Police Department to allow Society agents (nicknamed "Gerrymen") to keep children away from "immoral" activities such as the theater, amusement parks, penny arcades and poor and immigrant neighborhoods[8]. Gerry was keen to enforce child labor laws regarding performance. Moving beyond street theater and acrobatics, he turned to Juvenile theater. This caused controversy with those involved in the theater. Anti-gerry campaign groups formed, and the mayor of New York was persuaded to limit Gerry's power and set out proper regulation of child stage performers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Society

As for Steve McNair, looks like he got involved with the wrong chick. It was a murder-suicide where he had several gunshot wounds and the girl had a single gunshot wound with the gun next to her body. Reminded me of the Phil Hartman murder (except it wasn't his wife but his 20 year old Iranian-American mistress).

Anonymous said...

This video makes it obvious that Jackson watched a lot of Fred Astaire movies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKanPsUjP7w&annotation_id=annotation_211174&feature=iv

Anonymous said...

I once read an article about Robert Evans regarding his time as executive VP of Paramount. It said that the studios were still making musicals in the late 1960's but the public didn't go for them any longer. This is why they stopped producing musicals.

Truth said...

"It's not the cult of authenticity that killed musical innovation, it's demographics. Not enough White teens to both provide innovators, and the market for it..."

There are more white teens in America now than there were in 1950.

Anonymous said...

" The public might like it (WSS, SOM, Cabaret) or hate it (Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dr. Dolittle, Star! and, of course, The Wiz). Given the expense, the risk wasn't worth it."

Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are very popular...

Cal said...

I'm a big Gene Kelly fan, and he made more excellent musicals than Astaire did. But he wasn't a more talented dancer, and dancing on roller skates is not all that hard. Kelly himself would tell you that the paper dance he did in Summer Stock is the most difficult and impressive of his dances.

Agnostic, nothing you said contradicts my point. But in any event, it wasn't just that musicals made less money, making the blockbuster more profitable. Most musicals bombed. The public lost its taste for the musical. The Donen unit observed this with the release of It's Always Fair Weather.

RKU said...

You know, the more I think about it, all this child-molestation nonsense ain't really such a big deal.

After all, it's just a victimless crime...if the child doesn't object. And the child probably won't object if you give him a nice lollipop...or a celebrity autograph!

In fact, I've heard that one of those vindictively-imprisoned Catholic priests is really an outstanding Man of God, and preaches a tremdendous sermon. Let's get him a Presidential pardon, and run him for Pope!

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are always required to have lower standards for blacks.

Think Hendrix as well.

Takahata Y said...

Anyone who actually thinks Michael Jackson was a child molester are blinding themselves to the obvious....for even more obvious reasons.

josh said...

Michael enjoyed the benefit of "low expectations". As the Jacksons faded and Michael began to rise on his own,and as it became apparent that he had become a waif-like skinny guy with a high pitched voice,his highly affected bad-assed n***** dancing provoked more fascination than it otherwise would have;seeing the guy of whom it was said at least a jillion times,"Is he gay?He's GOT to be gay? You think he's gay??",dancing and singing---his perpetually teenaged voice only making him more appealing to the young--like a raging black heterosexual who just might kick your ass,--allowed him,IMHO,to go beyond his talent into Superstar territory.

nose said...

"There are more white teens in America now than there were in 1950."


in terms of %??

Ivy League Bastard said...

re: "The black community is so predatory, so vicious, that these stories have become routine. Michael Jordan's father, Bill Cosby's son [etc]"

Cosby's son was murdered by a white European immigrant, while changing an automobile tire in the breakdown lane of a freeway.

Michael Jordan's father was murdered in a random robbery by strangers. There were initial speculations about a connection to the son's gambling debts but those were looked into and discarded during the investigation. I don't think it was a race-related crime in any sense.

Anonymous said...

Michael Jackson was better than Fred Astaire
Infinitely more complete artist in a different time where music and movie production is much more advanced. So he knew al the technologhy that Astaire never dreamed, the music in Astaire times was very simple and despite his mastery dancing, the musical movies were based in giantic scenes (but very simple technology) just to entertain the mass impoverished by the war. So they impacted even more because the world was destroyed. People went to movies to forget the misery at home.
But today we can find many artists who can do the same than Fred Astaire.
In Fred Astaire times it was impossible any artist like Michael Jackson.

Bruce Banned said...

Anyone who actually thinks Michael Jackson was a child molester are blinding themselves to the obvious....for even more obvious reasons.

Jackson was probably not into actual children, just pubescent children. Which is just as sick, if you ask me!

Anonymous said...

Cosby's son was murdered by a white European immigrant, while changing an automobile tire in the breakdown lane of a freeway.

Wasn't the perp also a "wigger" who belonged to a black street gang?

Bret Ludwig said...

Michael Jackson was better than Fred Astaire
Infinitely more complete artist in a different time where music and movie production is much more advanced.


What utter idiocy.

The music Astaire danced to was far more sophisticated, harmonically, rhythmically, melodically, lyrically and in terms of instrumentation, arrangement and structure, than Michael Jackson's 4/4,I-IV-V R&B tunes.

Technology has nothing to do with either performer for the most part.

Making a movie soundtrack in 1950 involved hundreds of people, all highly trained professionals in a competitive environment. By contrast, many even fairly well budgeted films have one guy with a Pro Tools setup and a lot of virtual keyboard plug-ins today. There's no competition whatsoever.

Consider the "simple folk group" arrangement of a faux folk song that was the theme song of "Bus Stop", A Paper of Pins . The simple four piece vocals (the Four...uh, Preps, Lads, Aces?? They're all the same... Google says Four Lads!) You have the vocals, and then, a full orchestra for the chorus. Even the simplest imaginable bit of music had full orchestration, often better than what the same artists had on their albums.

It's also worth noting that the film industry had better _sound_ than the music recording industry until, well, even now. The highest fidelity classical albums were recorded with 35mm film recorders borrowed from the studios, and they had superior mics, audio chains and reproducers throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.

Anonymous said...

I'm catching more than a whiff of Ben-Gay on this comment board. As to the other argument, I'm in the Astaire camp, as I could never get over Gene Kelly's fat Irish ass.

John Mansfield said...

From Fred Astaire's generation, the one to compare against Michael Jackson is Judy Garland. Messed-up woman who died at 47, complained that MGM had stolen her youth. An order of magnitude more accomplishment than Michael Jackson thanks to the movie musical infrastructure of her day, on top of her abilities.

Mr. Anon said...

"nose said...

"There are more white teens in America now than there were in 1950."

in terms of %??"

Forget it, nose. As he has made quite clear, percentage is not a concept that "Truth" understands.

Anonymous said...

But today we can find many artists who can do the same than Fred Astaire.



I'd be more impressed with your opinions if you could speak English.

Ivy League Bastard said...

> Wasn't the [white East European who killed Cosby's son]
> also a "wigger" who belonged to a black street gang?

Online accounts are that he was a bright (good grades, in gifted program) and polite teenage nice guy who drifted into some drug use and was a gangsta wannabe. It's not clear whether he was a member of any street gang. His main cultural formation appears to be Ukrainian through age 10, followed by generic (white, immigrant-flavored) American. Blaming black culture for his crime is like calling Meyer Lansky a product of Italy.

The guy's writing from prison can be seen here:

http://thebeatwithin.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=ce1c3460cdab88cc598ad884d3a1a3cf

Note his remark about why prisoners come back for second and third terms: it's easier in prison than on the outside.

Marc B said...

Michael Jackson was a definite freak and possible kid toucher. He was also among the most magical and talented performers the world has ever seen. This article comes across like a sour grapes, post mortem critique of someone unwilling to give Michael his due.

I have no problem with anybody denying Michael because of his unsavory behavior, but this analysis just seems self-serving to people that want to quantify their dislike of him. If his suspected pedophilia is enough to diminish his accomplishments, just leave it at that.

Lucius Vorenus said...

So how did they get the canes to jump up off the floor and back into their hands?

Anonymous said...

Hi
I'm again "Infinitely more complete artist ..."
Sorry for my terrible english. I'm not english :D
I'm a big fan of Astaire. I love a lot his performances but Michael Jackson is just stunning.

"The music Astaire danced to was far more sophisticated, harmonically, rhythmically, melodically, lyrically and in terms of instrumentation, arrangement and structure, than Michael Jackson's 4/4,I-IV-V R&B tunes."
Yeah like "Night and Dayyy" or "Begin the begin"??????
Astaire didn't compose music, he worked with other's music. Jackson did it and with the best producer at the time, Quincy Jones. Astaire danced swing, bassed in very strict cannons already done. Jackson innovated pop, soul, funk, etc, invented new things.

"Technology has nothing to do with either performer for the most part."
The only technology I found on Astaire movies was dancing over the walls and the ceiling in one scene.
The rest was great ballroom decoration with a bright floor. And with few cameras.

Technology advances make possible less people doing more. And not because of that the outcome is worse.
It helps to make it better with less budget. Machines help to do things better. Today you don't need
1000 people dressed like romans in Ben Hur! Some computer can do it. I don't think Michael Jackson
had only a Pro Tools thing like what I have. Jackson always had the newest up to date equipments.
Madonna too. And those equipments have been very succesfully sold later. But any Jackson new production
was a BIG jump ahead in creativity besides the up to date equipments. Remember the Black or White
people changing heads. Or just Thriller. You was amazed by the form and the content.

"It's also worth noting that the film industry had better _sound_ than the music recording industry until, well, even now. The highest fidelity classical albums were recorded with 35mm film recorders borrowed from the studios, and they had superior mics, audio chains and reproducers throughout the 1950s and early 1960s."
I understand you "love" the old stuff, I keep with love my old vinyls too, but hey, we are in the digital era. I never work with vinyls, it's crazy, they have a lot of noise and play out of tune if the batteries are low.
Because of this the outcome is better in Jackson than in Astaire.

Jackson was a star from his childhood. Astaire didn't.
Jackson was a great music composer. Astaire din't.
Jackson was a global star. Astaire only for US and Europe.
Jackson used better technologhy. Far better outcome.
Jackson innovated and created much more things in music, dance, movies, tv, etc.
Jackson live performances... great stadiums thing, I mean, like the Superbowl.
was ever Fred Astaire invited to superbowl???? No, because Fred Astaire was a guy only "high society" with tuxedo,
Jackson dances was inspired on kids on the street, wide audience rich/poor, all races.

Finally: Astaire was a guy always dressed the same using only the feet. Singing nothing from him.
Jackson was not.
And there is still a lot more to know and study in Michael Jackson work.

Anonymous said...

Michael Jackson was a fantastic dancer, from a completely different era to those aforementioned greats. I was in awe watching him move. Only a fool would deny that he posessed a huge amount of talent. If Fred Astaire himself could see it, why can't some of you?

Truth said...

"Forget it, nose. As he has made quite clear, percentage is not a concept that "Truth" understands."

It has absolutely and completely nothing to do with percentage. The original point was as follows:

"It's not the cult of authenticity that killed musical innovation, it's demographics. Not enough White teens to both provide innovators, and the market for it..."

This is untrue, as there are more white teens now in America, many more, than in the "golden age" to which he was referring.

What does percentage have to do with number of people to provide innovators and a market?

Truth said...

"Online accounts are that he was a bright (good grades, in gifted program) and polite teenage nice guy who drifted into some drug use..."

I think he was an aspiring rapper also (smile).

BTW, wasn't Lansky Jewish?

nuesstrum said...

Notice whenever the topic whiffs of Obama or some other artificial black "superstar", that bot "Truth" is all over the place and always makes sure to have the last word.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm here with my bad english again, sorry. Let me say 2 things more:

Gene Kelly was the middle step in dance evolution between Astaire and Jackson.
If Astaire would have evolved like Kelly, I mean, dancing with roller skaters or with cartoons (tom and jerry), he would have been bigger, but he was very conservative in his style.

Everyone with enough money can buy any uptodate best technologhy. But not everyone can do the same with it. You can buy your protools equipment but never be able or imagine what Jackson did with it. Many people say Jackson never played an instrument, HA!check Oprah interview and don't miss what he does with his voice, hands and feet.
I have voice, hands and feet but I will never can do that.

testing99 said...

I agree with Agnostic that G rated movies make demonstrably more money on average than R rated ones ... Musicals changed quite a bit over the years.

First, musical tastes of young people changed. Guys went from liking Tin Pan Alley to Elvis and the Beach Boys and the Beatles and Stones. Second, Musicals went from Tin Pan Alley to Tommy or Hair or Jesus Christ Superstar. THOSE musicals made money. Even if they were not as good as say, Tin Pan Alley's versions. They had electric guitars, were youth-oriented (at the time) and did not scream "GAY" ... and then they just stopped. Appetites for that just went away, suddenly. My guess is one word. Gay.

Steve -- think your kids are up for say, even "Enchanted?" That's probably your boys limits. Certainly not HS the Musical.

But even musical innovation in the 1980's, which arguably had as much or more than the 1960's, just fell off a cliff. It wasn't just Michael Jackson never living up to Off the Wall, or Thriller. After the late 1980's ... it seemed that nothing really came up that was new or exciting. This was before file sharing, before the internet. Just nothing. Demographics. Not enough young White men to create musical innovation. I suspect outside a heavily produced guy like Jackson, it takes a young guy aggressive enough not to know he can't do what he wants to do, like Elvis, or Keith Richards, or the guys from Depeche Mode. [I am also Whiskey.]

I don't think it was the cult of authenticity that killed musicals and more broadly musical innovation. More like not enough young White guys who just "know" they can do what everyone says they can't.

One thing is for certain, on average guys Astaire's era were not as weird as the ones this era.

Spats said...

"If Astaire would have evolved like Kelly, I mean, dancing with roller skaters or with cartoons (tom and jerry), he would have been bigger, but he was very conservative in his style."
Yes, Astaire was conservative, but quite ahead of his time. He tried in vain to tell musicians, composers and arrangers as early as in the thierties to get much more beaty with heavy drums instead of soft violins, but nobody understood him. When the rock came in the early fifties, he called his coreographer Hermes Pan and said: "NOW they understand! This is what I've tried to tell them for twenty years!" This is also why Astaire told Jackson: "You're an angry dancer - just like me! I used to break a lot of canes in my days!" Let's not forget that Michael Jackson was an enormous fan of Astaire, and dedicated his book to the man. Oh yes - and as for the statement "If Astaire would have evolved like Kelly, I mean, dancing with roller skaters or with cartoons (tom and jerry), he would have been bigger", you probably don't know that Astaire danced on roller skates ten years before Kelly did - in the movie "Shall We Dance" from 1937! Also, he experimedted (ahead of his time as usual) one year later with a solo dance number where he played a drum set while tapping. He also danced with shadows of himself, ten other Astaires and although not with Tom & Jerry, he danced with a menagerie of white shoes with no one in them. He was a pioneer performer in that kind of trickery. And in 1957 he finally got to do a rock number, as he insisted that the sophisticated Cole Porter composed a new tune - a rock 'n roll - when the Broadway hit "Silk Stockings" was made into a Hollywood musical starring Astaire. The result was "The Ritz roll and Rock" where the almost 60 year old Astaire rolled on the floor, bit his cane and smashed his top hat. Not bad for a "sophisticated" old man... And who do you think Jackson stole the idea of a bit too short trouser-legs from? And the spats? And the tipped hat? Right - Astaire!

Ligaya said...

I’m 56. I’ve been a huge fan of both Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly for decades. I was a casual fan of Michael Jackson before he died. I love music, dance & film. After his death, reading the praise & criticisms, seeing the videos (most of which I hadn’t seen), seeing the impact his death had personally on people around the world, being surprised at how many of his videos had social content, I then became a bonafide fan – not an uber-fan, mind you.

And not to go into a lot of detail here, because I doubt it’ll be settled, I don’t believe Michael molested those 2 boys, rather he was an easy target for extortion because he was, as Stephen King put it - after noting that Michael had been acquitted on all counts - “guilty of Weirdness in the First Degree.” I’m an incest survivor from a very young age with 36 years of therapy under my belt (I’m good, thank you) – I’ve known *many* incest & child sexual abuse survivors. I know the symptoms/patterns. Michael did not fit the bill. Pedophiles escalate their behavior & target hundreds, note the priests. Rather,Michael's ‘weirdness/wacko/freakiness’ is PTSD from severe child abuse. I can expound, but this isn’t the place.

That’s what is missing from your comparison of Mr. Astaire and Mr. Jackson, Steve - it undermines your argument. Fred Astaire came from a loving, stable family. He had healthy self-esteem. He went to school. He had a normal childhood and had childhood friends. It was a different time. He didn’t grow up in the public eye – especially not with the kind of media Michael had to deal with from the 1970s until he died. He didn’t have tv & paparazzi constantly following him.

I doubt Fred was brutalized as a child. By their own accounts, the Jackson brothers tell of long daily rehearsals where mistakes were punished physically. When Michael was ‘insubordinate,’ he got it worse. More than once, Joe held him upside down by one leg and beat Michael’s head on the floor. Joe locked Michael in dark closets. Joe would terrorize the boys by waking them up in their sleep wearing horror masks. Joe & Michael’s brothers would tease him about his big nose (which they also had) to make him self-conscious. Think this might have something to do with Michael later almost literally cutting off his nose to spite his face? As a Jehovah’s Witness, they had no birthday/xmas celebrations. They lived a cult-like life, no outside friends, only their family life, rehearsing, and performing – first in strip clubs, where Michael waited alone in dressing rooms while Joe & his brothers amused themselves. From when he was 5 until he died, Michael was the work horse and cash cow for the entire Jackson Family (with the exception of Janet, and probably Rebbie). Fred Astaire never had that kind of millstone around his neck.

In a 1987 Ebony/Jet interview, Michael said he couldn’t remember a time when he hadn’t been performing. He said many times that the only place he felt comfortable was onstage, and that if he could sleep there, he would. He knew how to perform. He didn’t know how to relate to people – even industry people. He gravitated to other child performers – Liz, Lisa, Tatum, Brooke, Emmanuel, MacCaulay. He felt most comfortable with children and animals because they didn’t judge him. In many ways, he *was* emotionally a child in a man’s body. That’s what the jury concluded. The jury foreman said that’s why they voted to acquit.

Anonymous said...

Maybe.

Dawood Mamedoff said...

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:

http://www.tributespaid.com/category/m/michael-jackson

Anonymous said...

I value everyone's opinion until it turns into a judgment of others. There are many variables which come into play, affecting the lives and legacies of everyone. What is popular in one generation may survive the tastes of subsequent generations. Many seem believe accusations are the same as proof. People such as this should remain silent rather and open their mouths and confirm the obvious. I recall Astaire and Kelly were MJ's idols and he stated that given the change to spend time with those who had passed his choice would be 3 people - Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, & James Brown. MJ wrote one song we could all benefit from - Man In The Mirror. Take a look at your self and make the chnage. Our time on this earth is precious and short. Maybe it could best be spent loving others and building them up instead of taking pleasure in spreading hate and tearing others down. Pease - We Are The World!

Anonymous said...

Your claim that MJ couldn't play an instrument is wrong. For MJ as a dancer, check out the Jackson's Variety show. You should also read up on Billie Jean being mixed 91 times. The fellow who did so has explained why.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that Liga. You broke it down pretty much the way I see it and quite frankly, the way it is. Steve I guess didn't do any research or haven't seen the countless live concert performances of this remarkable man. Dangerous, Smooth Criminal and of course the untouchable Billie Jean. Yes, Fred Astaire was genius, but so was Michael Jackson and I didn't think it was necessary to try and take that away from him. But it'll never happen.

Humm, I wonder where Fred Astaire got his influence and inspiration from? Could it have been from some of the lesser known or even unknown black performers of his time? He had some pretty soulful moves in those dance steps. Bravo to him that he was able to pull it off. I am African American and back when we were little, Fred Astaire was one of my sister's favorite. At a time when the black and white movie was a bore to some of us, Fred Astaire stood out from the rest to her. :-)

Fred Astaire even praised Michael for the gifted artist that he is. Michael Jackson will ALWAYS be the Greatest Entertainer of All Time.

rmcnaugh said...

Great article. You stated that Jackson peaked at 25 and his voice was average. I tend to disagree.

1) His vocal range was greater than that of Astaire. He was known as a singer since childhood. Although Astaire's era was vastly different, strong vocalists were recognized for their talent. ie Sinatra. Jackson revolutionized song structure, harmonies, recording techniques, into his future records, while retaining "Pop Music" aesthetics, the strong rhythms and dancable feels, with technical precision. Unlike the fusion musicians, who's virtuosity is overshadowed by their technique, Jackson's energetic music kept the listener comfortable. Jackson's releases sold before people saw him dance. A testament to the strength of his voice and the strong production of the music.

2) As for dancing, Astaire's versatility cannot be denied, but he was limited to the 50's era Musicals. He was never Pop icon. Jackson fused Astaire's moves with James Brown, Tap, African Rhythms, Break Dancing and other styles to produce a energetic, edgy, expressive art that no one had ever seen. He also brought this to a wider audience.

Anonymous said...

I want to first off say that I am a fan of both Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson. I am sure Michael and myself, being close to the same age (5 years apart) discovered Fred Astaire in the same manner, watching all of his great movies on television.
I have to agree with Ligaya, Michael had a lot of extenuating circumstances in his life that perhaps stifled his talent even more than we all realize. But still his talent shone through. Many lesser talented individuals would have long ago been forgotten by us if they had to deal with the pain and suffering that he experienced.
There's a lot of talk about how his talent ended after Thriller and some say it ended after Bad. I would ask people to look him up on You Tube and watch some of his live performances in concert, at MTV awards shows and Grammy Awards shows. He was a dynamo live on stage. I would say that yes, he was a very good dancer and a very good all around entertainer. He came along to revolutionize pop music during a time when music was going through a big change. He was right for his time, as Fred Astaire was right for his time.
Why is that everyone must denigrate Michael Jackson's talent? Don't let the controversy blind you from ignoring or lambasting a truly talented individual--because if you miss out on listening to his music and watching him dance, it's your loss. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

this is total bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Michael Jackson was an instrument of nature sent to heal the world by uniting the planet in song and dance. When he went on stage, he went into a trance where he channeled spiritual energy into the audience. If you look at the audience, you can tell they received that energy. Even now they are dancing his dances all over the world.

Fred Astaire was an entertainer.

Michael was also sometimes delusional, I think. He says that he was friends with Fred Astaire and even taught him to moonwalk. Are there any corroborating accounts that the two actually met?

I Call It Art said...

As a loyal Michael Jackson fan this is very painful to read. All these hateful comments left me in tears. I won't comment on Astaire's genius because I'm just discovering him (thanks to Michael Jackson). I'm guessing you are an American and I don't mean to be disrespectful, but what you said only applies to your country. Believe it or not, the rest of the world treated this man with the respect and love he deserved. I might be biased because I was fortunate enough to grow up with his music and his art, but you can't deny the fact that he revolutionized music, short film, fashion and dance, he truly is the ultimate entertainer.

Anonymous said...

Thought this might interest you:

“Oh, God! That boy moves in a very exceptional way. That’s the greatest dancer of the century”. - Fred Astaire

“I didn’t want to leave this world without knowing who my descendant was. Thank you Michael!”- Fred Astaire (shortly before his death)

“The only male singer who I’ve seen besides myself and who’s better than me – that is Michael Jackson.” – Frank Sinatra

Anonymous said...

ok while i agree about astaires greatness, your points are a little off. I love fred, but he was a very average singer and his records never sold, a fact even astair has remarked on. Micheal jacksons voice range has chnged and grown from the jackson 5 days all the way to the dangerous albums if you actually listen to them. he knew exactl how an when to ajust his voice to fit a certain track. and he damn near wrote the majority of all his albums. So i don't fully understan how he can ave only had genius for 4-6 months. I just dont see it. Fred had box office sucess but he also had numerous bomb. and after the height of his days, especially when musicals were out of fashion, he was no longer a hot commodity. Although he was still a good dramatic actor. All of mcheals albums where successes, they've all gone mult platinum. They just never did thriller numbes, but guess what, niether did any other album ever created lol

but stil, good article

James said...

Uhh, a crap attempt from a threatened Astaire fan to undermine Jacksons phenomenal talent and inflate Astaire's. As a huge fan of both and an intelliegence and capacity to appreciate both of their art, separately, I have no reason to compete them against each other. But I will say this, Astaire himself, on many occasions spoke of Michaels prodigious talent and how blown he was by him. A quick google search will lead you to a pot pourri of quotes from the man you admire, admiring the man who you have ruthlessly and criminally undermined. Thus, pretty much invalidating your whole blog entry and argument.

James said...

Michael was also sometimes delusional, I think. He says that he was friends with Fred Astaire and even taught him to moonwalk. Are there any corroborating accounts that the two actually met?

^
To the dumbass who wrote this, before you go around calling people delusional, actually try and do some reasearch. You'll find that there are multiple pictures of MJ and Fred Astaire from the late 1970s through the 80s. One of them is in fact, in Michael Jacksons autobiography Moonwalk. Your comment is a fine example of the all the ignorance displayed and flung towards Jackson. Many times he has claimed something and for whatever pathetic reason people have mocked him and showed scorn, but in the end there is always evidence to refute the foolish public and support what Jackson has said. Stop judging and actually go and verify your claims, if you cant, its best to shut your mouth until the truth surfaces (it usually does) instead of making yourself look a complete fool.

And just to hone the point even further. Here are 2 examples of Jackson pictured with Astaire:

http://geraldlcampbell.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c110953ef0115707c17bd970c-800wi

http://www.product-reviews.net/wp-content/userimages/2007/12/elvis-michael-beatles-2.jpg


James

Anonymous said...

Unlike Fred Astaire, Michael Jackson didn't have any kind of framework. Astaire was a craftsman who happened to be a genius. Jackson was a genius for about six months at age 25, and spent the rest of his life having people tell him he was a genius.

Michael is genius like it or not he is in his own way. i just dont know why some people feel they need to put another gd entertainer down 2 claim there hero i mean wts up wit dat!!!

4 the people saying he fell off after bad or thriller etc. u r all wrong dangerous is an amazing album & HIStory is a well crafted album and is really deep do not say it went dwn 2 the crapper jus cuz new jack swing isnt your style its gd music huh i jus feel srry 4 the ones that r sayin the stuff there missin the gd stuff HIStory album is mre abt humanatarian and his personal experiences Invincible is another gd album even though the media tryed 2 mke out it was a failure bt i recently been listening 2 that album and hve 2 say its no failure alot of gd songs on that album eg. Heaven Can Wait, Break Of Dawn, Rock My World, Cry,....

Doodle said...

Michael Jackson and Fred Astaire met several times and liked and respected each other. Both were sweet, shy men, immensely talented and incredibly hard working. I love Michael and I'm a huge fan of Fred. There is no need to make comparisons. I love to watch them both and both are irreplaceable.

And Michael was neither weird nor a child molestor. He was in some ways childlike and vulnerable therefore open to exploitation. He had great empathy with and love of children and they adored him back but it was entirely innocent. Remember he was found not guilty on every charge but much of the media did not report the trial honestly.

virgo9_9 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
virgo9_9 said...

Fred Astaire was a genius who even inspired Michael Jackson. But what happened after,..Fred Astaire became an admirer of Jackson.
"Although he (fred) had a light voice, his perfect timing and professionalism were much appreciated by composers."

Michael Jackson had a gorgeous vocal range himself, his producers said so of his perfect pitch. He had professionalism, and perfect timing just the same.

"But, jeez, look at the difference in their careers and lives: Astaire lived to be 88, exemplified the concept of growing old gracefully in how he slowly wound down his show biz career, enjoyed a decorous private life devoted to his family and his grown-man hobbies (horseracing and golf), and left behind an enormous body of creative dance work in his movies. With Astaire, there's no single peak that overwhelms everything else."

Since when does this make an artist brilliant?? It's not what life throws at you, and how you handle it that makes your career shine, it's what you do in it and with it! When did Fred ever recive any numerous amounts of awards for being a humanitarian? When did Fred Astaire create hit singles that supported charitys, and helped needy and sick children. It's way more brag worthy to say so of a career, then someone who just aged gracefully under spending time with family. How many of us do that? Nearly anyone.


"Astaire didn't write songs, but Jackson, who couldn't play an instrument, wasn't particularly fertile of melodic invention, either"

That was a natural talent that Michael Jackson had-- he DID have melodic invention, and was versatile with it. Astaire could not stand in this category for talent, because he didn't have it.

"For Michael as a dancer, what do we really have? The live "Billie Jean" on the Motown 25th Anniversay show, the "Beat It" video, and a few other peaks, but most everything else is overshadowed in the build-up to or let-down from 1983."

Michael Jackson had several live shows and music videos, grammy performances, I mean can you name any more?! He was the greatest dancer we've had, and Fred Astaire was a great dancer as well, he was versatile, but mainly at tap. He was credited more as a perfomer, for those that don't really know what dancing is and what makes a dancer splendid. You, as a fan, can't see that if you don't know the difference of dancing (the talent) and performing. Michael used to teach his brothers how to dance at the age of 5! He always knew how to dance, and grew at this talent. He was extremely versatile, and could move with precision. He had every quality that makes up a great dancer.

"Unlike Fred Astaire, Michael Jackson didn't have any kind of framework. Astaire was a craftsman who happened to be a genius. Jackson was a genius for about six months at age 25, and spent the rest of his life having people tell him he was a genius."

Astaire was a genius who told Michael Jackson he was just the same, He admired Jackson. If your favourite icon is calling this man a genius, it's because he is.

This is your sad attempt to try and put a shadow over Jackson's talent, to shine some light on Astaire's.The two are both brilliant. Anyway, you are just upset that Michael Jackson is considered the greatest entertainer of all time! Why does this remain, if it wasn't so?!

Anonymous said...

isteve, your iblog sucks.

Michael Jackson was genius at the age of like 10 when he was making #1 hit records for Motown.

Michael Jackson was a GREAT singer. Not a good one. A flipping GREAT one. He is one of the greatest singers to ever be recorded. That is a fact. Ask any person who has any kind of technical understanding of singing and voice training. Michael was a mind-blowing vocalist.

Fred Astaire loved Michael by the way, and was a huge fan of his. Even called Michael his heir in the foreword to Michael's book Moonwalk.

And like I said, Mike wasn't just a genius at 25. Off The Wall was an even better album than Thriller first of all, and secondly Mike was genius when he started out at like 10. Oh, and Bad was a pretty good album, and Dangerous was an AMAZING album. History was meh, but he did two records on that album that were absolutely incredible- They Don't Care About Us and Stranger In Moscow- simply brilliant recordings that were arranged and composed by Michael Jackson.

Steve...in short...go fluck yourself.

Anonymous said...

Christ.

The ignorance shown here is astonishing; the fact people aren’t at all hesitant to spout off complete BS as fact, then marginalize, trivialise and undermine every achievement by Jackson like they have any idea what they are talking about.

The fact that people use examples of bad tabloid journalism, thoroughly discredited witnesses, and so called “expert” testimony with a clear agenda is worrying; clearly there are many miserable, bitter souls out there who just want to keep others down and see them fail—pathetic.

3 years on, Michael’s legacy is as strong as ever: record breaking Cirque Du Soleil shows; extremely wide reach of his music, and the tremendous growth of Sony-ATV (Michael owns 50%) which recently acquired EMI Music Publishing and is estimated to be worth in the region of 3-6 billion USD.

Stay hating, stay bitter—the facts are all there, and Michael will be remembered for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Lousy article, MJ was a star from the age of 11 with the Jackson 5. They had 4 number one songs....I'm not even going to bother to address the rest of this article.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't even care how gracefully Astaire aged or what a diverse performer Gene Kelly or some other hotshot was, 100 years from now, people will still refer to Michael Jackson as the greatest entertainer of all-time and the aforesaid names would never have been heard of, what MIchael brought to the stage was sheer joy, do watch his concerts, m sure Astaire never had the chance bt to be honest such mass hysteria, only one man could generate, btw do read this where Astaire talks about Michael - http://michaeljackson4eva.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/fred-astaire-thought-michael-jackson-was-the-greatest-dancer/

Anonymous said...

If one is going to make a valid remark on the true artistic status of someone then surely they must first do their homework. Michael Jackson is by far the better singer between the two, no playing about. Jackson even sped his songs up on tours so his music coincided with his energetic dancing and until the mid 90's sung the majority of his songs live as well, a feat not many people could pull off as well as MJ. Dancing? now that's a whole new ball game, you've got yourself a worthy debate on your hands now. Personally, I say enjoy what's in front of you.

trudat said...

All these people ragging on Michael he was in a different era than Fred he had a better singing voice and by the way the dangerous was a very good cd by Michael! and he was a hell of a lot better looking than fred ever was!!!

Anonymous said...

A-LOT racially biased, maybe?? I think maybe you should educate yourself alittle before putting this statement out for everyone, especially, the man's children to see. He put in to motion many very important things. The man supported over 39 charities and set into motion racial equality and acceptance that for all we know is the reason Obama sits where does now. His soul ran deep and he gave away more money than you could dream to be lucky enough to win in the biggest lotto. I could go on, but it's your choice to stay ignorant if you like, try Wiki, and at least read his bio. Michael Jackson had auto-immune disease (as do I), and suffered many serious injuries on stage, yes he was prescribed LEGAL pain meds, (as am I) so I just had a procedure in December 2013 which required the usage of the anesthesia, "milk" if I were to slip away and die under physician care would everyone be telling my children I was nothing but an addict and "atrocious" never mind the fact that I had no choice but to accept SSDI when I was just 30? Wow, and I have no money to give away to the poor and starving, I am also WHITE, so my strong objection to your post must really make you hate me. It's ok though, rest easy because I'm not strong like Michael Jackson and definitely no kind of threat to whatever it is that made you dislike him so. Whether you like it or not he was he is and will FOREVER BE THE KING OF POP, and a very loved and missed father, brother, son, humanitarian, friend, and fellow brother.....

Anonymous said...

It hurts me to see some is these pointless ignorant and hateful comments about Michael Jackson considering he prided himself by trying to instill tolerance and pacifism. Just listen to “Beat It." Jackson NEVER attacked anyone, not even after that very person attack by Eminem"s Just Lose It. I watched the interview and MJ did admit it hurt him deeply, but he also said he always had admired "Mr. Eminem's talent." Michael Jackson. Seemed to always give credit where he felt credit was due, no matter what or how an individual had said or done to purposely hurt or wrong him. During that interview he seemed more concerned about his children seeing it. He expressed pain on a deep level were they to see it. In the end Jackson just said, well he hoped Eminem was having some fun with it, although he ought to be ashamed.

Further, why are we not mentioning the fact he supported over 39 charities worldwide, tried to break down ALL racial barriers, promote peace was inducted as honorary KING, where he wore a golden crown for the day (wiki states the,country), was inducted into the hall of fame TWICE, and is one of the only out of a select few, who as a pop musician is in the Dancers Hall of Fame, which is an extremely high standard. Michael Jackson was "on" since he was a baby. Since the age of 8, so for 42 years of his life he lived with cameras flashing in his face, people screaming anytime they saw him. People have to wonder why he didn't want to be out in a crowd?? Unfortunately, his home his castle, was also his prison. He expressed in one of his last interviews how much fun it would be to go grocery shopping and push the cart up and down the aisle and get to pick out whatever he wanted, or go to , a bookstore. Well he's made a profound impact on me, for the better, and because of him, I choose to be less judgemental, and less angry and more giving. Thank you Michael Jackson, you were and are and FOREVER will be, at the least bit, THE KING OF POP..... with much love, butterfly :-)