Remember him this way


The death of Michael Jackson, the same age as the label, seems emblematic in this year of the 50th anniversary of Motown – the sound of Detroit – and the bankruptcy of its biggest company, General Motors. And the comparisons – good and bad – with Elvis Presley seem inescapable: the distressed childhood; the long sad period of decline, overwhelmed by fame and celebrity; and, in between, a long moment, a sustained burst of creative energy, in which each found a new way to combine black and white music that shaped popular music for most of a generation. I’m of an age to remember the surprise, the sheer exuberance, of Off The Wall when it came out, and I’ve had my vinyl out this evening to remind myself of that moment. Don’t stop


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