Michael Jackson, 1993 

Michael Jackson, 1993

So I'm watching a video of Fleetwood Mac at Clinton's Inaugural in 1993. "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow," the sound not the greatest, but a lot of emotion. Bill and Hillary getting up on stage, and: who's this? I did a double take. Michael Jackson.

I found some of the discussion about Jackson on Slate recently quite interesting. At one time, Jackson was actually an interesting musician, an innovator who never forgot "the business" of selling records/CDs, but wanted to bring genuine ideas to life within a somewhat restricted medium. In a way it was quite modest of him to call himself "King of Pop." He didn't claim to be a star of R&B, soul, or rock--and that's a good thing. He actually objected when an earlier album (Living Off the Wall?) was ranked, and nominated for awards, only as R&B. Jackson knew, and everyone knew, this was a way of saying ghetto stuff--not up for the really big awards. The truth was he wasn't an R&B musician--he was aiming successfully for the huge "pop" market, to some extent a global market that welcomes Abba and, I don't know, Tina Turner (although she can get rocky, or sound like James Brown).

Up to a point his weirdness, sexual and otherwise, seems to be owing to his terrible childhood--the way he was treated by his family. But now, sadly, he is probably seriously mentally ill.

Would any President, even a Democrat, have him up on stage today? Probably not.

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