Friday, August 29, 2008
The Man-Child of Motown Meets Middle Age
For all the hoo-ha over Madonna's turning fifty a couple of weeks ago - even OPC felt compelled to mark the occasion - there has been remarkably little discussion over the fact that Michael Jackson turns 50 today. It's hard to imagine Michael at 50, isn't it? He's older than the guy who just accepted the Democratic presidential nomination.
It's also kind of funny how Madonna and Michael, although almost exactly the same age, sort of took turns being the most popular pop star in America. Michael burst onto the scene in 1969, when he and his brothers started a string of four straight Number One singles, and he was one of the biggest stars in the world through Thriller in 1982. Madonna didn't even release her first album until 1983, when Jackson was just passing his peak.
Of course, that's not entirely fair: 1987's Bad was a big hit for Michael. Even though it was a clear step down from the world-dominating Thriller, Bad did spawn five Number One singles of its own.
Then there's 1995's HIStory, one of the biggest slaps in the face that an artist has ever laid on his fans. In case you've forgotten, it was a double album, one disc of which was greatest hits, the other of which was new material. If you were a big Michael Jackson fan, you already had all the hits, but if you wanted the new stuff, you had to buy them all over again. Thanks for nothing, Michael. But happy birthday anyway.