Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jacko: Not High On My List

Stay with me while we grow old
And we will live each day in springtime- Minnie Ripperton- died 1979 @ age 31

Well I use to have a friend named Minnie Ripperton
Who use to always say when she was living
“Like fine wine I like seeing the glass of life as half full than half empty”- Stevie Wonder "Positivity"-written in 2005

Is it over? I'm talking about the MJ funeral. Are the NAMBLA flags still at half-mast? All I heard on TV was "Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer who ever lived." Of course, that is wrong. It's wrong because its like saying "blue is the best color". Its way too subjective a question. The answer is different for all of us. My off the top of my head list of people who have passed away that entertained me more than Jacko puts a whole lot of people ahead of MJ.

Here goes:

Bob Marley & John Lennon died within 6 months of each other. Sorry, both were more interesting, more entertaining, and more important than the self mutilated man.

Ray Charles is the founding father of r&b music. He's the George Washington. And there can only be one George Washington for every genre. Doesn't matter how many Filipino prisoners imitate Jacko, he ain't Ray Charles.

Frank Sinatra - He is American music of the 20th Century. Sorry devotees of the one-gloved one.

Sammy Davis Jr.- If he were a baseball player, he would have won several triple crowns. Possibly the greatest.

Elvis- Elvis is Michael Jackson without the little boy problem. You know how in baseball tie goes to the runner? Here, a tie goes to Elvis.

Johnny Cash- I would take the man in black over the man who did not want to be black any day.

Luther Vandross- the voice. He was in the crowd at the Garden in a concert I attended. He was called to the stage to sing. Never heard a better voice. The black Sinatra.

James Brown-if Ray Charles is George Washington, than James Brown is Alexander Hamilton. And Jacko is Millard Fillmore. Would rather see James Brown in concert in 1959 or 2009 than the man with the smoke & mirrors, crotch-grabbin dancers and idol worshipers. I take the Godfather over the ODDFATHER.

Marvin Gaye- every one of his records from 1971 until his death were great and still hold up. The voice.

Stevie Wonder- "If I had one musical hero, it would have to be Stevie Wonder,” says Barack Obama, who grew up on Seventies R&B and rock. “When I was at that point where you start getting involved in music, Stevie had that run with Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Fulfillingness’ First Finale and Innervisions, and then Songs in the Key of Life. Those are as brilliant a set of five albums as we’ve ever seen."- Rolling Stone Magazine. Who am I to disagree with Barack Obama? (Stevie is not dead, but I could not resist.)

Groucho Marx- way more entertaining than MJ. When he hosted "You Bet Your Life" the man would ad-lib like no one who ever lived. Example: One contestant, a woman, told Groucho she had 15 children. Groucho asked why. "I love children" the woman replied. Groucho's priceless comeback: "Lady, I love cigars, but I take them out of my mouth every once in a while."

Jackie Gleason- The Honeymooners. Still funny. Still relevant. The original 39 episodes are the gold standard of comedy. Way more entertaining than Jackson. Gleason was a master. Gleason is so great that when you enter Brooklyn you are greeted by his famous quote: "How Sweet It Is!" Let me know when a Jacko quote replaces Gleason's.

Rodney Dangerfield- nobody delivered a better punch line. You would be laughing at the third joke so hard, the next 5 came at you in waves and you had to catch up. Caddy Shack & Back to School? Sorry, these movies were/are way more entertaining than Michael Jackson.

John Belushi- nobody comes close to Belushi. I don't care how many lunch boxes MJ sells. Belushi had a great band, a great television show and the greatest comedy movie ever "Animal House" all at the same time. Belushi was so great, I prefer his Joe Cocker impersonation than the actual Joe Cocker.

Richard Pryor- someone said that we all try to hide from the world our deepest fears. Pryor took his deepest fears and demons and put them on the stage for all the world to see. and made it funny and moving.

George Carlin- the most prolific stand-up comedian of all time.

I would also include the following ahead of MJ:

Donny Hathaway
Bobby Darin
Joe Strummer
Curtis Mayfield
David Ruffin
Dean Martin
Eddie Kendricks
Minnie Ripperton
George Harrison
Roy Orbison
Jim Croce
Harry Chapin
Johnny Carson
Laura Nyro
Rick Danko
Richard Manuel
Peter Tosh
Sam Cooke
Syreeta Wright
Billy Preston

Everyone's list is different. Who did I leave off that would be on your list of performers that are no longer with us?

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