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.


Maclin said...

That Sinatra quote is amazing--do you have a source for it? Not that I'm doubting it, but I'd like to be able to cite it. It's a funny coincidence--I'm catching up on your blog and just now (Wednesday) saw this message. Earlier this morning I read the dumbest thing I've run across recently: columnist Cal Thomas denying that Michael Jackson had any real singing talent. There are some other really dumb comments in the column and I was going to post about it on my blog.

Anyway, though MJ's music wasn't really my cup of tea, one has to be pretty dense to say he had no talent.

Pentimento said...

Maclin, thank goodness this is an anonymous blog, because my source for that quote is, well, the internet, and if the blog were evidence, I probably wouldn't have been awarded my doctorate last month. I found the quote here; who knows if it's real I'd like to think it is.

As for Cal Thomas, you don't have to like Michael Jackson's music or approve of his sad life to recognize that his inventiveness and creativity truly approached genius.

Dave said...

Yes, an amazing quote. An Pentimento, anyone who dreams in Le Nozze di Figaro and admires MJ must be a fascinating person indeed.

Pentimento said...

Dave, let's just say my tastes are catholic. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan, but MJ set the beat for much of my life, from "ABC" to "Say, Say, Say" to "Bad."