Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Michael Jackson is gone.

He will be remembered as one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th Century. He was preparing for a series of “comeback” concerts this summer in London.

Michael, of course, will be remembered also for his legal problems, his family dramas, his plastic surgeries, his many eccentricities. For today, let’s focus on his extraordinary talent.

Before they were signed to Motown, Jackson and his brothers recorded a few sides for Steeltown Records, a local label in their home town of Gary, Indiana.

Their first single, “Big Boy, was released in January of 1968, when Michael was only 9 years old.

Click here to hear “Big Boy” on my Vox blog. To listen to the flip side, “You’ve Changed,” click here.

The Jackson 5’s early recordings were released on a 1996 CD called “Pre-History: The Lost Steeltown Recordings.” These aren’t good songs. But Michael had the magic even then.

Below, check him out at the age of 24. (Hat-tip: EbonyJet.com.)

21 comments:

blackink said...

Welcome back, UBM. Glad to have you around for occasions like this.

A few weeks ago, I caught a TVOne special about Michael showing some footage from the Gary days. It was unbelievable ... I think he was mimicking James Brown.

From the very young age, he's always had the gift. He was, in that way, one of a kind.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks, blackink. And you're right about "one of a kind." I just can't imagine another kid coming along at the age of 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 with that kind of incandescent stage presence and singing ability.

bklyn6 said...

Talking to my sister yesterday she mentioned hearing The Brand New Heavies version of "I Don't Know Why I Love You. We both agreed that it can't touch the J5's version. Michael's vocals.... You'd think he'd had his little heart broken for real. He sings the f out of that song.

I heard on the radio that he'd been working out with Lou Ferrigno ("The Hulk") to prepare for an upcoming tour. My first thought was steriods. :-(

Goodbye, MJ.

jjbrock said...

UBM welcome back! I can't stop crying. My heart is so heavy right now. I once dance all night to off the wall. I hope his soul is at rest.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thank you, jjbrock.

I hope all else is well with you.

Kellybelle said...

thanks for digging in the crates and reminding us who little Michael Jackson was. Cable news seems to be choosing to remember him as crazy has-been.

Must Love Movies said...

i'm trying to get the boot out of my mouth.

KST said...

Proper welcome back UBM.

This is a very sad day indeed. I remember the day my brother came in my room hyped up about this new song, "Beat It." He wouldn't leave me alone til I sat down and listened to the song on his "box" as we used to call it. I became a fan for life that day.

I saved all my chore money just to buy "Thriller" and worked my way back to the early Jackson Five days.

R.I.P. Michael

Undercover Black Man said...

^ KST, thank you.

I had the "ABC" album when I was a little kid. Wore it out. Bought the "Mama's Pearl" 45 with my own money.

He was the sound of black radio for my pre-adolescence.

Max Reddick said...

Lately, his eccentricities, legal woes, and money problems have eclipsed his title. I think the world was waiting on him to make his big comeback but that will never come. Perhaps now we can forget all the foolishness and remember the true genius.

Thrasher said...

Fuck UBM in a bout a week he will trashing MJ like he has Spike Lee...BS Blogger street cred...Punk ass wise cracking UBM for years never had one kind word for MJ ...He spit and pissed on him like rest of media slugs..

Shit dying always brings out the living dead..

Thrasher said...

MJ,

Lots of tears here in Motown..

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Maybe they just crying 'cuz they see you coming.

Coquinegra said...

I can still hardly believe it. I guess the candle the burn twice as bright burns half as long. Aside from all his demons, the man had talent like we'll never see again. I just hope his soul finds peace.

Michael Fisher said...

Dang. Tom Joyner with hair...

LennieG said...

UBM,

I'm dedicating 7 days to Michael on my blog. LOVED this man.

Thanks for posting his first single. I had never heard of Big Boy.

Doctor Memory said...

Man, weird days. For all his freakazoid tendencies later on, Michael's music was wrapped around my entire childhood in a way that I can't see that anyone in the generations since has an equivalent to: everyone listened to Thriller where I was. Black, white, rich, poor, even hippie/jewish/weirdo aliens like my parents nodded their heads along to "Billie Jean." I won my own cassette tape of Thriller as 3rd prize in a 4th-grade breakdancing contest in lilly-white Ann Arbor, and damn near wore it out over the next six months. Who's got that kind of crossover power these days? Hell, who's got that kind of star power period?

I think we're going to look back at Michael as the Last Celebrity, and considering what it did to the man, maybe that'll be a good thing.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hi there,

That is a wonderful photo of Michael...

It was clear that he was becoming very frail and he was clearly underweight for the last 20 years it seemed...he seemed to be moving in slow motion all the time...

This is just so very sad...

Big Don said...

You can blame his death on affirmative action. Listen to the 911 tape. Apparently his black cardiologist was doing CPR on the bed, where the mattress absorbs much of the compression force. The 911 operator had to tell the caller to put MJ on the floor for CPR...

Anonymous said...

Big DON,

How do we explain your penis envy cheap remarks on white affirmative action..

You have no idea what happened during that 911 call but fuck your white and an affrimative action know it all..

You eat an egg roll and become an expert on chinese people, a taco and you become latin expert and fried chicken makes you a subject matter negro expert..

Ida.B.Wells said...

I'm more stunned by Tom Joyner having hair than most of the stuff Michael said...except the part about the pirate business in the house.