E’s song of the day: Michael Jackson edition

June 26, 2009

I can’t express how much I love Michael Jackson’s music.  It’s sad that his untimely death marks the first time he’ll appear on this segment, but I suppose I always just viewed his body of work as such a titanic masterpiece that it would have been silly to repeat the iconic classics you’ve certainly heard thousands of times.  I realize now that this was a foolish notion.  I’m still in a bit of a shock, and perhaps will be better suited to share my true feelings on these recent events in a couple of days (don’t worry, I’m not crying or anything – it’s not like I was best friends with the guy).  My memories of Michael really didn’t begin until my exposure to Caption Eo at Disneyland when I was very young (maybe 5 or 6).  Disneyland would be foolish not to re-open the attraction in memory of this great man.  I will share one small anecdote that I have about the Jackson family and mine and then on to some music.  While my dad was in law school at UCLA in the 70’s, my mom was working at the Bank of America in Westwood.  And which family account did she help assist with?  That’s right, none other than the Jackson’s.  It’s a small world after all.

I’ve decided to begin my musical reflection of Michael with one of his first solo jams (Though still backed by his bro’s, it was the title track of one of Michael’s early solo albums).  I’ve always enjoyed this song and I’m sure your familiar with it as well.  Jam one: Michael Jackson – Ben.  Enjoy….

The second jam that came to mind as I was reflecting on Michael’s incredible body of work was this classic tune from The Wiz.  Michael played the Scarecrow amongst a star-studded cast that included Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell and Richard Pryor.  Another great song, jam two: Michael Jackson – You Can’t Win.  Enjoy….

Most will agree that Michael’s solo career really took full flight with the release of his 1979 album, Off The Wall. I’ve decided, for this segment, to break you off with one jam from each of his albums from here on out (yes, this will be extremely difficult, given, for example, that there are FIVE #1 singles off of Bad alone).  From Off The Wall, a sad lament on a love lost.  Jam 3: Michael Jackson – She’s Out of My Life.  Enjoy….

That song is fun because it reminds me of the Eddie Murphy bit about Michael (or perhaps the bit reminds me of the song).  Luckily for you, I found it…

What can be said about the top selling album of all-time that hasn’t been said before?  Steve included the long video version of the title track, so I’ll be choosing a slightly different path.  I’ve gone for a feel-good song that’s a personal favorite of mine from this album.  Jam 4: Michael Jackson – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).  I love it!

How does one follow up on the top selling album of all-time?  How about a record with an unprecedented FIVE number 1 singles?  Selecting a track from Bad is certainly a daunting task, but one made slightly easier for your boy E by the fact that this particular jam is my all-time favorite of Mr. Jackson’s works.  I’ve selected this live version because it also highlights Jackson’s FEROCIOUS dancing ability.  A true dance AND music pioneer, jam 5: Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal.  Enjoy….

From Bad Michael breaks us off with Dangerous, another album that went multi-multi-platinum.  Another tough choice here made slightly easier by Steve already hitting you off with my favorite cut from that disc, “Remember the Time.”  A close second is this fast-paced, gritty track.  The music video (which I can’t get you because embedding has been disabled) features an awesome bit with Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan teaching each other some moves.  And of course my man Heavy-D with the little hip hop interlude.  Jam 6: Michael Jackson – Jam.  Enjoy….

UPDATE We have located the video for you Jordan fans!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

We waited and waited (well, really only a few years, but it felt like a long time), and Michael finally came back with the double album History in 1995.  It featured some new action on the second disc, including that track “Scream” with sister Janet (and that crazy video) as well as the slow jam “You Are Not Alone” which you can hear being sung by the owner of the Chinese restaurant  in that little skit on the Fugees album.  Don’t worry, I found a video featuring the skit…

However, that isn’t the jam I like best from History.  I’ve decided to omit any jams from the 2001 album Invincible because, I’m ashamed to say, I never listened to it.  As such, this jam will be my last for today in appreciation of Michael Jackson and his tremendous contribution to the world of entertainment.  An awesome, smooth, soulful tune and a fitting track to end on; last jam: Michael Jackson – Stranger in Moscow.  RIP Michael….

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