Explain to my children why MICHAEL JACKSON gets an "Artist of the Millenium" Award

I have three teens here who are, like, SO baffled. “Michael who? And why?” And I can’t help them, because I don’t get it, either.


My kids have seen the “Thriller” video and they’re, like, “So?” And I’ve showed this website to them, that I found http://www.yesterdayland.com/popopedia/shows/music/mu1069.php and they’re, like, “Um, yeah, Mom? You notice the website is called ‘Yesterdayland’? Is this, like, maybe, a hint? Okay, so he influenced pop culture in the 1980s, but that was, like, in the 1980s. We weren’t even born yet. Well, two of us were, but we were busy watching Sesame Street, not MTV.”

And the final paragraph of the Yesterdayland site made us all go, “Huh?”

“Omnipresent”? Thanks to having three teens in the house, I listen to Top 40 more than I’d care to, and I can’t remember the last time I heard “Beat It” on the radio, even with all the 80s nostalgia stuff going on. Men Wearing Hats doing the “Safety Dance” gets played, but not “Man in the Mirror”.

So, help me out here, Dopers.

Artist of the Millenium? Why?

I haven’t been a Michael fan for years and years- actually only a few weeks ago, I thought he was…creepy. Y’know, the cosmetic surgery, the animals, the pedophilia…well. But I saw a special on VH1 about him, and I was converted. He just seemed so…good. And likable, too. Now he’s scary, but back then he did seem like a sweet guy. Also talented. I really want to buy Thriller. So…to answer the question, the guy can sing and dance really well, and he may not have invented the music video but he did pretty well on it.

Incidentally…the MTV awards were TONIGHT? I’'m so out of the loop. Not that I would have watched anyway…

Is this award for the millenium that just ended or the one that’s just barely begun? It can’t be for the 2000s. Anybody who thinks music has peaked and it’s a long slide downhill for the next 998 years is egotistical and deluded. If they’re restricting this to music videos, a form that only came into its own in the last 25 years, they’re deranged.

I agree that it’s absurd to give Michael Jackson an award for Artist of the Millenium, but for the opposite reason from your kids. I remember when Michael Jackson was very, very big. I was never much of a fan, but I’ll admit that he was popular, talented and influential. I just think there were other people during the last millenium who were more talented and influential than Michael Jackson.

So tell your kids there are two possibilities. Number one, you can invent something, like synchronized bubble gum chewing and pogo sticking, and after an hour’s practice you’ll be the best there’s ever been. But so what, the award is only as valid as what it celebrates. Number two, the chance that the best of all time is at the peak of his (or her) creative power right now is pretty slim. The best musician of the millenium might be more of a fossil than Michael Jackson. It could be the Beatles or Elvis (or Bach or Beethoven). And you can continue to argue over that while you’re searching out the best of everything.

And once you finish explaining MJ to them, try telling them who those weirdos were who closed the show.

It’s kind of pretentious to say the best artist of the last (or next. either way) thousand years is Michael Jackson, isn’t it?

It makes me sad to see what G’N’R has turned out to be. They used to be one of the greatest hard rock bands ever, and now they’re…well, what you saw on mtv tonight.


Rock really is over, isn’t it?

MJ’s videos were a big draw for audiences when MTV was in its infancy. So the sycophants at the network gave him the award to thank him. That’s the only logical explaination I can come up with, anyway :smiley:

It could be an issue of semantics. After all, did it actually say Best Artist of the Millennium, or just Artist of the Millennium. Because it’s pretty easy to demonstrate that Michael Jackson was, in fact, an Artist of the Millennium.
Seriously when is everyone going to admit that the Emperor has no clothes? I guess the media and general public is getting too much enjoyment out of watching this wretched shell of a human being meander about the world’s stage, as if he were still important, interesting, or even relevant. It’s time for the freakshow to end.

It’s hard to say which is more short-sighted, pop culture or politics.

Any artist who has been popular recently will invariably be billed as “the best ever”. The end of the millenium provided a convenient name for the ceremony, but really, all they were celebrating was “Best of the Last 0.5% of the Millenium, With Maybe a Mention of the 2% Before That”

Personally, I’ve heard Gregorian chants that leave Jacko in the dust. Artist of the Millenium, my butt.

did Axl Rose get his nads caught in something or is he goingh through some form of estrogen therapy? It really sounded like my grandmother singing, I thought it was a Jimmy Fallon joke (I’m not convinced it isn’t either).
On the bright side I am now shopping for those jumping sneaker/stilt things that Piuffy’s dancers had. And that little white kid in the BMX chest protector could sure as hell break dance.

I thought the Michael Jackson award was a Jimmy Fallon joke. I wanted it to be one of his jokes so much.

My local news guy just reported that there {ii]was* no such award. Brittany just gave him a cake, he assumed he was getting the award. There is no such award.

I’m sure the news later today will clear it up.

If it’s Artist of the PREVIOUS millennium, and we assume we’re talking about pop/rock artists, it’s a reasonable choice.

DDG, tell your kids this; Take how big Britney Spears is. Combine that with the popularity of N’Sync, Eminem, and any other FIVE pop stars they can name. DOUBLE their popularity and their influence on music, and you still won’t have something as big as Michael Jackson was.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s Bach, but I can’t believe how short people’s memories are. Jackson was the biggest pop star in the history of pop, ever, and nobody’s in second place. He was a worldwide phenomenon before he started getting really weird. “Thriller” was a hit of such ridiculous proportions it just annihilated all previous standards of album sales.

Yes, “Thriller” looks dated today, as do “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” But at the time, you have to understand that they were as far above the norm for music videos as “The Lord of the Rings” is above the standard movie fare - farther, actually. They were groundbreaking works at a time when many music videos were little more than four minutes of 16mm film of a video with a budget of maybe a few thousand bucks. He basically invented the modern music video. You know all those videos where Britney/Christina/J.Lo dances with a bunch of professional dancers doing the same dance right behind them? Michael Jackson invented that. 90% of all pop videos made since are based on his work. He was pretty much the entire music industry for about two years, and “Bad” was almost as big as “Thriller.”

Nobody around today, and nobody before him save the Beatles, even COMPARES to the impact Jackson had. The guy was just unimaginably huge, the biggest pop star who ever was a star.

The only logical choices for a pop “Artist of the Millennium” award would have been Elvis and Michael Jackson. And Elvis is dead.


Once upon a time there was a record label called “Motown.” It was based in Detroit and was headed by Berry Gordy. Among the people who recorded for the label were Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Temptations, and a group of boys from Gary, IN named “The Jackson Five.” They had a few hits of their own, before the youngest grew up to become a white woman.

But in all seriousness, he has had a long career and deserves recognition. Artist of the Millineum? That may be stretching it, but he has been instrumental in popular music.

According to Bob & Tom (syndicated Indy d.j.'s), MTV was surprising Michael Jackson with a birthday gift, since the gloved one’s bday fell on the same day. The gift was a special trophy and a cake.

Britney, in introducing him, gushed, “He is MY Artist of the Millennium…” and M.J. interpreted that as meaning he WON the Artist of the Millenium award. But there was no such award.

In any event, if MTV scripted the words for Britney, they should issue an apology to MJ. I can see how the whole thing would be confusing. Who’s ever heard of interrupting an award show to wish someone happy birthday? And the whole thing made MJ look even more foolish than he manages to accomplish all on his own.

At least he didn’t go off on an anti-Tommy tirade.

We live in a market. The subset of that market which gives awards thinks Michael Jackson is a great artist, that is, he interprets life for them best. A broader or differently selected market might pick Elvis. It’s a very subjective question who is an artist at all much less who is the greatest.

I’m agreeing with Rickjay and plnnr.

The Jackson Five wasn’t really an original idea, but was packaged so well that they became a marketing template for other successful acts ie/ The Osmonds was a deliberately based on the Jackson Five formula (with little Donny Osmond filling the shoes of little MJ) and quickly rose to comparable success in the charts (New Edition, NewKids on the Block, and Backstreet Boys aren’t that far off from the formula either – unlike the Beatles template these acts all had the ensemble dance formula and glitzy uniform-like costumes).

MJ was a reliable, bankable artist in his solo career and then came “Thriller.” “Thriller” blew all previous musical works out of the water. Not so much of an artistic triumph as a marketing/promotional sensation. “Thriller” was omnipresent – never before had an album had such a vast, international presence, crossed over into different charts (probably not “country”, but it wasn’t stuck in one single R&B or pop genre). It dominated charts worldwide in a way previously unheard of with record album sales that few thought were possible. “Thriller” cracked the marketing formula and turned him into musical Coca-Cola – his music could be found anywhere in the world.

It also coincided with the birth of MTV. Videos used to be low budget and often resembled concert footage – “Thriller” resurrected the narrative “musical” with videos that were mini-movies closer to the film musicals of the 1940-60s like “West Side Story” and “Singing in the Rain.”

Perhaps it’s not so much MJ as the team of people who were able to package him into such an incredible phenomenon (I mean, really, “Thriller” had some catchy tunes, but nothing truly of earth-shattering artistry). The MJ hype of the 80s was of staggering, unprecendented proportions (Elvis had hype, but not the international reach of MJ in the 80s).

Unfortunately, the whole Peter Pan aspect of MJ got too creepy. If a superstar is going to go “weird” it’s preferable from a marketing point of view that they do it more privately (or at least subdued), like Prince – shun the spotlight and become an eccentric enigma. Then you retain some mystery and if one of your werido things backfires it is more easily forgiven (like Prince’s symbol).

MJ tried to stay in the spotlight and his public eccentricities just became too damn strange to be palatable. There is little he can do now that doesn’t become accidental self-parody.

To kick off the night’s festivities, singer Britney Spears presented Michael Jackson, one of the best-selling pop stars of all time, with a tiered cake for his 44th birthday and called him the “artist of the millennium.”

Jackson, who revolutionized the music industry with videos like “Thriller,” “Beat It,” and “Billie Jean,” appeared to think he had actually won such an award. According to MTV.com, no such award exists.
The above is a quote from the article found on Yahoo here:


According to ABC"s morning show, samclem & Pundit Lisa have it correct. DDG you don’t owe your kids any explanation 'cause there was no such award made. There was a little statue w/the cake, Brittney did her bubbleheaded speech and, well, now we can all see where that leads to.

Duck Duck chew on this for a while:

Off the Wall was the best album of the 70s.

Bad was the best album of the 80s.

Dangerous was the best album of the 90s.

He sings. He dances. He writes music/lyrics. He has a commanding stage presence. He has charisma. He is unique like no other artist. His influence on videos will never be matched.

Yes, he is the Artist of the Millenium!

Dear Goslings,

You see, humans are a sad lot. The very most important era in history is always right now and the very greatest era is always just back then. Collectively, we don’t know jack about the present and we know even less about the past.

As a result, we constantly embarass ourselves before future generations–in this case, you–by glorifying the trite and superficial icons of the recent past. Don’t worry, come 2020 I give it pretty good odds that one Ms. Spears will still be getting awards for her machine-extruded, ghost-written/performed, market-driven “work,” especially if her personal life takes a tragi-comic swan-dive that levels out short of murder. She’ll get extra points if she dies prematurely.

It’s all part of the silly game we call “life.” Laugh at it and move on. And along the way, why not check out a little bit of Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky, Joplin, Ellington, and Miles Davis? You might find that at least part of the last millenium’s music wasn’t total junk, although you won’t learn that from MTV.

Sofa King