Tuesday 23 October 2018

A lonely life in reverse

Michael Jackson lived his childhood as an adult. When he grew up, he retreated into infantilism and a dangerous fascination with children, writes Will Pavia

The young Michael Jackson, who once described himself as 'most comfortable' on stage, but 'very sad' off it.
The young Michael Jackson, who once described himself as 'most comfortable' on stage, but 'very sad' off it.

THE most ordinary years in the life of Michael Jackson were his first half dozen in the rough industrial town of Gary, Indiana. Then, like Tibetan monks lighting on a young Dalai Lama, the future King was recognised by the agents of pop music and groomed for a life apart.

Watching the 10-year-old Jackson reorganise the publicity shoot for the Jackson 5's first single, placing himself in front of his brothers and on one knee, a record executive was sure that they had found one who belonged at the top of the industry.

"How did he know that, how to take a publicity photo," said Ben Brown, then a high-ranking executive at Steeltown Records, albeit speaking with a great deal of hindsight. "He was an old soul, as if he had been a superstar in another life."

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