Friday, June 26, 2009

The man in the mirror and the girl on the poster

My head was still reeling from the news of the passing of Farrah Fawcett when everyone at the American Jewish Press Association in Chicago started receiving news over their Blackberrys and iPhones  of the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Nearby Gary, Indiana was the birthplace of the musical icon who, along with his brothers, took the world by storm in 1969 beginning with "I Want You Back." Jackson, 50,  was eccentric and controversial in his later years, but no less than another pop icon, Elvis Presley, who passed away tragically at 42. One cannot forget that Jackson married the King's daughter, Lisa Marie. Fame and fortune did not bring either of them true happiness. In the end the two musical figures died shut away from the outside world, seeking privacy and solace that all of the money could not bring them. Jackson had his Neverland, while Presley had his Graceland. Both were supreme influences over popular music and in their heydays no one could eclipse them. Jackson sold over 750 million albums and his "Thriller" album still holds records for sales that may never be breached. The world will continue to mourn his early demise despite the insinuations and suggestions of improper behavior with juveniles that will cast a cloud over his sunny career. While Jackson changed his skin color and facial characteristics over the course of the last several decades, Fawcett hardly ever changed her truly beautiful countenance. Cancer was her companion these last three years in addition to her love, Ryan O'Neal. It was announced a few days ago that the two would be married, but the ceremony was never held due to her condition. In the end she resembled only a shadow of her former beauty, yet her strength of character and her determination to fight with all of her being shone through, captured through Alana Stewart's moving documentary. Fawcett's iconic poster was on the walls of most of the teenagers and young men who grew up in the 70s. The Jackson Five's "ABC" and other top sellers were on the phonographs of that same crowd. My high school senior class song was "I'll Be There." Both of these figures will be sorely missed by my generation and those that have and will follow. Fawcett's talent may take a back seat to Jackson's musical genius, but the fact they are both gone on the same day within hours of one another will always strike me as strange and odd.

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