Michael Jackson was the name of a most excellent fellow who was one of (if not the) world authorities on your favorite and mine, beer. He wrote about his travels around the world, and wrote up all his experiences meeting new brews (and old friends) so that you or I may purchase our imported suds in style and confidence. His column was made into a television series for I believe A&E named Beer Hunter (Not to be confused with the game of the same name made popular by Bob & Doug McKenzie).

Actually, the lucky bastard not only traveled in beer, but in single malt scotch as well, having written one of the authoritative guides on the subject. I want his job.

Michael Jackson passed away on August 30, 2007 in London at the age of 65.

Of course there’s no place for Michael Jackson in geek culture. Still it was a shock to find out this little had been written here about the alleged King of Pop.

Michael Jackson (1958-2009) American pop artist

Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary (Indiana), as the seventh of nine children. His father Joseph worked at a steel mill, but founded a pop group consisting of five of his sons when Michael was only five years old. Still, the Benjamin of the pack was the lead singer of the Jackson 5, as they were called, assisted by his brothers Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito. They were discovered by Motown after singing at talent contests and signed a contract in 1969, resulting in their first hit I Want You Back. It reached number one soon, as would their next three singles (ABC, The Love You Save, and I'll Be There).

Simultaneously the talented eleven-year-old was pushed into a solo career already, scoring his first hit in 1971 (Got To Be There) and still one of his best known the year after: Ben. Elvis Presley brought his young daughter backstage to meet the Jackson 5 when they performed at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas in 1974. Decades later this first contact would lead to a marriage between Michael en Lisa Marie Presley (married in 1994, divorced in 1996). Michael and his brothers left Motown in 1976 when their popularity started to decline a bit. They signed a deal with Epic but the rights to the name Jackson 5 were with Motown, so the brothers changed their name to The Jacksons.

Michael’s solo career was revived after he met Quincy Jones at the set of the Wizard of Oz adaptation The Wiz in 1978. In his movie debut, Michael played the scarecrow alongside Diana Ross, who starred as Dorothy. Michael Jackson would work together with producer Jones on his solo album Off The Wall, which was released in 1979. The album sold over 15 million copies worldwide and earned Jackson two more number one hits (Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough and Rock With You).

Although Michael still kept on recording and touring with The Jacksons, his solo efforts were way more successful. He cooperated with Quincy Jones again for Thriller in 1982, an album that became the best-selling record of all time. Twenty million Americans bought the record, while worldwide over 50 million copies were sold. Thriller also marked the launch of the new genre of music videos: short films accompanied all singles, almost simultaneously with the rise of newborn MTV. The album included seven top ten hits, of which the title song, Beat It and Billie Jean reached number one. The latter hit was accompanied by the first video by a black artist on MTV. It was also during this period that Jackson did his first Moonwalk and received his first fame as a dancer.

Supporting the fight against famine in Africa, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie composed We Are the World in 1985, performed by several famous artists under the name USA For Africa. Jackson’s next album after Thriller, Bad, came out in 1987 and went together with a world tour. The LP included hit singles as the title song, The Man in the Mirror, The Way You Make Me Feel, Dirty Diana and Smooth Criminal, recently covered by Alien Ant Farm. The album was followed by Jackson’s second world tour, an autobiography called Moonwalk and the movie Moonwalker, also featuring John Lennon’s son Sean. He purchased and rebuilt the Neverland Valley Ranch in California, making it an amusement park, a movie theatre and a zoo, and often inviting terminally ill children to come and play. It would last another four years for his fans to cheer on a new album, called Dangerous, which would actually lead to just three hits: Black and White, Heal the World and Remember the Time.

In 1993, Jackson’s image was severely damaged after accusations of child abuse. Only adding more fuel to the flames, Jackson settled the case out of court through a huge but undisclosed amount of money. Also in 1993, Jackson did a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey about a lost childhood and his serious skin disorder vitiligo, which had caused media speculations about him bleaching his skin and having plastic surgery. The King of Pop’s next album would be his Greatest Hits under the title HIStory. The new material on the recording would not make it to a large audience.

Ten months after his divorce with Lisa Marie Presley, Michael Jackson married his dermatologist’s assistant Deborah Rowe in November 1996. They got two children before (also) divorcing in 1999.

In 2001, Jackson issued his last to date album Invincible, accompanied by the single You Rock my World. Controversy was created by a Michael Jackson tribute concert in Madison Square Garden. His brother Jermaine thought the entry ticket prices (up to 2500 US dollars) were absurd. Though not all musical appearances, the audience could enjoy Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Shaquille O'Neal for their money.

Following the 1993 happenings, Michael Jackson was arrested November 20, 2003, being accused of abusing a 12-year-old boy.

Michael Jackson died on a day we can all still remember, May 27th, 2009.

Michael Jackson's nose

I feel a bit apprehensive about posting a node on Michael Jackson’s nose, but I’ve heard so many rumours about it, on TV, on radio, from friends, etc, that I figured I’d actually look into the facts and find out. So here is a history of his Michael Jackson’s nose, and facial plastic surgery. I counted nine total verifiable rhinoplasty jobs.

1984 – Age 26: Michael Jackson has his nose narrowed, and his eyebrows shaped.

1985 – Age 27: Michael Jackson has his nose narrowed more. Permanent eyeliner is tattooed around his eyes.

1987 – Age 29: Michael Jackson first shows severe signs of turning into a white woman. His nose is operated on once again, and the surgery goes wrong. We also see cheek bones. His voice also changes considerably. Rumours also begin that Michael has Vitiligo, a rare skin disorder.

1991 – Age 32: Michael has his nose done yet again, his eyebrows are thinned and shaped even more. Jaw work is done, giving him a square jaw line. His new nose has a bridge you could shave with. (though you wouldn’t want to)

1993 – Age 34: Cheeks and nose (again!). By now, it is reported that there has been so much work on his nose the tissue has died and he needs a prosthetic tip for it.

1997 – Age 38: Yet even more surgery, this time on his entire face. He has a false chin implant, nose job again, god knows what happened to his cheeks, and his skin… well his skin had seen better days.

1999 – Age 41: I might as well paste the last entry. Chin, nose, cheeks, jaw… He’s whiter than I am at this point (and most people need to wear welding goggles when I go swimming to lessen the glare).

2000 – Age 41: Michael grows facial hair? Has his jaw, eyes, and lips done. He now looks like something like an anime character.

2001 – Age 42: If you could see the photo I just did, it would make you cringe. No wonder he wasn’t seen much. At this point his face is a complete wreck, there aren’t words to describe this. It would appear that the rumour about the fake tip in his nose is true. His nose looks like it’s missing a healthy chunk on the tip. I can’t look at this photo any more.

2002 – Age 43/44: Michael has his nose fixed, again, thank god, but apparently not too well. Photos taken later in the year make the tip of his nose look like hamburger before cooking. He has also gotten in the habit of wearing surgical masks while in public “to avoid pollution and germs”. Right.

There is very strong evidence to suggest that Michael has body dysmorphic disorder according to Dr. Laurie Casas, chairwoman of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s communication commission.

Now, there is very strong photographic evidence to suggest that the tip of his nose is, in fact, dead. It certainly appears hollow and scarred in numerous recent photos. Wearing a surgical mask all the time would definitely lend credibility to this rumour as well. There are web sites that claim it is both true and false, but the only people who know for certain are Michael Jackson, and whomever screwed up his gelfling face and turned it into hamburger paste with bad hair. Reason being, there is a verifiable threat of lawsuit by his lawyer, Martin Singer should it be claimed as fact, though I could not find what legal grounds it would be on.

Michael Jackson died today at 2:26pm. He had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital and was pronounced dead there.

Michael Jackson is who you think of when you wonder what it's like to change your race, how it feels to have multiple nose jobs (see above node or this photo history timeline), who you think of when any pedophile trial begins, who South Park makes fun of for owning a backyard amusement park called Neverland Ranch, and who you impersonate when you grab yourself when you dance. Jackson is possibly the all time most famous singer in recent history, possibly due to his gimmicks. His music is classified under Pop, R&B, rock, and soul. Jackson is famous for his MTV performances like "Beat it" "Billie Jean" and my personal favorite Thriller.

Eccentric Recluse
Oh and if you're curious, Jackson lived in Neverland Ranch from 1988 to 2005. And although mention of foreclosures, sales and the like have haunted Jackson. He has worked hard to keep the ranch. I personally suspect the London gigs he is up to is how he is going to pay for it. (See below)

Jackson paid $23 million to the father of a kid that cops believe he molested. The District Courts dropped the case when the boy declined to testify beyond the civil case lawsuit.

    Fame
  • Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.
  • Multiple Guinness World Records - holds "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time."
  • 13 Grammy Awards.
  • 13 number one singles in his solo career.
  • Sold 750 million units worldwide.

Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana and is the 7th child in his family. His family is also famous for their performances. "The group scored its first No. 1 single in 1969, with "I Want You Back." By age 11, Jackson was appearing on TV, and by age 14 he had released his first solo album. A Jackson 5 TV cartoon series appeared in the early '70s, and in 1976 the Jackson family, including sister Janet Jackson, launched a TV variety show called The Jacksons that ran for one season." (History) Jackson had his 50th birthday last year. Sony BMG released a compilation album called King of Pop to celebrate.

And while I think of Michael Jackson as a typical Las Vegas gig, he is spending most of 2009 until March of 2010 in London at the O2 Arena. Jackson is scheduled to perform 50 sell out concerts to over one million people. The first 10 concerts will generate £50 Million. His website details dates he will be performing.

There is suspicion Jackson will retire after the London concerts.

More and more it is thought that the worst damage to a child is not active abuse but neglect. Neglect can take many forms. We think of neglect as being in a poverty stricken home where there are few resources, but in any home a child may be deeply loved. If there is food and love, a child may thrive.

There was a boy who grew up in a family who sang. By age 5 his talent was undeniable. By age eight, he was a star. The family lived in hotel rooms and the boy went on stage with his family and sang. Everyone said how lucky he was because he was rich and loved. But I read that the family used drugs, drank and had orgies in the hotel rooms. Remember that the boy was eight. My heart dropped when I heard that.

He continued to sing as he grew older. He named his home Neverland. That is where Peter Pan lived, but who else? The Lost Boys. The Lost Boys clung to Wendy because they longed for their mothers so.

He had surgery on his face. Someone told me that he was looking for the self he lost.

Farewell, nightingale. I hope that the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven opened and you were welcomed by the father you lost and the mother you lost. I hope that the angels wept for joy to have your voice join theirs. I hope that the lost boy is found.

I got into Michael Jackson around the time I was ten years old, back in the mid-1990s. That was in the wake of the first child molestation trial and liking Michael Jackson was definitely not a cool thing to do. Especially if you were ten years old. But I didn’t care. I loved the music, loved the videos, loved the way he moved, the way he sang. I remember getting made fun by my peers when I would sing his songs or imitate his dance moves, but I didn't let it get to me. Jacko was the shit. That simple.

As I grew older I started getting really into rock music and while I continued to listen to some pop music I didn't listen to anybody on the scale I used to listen to Jacko.

Last summer I was heartbroken when I came home from work to see he had died. It was one of those rare news stories that hit me with a hard hard shock. I thought it would be fitting to put on a few songs and listen to some Jacko for the first time in awhile.

So I started listening.

And I kept listening.

And kept on listening after that.

Now, a few weeks later, I’ve sifted through most of Jackson’s solo output...and I’ve fallen hard in love with the tunes all over again.

I was thinking about writing a node going into all the intricate details of what I have to say about his life and death, but instead I think I’m gonna post a list of Five Underrated Michael Jackson Songs that I’ve rediscovered or discovered for the first time over the last few months:

"Butterflies"

Off Jackson's final album, "Invincible." "Butterflies" has Jacko taking everything good that has ever happened in 90s/early 2000s R&B and putting his own unique spin on it.

"Morphine"

Off Jackson's 1997 part-remix/part-new songs album "Blood on the Dance Floor." Sounds like Jacko's version of a NIN song. "Morphine" hits hard, with strange sound effects deep in the mix and that quiet bridge is even more profound given the way he passed.

"They Don't Care About Us"

Off Jackon's 1995 "HIStory" album. A vague, angry social criticism piece that might be the closest thing to a hardcore hip-hop song Jacko ever did. Jacko’s video was filmed in a part of Rio de Janeiro that made large social strides after the international notability Jacko brought to it.

"We've Had Enough"

Off "Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection," released in 2004. Takes the social anger he had on "They Don't Care About Us" but “We’ve Had Enough” but takes a much more soulful, empathetic approach. Although he might be the highest profile musician to make a song against the Iraq War, "We've Had Enough" was buried on a “best of” collection and relatively ignored.

Human Nature

I guess it’s hard to call a single off the world’s greatest selling album “underrated,” but I still think this one is because people don’t know it as well as “Thriller” or “Billie Jean.” There’s a certain kind of song that hits me a certain type of way. A song that hits me right in the center of the chest and makes me feel real good. I like to call these songs “heartmelters.” “Human Nature” is one of the greatest heartmelters ever.

I could go on and on with some of the great tunes I’ve rediscovered and fallen in love with again (“Jam,” “Dirty Diana,” “P.Y.T.” “Leave Me Alone.” “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” “Rock With You”) but I thought I’d share those five deeper cuts.

It’s too bad it took his passing to get me to rediscover how incredible these songs are.

Rest in Peace Jacko. And thanks.

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