Michael Jackson, Leave Me Alone

Posted in Michael Jackson, Youtube Favs on June 12th, 2011 by Willie

Soul week comes to a close with part 87 of my ever expanding youtube countdown.  Today, I have my favorite Michael Jackson cut of all time, “Leave Me Alone,” from Bad. Released in 1987, “Leave Me Alone” was actually left off the American version of Bad, but was later added as a bonus track.  This, I’ll never understand.  It was clearly the best song from the session, representing a clear, concise, and true message from the King of Pop.  It’s basically his banner, more than “Billie Jean,” or “Beat It,” and he should have played it at every live show.  Actually, I don’t think he ever performed it live, which is a shame, because its the hardest rocking piece of funk MJ ever came up with.  The thing that grabs me most are first few seconds.  That 80s snyth keyboard intro is nothing less than hardcore 80s psychedelia.  In fact, this whole song is the closest Jackson ever got to psychedelia.  It’s a swirling, paranoid, personal, foray into his inner demons set to pop music, and it rules.  Anyway, enjoy the music video, which is also one of Jackson’s best.

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Marvin Gaye, Sexual Healing, 1983 Grammys

Posted in Marvin Gaye, Youtube Favs on June 9th, 2011 by Willie

Part 85 my soul people, back with more Marvin Gaye like I promised.  This time, its a special performance of “Sexual Healing,” sung live at the 1983 Grammys.  This was Marvin’s last worldwide smash hit, eventually peaking at #3 on the Billboard 100 after dominating the R&B charts.  There is a lot of tragedy and joy to be found in the creation of this record.  It’s a reflection of Marvin attempting  to embrace a healthier more peaceful life through sobriety, exercise, and uh..sex.  Sadly, just as he was in the midst of his triumphant comeback, he was gunned down by his father in one of the more bizarre rock and roll assassinations.  It reminds me a lot of John Lennon’s demise after he completed Double Fantasy. It’s really painful to think of the three icons; Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, and Bob Marley, all dying in the early 80s.  They left a tremendous void.  Anyway, this song was almost entirely produced by Marvin himself outside of the rhythm guitars.  It’s a true masterpiece that touched on elements of doo-wop, snythpop, reggae, funk and gospel.  This performance, a lot like the song, is a triumph.  Marvin reminds the music elite that he is an absolute God, taking them to school by defining what pop music is and can be.  RIP Marvin.

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Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Prince

Posted in James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, Youtube Favs on April 19th, 2011 by Willie

Part 39 of my youtube countdown is loaded with star power.  In it, you’ll see a Prince, a King, and a Godfather, the Holy Trinity of R&B, dance, funk, and soul.  In 1983, at a James Brown concert, we have the Godfather calling to stage the King of Pop in all his pre-insane person glory.  Michael Jackson gets up, sings a bit, then busts out some dance moves that just flatten the world with their perfection.  The first video presents James and Michael in crystal clear beauty.  Michael does some spins, some incredible James Brown-esque footwork, and throws in his moonwalk.  Just amazing.  Clip 2, sadly of lesser quality, covers the Michael performance again, but also includes the introduction of Prince to the stage.  Now, this was bizarre.  Prince, who seems high as hell, is carried to the stage by a bodyguard in full out foppish dandy boy mode, straps on a guitar, and plays a pretty terrible solo.  But, no matter, this moment is too amazing to ignore, or to criticize really.  It’s doubtful that this much talent, funk, and soul will ever grace a stage ever again.  Enjoy this eternal moment.

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