Another King is Dead…

25 Jun
The King of Pop, 1958 - 2009

The King of Pop, 1958 - 2009

They shared more than a close connection to Lisa Marie.    Parallels in life and death abound between Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley.  One was the King of Rock, the other the King of Pop.  Both had a profound, deep and lasting affect on the music scene.  Both struggled with self image, relationships and health.  Both were talented on a level that few can comprehend, yet hid a flipside of “mad” genius.  Both died tragically young.

Just as Elvis stormed the music scene in the ’50s, Michael ruled the ’80s.  Elvis shocked with the “hip thrust”, Michael wowed with the Moonwalk.  When Elvis died tragically in 1977, Michael Jackson began his ascent.  He used MTV, revoluntionary dance videos and ground-breaking R&B that changed the genre forever.

I was 13 when Elvis died.  It was shocking and profoundly sad.  Such a waste of a talent whose star was quenched much too soon.  I was aptly affected.  While I loved Elvis in the movies and all of his old music, I was also deeply entrenched in The Jackson 5 and knew every word to Rockin’ Robin, I’ll Be There, One Bad Apple, Easy as ABC, Ben and countless others. 

  I Want You Back

When he went solo in ’79, I wore out Off the Wall

  Workin’ Day & Night

Then came the pivotal Thriller, that catapulted Michael to unfathomable fame…

  Billie Jean

  Beat It

Then, things started to get really weird.  Dozens of plastic surgeries, skin lightening, dalliances with young boys, a sham marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, Neverland Ranch, children with another sham wife, veils and balcony dangling…it never seemed to end.

After losing everything and a brief exile to Bahrain, Michael was reportedly rehearsing heavily for his greatest comeback tour in Europe.  While many will refuse to recognize his genius because of his controversial private life — and maybe justifiably — his musical imprint is wide and long.  There is no denying that.

At 44, the familar feeling of loss of such a large cultural figure that was so integral to my generation is painfully reminiscient of that awful summer 32 years ago when another king departed much too soon.

Perhaps Michael will finally accept The Man in the Mirror. 


Posted by on June 25, 2009 in Elvis, memorials, motown, music legends, the king


Tags: , ,

8 responses to “Another King is Dead…

  1. AH

    June 25, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you MM . . MJ was a remarkable talent and a tragic figure – maybe RIP is more appropriate for him than we will ever know.

  2. shrewspeaks

    June 26, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Beautifully written, MM. You have captured the paradox of this man so well. Hearing about his sudden death, I was first shocked. Fifty is too young for anyone to leave this mortal coil. Upon reflection thought it seems some people exhaust everything they have and are not meant to age, but to be frozen in time.
    Elvis, as you noted, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Mama Cass, even the non-musical Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean all cut down early, leaving one universal question “what more did they have to create?”

    I hope Jackson has found the peace he so desperately sought. There are reports that Jackson was working on new songs for the tour and that they were very promising. Like Lennon’s last two albums and Elvis’s last few singles, I hope someone recorded these songs and find a way to release them. Whether you liked his music or could look past his personal darkness or not; you have to respect the enormity of his talent.

    Michael Jackson had many faces musically as well as physically….I prefer to remember my favorite face of his. Remember, this was way before Don Johnson pushed up his sleeves. What an Icon!

  3. little Deb

    June 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    A chilling statement by Lisa Marie.

    A candid Lisa Marie Presley is writing about the death of her former husband, music legend Michael Jackson, who she says once questioned her about the circumstances surrounding the death of her iconic father, Elvis Presley. Lisa Marie also defends her former marriage to Jackson, and likens his passing to that of her father’s.

    Lisa Marie recalls her conversation with Michael on her blog, writing:

    “At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, ‘I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did.’ I promptly tried to deter him from the idea, at which point he just shrugged his shoulders and nodded almost matter of fact as if to let me know, he knew what he knew and that was kind of that.”

    Lisa Marie goes on to write about her pain upon hearing the news, and declares that her marriage with Jackson was not “a sham,” and she likens the tragic news to the loss of her father in 1977:

    “A predicted ending by him, by loved ones and by me, but what I didn’t predict was how much it was going to hurt when it finally happened. The person I failed to help is being transferred right now to the LA County Coroners office for his Autopsy. All of my indifference and detachment that I worked so hard to achieve over the years has just gone into the bowels of hell and right now I am gutted. I am going to say now what I have never said before because I want the truth out there for once. Our relationship was not ‘a sham’ as is being reported in the press. It was an unusual relationship yes, where two unusual people who did not live or know a “Normal life” found a connection, perhaps with some suspect timing on his part. Nonetheless, I do believe he loved me as much as he could love anyone and I loved him very much. I wanted to ‘save him.’ I wanted to save him from the inevitable which is what has just happened. His family and his loved ones also wanted to save him from this as well but didn’t know how and this was 14 years ago. We all worried that this would be the outcome then. At that time, in trying to save him, I almost lost myself. He was an incredibly dynamic force and power that was not to be underestimated. When he used it for something good, It was the best and when he used it for something bad, It was really, REALLY bad. Mediocrity was not a concept that would even for a second enter Michael Jackson’s being or actions. I became very ill and emotionally/ spiritually exhausted in my quest to save him from certain self-destructive behavior and from the awful vampires and leeches he would always manage to magnetize around him. I was in over my head while trying. I had my children to care for, I had to make a decision. The hardest decision I have ever had to make, which was to walk away and let his fate have him, even though I desperately loved him and tried to stop or reverse it somehow.

    “After the divorce, I spent a few years obsessing about him and what I could have done different, in regret. Then I spent some angry years at the whole situation. At some point, I truly became Indifferent, until now. As I sit here overwhelmed with sadness, reflection and confusion at what was my biggest failure to date, watching on the news almost play by play.

    “The exact scenario I saw happen on August 16th, 1977 happening again right now with Michael (A sight I never wanted to see again) just as he predicted, I am truly, truly gutted. Any ill experience or words I have felt towards him in the past has just died inside of me along with him. He was an amazing person and I am lucky to have gotten as close to him as I did and to have had the many experiences and years that we had together. I desperately hope that he can be relieved from his pain, pressure and turmoil now. He deserves to be free from all of that and I hope he is in a better place or will be. I also hope that anyone else who feels they have failed to help him can be set free because he hopefully finally is. The World is in shock but somehow he knew exactly how his fate would be played out some day more than anyone else knew, and he was right. I really needed to say this right now, thanks for listening.”

  4. shrewspeaks

    June 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    WOW… little Deb that was amazing. The pain of being through this personally twice is just to horrid to imagine.

  5. music maven

    June 26, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Yeah, Lisa Marie had had her share, particularly since she saw it coming with Michael and by her own accounts was “indifferent”, until now, when it’s too late.

    It seems that so many people were indifferent, or would not take the stand to put an end to the drugs and self-mutilation. The man was obviously crying out for help all these years, yet because of his power over people (including his family), no-one could do anything to stop it.

    Everyone seems to coddle the “personality” to remain in the good graces and in the “inner circle”. Elvis was no different.
    River Phoenix.
    Jim Morrison.
    Karen Carpenter.
    Kurt Cobain.
    Townes Van Zandt.
    Chris Farley.
    Judy Garland.
    Keith Moon.
    Dennis Wilson.
    Heath Ledger.
    David Ruffin.
    Michael Hutchence.
    Montgomery Clift.
    Donny Hathaway.
    Brad Renfro.
    John Bonham.
    Sid Vicious.
    Andy Gibb.
    Frankie Lyman.

    ….a long list of “talent” that no could or would save. The list of those saved, like Robert Downey, Jr. and Charlie Sheen is much shorter. Any way you cut it, fame is a cruel, cruel mistress.

  6. karma

    June 29, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Nicely written post, MM. I haven’t commented here in quite a while, but I do “lurk.” 😉

  7. colette

    July 3, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I felt this way when John Lennon died. And that was a different kind of tragic, because he was gunned down in his prime.

    I liked much of Michael’s music, and I do see how important he was to a generation of Americans. But I’ll be a little blasphemous here and admit that I have hated that the news media has let this story dominate.

    Picking over all the details of his dysfunction, his estate, the fate of his children, etc. — it’s just overkill, and feeding the worst vicarious instincts of the culture.

    Recently while we were on vacation with our daughter, we’d come home to the hotel and hope for some news about Iran, the healthcare debate, the economy, and what we’d get on CNN and other news stations was hours and hours of Jackson post-mortem, going over the same stuff again and again.

    The way to honor this guy is to keep his music alive, as you have done MM. Otherwise, RIP…..

  8. thedingoateyobaby

    July 7, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you DD. Im grief stricken but its places like this that will help me to heal. I never believed the abuse stories. Maybe Im naive but I always felt as if I understood the tortured, tangled web he lived in. The drug that likely killed him was not a drug that you got high off of. It was a drug that deadened pain. It wasnt used for recreational purposes or to get “high”, its used to put you out of your misery. I cant imagine the kind of emotional pain this man was in. I only know I loved his music, I believed in him and that he was sheer genius. He never lived to feel or know the love that people like me and millions others felt for him. All he lived to see at the end were the rumors, innuendos, the laughing media who thought it was all a joke and who made millions off him. Now they gather like parasites at his memorial and pretend to care. As I wrote in another post in another forum…I spit on them.


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