Michael Jackson - a musical life mired in controversy

August 30th, 2008 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Michael Jackson, the self proclaimed “King Of Pop”, turned 50 and almost no one seemed to care. Fans don’t know if the day should be celebrated or if they should pity the man.Jackson had been in the spotlight ever since he was 11. In his late teens he blossomed. In is 20s he peaked as a performer, songwriter and singer. But starting from his late 30s, he has been dogged by scandal and now as he hit 50 Friday, he is a limp example of a fallen star.

There is no denying that Jackson is one of the strangest celebrities ever. It would have been fine for Jackson if he was just considered strange. After all, he is also one of the most successful artistes of all time. But when allegations of molesting boys surfaced, all the notions of his eccentricities combined with the possible validity of the allegations, presented us with a very complicated picture.

As a child, Jackson was a part of the Jackson 5 that comprised his siblings and even then it was clear that he was destined for superstardom. That he was able to make the all difficult transition to adult performer is a testament to his genius. He peaked with the release of “Thriller” in 1982 and “Bad” in 1988. He had a string of hits in the 80s like “Beat It”, “Thriller”, “Bad’ and “Man In the Mirror”. Jackson holds quite a few Guinness records and has won a staggering 13 Grammy awards. The video for “Thriller” is regarded as one of the best ever.

Throughout his career, Jackson blurred and transcended the lines between artiste, icon, and sadly even celebrity ridicule. Things really started going bad for him in 1993. That’s when the first allegations of sexual abuse surfaced. It was settled quietly out of court but these allegations continued to dog him. It all reached a climax in 2005 when he was cleared of a few charges. Since then, Jackson has been in self-imposed exile.

Though there are rumours that he is plotting a comeback with an album, it remains uncertain if he will ever be able to redeem himself. Jackson finds himself in the unenviable position of having to start from scratch. Everyone loves a underdog, but Jackson is too far off the deep end to endear himself to fans anymore.

His earliest entry into the infamous tabloid world was when he was filming an advertisement for Pepsi and his hair caught fire. He had to get some corrective surgeries but many believe it did not just stop there. He is rumoured to have injected himself with female hormones to maintain his falsetto voice.

A few of the extreme speculations of his fans were dispelled when he agreed to be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey 1993. Winfrey didn’t probe too much and Jackson revealed bits of personal information like suffering from vitiligo, a disease he maintained discoloured his skin, and that he was a victim of abuse at the hands of his father, Joseph.

Though he had managed to maintain a tight veneer of privacy on his personal life, Jackson now has opened himself up to a large amount of very unflattering probes and speculations. In the end, the only redeeming quality of the man might be his work. And for that, Jackson has a lot to be proud of. It’s in his art that Jackson has managed to mean most to his fans. Let’s at least celebrate that.

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