Singer/dancer Michael Jackson — the overly-idolized, controversial pop superstar who began is career with great talent and ability at a remarkably young age – died from what was reported as an apparent cardiac arrest on Thurs. June 25. Authorities said last week that the cause of Jackson's death will not be determined officially for weeks. As of the this weekend, no toxicology report has been issued, no funeral plans have been announced, and a slew of rumors concerning his recent health problems and personal matters have been flying around the mainstream media.
The singer's best known among serious music fans for his work as the youngest member of early-'70s R&B/pop group the Jackson Five, for his solo albums Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), and Bad (1987) — all of which were produced by Quincy Jones. Through the 1990s and 2000s, he was simultaneously celebrated and denounced in the general public and in the media for his increasingly bizarre lifestyle and behavior. Fans and commercial media outlets continued to refer to the singer as "the King of Pop." Jackson was 50 years old.
Jackson's death and the virtually non-stop media melee that followed overshadowed another death in the music world. Ironically (and nerdily) enough, the City Paper music department heard the sad new of the passing of Sky Saxon (a.k.a. Sky Sunlight), singer/bassist of the legendary psyche/garage band The Seeds, on WTMA's morning news/talk segment "The Huckabee Report" with Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Saxon died of heart and kidney failure on Thurs. June 25 in an Austin, Texas hospital. He was 68 years old. Based in the fuzzy L.A. underground scene of the late-'60s, The Seeds' slinky 1965 single "Pushin' Too Hard" broke out and reached #36 on the Billboard chart. Other hits include "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" and "Mr. Farmer," which was included in the soundtrack for the film Almost Famous. Saxon remained active in music, recording and performing at festivals and clubs through the years. He performed last Saturday at Austin night club Antone's with his local band World Spirits before falling ill. A documentary film on The Seeds (produced by Alec Palao of Ace Records U.K.) is in the works this year.