I’m not a huge fan of the celebrity obituary.  They usually tell us very little that Entertainment Tonight, the Enquirer and other publications of even “dubious-er” reputations, haven’t already revealed as they painstakingly rip every shred of humanity away from the carcass of a living American celebrity.

So imagine my surprise when the article by music industry writer Bob Lefsetz refuses to distill Jackson’s history through the typical “he was born on _____ in ______ to parents _______ and _______” filter, instead focusing on the nature of his celebrity, how he went from a talented little boy to an adult oddity – or so it seemed to many of us – and our own complicity in the transformation.

His article starts with the sentence, “He missed his childhood and now he’s gonna miss his old age.”

It’s a fascinating description of his journey, an essay on the musical miracles he performed and the heights of stardom from which he eventually, some might say inevitably, fell.  BE WARNED – Bob’s second sentence contains a very harsh expletive, but it reinforces the first statement and leads into the story.  And while I think he could have done without the f-bomb, it reminds us that this is a raw essay by someone trying to figure out what Michael’s life – and now, his death – means to music and to music listeners.

Read his great article here.

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