Friday, June 26, 2009
Michael Jackson, R.I.P.
My Intro to Music class had a lively discussion last spring (led by the most badass of my students, a six-foot-five senior in a do-rag whom I kicked out of class on one occasion for his disrespectful behavior, but whom I actually both liked and admired) about who was more important to music, Frank Sinatra or Michael Jackson. The indisputable answer: Michael Jackson was. As Sinatra himself said: “The only male singer who I’ve seen besides myself and who’s better than me – that is Michael Jackson.”
Jackson was one of those rare talents who approach genius, and his untimely death is truly shocking and tragic. An early biographer of the great nineteenth-century mezzo-soprano Maria Malibran wrote, in words that could just as easily apply to Jackson:
Daring originality stamped her life . . . her career as an artist, and the brightness with which her star shone through a brief and stormy
history had something akin in it to the dazzling but capricious passage of a meteor.
Requiescat in pace.