Book Trailer The Noble Train

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Tragic Life of the King of Pop

Imagine you are seven or eight in the old rust belt town of Gary, Indiana and your dad decides a way to make money is for you and your four brothers to become a musical group. So you begin to rehearse in your frame house everyday in your working class neighborhood and a lot of times you don't got to school because rehearsing is more important. Your dad is a promoter and you are the product and pretty soon he has you auditioning and playing on television. You are all of nine or ten now and school and the life of a boy are already behind you.

So you and your brothers become famous. It's the seventies and you are on television and giving concerts and it turns out you have this falsetto because of your age that fits in perfect with the pop sound of the era. So you get the solos. You become the star. Now you are all of twelve and while most boys your age are starting seventh grade and playing basketball or baseball you are doing worldwide tours and running from screaming fans in stadiums. It's wild. You are riding high and your father pushes you out front like the cash cow you have become.

So you become something unto yourself and at fifteen you are a millionaire. You have eclipsed your brothers and by the time you hit your twenties you are thinking about going out on your own. You have now been in show biz for most of your life. You have had no childhood but that doesn't matter because you just teamed up with Quincy Jones to produce your first solo career and you write a bunch of songs around a Thriller motif and the fricking thing goes quadruple platinum and breaks every record there is. You are rich enough to buy your theme park and you do and and call it Neverland because somewhere you got stuck and that nine year old boy is still lurking around waiting to grow up.

But there is no time for that. You bring out more albums and refine your sound and decide you don't like being black. The boy in you now wants to be pretty like a white girl and so you pay for your nose be changed into a woman's nose and you have your skin bleached white and your hair is straightened. You begin to spend time in hyperbolic chambers and surround yourself with doctors and quacks and yesmen and people who will do you no good. You alter your face. You create a new jaw line. Get your eyes streamed. You turn yourself even whiter. You can no longer go anywhere without a massive amount of protection. You stay in Neverland and start having children stay at your mansion.

Because you are a child. A child that never grew up. You speak of Peter Pan. You sleep with young boys to be near them. You don't see any harm in this. But you are a man with a mans sex drive. The police visit you when one the boys complain. You have to pay ten million to shut him up. Someone else says you molested them. You can't shut this one up and there is a trial and suddenly you are a pedophile.

The trial is a circus. The mother on the stand suddenly gets confused. The boy is confused. The world hears about how you like to sleep with little boys. You get off but the damage is done. Everyone thinks you molest little boys. Even your sister. Your records stop selling. You lose your promotional deals. You disappear for seven years and no one really cares. You have had children along the way with different women but they don't seem like yours. You marry and divorce. You are millions of dollars in debt and finally come back to your country for a comeback.

No one cares and now you have turned fifty years old. Lots of drugs. Lots of abuse on the body over the years. Prescription painkillers. No one is sure what happened. But you have a heart attack and die and the press then brings you back and every song you ever wrote is played and everyone talks about you as the King of Pop.

But the truth is you just wanted to be a kid. You wanted what every kid wants in the end--a normal childhood with fond memories. What really happened to you was that you became old and that nine year old never forgave you for that. RIP.

Books by William Hazelgrove