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Fashion Meets Music: Long Live the King of Pop

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Fashion Meets Music: Long Live the King of Pop


So smooth, so souful, the teen dream of girls in the 70s

So smooth, so soulful, the teen dream of girls in the 70s

With last Friday marking the one year anniversary of his death, we are revisiting Michael Jackson’s influence on pop culture as a whole that has spanned several generations.

In the world of pop music, there is Michael Jackson and there is everybody else. New York Times, 1984

In an age where artists are granted icon status after they have managed to stretch their 15 minutes of fame into a somewhat lucrative career, Michael Jackson stands alone as the one solo artist that everyone born in the last half of the 20th century can identify. While Elvis Presley and The Beatles produced music my parents and I can agree on, only Michael Jackson remained relevant producing music throughout both their lifetimes and mine. The fact that both his influence and career spanned over 30 years and hundreds of hits ensures that his music will continue to live on well past tragic death.

In the 1970’s, long before boy bands were a thought in record label execs’ eyes, the Jackson 5 was murdering the charts with their infectious melodies and making teenage girls weak with their boyish good looks. Before Justin Beiber was a twinkle in his father’s eye, girls were getting Jackson fever and stopping at nothing for a glimpse of the brothers, and who could blame them. Little Michael and his brothers kept their fros fresh and their leisure suits crisp as they wowed everyone from the cities to the suburbs with appearances on  everything from The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand to their own Saturday morning cartoon. As the decade progressed and Michael grew from the precocious young star of his family’s group to a talented young adult seeking to become a star in his own right, he eventually went on to leave the group and produce his first solo record with Epic, Off The Wall. The release of Off The Wall proved that Jackson was camapble of directing the course of his own career and further established him as a bona fide solo star.

Michael in all his 80s glory...zipper jacket and all

Michael in all his 80s glory...zipper jacket and all

Following the success he achieved as a child in the 70s, Michael Jackson entered the 1980s with nowhere to go but up. That decade saw MJ at his best with his top selling album Thriller making its debut, his performance at Motown 25 which brought the moonwalk into our living rooms, the birth of his infamous rhinestone glove, and MJ being the first African-American artist to have a video shown on MTV. As a kid in the late 80s, I remember my older cousin having a picture of herself with an MJ backdrop hanging on her wall and trying to do the lean from Smooth Criminal after watching Moonwalker one too many times. During these ten short years, Jackson proved over and over again that he was the most talented musician on the scene. As he moved from the height of his fame in the 80s into the decade that would tarnish his career and reputation, Jackson continued to revolutionize the way that we think about pop music.

All hail the King of Pop

All hail the King of Pop

If the 70s saw the rise of my mom’s MJ, and the 80s was my Jackson decade of choice, the 90s definitely belongs to my younger brother who at age 5 danced around our living room to “They Don’t Really Care About Us”. Before everything got crazy and he married Lisa Marie Presley, had two kids with nurse Debbie Rowe, and was in court defending himself against false allegations, Jackson was keeping us entertained with the release of his eighth album Dangerous and his unforgettable performance at Super Bowl XXVII.  As Jackson’s wacky antics began to overshadow him as a performer, even his most loyal fans began to distance themselves from him.

In the end, the storm of tabloid tales that continue to surround him after his death have done little to change the fact that Jackson was  and still  is the most successful recording artist of all time. There isn’t an artist alive, from Madonna to Miley, that wasn’t touched in some way by his work. Beyonce’s golden gloved hand in her Single Ladies video, Gaga’s over 7 minute long video for Telephone, Chris Brown, Uher, and Justin Timberlake’s dance moves, and even a pre-K Fed Britney (did I mention K-Fed was in the video for You Rock My World as a back-up dancer?) can attribute their success to Michael Jackson’s ground breaking work as a musician, dancer, philanthropist, and visionary.

Cue the video….

MJ killing the robot on Soul Train

My absolute favorite MJ song is and will always be Dirty Diana

A 90s MJ classic, with Iman, Eddie Murphy, and a pre-movie theater Magic Johnson.

Layout by Feesh

Posted in CULTURE, FASHION, musicComments (1)

Fashion Meets Music: David Bowie

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Fashion Meets Music: David Bowie


David Bowie Aladdin Sane cover

David Bowie Aladdin Sane cover

Have you ever been to a show where the music was great, but there was nothing on stage to hold your attention? Maybe it’s the up-to-the-minute Twitter-fed generation we are in that distracts us, but I honestly believe that your stage presence should match your music. The Fashion Meets Music column often covers cutting edge artists and current events but every now and again, as we did with Gwen Stefani, we like to reference artists’ careers that have doubled as social catalysts in pop culture. Enter, The Thin Duke, Ziggy Stardust, or, Aladdin Sane, but we know him as David Bowie. A gorgeous fixture in the world of music, art, and film whose prominent bone structure, heterochromatic eyes, and outsider fashion have changed the way that popular music is presented and performed today.

Pressed, Set, and Ready for a Closeup

Pressed, Set, and Ready for a Closeup

Bowie: “For me, taking a new and exciting artistic avenue has always been my priority. I want to be able to continually surprise myself as an artist. I think if that element is not there, then things dissipate and you get into a sort of regularity of concept that becomes vegetating, if you’re not careful. I think for me, personally, I have to really shake myself up musically every now and again to find out what it is that drew me to working with music in the first place.”

Let us take a 30 second trip down memory lane.

The past few weeks we have discussed the subject of gender bending artists like, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga; here we wrap up the fashion subculture of divas and queens with Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Ziggy was a thin, red-haired, face-painted, poly-sexual alien. He gave music a witty glamour with theatrical performances that were unheard of in the seventies. The shows performed with the Spiders were full on multi-media productions complete with multi-level sets, costume changes and film footage. David has said that the character he portrayed sometimes got in the way of his reality at the time, eventually he moved on, redefining his style with the times.

“He was the flash that ignited a worldwide explosion of sex role experimentation, glitter competition and narcissistic self absorption and changed the performance and presentation of popular music.” -Angela Bowie

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

The Dressing Room: Pigment Powders and Paints

The Dressing Room: Pigment Powders and Paints

Style Warrior

Style Warrior

Bowie embarked on a style shift after the Stardust days. A well dressed man is such a treat.
The Thin Duke
The Thin Duke

In 1992 David Bowie married Somalian model, Iman creating a genetic super couple. Iman is the founder and CEO of, IMAN Cosmetics, which specializes in makeup and skin care for women of color.

David and Iman

David and Iman

A Dream Team

A Dream Team

Latest News for Bowie fans:

Space Oddity 40th anniversary edition is to be re released digitally, on CD, and on 180 gram vinyl on October 12. It’s been remastered and includes unreleased tracks, demos, radio sessions, and alternate versions of album songs.

Along with that release is a David Bowie Space Oddity iPhone app. For two bucks you get access to all of the stem tracks and instruments, you can’t add in any instruments, email, or upload, but, passes some time?

Bowie: A Biography a 400 page hardcover set for release on October 27th, now that’s devotion.

Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell: The Dangerous Glitter of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed by Dave Thompson on Backbeat Books November 1st. You can pre order it now. Best title I’ve heard since, Snuff.

Listen now: David Bowie VH1 Storytellers- Full Stream

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