Friday, 26 June 2009
Double Death Blow: Farrah & Michael
The death of actress Farrah Fawcett at age 62 was a sad piece of news yesterday, but no doubt forever overshadowed by the later reports that we'd lost another icon, Michael Jackson. It's fair to say that both had passed the best years of their careers, and neither had been in the best of health. Ironically, although Michael had been subject to health fears for much longer (back to the mid-80s, dating from the 'hair on fire' incedent during filming of a Pepsi ad) his death came as the more sudden shock, not least because he was only 50. I can honestly say I wasn't the biggest fan of 'Wacko Jacko' in any aspect over the best part of the last two decades, and he lost his street cred years before that, but it can't be denied he was a musical phenomenon and, yes, genius. The Quincy Jones-produced trilogy of albums (Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad) themselves can be judged thus.
This morning, Jackson's death blankets the news coverage on TV, radio, tabloid and broadsheet. The web was overwhelmed and faltered, including Twitter, which last week was told to stay up for Iran. It is also overshadowing the start of the Glastonbury festival, as much as the torrential overnight weather there. This is on a par with the deaths of Elvis Presley and John Lennon in that context. And I have to say I was as deeply in shock when I heard (around 1am coming round from falling asleep on the couch) as I was when Princess Diana's death came over the tranny on an August nightbus. It's still a bit hard to come to terms with - I had always wished he'd somehow recover from whatever bedevilled him and caused him to do the wrong thing so often. In hindsight, I think it's as well he was spared the 50 comeback gigs at London's 02 Arena.
This doesn't end here though. There will undoubtedly be a major posthumous presence in the charts now (not quite yet on iTunes), and then there's the funeral where it's not unreasonable to suggest President Obama will attend.
Finally a word on Farrah, whose struggle with cancer was hijacked into the American media by the National Enquirer. It looks from here that hers was a more dignified 'death in public' than some.
Rest in Peace.
1145am iTunes update: MJ has infiltrated the top 50s- "Man in the Mirror' #22, 'Thriller' #38, 'Billie Jean' #44 plus 9 albums in the album Top 50 (top being the 2003 'Number Ones' at #6).