The Greatest. Period.

It was in 1984. I was sitting in front of the TV when the pre-Grammy awards program came on. In pre-MTV days, state-controlled Doordarshan had almost no Western pop/rock programming except some horrible Europop that acted as fillers.

So I had absolutely no idea as to what I was going to see. I did not even know what the Grammies were. Good Bengali boys were supposed to listen to Rabindrasangeet and not even think about the devil’s music.

And then I saw him.

I did not know his name. I neither understood the lyrics. Even if I did, I doubt whether as a seven year old I would have understood a song about an illegitimate child.

But I was blown away. By the man in the video. The tip-toe stand, the twirl, the way he moved his jacket. The walk. The beat. And the pavement glowing as he put his foot on it.

Who was this mystery man?

My maternal uncle (mama) had just come back from the US. He had a wondrous cassette  player and a few cassettes. One of them was “Thriller”. It was then, over endless loops of that album, that I fell in love with what we then called “Western fast” music (as opposed to the slow Beethoven).

And I also fell in love with the man whose album it was. A man whose name I, and my generation,will never forget.

Michael Jackson.

There is a lot to say about MJ and it will be said much better by more serious students of music. They will explain to you why it is unlikely that Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, the largest selling album in the history of the world, will ever outsold. Historians will tell you that before Oprah and Obama,  he was the first mega icon who transcended color in America. Pop culture experts will swear in a single voice that his music, his dance steps (the lock, the pop, the crotch-grab, the trouser pull, the shoulder pat, and of course the ” moonwalk”) , his videos (revolutionary in their style and execution), his styling (the red jacket, the white socks, the gloves, the hat), his persona, the iconic freeze-frames (the wind blowing up below him, arms outstretched and looking up), his concert performances have strongly influenced all public performers, no matter where they be in the world. Finally any Indian will tell you if there is one “foreign” music artist they know it is “Michael Jackson”.

So instead of all that, I shall just talk about the way Michael Jackson and his music has touched my life. In high school, my study time began at 6:30, rigorously enforced by mother. But from 5 to 6:30 was my own time. On rainy days when it was not possible to go out onto the streets to play cricket, my Sanio cassette player would blare out “Bad” and “Smooth Criminal”  and “Who Is It” and “Dirty Diana” and of course “Thriller”, “Beat It” and “Billy Jean” while I, in my baniyan and shorts, would do my desperate imitation of MJ’s iconic steps with my feeble attempts to do the moonwalk exerting such pressure on the straps of the hawai chappal that they would, damn them, snap. In college, after a bad attack of hepatitis that required hospitalization, I announced my return to health with a frenetic sweaty pelvic rendition of  the pulsating “I am Bad I am Bad” which alarmed my mother, considering how weak I was. But I did it and no other artist could have made me get up from bed. And even today whenever there is a dance party and the DJ stops playing bhangra and gives me a real dance number in the form of a Michael Jackson song, I invariably break out my embarassing Michael Jackson steps and when I do, you are advised to clear the dance floor. Else there will be, as the song goes, blood on it.

I am sure I am not alone in these personal remembrances. I am sure everyone has their Michael Jackson stories. Everyone. In every corner of the world. This is where MJ transcends his identity as a superstar and as a musical genius. Michael Jackson was a part of us. A part of our childhood memories. A strong influence in our choice of music. No make it a strong influence in our definition of music. And also of entertainment.

With his passing, something about us is also gone.

Or is it?

The thing that defines the true greats (and great is an overused word) is that their creations outlive and outlast their life-spans, giving these men a kind of immortality that us mere mortals merely strive for. From that perspective I suppose there is nothing to be sad about. However one cannot forget Michael Jackson’s isolation, his bankruptcy and the sadness that engulfed him in his last days and one wishes that his end could have been under happier personal circumstances, even more so as he seemed on the verge of a breakthrough with his final concert tour scheduled to start in July.

For now however the best tribute we can pay him is to watch and listen to him as he was, when he walked the earth at the height of his powers. And applaud Michael Jackson, who was without exaggeration the greatest performer of our generation.

Wherever you are, old friend, keep twirling those toes in the way only you can.

119 thoughts on “The Greatest. Period.

  1. MJ shall live forever!

  2. for sanity’s sake could we plz do away with the ipod tamasha? this one time, at least?

  3. MJ was the greatest. Period

  4. Coming from a small town in West Bengal, I didn’t have direct access to Western Music during my early school days even though I was aware of MJ and his music, thanks to Anandamela and Shuktara. All we had in our house was Rabindrasangeet, Najrulgeeti and Shyamasangeet. I listened to “Billy Jean” once in my cousin’s (who incidentally was a student in SPHS, your school) walkman when I was in class VI and instantly became a fan of him. It took quite an effort to convince my parents to permit me to buy some cassettes of MJ. They weren’t too impressed with his “crotch grabing” act which was hown on Doordarshan a few times by then.
    It was when I was in Class-VIII in 1994 that I finally bought “Bad” and “Dangerous” from a music shop in Esplanade.

    Literally, my introduction to the Pop culture has been through MJ and MJ only and even though I have listened to a lot of western music of variour genres in the past 14-15 years, to me MJ remains the supreme entertainer when it comes to revolutionizing music.

    Sex change operation, Colour change, charges of Pedophilia, bankruptcy etc etc can go to hell.

    I fully, totally, whole-heartedly agree with you that He is the greatest. Period!!!

  5. yeah ipod ipod its crazy, let it go!

  6. Couldn’t identify more with your story. I was introduced to MJ the same way.

    There can be no greater pop artist than MJ. Was looking forward to his London concert.


  7. I guess he was the 1st introduction to Western Pop for most of us who grew up in the 80s. And he was hugely popular in India, more so than people realize …. sort of like the popularity of Feroz Khan.

    R.I.P. the King of Pop. And thanks for the memories.

  8. Remember The Time…

  9. sorry ho gai ji!!
    ive always read the first poster claiming an ipod…
    today when i saw 0 comments my poor fingers cudnt help themselves…
    and before sanity prevailed,on the screen i saw


  10. For some reason, MJ was way popular in India for his dance moves than his songs. An entire generation of people grew up imitating his “breakdance” moves. Revolutionary indeed.

    My best memories of him are however his songs, that which tried to heal the world, cared about world’s hungry children, the earth and for a 9 year old affected with HIV. There was a message through these songs, a sadness reflected from his own childhood and of suffering in the world in general. Always found it hard to reconciliate those songs & the incidents he were at fault with in his life.

    But without a speck of doubt, he was a part of childhood. Our generation’s childhood. Wherever you are Michael, may you rest in peace.

    Ironical to quote the words of his songs today,

    I’m searching for the world that I
    Come from
    ‘Cause I’ve been looking around
    In the lost and found of my heart…
    No one understands me
    They view it as such strange eccentricities…
    ‘Cause I keep kidding around
    Like a child, but pardon me…
    People say I’m not okay
    ‘Cause I love such elementary things…
    It’s been my fate to compensate, for the
    I’ve never known…
    Before you judge me, try hard to love me.
    The painful youth I’ve had

    – Have you seen my childhood (Album Dangerous)

    Yes, Michael – we love you & we will miss you!

  11. Dangerous was the first “English songs” cassette I was allowed to buy as a kid. And then I stole my cousin’s cassette after the tape snapped from overuse. I swear there was a time I could sing along to the entire album verbatim (including the part where this American kid rambled on in the prelude to ‘Heal the World’)


    Move over for a bit Buddy Holly, today is the day the music died.

  12. not a very ardent music fan , my childhood memories of mj are limited to a joke… u knw what is mj called in bihari??
    a.mai ka laal, jai kisan!!
    and spurts of laughter followed..
    tru story!!

  13. Long live the KING !

  14. Sorry, made a mistake in my earlier comment.
    “Have you seen my childhood” is from the album HIStory

  15. beautifully said there was indeed no one like him…

    going to link up ur post hope thats fine

  16. RIP MJ!

  17. Fitting title… and goosebumpy post.
    Really, there can be no other.
    RIP Jacko

  18. RIP ‘King of Pop’

  19. RIP MJ

  20. Well, as you said, MJ was the first and only (for many years) angrezi artist that I knew of. RIP MJ.

  21. “I MOURN. I mourn in disbelief along with those million other fans. But, I mourn not so much for thy death, for everyone dies some day. I mourn more for the terrible tragedy that befell you in your last days before you could redeem yourself for one last time. I mourn for your three children who could never, ever see their father’s magic LIVE”.

  22. Could so identify with this…the introduction of “western music” (this term so aptly captures the subtle but oh-so-imp distinctions we used to have in our schooldays) to our generation came with MJ…somehow this feels like the end of an era…of “cassettes”, “breakdance”, the excitement when “MTV” replaced DD-of-the-blue-background, “mixed parties” and other silly “firsts” which make you smile when you think about it now.
    I read somewhere on some teenagers commenting on how their “parents were fans of MJ” and it was a strange feeling, making MJ seem more like a benevolent grandpa rather than the iconic “rebel” image we (of the cassette days) have of him…ohh well guess it IS time.

    I think the main reason I love reading your blog is because of the associations it brings back of the Calcutta I grew up in and which is gradually transforming into the Kolkata we swore it never would!

  23. Sad about his death.. He was too young to die, though the last few years were not kind on him.

    He inspired generations to dance, and dance in a way no one else had before. RIP Michael.

    Surprising though no one has mentioned the real reason for his death. The illegal immigration of Bangladeshis in India. And the various Arab and Pakistani street gangs. All of these combined to pay the papparazzi to trouble him, not letting him live peacefully and leading to depression. Now, I know this as a fact but I am sure some of the in-house researchers present here 24×7 would have collected all the proof pointing to the same. So please buckle up your seat belts and wait for the bombardement to begin.

  24. yes Arnab, your particular this blog has some uncanny resemblance with my child hood, yes probably with thousands of 7-8 years boys/girls of that time. He was greatest, and will be remember for ever. RIP MJ

  25. When you say- Michael Jackson was a part of us. A part of our childhood memories. A strong influence in our choice of music. I agree wholeheartedly.
    Your narration can just be my narration (minus the hepatitis part).
    Tonite I am going to take out my 25 year old Thriller cassette and play.
    RIP. I will miss The Man in The Mirror.

  26. Michael Jackson changed the entire concept of presentation. He has been and will always be remembered for the elements he added to music and dance – each and every bit his own – that is what talent and genius is all about. He was worshipped, he was blamed, he won it all, he lost some, and just as he was trying to regain some we lost him. Yes w efeel we lost a part of ourselves – our youth – our energy!

    RIP MJ

  27. RIP MJ, we will miss you forever….

  28. I am contemplating on the subject of reincarnation these days.
    The energy shall stay, even if the body doesn’t.

  29. i remember i was 6 years old at that time.
    there was this poem my mother had often told me, ‘jonmile morite hobe, omor ke kotha kobe’. i was murmuring the lines to myself one day, and my mother asked me to name the poet.

    very confidently, i replied, ‘michael jackson!’

    madhusudan dutta must have turned in his grave, but THAT was the power of jackson’s name, that ‘jackson’ was the only title in reference to ‘michael’ which popped into a 6 year old bengali girl’s mind.

    i was not a great fan. but the sheer power of his stardom amazes me still.

  30. His sudden death reeks of conspiracy, especially considering the hoopla surrounding the overbooking of his concert tour! I reckon he had refused to perform more than 10 shows while he was booked for 50. I bet the shows had been insured. Insurance fraud, anyone?

    Anywhoo, RIP MJ!'s only non-gay youth magazine!

  31. This is such a massive loss… words fail me. We will miss him.

  32. Sure I completely agree with u he was no doubt the greatest and was indeed looking forward to him making a comeback. An end of an era u can conclude in this way

  33. Hara hara bom bom June 26, 2009 — 12:13 pm

    Look out.

    “abc” has escaped from his dump of a loonie bin.

    Again !! 🙂

  34. Brilliantly written. My introduction to MJ is strikingly similar to yours.

    I remember buying MJ posters from another city since there were none where i lived at that time.

    This is it. He was the Greatest.

  35. Hara hara bom bom June 26, 2009 — 12:37 pm

    MJ was to the 80s what the Beatles were to the 60s.

    The 80s, with its heavy dose of funny hair-dos, neo-romaticism and bland R&B croones, was one of the most boring decades in music history. The rebellion of punk had watered down, hard rockers turned 50, and all we were left with was mind-and ear-numbing MTV videos.

    MJ stands as a giant against the blandness. His constant innovativeness, charisma, screen-appeal and simple yet memorable music, acts as a whiff of freash air in an otherwise stifling musical decade.

    MJ, RIP, you stand proud in that indelible galaxy of the unforgettable greats of Buddy, Nat, Elvis, Jim (Reeves), Beatles & Freddy.

    PS : If Broadway does its next musical on MJ, I pray that they please, please. please do not reduce it to a farce like “Queen!

  36. Just as you said…my first English cassette was Thriller. Great post. Period.

  37. I knew behind all that sarcasm you absolutely love Disco Dancer Mithunda. 🙂 Sad to see *his* God go.

  38. But to me honest, what made *me* cry was the sight of the drug-bloated Maradonna. This of all men, the man who for one electric moment had transcended the world, floated above it and imposed HIS will on it, getting defeated by the same world? NOW that for me, was really sad. Therefore I absolutely loved the fact that Calcutta let him know that we haven’t forgoten – that that transcendal moment was ALL he ever needed to do in his life. That he was great.

    G(in Bengal for only 3 years, 20 years ago and still having a big part of me a Bong at heart)

  39. Excellent tribute.

    Now, can we get movie review from you? You haven’t reviewed any movies since a long time. You like to hear your take on new movies that are released after strike.

  40. Man, I have been a long time fan of MJ, but his real star power hit me as hard as a runaway truck when I beheld, with my own two eyes, a lungi clad Kolkata Rikshawala purchasing a pirated CD containing videos of guess who??

    This is the ultimate stardome. That’s the day I realised he probably was the worlds most famous person.

    A tribute to MJ.

  41. Michael Jackson had the most incredible fan following. In which other group can you put Bal Thackeray, A R Rehman and Greatbong together? He was the great unifier.

  42. there is no body like body even comes close..

    RIP MJ!

  43. He really should have died a decade earlier, before his skin surgeries and other “tendencies” became more popular than a lifetime of sheer awesomeness. Many an idyllic afternoons of my stupid childhood were spent gyrating with a vengeance to “Don’t stop till you get enough”. This was a time when I didn’t know or care about Eddie Van Halen’s legendary guitar solo in “Beat it”, ‘cos I was too busy trying to copy the shit out of the king of pop’s fluid moves. I recall frothing at the mouth when Anu Malik committed the ultimate sacrilege with “Neela dupatta peela suit”, and watching the ’95 MTV Video Music Awards performance over and over and over.

    For all his hit numbers that shaped my childhood, one of the songs that ranks highest on my goosebump index is a live rendition of “I want you back” back when he was a member of Jackson 5. Every time I see it the exact same thought crosses my mind, “How in hell can a 11-year old perform like a world-conquering superstar?”

    It has been said of many undeserving people, but MJ was truly born a legend. Even those who hated him (parents mostly, and not because of him but because of the fools we made of ourselves imitating him), had a deep admiration for his talent.

    You’ve been hit by , you’ve been struck by , a Smooth Criminal.

  44. Although I was never a big fan of Michael Jackson one cannot deny the genius in him. He was an entertainer par excellence and the world is going to miss him.

  45. Don’t kill me, but I want to disagree with your statement about his deeds outliving his lifespan. He created moments that live in the hearts and souls of those who were “there”. Those memories are true, they remain. Yet future generations will not know what the fuss was all about. Just like you and me dont “get” the original king – Elvis. Quite simply, he was an icon of those growing up in the 80s. Should that be elevated to greatness? I really don’t know. But then, I think the same about far greater legends of the 80s. eg Bruce Lee and Amitabh Bachchan. 🙂

  46. “Mai ka lal jai kishan” was the word that got associated with MJ in my school days. Perhaps all of us, who grew up in eighties and early nineties would still have at least one cassette of MJ with them. Though I moved away from pop music to get into Rock in later years, MJ remained an exception. He created a hysteria when he came to Mumbai for the concert and I still remember the mad rush of people, just to get a glimpse of him. He was simply irresistible, a phenomenon, the God of pop music. Michael Jackson – the legend, RIP.

  47. RIP Michael 😦

  48. @kk: bruce lee died in 1973.
    And Elvis influenced icons that held future generations enthralled including MJ. So does that mean his deeds haven’t outlived him just because those future generations don’t ‘get’ him?

  49. sorry didn’t mean to post that prev msg as kk.

  50. Remember rewinding the cassettes a million times to figure out the lyrics. Especially “Annie are you okay?” had us flummoxed. I still sing it as “adu idu okay?” etc. 🙂 (“adu idu” == “that this” in Kannada) But that did not stop us from screaming out his songs. In some ways I hope he got mukti from his “black or white” existential problems.

  51. Well he was the gateway to the western music for any Indian offshore music pursuer, especially from my generation… Though I was very young when Thriller & Bad happened, I was well and truly his admirer when it was Dangerous Time, Black or White is my first MJ Album. Later as my knowledge on music improved and I graduated from MJ to BoyBands to Adams to Floyd to Nirvana, Metallica PearlJam.. I was reintroduced some how to Thriller & Bad… Billy Jean & Liberian Girl are my all time favorites.
    You talk about these heavy-metals hard rocks or what ever genre, they all pale in comparison to the King of Music. A legendary icon who revolutionized not only songs and lyrics but also dance & picturization. An upcoming star from my region, Chiranjeevi followed all his steps and even some of his tunes to be regarded as one of the best dancers of the industry.

    No matter what controversies people talk or make of you, what you did to Music and the impact you have made is definitely a feat that can never ever be repeated.
    Michael Jackson…Rest in Peace… the Mike O mania will never appease

  52. @vk. About Bruce Lee. That early? My gawd.

    about Elvis. In a word, yes. These are all artists of the moment. It is impossible to recreate the context in which they were huge. We can remember that as part of our cultural history, but Elvis or for that matter the Beatles cannot become “alive” to you and me in the same way they were alive to their generation. Jackson will obviously meet the same fate.

  53. Are we on the same Ip? 🙂 I meant to post as kk, not vk. ROTFL

  54. RIP Michael… You’ve (probably) caused as many people to mourn your loss as did Mother Teresa… You will know that you have left a whole generation in grief at your passing and in awe of your sheer genius that will shine for years to come…

  55. Great Musical Talent … MJ will be missed. But his music will always be there for us.

  56. I totally agree with Arnab da. MJ is truly a legend.

  57. It was during my 2 that I first got the taste of a music genre called Pop and one of the first cassettes was ‘Thriller” of Michael Jackson. Being from a small town, I had access only to the pirated stuff but the sound got me really hooked. In between, I bought “Bad”. Like many of my generation, the only way to know about the latest music was courtesy, Doordarshan. The state broadcaster brought home the Grammy show. This was the way I was introduced to the likes of U2 and others.

    By the time I was completing my B.A., I managed to listen to a collection cassette of Dire Straits and my musical taste got changed forever. I was slowly getting addicted to what is now called ‘Classic Rock’. This is no doubt an acquired taste, but I have remained faithful to yesterday’s music.

    But there is no doubting the impact that MJ made on me and many others. Even those who could not make anything of the lyrics were trying hard to imitate the ‘dance’ moves of Jackson. That is the way history should judge MJ-not on the basis of his personal life and the controversies, but solely by the music he gave us all.

    Thanks for the music, MJ.

  58. Sanyo not Sanio :-), unless of course this player was bought from those seedy markets that sold brands like Penasonic,Gregorio Armani and jeans by Lavis.

    “frenetic sweaty pelvic rendition pulsating”, that had me in splits

  59. RIP- MJ ” Beat It”

  60. Many people let him down… but he never let his fans down.. I agree with greatbong.. to people like us who had a very middle class upbringing…even they heard about and listened to MJ…. been mesmerized by sheer brilliance of his steps….

    noone will walk the moon just as the King did ..
    Long live Michael jackson! the true king of entertainmant

  61. I still remember my dad playing one of his cool collections, he was a bigger fan of MJ than I, but “Man in the mirror” has been a favorite of mine.If only every person followed good advice. God bless his soul.

    I’m starting with the man in the mirror
    I’m asking him to change his ways
    And no message could have been any clearer
    If you wanna make the world a better place
    Take a look at yourself and then make a change, yey
    Na na na, na na na, na na na na oh ho

  62. A beautiful tribute to truly the most innovative performer of our times.

  63. Amen.

    Reviled for all the wrong reasons I hope we remember him for all the right reasons.

  64. Indian Thriller

  65. Till the early 90s, till the advent of MTV in India, there was only one. The King of pop. His death means a part of pop culture has died. May he be remembered for his greatness alone.

  66. MJ inspired me to try and learn break dance.
    My moonwalk was decent 🙂

  67. Had a pirated cassette of Thriller and obtained a genuine LP as well. I remember listening to that album so many times. Oddly enough, my fav. song in that album was “Wanna be starting something”, followed by “Thriller” and then “Beat It”.

    The part that mesmerized me was that guitar solo in the middle of “Beat It”. I kept rewinding the tape and shifting my LP so many times that they both were worn out around the solo section. Later I learned that the guitar on that song was done by one Mr. Edward Van Halen

  68. Don Ayan de Marco June 27, 2009 — 5:39 am

    MJ, the way u made me feel, u really turned me on, u knocked me off my feet, my lonely days were gone. R.I.P

  69. MJ is not dead. He’s just walking with Elvis. Long live the King !

  70. Here’s Prabhuji’s beautiful tribute to MJ from today’s Indian Express:

  71. Yesterday when he passed away, I expressed my grief and to my great surprise a lot of my fellow beings didn’t appreciate it and worse, had a lot of things to say about the last few years’ fiascos MJ had figured in.

    Hence, I turn to your blog and thankfully there is that exact feeling: he was the greatest. For those of us who gawked at his dance and music when we entered teens, MJ was and is King! Long live the king

  72. Strange it may sound, but the first time I got hooked was hearing a rip-off of an MJ song.
    A lion used to sing in a jingle – Parry’s Lacto King.. just Eat It.. just eat it.

    I thought it was a pretty cute song until a friend enlightened me.

  73. Sighhh,

    As I rewind 18/19 odd years I remember the day when my father bought me a “Thriller” cassette (must be a pirated one, coz there was no Sony Music in India those days) and I played & replayed “Wanna be Startin’ somethin’ ” over & over ( I was under the impression that the other songs might not be that good as was the case with Hindi movie music cassettes those days, wherein the A1 track was the best and the rest used to be duds). With that first track itself , I came to know why that man was called “King of Pop”. It was 1990 . Then one day I flipped the cassette over , and listened to “Beat It” and of course the, the the legendary “Billie Jean” . Then I went on to purchase BAD, Dangerous …. For the next few years I did not care to listen to any other foreign artist than the God … It all continued till “Blood on the Dance Floor – HIStory in the mix
    Years went by, babies learned to walk, there was no major release after the “Invincible” album, and as I went on to follow another genre of music . It was 1999, and names such as Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten started to rule my world (they still do) the King slowly started to be relegated into oblivion only to surface only for wrong reasons. As I wished and prayed and believed that he will return like a phoenix, but the odds of that were dwindling… A couple of failed marriages only to be matched by the state of his finance and health… … but who would have known that he would cut himself loose of all these in this way.

    And now, I just hope as he performs those blinding moonwalk, freezes on toe, and all those chart toppers somewhere very high above, he wouldn’t have to worry about his daily painkiller dosage, financial affairs and court summons, go Michael go, somebody up there had been eagerly waiting for the last 50 years to enjoy your performance .

  74. Yes, before MTV dawned upon us, before we made sense of anything that was to be known as Western Music, in those days when we saw music more than heard, MJ appeared. And as the true king of Pop, he ruled our lives.

    Was watching the 30th anniversary video, and how the concert begins with “Wanna be starting something, – there’s friggin Usher, Mya and Whitney singing that song, and the bass guitar on that is so awesome. His music is timeless. It is so sad, that it had to end this way. But this is definitely not the end. MJ’s musical legacy lives on- through Bad, Dangerous and Thriller. Shamon!

  75. Evidence of greatness also comes from imitation. The evidence of Prabhudevas and even the red clothing Mithun wears (like the bangla thriller jacket and disco gear) are all directly related to MJ. His reach was that far.

  76. Just yesterday night ..after a few shots of scotch i broke the embarrassment of my friends and spouse into my own MJ version of the moonwalk…

    funny i should have been laughing ..but was just sad…

  77. Great Bong, will I ever read from your or any Bengali of your generation, a similar tribute (no problem if belated) to Shubinoy Roy’s ethereal and saintly voice rendering Robi Thakur’s transcendental beauty, or the heart-wrenching suicide of Pulak Bandopadhyay, who wrote those heavenly lyrics (that you don’t have to rewind the tape to understand) for Manna Dey, Arati Mukhopadhyay and Shyamal Mitra? About the spell of Shalil Chowdhury’s music in “Jodi kichhu amaare shudhao” or “Aaj tobe eituku thhaak”? About Md. Rafi’s bursting into tears on hearing a hindi translation of a Bengali song he was about to record?

    Michael Jackson was a great artist. Who will record the above stories and legacy? Or does Empire take no prisoners?

  78. Truly the last great King of Pop. MJ forever !

  79. In Indian culture, music has been described as Brahmaswadasahodar. Joy of music is similar to the joy of experiencing God. When we listen to Bach or Mozart, Bhimsen Joshi or Nikhil Banerjee, we understand what it means.
    Lives of Michael Jackson or Elvis Preseley illustrate, what the American variety of Capitalism can do to the purest of artistic pursuits of mankind. It puts a price (in dollars of course) on everything, and that price must be extracted at any and every cost, destroying the person in the process.
    Today we mourn for Michael, not only his death, but for his life, which could have been full of joy of music and love.

  80. Not puting Brian Lara in the hall of fame is a crime. A crime against humanity

  81. nice tribute!
    came here thru
    congrats on ur post being picked for Saturday-spicy-picks! 🙂

  82. Probably Shane Warne is the only other person who can match MJ in terms of controversies/screwing up in personal life yet sheer magic and greatness personified when on stage.. amazing..

  83. uffff last one to comment

  84. Great tribute.
    You didn’t skip the opportunity to infuse humor into this earnest post with the
    “in my baniyan and shorts, would do my desperate imitation of MJ’s iconic steps”

    ..good stuff

  85. Mithun on MJ’s death:

    “You can imagine the importance of MJ in my life for the fact that I named my son after him. Mimoh is Michael Mohammad Ali. For me he is still alive and will be so as long as I live. I exist because of him.”

  86. cant believe Wacko-Jacko is not more..
    RIP my friend…have some moonwalk in heaven now…

  87. See the photograph …..Deepak Chopra practises levitation with Michael Jackson deep in contemplation:

  88. The coolest guys in the campus always would be those who can dance like MJ. There are always 2-3 of those in each college.

  89. After the Prabhudeva’s Uravashi Uravashi I heard lots of people saying that Prabhudeva had callanged MJ !!

  90. a different POV June 30, 2009 — 1:27 pm

    The Man in the Mirror
    By James Howard Kunstler
    on June 29, 2009 6:01 AM

    As America entered the horse latitudes of summer, befogged in a muffling stillness on deceptively calm seas, we were distracted for a while by visions of a pale death angel moonwalking across the deck of collective consciousness. Eerie parallels resound between the sordid demise of pop singer Michael Jackson and the fate of the nation.
    Like the United States, Michael Jackson was spectacularly bankrupt, reportedly in the range of $800-million, which is rather a lot for an individual. Had he lived on a few more years, he might have qualified for his own TARP program — another piece of expensive dead-weight down in the economy’s bilges — since it is our established policy now to throw immense sums of so-called “money” at gigantic failing enterprises (while millions of ordinary citizens wash overboard, without so much as a life-preserver). Anyway, Michael Jackson was on the receiving end of one huge bank loan after another long after his pattern of profligacy was set and obvious. They threw money at him for the same reason that the federal government throws money at entities like CitiBank: the desperate hope that some miracle will allow debt servicing to resume. Michael could burn through $50-million in half a year. It didn’t seem to affect his credibility as a borrower. When his heart stopped last week, he was living in a Hollywood mansion that rented for several hundred thousand dollars a month. You wonder how the landlord cashed those checks.
    Like the USA, Michael Jackson was a has-been. He hadn’t recorded a song worth listening to in over two decades. He had done almost nothing but spin his wheels, hop around the globe from one place to another at enormous expense, and make himself available for award ceremonies to stoke his ego (and give advertisers a reason to promote some televised award show). He existed strictly on image, an anorectic figure nourished by moonbeams of attention, famous for saying that he loved his worshippers when the truth was he merely sucked the life out of them. In his last years, he even looked a bit like Nosferatu, the personification of the un-dead, and his fascination with ghouls was the basis for his biggest hit way back in the last century. A zombie nation deserves a zombie mascot.
    He was a poseur, vamping in weird military outfits as though he were a five-star general in the Honduran army, or a character from a melodrama by the reprobate Jean Genet. He once materialized during halftime at the Superbowl in a shower of sparks, thrilling the multitudes while grabbing and stroking his sex organs, as though that was a heroic activity — and indeed the nation seemed to emulate him as its culture became dedicated more and more to acting out masturbation fantasies. America was a fat man jerking off on the sofa watching a vampire of no particular sex vogue deliriously on the boob tube.
    More than once the authorities tried to pin charges of child molestation on him for suspicious activities at his boy-trap, Neverland Ranch, with its carnival rides, private zoo, video game galleries, and inexhaustible supplies of sugary treats. The first time he settled with the alleged victim’s family for $22-million. They just walked away with the loot and happily shut up. The second time, he moonwalked out of a court-of-law while weeks later jurors mysteriously went on TV to say, well, they did kind of think after-the-fact that he really did those things he was accused of, but, you know…. The defendant himself behaved as though his trial were a TV celebrity challenge show on another planet, arriving on one occasion twenty minutes late in pajamas with some lame excuse about a backache. He spent the last years of his life wandering a few steps ahead of his creditors, gulling concert promoters into “comeback” schemes (with walking-around money up front), and with three bought-and-paid-for children, obviously not his own, for consolation.
    When he dropped dead last week, the nation’s morbidly maudlin response suggested a cover story for the relief of being rid of him and all the embarrassment he provoked. One CNN reporter called him a genius the equal of Mozart. That’s a little like calling Rachel Maddow the reincarnation of Eleanor Roosevelt. A nation addicted to lying to itself tells itself fairy tales instead of facing a pathology report. Yet, like Michael Jackson, the undertone of horror story still pulses darkly in the background. The little boy who grew up to be the simulation of a girl was really a werewolf. The nation that defeated manifest evil in World War Two woke up one day years later to find itself stripped of its manhood, mentally enslaved to cheap entertainments, and hostage to its own grandiosity. Maybe in grieving so exorbitantly over this freak America is grieving for itself. All the loose talk about “love” from the media and the fans gives off the odor of self-love. America is “the man in the mirror,” the gigantic, floundering Narcissus, sailing into the stormy seas of history.

  91. Great Bong is a complete suckup. Chee, so cheap. You’re better off with your cliched Mithun and Shakti Kapoor references than this fake sympathy, Great Bootlicker.

  92. fitting tribute. R.I.P moonwalker.

  93. @ a different POV,

    it is always good to have a different point of view. But cut some slack. Either you are jealous that you cannot moon walk or strike a pose like whacko jacko. if you were a teen or in your 20’s in the 80’s and if you did not like MJ perhaps we should call you whacko. Agreed, he was a washout the last few years and did crazy stuff, but like the Beatles, Elvis, his legacy will live forever. Nobody will question his genius 50 years from now. IMHO he was not a child molester, I may be wrong, but truly he had a troubled childhood which he couldn’t let go even when he was a father(?) of 3. You can’t blame the man for his unstable foundation. Physical injuries can heal but emotional trauma can last a life time. atleast he did not turn out like Tyson destroying everything in sight. MJ appeared to be a gentle soul, a lost child, crying and longing to find happiness.


  94. @POV …. well had ur kid been sexually molested wud u have settled for 20 million or get the balls of the molester cut ?? I always thought it was a ploy by that kid’s father…. anyways they cudn’t have proved it unless u take medical tests or have video footage. They accused quite sometime after the alleged molestation. and they were happy to sell the “molestation” for 22 million which speaks “volumes” about their integrity. Even if Jackson had paid them i believ it was to shut them up as what they were doing was tarnishing his public image on and on… they would have never won the case but done enough damage to him beyond recovery.
    May MJ rest in peace

  95. @Geez!
    what bootlicking did u find in this article? can u please explain?

  96. Straight from the gut July 1, 2009 — 3:12 am


    Seems like you are an imbecile person. Why is this post cheap? Why is GB a bootlicker? You don’t have a fully developed brain, please stay away from this blog. Thank you.


    Please cut out the ipod crap forever. It is not even funny. Thank you.

  97. POV – that quoted stuff was too rhetorical … and the writer was yet another guy riding on the MJ bandwagon – he is the only guy everyone knows … nobody sees the death of the dozens of has beens who surely die every year as a metaphor for a screwed up country … and he was acquitted by a court of law, the writer seems to be forgetting that

  98. Aaah…the snobbery back in the day. I remember it too back in 1984 and all the way out to 1989, he was unstoppable and blowing up. I was waiting for Mithunda to do a desi version of thriller and he did. Sort of in that Halwawallah movie. Anyway, I digress. Us snobs hated MJ and his music with a passion and said nothing but vile stuff about him while sipping lebu-cha at Naran’s Thek across from Vivekananda Park. He was shyte, a scam, a whatever. We listened to real music like Deep Purple, Dire Straits and The Stones. Who had time for all that MJ nonsense? I stopped attending concerts by Shiva once they performed Thriller in one of their shows. In those days, attending “rock concerts” at privileged venues represented the ultimate in “coolness”. It is only after coming to the US of A did I really appreciate his genius, thanks to my wife. In any event, he was an iconic popstar and his music will live on. R.I.P. MJ.

  99. I WILL MISS U MJ 😦

  100. RM, exactly. Totally identify with the Calcutta contextualization. I will only add Pink Floyd & Doors to the bands you listed.

  101. Hara hara bom bom July 5, 2009 — 10:31 pm

    @RM – We listened to real music like Deep Purple, Dire Straits and The Stones.

    @Pankaj Roy – I will only add Pink Floyd & Doors

    What? No mention of LED ZEP or the POLICE (especially when Synchronicity came out) or even U2 (Joshua Tree)?

    80s were before my recollected time. But my maternal uncle grew up in it. He’s got all the records, videos and Xavotsav memoirs to prove it. He also informs me there was a niche market for URIAH HEEP & DIRE STRAITS.

    ‘He’ also liked Duran Duran, but I have not found another Kolkatean yet who liked them too!!

  102. There are only a few things which make me think and act like a child – MJ along with his music and dance steps is surely one of them.

  103. Sure MJ would be missed. But what is this hoop halla all about. Ask B Town (not kolkata) guys of the same generation and answers will be different.
    Cool (overtly expressive crouchy) steps were fine but none to be so amused for

  104. A very, very special Indian tribute to MJ..

    R.I.P to you..please don’t mind the zany Indian humor..

  105. “But I did it and no other artist could have made me get up from bed”… for some strange reason this reminds me of the iconic scene in “Clerk”..No disrespect GB just what I felt

  106. A great ode to MJ. Awesome work. RIP MJ

  107. I used to sprinkle talcum powder on the floor and do the “moonwalk”! Aaoo!

  108. Heck yeah this is exctaly what I needed.

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