Niagara Gazette


July 2, 2009

MUSIC: When superstars die young

Michael Jackson’s death has been the subject of much discussion and media attention in the last week, for good reason. At the height of his creative powers, Jackson truly earned his self-proclaimed title of King of Pop, with unstoppable pop songs and unbelievable dance moves.

Jackson was also a controversial figure, as charges of child sexual abuse and increasingly odd behavior kept him in the spotlight for reasons other than his music during the past 15 to 20 years.

Jackson’s death, at the young age of 50, got us thinking about the untimely deaths of other stars, as well. Here are some thoughts that ran through our heads when we first learned about the deaths of Jackson and other entertainers.

Phil Dzikiy — Michael Jackson

As I wrote in another recent column, I learned about Jackson’s death while on my driveway. Someone a few houses down from mine exclaimed, “Michael Jackson’s dead!” and actually laughed about it, loudly.

Though I had to go inside the house to check other sources (a very journalistic thing to do), deep in my heart, I knew that jerk was right. Jackson had died.

I’ll probably always remember that moment, but I never found the death shocking — it was hard to find anything Jackson-related shocking after the past few decades.

The death saddened me, but most of my thoughts went right back to his music. I think it was that way for most people my age. Instead of focusing on the man’s faults, we decided to remember why we liked him in the first place.

Paul Lane — Kurt Cobain and Jackson

I can still remember being glued to the couch April 8, 1994, my gaze unable to move from MTV’s Kurt Loder as he reported the news that Kurt Cobain had been found dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

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