Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The gentleness of MJ

I never would have thought I would write about Michael Jackson. While I am aware of the issues he dealt with in his later years, both legal and personal, I do think a lot about the music he shared with the world and the changes he brought about in the music scene - most good, some bad.

Despite his oft-perceived weirdness and different-from-the-norm public personnae I believe Michael Jackson was a gentle soul.

I was reminded of this today as I briefly watched about 10-15 minutes of the trial against his former doctor. I don't know the doctor's name, don't know or care if he is responsible for MJ's death, and don't want to get drawn into a legal discussion that I know little or nothing about.

I am writing about MJ's gentleness. You could hear it in his voice when he was being interviewed on those rare instances before he died. Today on Headline New coverage you could hear it as he spoke during a clip of one of his last rehearsal sessions.

To set the stage for this 3-5 minutes long video clip: this rehearsal was held on stage, there were about 8-10 male dancers behind him, 4 back up singers off to the side, and a band off camera.

During it someone in the band said something to Michael. He replied saying, "yes, it needs to be there." The off stage voice, apologized and said "it'll be there next time." (Apparently cuts had been made in the music and needed to be put back in.) Michael responded gently to the apology by saying, "that's why we practice - to make it right."

As someone who has worked with many termpermental musicians, the gentleness of his response struck me. I wouldn't have expected it from such a "big" man. I have heard/seen lesser musicians fly off the handle when a minor glitch occured. At this moment, MJ portrayed to me the gentleness someone should have when working with others.

Don't get me wrong. MJ knew how to get his point across - otherwise he would not have achieved the greatness he did, but he perhaps did it with a gentleness that is lacking by so many.

I had to chuckle when, after the clip was over, the judge asked: "what are the ages of the dancers on the stage?" He was told, "18-24." My first thought was good grief, the age of the dancers has nothing to do with the trial (it may or may not, again I don't know). BUT I think the judge was noticing that the dancers were VERY active and energetic - AND that MJ, at 50-ish years, was keeping up with them. I just thought to myself - KUDOS to MJ!

Maybe there's a lesson in all this for you, dear reader. There was for me. And so I wrote about it.

Now for a video that I was reminded of while writing this. I was thinking gentleness, MJ, Gentle Ben, ...finally the song "Ben." [OK, the reason I was thinking Gentle Ben is that is the book my older brother had me read for him for book reports when he was in high school. I think I read it a few times for him. :)]

"Ben" (1972) by Michael Jackson