Brown Bread: Michael Jackson

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Last night, when BBC1 announced there was going to be a special news bulletin between Question Time and This Week, I wondered what on earth had happened:

War with Iran?
Assassination of Gordon Brown?
Tsunami in SE Asia causing death and destruction?
North Korea launching a nuclear attack on South Korea?

Something much more important – the death of a pop star.

A tribute to Michael Jackson on BBC Radio 4 this morning by Jonathan Margolis, his speechwriter, said he was “up there with Mozart and Beethoven”.

There is no doubt (after his formative years with the Jackson Five) that between the ages of about 20 and 35 Michael Jackson was a pop music phenomenon – though personally I always preferred Prince. Most pop stars like most sportsmen have a shelf life of about fifteen years, between the ages of 20 and 35, but after that age one is no longer young enough or fit enough or modern enough. Jackson became a freak. I found Michael Jackson’s music as a solo artist rather peculiar. It doesn’t seem to belong to any recognised category of popular music.

When I heard the news late last night and the headline: 70s pop star, with regrettable interest in children anxious to make a come-back, rolled across my screen, I was underwhelmed. Oh dear, I thought, Gary Glitter is no more.

I remember that at the height of Jackson’s fame, I actually bought a copy of his CD Bad to hear for myself what all the fuss was about. I listened to the first track, yawned and put it away, never to open the CD case again.

Will it now become a collector’s item?

R.I.P. Michael Jackson 1958-2009

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