Monthly Archives: June 2009

The King Of Pop Passes Away

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, entertainers the world has ever known has passed away. Michael Jackson died yesterday after going into cardiac arrest in his home in Beverly Hills.

The details surrounding his tragic death are still very unclear and it could be weeks until enough information is gathered to make sense of everything.

Undoubtedly, the amount of press coverage will be phenomenal. People everywhere are stunned and saddened by the news. Celebrities are remembering him and their condolences are travelling across the internet in a steady stream of tributes. Everyone from Dionne Warwick and Tina Turner to Arnold Schwarzenegger and P Diddy have spoken about their sadness and what Michael Jackson meant to them.

My hope is that the media and the press are kind to Michael in his death. He was, without a doubt, a very troubled man who had a lot of personal problems. But from what I have read, the people who were closest to him, while acknowledging his eccentricities, have all pointed out that they never saw him engage in any inappropriate behaviour nor was he ever found guilty of any accusations or allegations.

I would like to share with you some of my memories of Michael Jackson as I was growing up.

I remember seeing footage of Michael from the early 1970s performing with his brothers as the Jackson 5. His style and ability were years beyond his age. The only other person that I had ever seen dance like him was James Brown and Michael was one quarter of his age when he was doing it.

I remember hearing ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ and ‘Rock With You’ on the radio all of the time after the release of ‘Off The Wall’ in 1979. It was Michael’s first real taste of super stardom and an indicator of things to come.

I remember hearing the first single from ‘Thriller’, ‘The Girl Is Mine’ with Paul McCartney, released about a month before the album. It was very different from the songs I knew on ‘Off The Wall’. Critics and the media hated it. The song made everyone wonder what the album was going to be like and whether it could live up to the success of it’s predecessor. It did. Little did anyone know at the time what was about to be unleashed on the world in the form of the next single; ‘Billie Jean’.

I remember seeing Michael perform on a Motown TV special in March of 1983. It changed absolutely everything in the world of music. He sang ‘Billie Jean’ and danced in a way that no one had ever seen before. He performed the ‘moonwalk’ for the first time, appearing to glide, not across the stage but above the stage. My family and I watched in total astonishment. After that, the song ‘Billie Jean’ was on the radio constantly. Every single person I knew bought a copy of ‘Thriller’. My brother and I both had a copy on cassette and we played them continuously for over one year. My father bought it. My aunts and uncles bought it. My friends all bought it. Even people who thought they were too cool for Michael Jackson, had a copy of it somewhere in their collection. 1983 was THE year of Michael Jackson.

I remember cycling to my grandparent’s house during the summer of 1983 to watch MTV. I had developed a real passion for New Wave music and couldn’t get enough of all the music videos. Despite a strictly white (and predominantly English) play list during the first two years, MTV did an about face and aired ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It’ numerous times a day throughout the sping and summer of that year. The songs opened the door for other black artists and MTV broadened it’s musical horizons.

I remember seeing the video for ‘Thriller’ for the first time on MTV at the end of 1983. The fourteen minute video had a world premiere like no other before it. The video was played at the top of the hour, every single hour, for the last few weeks of the year. It was like nothing neither I or anyone else had ever seen before. At the time, it was the most expensive video ever made (costing about $500,000.00) and contained nearly ten minutes of the best dancing in the world. And, of course, it had lots of zombies.

I remember Michael Jackson being EVERYWHERE in 1984. He was a guest on the song ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ by Rockwell. He released the album ‘Victory’ with his brothers and embarked on a tour across the States, playing a lot of the songs from Thriller as well as the classic Jacksons songs. He won eight Grammys for ‘Thriller’. He co-wrote and sang on the single ‘We Are The World’ for famine relief in Africa. He made TV commercials for Pepsi. He sang on Paul McCartney’s song ‘Say Say Say’. He was the biggest star in the entire world.

For four or five years as I began to discover the world of music, I listened to everything I could find (or hear) – from my father’s Soul records to Classic Rock stations on the radio to Pop music and New Wave on MTV. Nothing was disregarded. Everything deserved at least one listen. And Michael Jackson was at the forefront of all these genres and my musical tastes. During the time in my life I fell in love with music, he was the undisputed King of Pop.

This is how I will remember Michael Jackson.

RIP Michael.

Heaven Is No Longer Missing An Angel

660 Minutes Of Madness

I’ve been laying low this year on the music front.  No gigs.  No mixes.  No posts.

But I was asked to play at a friend’s surprise birthday party last night and I couldn’t refuse.

The night started out rather innocently at about 8:00.  Then the wine was poured.  Then the champagne was opened.  And then things finished up 11 hours later in the bright morning sun with only the last few peeps remaining.

There were several  highlights during the evening for me.  One was 20 minutes of Underworld when I dropped ‘Born Slippy’ followed by ‘Rez’.  It was magic.

Another was Lisa’s never-ending requests for ‘more Prodigy’ and ‘more Basement Jaxx’.  Eventually, at about 4:00, she asked me to just play ‘all Basement Jaxx for the rest of the night’.

A truly fantastic moment occurred at about 6:00 in the morning when I played ‘Keep On Loving You’ by REO Speedwagon, ‘True’ by Spandau Ballet and ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ by Bonnie Tyler.  Despite the initial rumblings, the three songs proved to be guilty pleasures for everyone.  The music was nearly drowned out by Lisa, Zoe and Paulo singing along with each of the songs at the top of their lungs.  Brilliant.

I want to say a big thanks to Lisa and Sean for having me over and allowing me to play for the entire night / morning.  I also want to thank all the peeps who came.  A great gig is nothing without a great audience and everyone was totally up for it.  You are all legends and I look forward to doing it all again very soon.

The set list for the night was:

Sure Thing – St Germain
It’s Ecstasy – Barry White
The Force – Aim
Hot Pants Road – James Brown
Shining Star – Earth Wind & Fire
Let’s Get It On (Simpson & Dalto MPG Groove Mix) – Marvin Gaye
People Everyday (Metamorphosis Mix) – Arrested Development
Unfinished Sympathy (Perfecto Mix) – Massive Attack
Muhammad Ali – Faithless
Summertime (DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Mix) – Will Smith
Whatever, Whenever – Groove Armada
I Want You Back (Z-Trip Remix) – Jackson 5
Electric Feel – MGMT

A short pause to greet Lisa

Happy Birthday – Stevie Wonder
Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears
West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys
Hot In The City – Billy Idol
Pop Muzik – M
One Night In Bangkok – Murray Head
Rapture – Blondie
Loaded – Primal Scream
Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Birthday – The Beatles
On The Road Again – Canned Heat
Let It All Hang Out – Los Hombres
Wild Thing – The Troggs
Baby Don’t You Do It – Small Faces
The Kids Are Alright – The Who
Victoria – The Kinks
Gloria – Them
Subterranean Homesick Blues – Bob Dylan
Too Much Monkey Business – Chuck Berry
Lonesome Train (On A Lonesome Track) – Johnny Burnette
Great Balls Of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis
Good Golly Miss Molly – Little Richard
All Shook Up – Elvis Presley
Kansas City – Wilbert Harrison
Soul Kitchen – The Doors
Spill The Wine – War
54-46 (Was My Number) – Toots & The Maytals
Dub Be Good To Me – Beats International
Waterfall (Justin Robertson’s Mix) – The Stone Roses
Step It Up – Stereo MCs
Weirdo – The Charlatans
There She Goes – The La’s
Unbearable – The Wonder Stuff
Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure

Another short pause to cut the cake and listen to speeches

Happy Birthday – Altered Images
Close To Me – The Cure
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club
Pass The Dutchie – Musical Youth
Da Da Da I Don’t Love You – Trio
Genius Of Love (Long Version) – Tom Tom Club
The Look Of Love – ABC
Is There Something I Should Know – Duran Duran
The Politics Of Dancing – Re-Flex
Rhythm Is A Dancer – Snap!
Free – Ultra Nate
Finally (Original Mix) – KOT
Tracey In My Room – EBTG vs Soul Vision
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Superstylin’ (Discotek Mix) – Groove Armada
Love Sweet Sound (Mark Knight & Funkagenda’s AHB Mix) – Groove Armada
Lone Cat – Ben Watt
One More Time (Club Mix) – Daft Punk
Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant
We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off – Jermaine Stewart
Kiss – Prince
The Lovecats – The Cure
Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles
Hit – The Sugarcubes
Fashion – David Bowie
I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) – Hall & Oates
Black & Gold – Sam Sparro
Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
Hey Boy Hey Girl – The Chemical Brothers
Red Alert – Basement Jaxx
Insomnia – Faithless
Romeo – Basement Jaxx
When Doves Cry – Prince
99 Red Balloons – Nena
I Melt With You – Modern English
Just Like Heaven – The Cure
Banquet – Bloc Party
You And Me Song – The Wannadies
Mr Brightside – The Killers
King Of The Rodeo – Kings Of Leon
Unbelievable – EMF
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem
High Life – Daft Punk
Block Rockin’ Beats – The Chemical Brothers
Smack My Bitch Up – Prodigy
Sabotage – Beastie Boys
Fire Woman – The Cult
Superstylin’ – Groove Armada
Looking For Love (Kevin Yost’s Fate Calling Mix) – Karen Ramirez
Surrender – Petalpusher
Get Down (Saturday Night) (Phonicfood Remix) – Discorados
Another Chance – Roger Sanchez
Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes
Emotional Rescue – The Rolling Stones
Big Time Sensuality – Bjork
Monkey Gone To Heaven – Pixies
Stop – Jane’s Addiction
Teenage Kicks – The Undertones
Blister In The Sun – Violent Femmes
Barely Legal – The Strokes
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns ‘n’ Roses
Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
Highway To Hell – AC/DC
Thunderstruck – AC/DC
Jump – Van Halen
Bad Touch – Bloodhound Gang
Firestarter – Prodigy
Born Slippy (NUXX Extended Mix) – Underworld
Rez – Underworld
Smokebelch II (Beatless Mix) – The Sabres Of Paradise
Tumbling Dice – The Rolling Stones
Rocks Off – The Rolling Stones
Get Off My Cloud – The Rolling Stones
Rave On – Buddy Holly
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
Get It On – T-Rex
All Right Now – Free
Keep On Loving You – REO Speedwagon
True – Spandau Ballet
Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler
Patience – Guns ‘n’ Roses
Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction
That’s Entertainment – The Jam
Disarm – Smashing Pumpkins
Going To California – Led Zeppelin
Sweet Thing – Van Morrison
Pink Moon – Nick Drake
Black – Pearl Jam
All Apologies – Nirvana
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Blowin’ In The Wind – Bob Dylan
Broken Arrow – Jose Gonzales
Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix
Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles