Monday, June 29, 2009

Yeah, Another Michael Jackson Tribute. So What!

Yeah. I've made my share of jokes. I've mourned the physical disappearance of the carmel-colored hottie he used to be in his videos for "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough," "Rock With You," and all the videos from the Thriller oevure. I've speculated about the number of plastic surgeries he probably had. I've wondered if he and his kid friends were friends with benefits. (Another joke - Sorry!) However, I now join the growing number of admirers who praise Michael Jackson as the musical innovator he was. Case in point: Jackson had the visionary foresight (possibly taking a cue from his old Motown labelmate Stevie Wonder who collaborated with Jeff Beck on Talking Book's "Looking For Another Pure Love") to merge R&B and rock with his song "Beat It." In so doing, he introduced me and millions of urban music listeners to the amazing work of guitarist Eddie Van Halen who before this brilliant collaboration existed only on the rock station at the far end of the radio dial. It was truly revolutionary and mind-blowing. More importantly, the song kicked ass and it still does. Think about it. There wouldn't be any rock and rap collaborations if it wasn't for Jackson's song "Beat It." "Beat It" paved the way for the "Walk This Way" collaboration between Aerosmith and Run DMC and other subsequent collaborations between rock and hip hop acts like Public Enemy and Anthrax, Linkin Park and Jay-Z to name a few. And rock-rap hybrid groups like Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit wouldn't exist. To those who are still hesitant - still distracted by other stuff - to give this man his props, please do so. He deserves it.

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