Michael Jackson’s death continues to permeate world news today, from speculation about what will happen to his Neverland Ranch, to reports that recordings of the last rehearsal for his sold out 50-show event that was scheduled to start in July may be headed to DVD and CD, to the news of the court ruling that temporarily places his children in the care of Jackson’s mother, Katherine.
Over the weekend, sales of Michael Jackson’s music skyrocketed, with his collection of “Number Ones” at the top the UK charts and four of his other albums in the top 20. Jackson’s greatest hits also dominated the top downloads on iTunes today (his songs currently hold 11 of the top 20 spots).
Last night at the BET awards, the entire show was overhauled and turned into a 4-hour tribute special to the King of Pop, featuring covers of his hit songs, clips from his classic videos, and tributes from his peers. New Edition opened the show with a medley of Jackson 5 hits and the shows’ host, Jaime Foxx, came out wearing a single sparkling glove and a red-leather jacket meant to look like the iconic one worn in the “Beat It” video. Almost all of the shows’ performers and presenters gave a shout-out to Jackson; many even covered his songs and wore MJ inspired clothes. Ciara covered “Heal the World” and Ne-Yo did his version of “She’s Out of My Life.” In a surprising moment, Janet Jackson took the stage to address the crowd on behalf of her family, saying “I’d just like to say that to you Michael is an icon, to us Michael is family and he will forever live in all of our hearts.” To close the show, Ne-Yo and Jamie Foxx did a duet of the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.”
Artistic tributes continue to pour in and there are undoubtedly countless more to come. 50 Cent released two Jackson tribute songs, a new tribute song from the Game, Diddy, Usher, Chris Brown, Mario Winans, Usher, Boyz II Men and Polow Da Don called “Better On The Other Side” was released, and DJ Ayres has put together a career-spanning 54-minute Michael Jackson mix for Brooklyn Radio, that actually really rocks:
Today’s jam is one of my favorite MJ covers of recent years, from Chris Cornell’s 2007 album, Carry On. Cornell is the former lead singer and songwriter for the powerhouse rock bands Soundgarden (1984–1997) and Audioslave (2001–2007). He released a new solo album Scream, produced by Timbaland this March. Cornell talked with UK-based NME.com after Jackson’s death, saying “He had magic! It was by chance that I recorded and rearranged his song ‘Billie Jean’ and have been amazed at the response it gets when I perform it every night. He was amazingly talented and largely misunderstood.” Cornell’s version takes “Billie Jean” in a more intense, lyrically-driven direction but the integrity and genius of the song remains.
Chris Cornell – Billie Jean:
With all the classics he had and all the artists who count him as a huge influence on their music, I’m sure we can expect many more ruminations on Jackson’s music to come.