Friday, June 26, 2009
Michael Jackson Dead at 50: A Life of Talent and Tragedy
By JOSH TYRANGIEL -- Josh Tyrangiel
The tragedy of Michael Jackson's death at age 50, reportedly from cardiac arrest, pales in comparison to the tragedy of his life. To understand all that Jackson had and lost requires wiping away three decades of plastic surgeries that deformed him, erratic behavior that made his name synonymous with the warping powers of fame, and a 2005 trial for sexually abusing a child that, even though he was spared of any finding of wrongdoing, made him a pariah to all but the most brainwashed of fans.
But if you can forgive or forget all that, underneath was one of the most talented entertainers of the 20th century. Quincy Jones, who produced Jackson's quintessential solo albums, was devastated by the news of his passing. "I've lost my little brother today," Jones said in a statement. "Part of my soul has gone with him." Added Jones: "Divinity brought our souls together ... and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the '80s. To this day, the music we created together on Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad is played in every corner of the world, and the reason for that is because he had it all." (See pictures of people around the world mourning Michael Jackson.)
Jackson was born in 1958, the seventh of nine Jackson children, and before he had reached age 6, he had joined his brothers in the Jackson Five. By age 8, he had taken over lead-singing duties with brother Jermaine, but there was no question who was the star of the group. Little Michael was the best dancer and singer of the bunch, and he also had the mysterious thing that record bosses and studio chiefs crave: star power. Michael appeared to be his best and most interesting self when everyone in the world was watching.
As Michael aged into adolescence, the Jackson Five, renamed the Jacksons after departing from Motown Records, inevitably lost some of its charm. A solo career followed, and after a steady stream of middling hits that attempted to milk the last bit of innocence from Jackson's voice, Jackson had the good fortune to hook up with Jones while filming The Wiz. The two shared a vision for what Jackson's career as an adult might be, and on 1979's Off the Wall, they executed it beyond even Jackson's dreams. With songwriting help from Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, Off the Wall spun off four Top 10 hits and two No. 1s - "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You."
At 22, Jackson became not only one of the most admired pop musicians in the world, but one of the globe's most famous people. And his fame only increased with the 1982 release of Thriller, which was to become the best-selling album of all time (until it was eclipsed in the late '90s by the Eagles' Greatest Hits, 1971-1975). Seven of the record's nine tracks made the Top 10, and the Jones-produced hooks remain awe-inspiring. In a cover story about Jackson and Thriller, TIME described Jackson as "a one-man rescue team for the music business. A songwriter who sets the beat for a decade. A dancer with the fanciest feet on the street. A singer who cuts across all boundaries of taste and style and color too."
While Jackson had few ambitions at the time beyond global domination, it's worth noting that "The Girl Is Mine" established interracial love as a pop-music theme, and "Beat It" (with Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo) bridged arena rock and soul four years before Run-D.M.C. met Aerosmith. On March 25, 1983, Jackson may have reached the very peak of his fame when he unveiled his signature dance move, the moonwalk, live on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever television special.
The years after Thriller, however, were marked by a slow descent into what was at first dismissible as eccentricity. Jackson attended the Grammys on a triple date with Emmanuel Lewis and Brooke Shields, purchased a chimpanzee named Bubbles and was given a diagnosis of vitiligo, a condition that he said was responsible for the steady lightening of his skin. But his songwriting genius remained undeniable. With Lionel Richie, he co-wrote "We Are the World," a 1985 charity single that raised an estimated $50 million for famine relief in Africa and ushered in the era of celebrity philanthropy.
After the release of 1987's Bad, a disappointing follow-up to Thriller, Jackson purchased the 2,800-acre Neverland Ranch in California, and his public weirdness became almost aggressive. In his biography Moonwalk, Jackson wrote of childhood abuse at the hands of his father and multiple plastic surgeries, subjects he returned to in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey that was one of the most watched non-sports programs in American history.
Shortly after, Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in a suit brought by Evan Chandler on behalf of Jordan, his then-13-year-old son. Jordan told a psychiatrist and police that he and Jackson had engaged in sexual acts that included oral sex; the boy gave a detailed description of Jackson's genitals. The case was settled out of court for a reported $22 million, but the strain led Jackson to begin taking painkillers. Eventually he became addicted.
To counteract the stigma that came with the allegations of pedophilia, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley in a relationship Elvis' only daughter later dismissed as a sham. Two years later, they divorced.
Given the tumult in his personal life, it's no surprise that the 1990s were a barren period for Jackson creatively. In 2001 he managed to pull himself together enough to release Invincible and stage two concerts celebrating his 30th anniversary as a performer at New York City's Madison Square Garden. The shows, held a few days before Sept. 11, were a capsule of all Jackson had become. There were bizarre cameos from friends Marlon Brando, Liza Minnelli and Elizabeth Taylor. Macaulay Culkin sat next to Jackson in a royal box. But several hours after the proceedings began, when Jackson finally took the stage, all the years of Wacko Jacko melted away. Then in his early 40s, he could still dance and sing better than almost anyone in the world, and he still had star power. The Jackson on display in those concerts was one the world admired and the one that will be missed.
(No matter your opinion on Michael Jackson he was a true talent and one to remember always with his inovative ways and style. A dancing genius and musical talent, let's remember Michael as the multi talented artist that he was. R.I.P. Michael)
Friday, June 19, 2009
Madonna In The Nude
by Music-News.com - June 19 2009
Would you pay to see Madonna naked?
In 1979, an unknown Madonna Ciccone posed nude for New York Photographer Martin Schreiber, for just $30 as she modeled to pay her way through dance school. Six years on in the early years of her stellar stardom, Martin spotted her on the cover of Time Magazine and the penny dropped – literally!
Martin dug out his intimate portraits, taken whilst teaching a photography course at the world-famous Parsons School, and offered them to Playboy Magazine. They were notoriously published in their 1985 September issue, catapulting him to fame.
Now, thirty years on the capital is gearing up for Madonna’s arrival on her Sticky & Sweet tour on 4th and 5th July. To celebrate, Seven Dials, Covent Garden’s hidden village, is set to play host to the London premiere of The Madonna Nudes - 30th Anniversary exhibition, a collection of these intimate photographs of the fifty year old pop Diva, taken when she was just 20.
Available to buy from £3,400 and guaranteed to become serious collectors’ items, this series of black and white photographs capture Madonna’s exceptional beauty as a young woman with a toned body, perfect breasts and great skin. The languid, innocent look in her eyes betrays nothing of the pop superstar and business genius she was to become.
Also for sale is a unique piece of never seen before memorabilia – a one off print of the original Polaroid test shot, which, included with the original model release and the Polaroid, is expected to fetch in excess of £40,000. This would eclipse the previous record of $37,500 recently paid at auction earlier this year for the Lee Friedlander photograph which also featured in the 1985 Playboy.
For those on a more modest budget, but wanting a little snippet of Madge, exclusive Madonna Nudes memorabilia including badges, postcards, books and original copies of the aforementioned Playboy magazine is available to buy from just £1.
The exhibition will be co-hosted by Seven Dials and Impure Art (the UK’s only erotic art gallery) who are exclusively handling the sale of the Madonna Nudes 30th Anniversary collection. See www.impureart.com for details.
Jamie McCartney of Impure Art comments; 'When you have wonderful nude photos of a beautiful young woman, taken by a great photographer and she happens to be a global icon, it’s a no brainer. With such a fantastic central London venue and with Madonna herself being in town, we are expecting huge interest.'
Donna Lambert, Communications Manager for Seven Dials adds, 'We are very excited about facilitating The Madonna Nudes and the attention that the exhibition is expected to receive. It’s a great addition for the Seven Dials visitor to enjoy.'
The Madonna Nudes will showcase at 19 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2 from 2nd to 19th July. The gallery will be open seven days - Monday to Saturday, 12-7pm, and Sunday 12-6pm. For more information please visit www.sevendials.co.uk
THE MADONNA NUDES - 30TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION TO OPEN
IN SEVEN DIALS AS MADONNA FEVER HITS TOWN
19 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2
2 – 19th July 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Led Zeppelin Chronicled
by Paul Cashmere - June 16 2009
Led Zeppelin’s final UK gigs have been chronicled for the book `Then As It Was: Led Zeppelin At Knebworth 1979 – 30 Years Gone’.
Author Dave Lewis has collected previously unpublished photos and has fans recall the final shows that took place in England between August 4 and 11, 1979.
Some of the show can be seen on the 2003 Led Zeppelin ‘DVD’.
‘Then As It Was: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979: 30 Years Gone” will be released in August.
(Cool book. The photo pictured is not of the book cover)
Friday, June 05, 2009
Few know the origins and the mysteries surrounding Freemasonry. Here the author Dr. David Harrison takes you on a journey to find the true meaning and origins of this mysterious brotherhood.
'The Genesis of Freemasonry' by Dr. David Harrison
This is a groundbreaking book which reveals the true history of the most secret of societies
using actual historical archive material and documents, Dr. David Harrison has woven together the origins of the Craft
Harrison traces the beginnings of the mysterious Masonic ritual, which was inspired by magic, alchemy and necromancy, and explored the search for the divine measurements of Solomon's Temple
This new modern ritual caused rebellions in within Masonry, these rebellions are explored by Harrison, and the leaders of the society discussed.
Out now in all major book outlets - Get yours now and find the answers.
(This book is highly recommended. Very well written and most definitely very intriguing and interesting.)
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
McCartney, Starr, Harrison and Lennon Unveil Rock Bandby Paul Cashmere
Out first animated view of what the upcoming Beatles Rock Band video game will look like was unveiled overnight in Las Vegas by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Olivia and Dhani Harrison and Yoko Ono-Lennon.
The former Beatles plus the wives for George and John were at E3 in Vegas for the official unveiling of the game that will be released on the very Beatlesque dates of 09-09-09. The date is a reference to the song Revolution 9 that featured the lyric “number 9, number 9, number 9”.
The gamer release of The Beatles music will also premiere the new remastered versions of the original songs. The completely remastered Beatles discography will also be released on the same day.
The game controllers for Rock Band will feature John Lennon’s Rickenbacker 325, George’s Gretsch Duo Jet as well as Paul McCartney’s Hofner bass and Ringo’s Ludwig drum-kit.
They also announced that a side-version of the game will also be released featuring the entire Abbey Road album.
(Cool and fun just like The Beatles)