Neil Young said, “It’s better to burn out than fade away.”
Ironically the ‘Grungefather’ is still rocking in the free world while most of his grunge progeny have faded away. Pearl Jam remain at the top of their game and are still as vibrant as the day they burst onto the Seattle scene, Soundgarden have reformed to less than glorious response while the iconic Nirvana died the day their talismanic front man, Kurt Cobain, injected lead into his cranium through a 12-guage syringe after shooting up what Bill Hicks would call a ‘heroic dose’ of heroin.
Cobain was a known bi-polar sufferer and his lyrics painted the picture of a man completely at odds with himself. While their live shows were often hit or miss due to Cobain’s state of mind on the day, they nonetheless forged a huge following thanks to their catchy songs delivered through the medium of a raucous, chaotic three-piece.
Dying was probably the best thing that could have happened for Cobain’s career as it instantly elevated him to legendary status. Even now kids born after his death are proudly sporting Nirvana tops and talking about their troubled singer as if they knew him personally.
In truth he was no martyr; just a desperately unhappy man who hated the celebrity status heaped on him by his band’s success. He wasn’t prepared for the waves of attention that flooded his life after they sold out to a major label and Nevermind was really the beginning of the end for the crest-fallen drug addict.
His misery was further fuelled by his relationship with Courtney Love who was a proponent of the original punk movement and the second most famous groupie to the Sex Pistols.
[adsense]After previous suicide attempts, most notably a year prior to his death through a massive heroin overdose, Kurt Cobain opted out of life. Nobody was particularly surprised by his death at the time – shocked, yes. As a musician he was nothing exceptional, not outstanding ability wise, and although he penned catchy songs his poetry was too self-indulgent to be anything other than obscure ramblings to any outsiders.
Cobain never changed the world and probably never saved anyone’s life; least of all his own, so the elevation to saint is baffling. Like Sid Vicious before him, all he was really famous for was excess and suicide.
Love him or hate him, he did at least follow Neil Young’s philosophy, and in burning out he has never faded away.
Please share your thoughts on Kurt Cobain by leaving a comment.
“Early morning, April 4th; a shot rings out in the Memphis sky… Free at last, they took your life but they could not take your pride.”
So go the words to U2’s timeless classic, Pride in the Name of Love, a soaring anthemic tribute to a freedom fighter and civil rights leader whose battle cost him his life, but left such a deeply profound mark on the hearts and souls of every life he touched that he can never be forgotten.
Martin Luther King stood for something good and was killed because of it on April 4th, 1968
Although King epitomises the term ‘martyr’ it was not a willing death; he didn’t step into battle against evil-doers knowing that he would die as a result of his passions. He was a victim of his own utter humanity; a man driven by his desire to realise equal rights for people of all races, colours and religions; to see an end to the hypocrisy of America’s secret apartheid.
Perhaps his message of equality backed by non-violent conflict was too much for some people to handle, especially those of a more right wing extreme, and he certainly posed a threat to industrialists and other corporate bodies who stood to lose out on cheap labour should their slaves be woken up to the reality of lower income and poorer working conditions than their white counterparts.
And so it was on April 4th, 1968, 100 years after Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Emancipation, that Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the balcony of his hotel and addressed a crowd of 200,000 people who had gathered to support his efforts to assist sanitation workers. He was shot and killed aged just 39 years of age.
“I have a dream,” said Martin Luther King Jr.
[adsense]On Sunday 3rd April, 2011 Martin Luther King III attended the St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago where he gave a rousing speech dedicated to his father’s memory. Clearly influenced by his ideologies he said: “I’m sick and tired of people singing about King, rapping about King, even using King to justify policies that we all know he would be against as opposed to embracing the ideals of King. Trying to love your neighbour, like King. Trying to help the poor like King.”
Through his son and every heart he spoke to, the dream lives on.
Please share your thoughts on Martin Luther King Jr’s life and his legacy of improved equality by leaving a comment.
One year ago today, Michael Jackson died after a cardiac arrest in his Los Angeles home. His personal physician and paramedics attempted to revive the King of Pop, to no avail. He was pronounced dead, with the news hitting like a shock wave the world over. It was instantaneous. Everyone knew all of a sudden: Michael Jackson was dead. To many it was a shocking and tragic moment.
His family, friend and fans immediately took to grieving the loss of one of their son, their brother, their father, their friend and one of the best artists the world has ever known.
Vigils were held simultaneously across the globe, with such a outpouring of grief from his millions of fans . Many traveled to Los Angeles to be closer to the star, and to partake in his public memorial service, held on July 7, 2009, at the Staples Center.
His daughter’s words will never be forgotten. Taking to the stage in front of thousands of fans at the Staples Center and nearly one billion watching from home, she said:
“I just wanted to say, ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine! I just wanted to say I love him so much.”
An initial autopsy concluded there were no indications of foul play, however Michael’s family insisted a second one be performed. Two months after Michael’s death, the Los Angeles County Coroner officially classified Michael’s death as a homicide. Toxicology reports had found large amounts of Propofol and Lorazepam in the singer’s body, as well as several other medications.
Accusing fingers quickly pointed to Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael’s personal physician, after he died. It was revealed that the star – who was planning killer comeback shows at London’s O2 Arena – was taking many painkillers and sedatives. Many of these medications are not readily available over the counter, and have to be prescribed by a physician. One such medication was Propofol.
Propofol, used to sedate patients, proved to be what killed Michael Jackson. Mixed into the cocktail of all other medications he was taking, the lethal injection of Propofol, administered by Dr. Conrad Murray, ended the life of the world’s largest pop superstar. Michael’s personal physician was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Dr. Conrad Murray trial
On Monday, February 8, 2009, he made his fist appearance before a judge in relation to the death of Michael Jackson. He pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.
The trial has brought more details of the infamous night to light. A witness claims Dr. Murray delayed calling 911 until he had hidden multiple drug vials that were situated in the singer’s bedroom. According to Michael’s logistics director Alberto Alvarez, paramedics were only called to the scene after Dr. Murray had concealed the drugs, the New York Daily News reported.
Another piece of damning evidence that was presented was the fact that Dr. Murray was observed giving the singer CPR on his bed – a hard, flat surface, like the floor, is more suitable for the procedure. Murray was also observed administering the CPR with one hand, even though the procedure is correctly performed with two.
Californian authorities wanted to revoke Dr. Murray license to practice medicine – a court decision the Jackson clan showed up to. On June 21, 2010, Judge Michael Pastor let Dr. Murray keep his license, albeit only because he didn’t have the jurisdiction to revoke it.
Shaken and enraged by the outcome, Michael’s brother, Randy, released the following statement, as Peace FM reports.
“The recent court proceedings have been difficult for us as a family. However, it is a necessary process that we are well prepared to endure in our fight for justice for Michael. Despite our strong feelings about the outcome, we have continued respect and faith in Judge Michael Pastor, the Deputy District Attorney David Walgren and our judicial system.”
Outlandish conspiracy theories
Many fans would rather not believe Michael Jackson is dead, and have therefore created countless conspiracy theories, maybe to cope better with the situation, or to be believe he is in a better place.
Some believe the King of Pop faked his own death to get out of his financial problems. They believe he has created a new identity for himself and is living happily ever after with Elvis.
Some hardcore fan websites, as The Sun reports, write fans have seen the singer crossing the border into Mexico just days after his death, or report with all seriousness he is living in hiding in Eastern Europe.
Just hours after Michael’s death, a toilet cleaner reported he saw the singer sneak out of a back door of the hospital dressed in a nun’s outfit.
Some even believe that after years of hiding out, Michael will come back, tell everyone his death was a hoax, and embark on the largest world tour ever.
Michael Jackson actually died a year or two earlier, and was replaced with an impersonator to do press conferences ahead of his 02 ‘This Is It’ residency. A website called Jackson Faked His Own Death claims Michael was terminally ill, and his family and friends were told of the plot with the impersonator before he died.
One of the more outrageous conspiracy theories states that Michael was killed by Iran radicals to detract attention from the issues in their nation immediately following the election.
Murdered, Part II
Some believe Congress may have arranged for Michael to be killed in order to pass a controversial new law. While the media was covering his death and everyone stared on in disbelief on Friday night, Congress silently passed a vote while everyone else was too busy.
Who is taking care of his children?
Michael’s mother Katherine, 80, is looking after Prince Michael, Paris and Prince Michael II is Los Angeles. As beneficiaries of Michael’s will, they are currently receiving $86,000 every month. In the event that Katherine passes away, Diana Ross will reportedly care for Michael’s children, it says in his will.
All three children will inherit the first bulk of their inheritance when they turn 30, Michael’s will states, and the rest of it 10 years later.
Meanwhile, Michael’s father, Joe – who is currently living off social security checks – is currently wielding plans for a multi-million dollar Jackson family museum in their hometown, Gary, Indiana.
Today will see many fans from all over the world in Los Angeles, either at the family home in Encino, or at Michael’s final resting place – Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Glendale. Security is prepared at both locations, and expect a huge influx of fans.
A year after his death, USA Today answers some of the questions still burning on everyone’s lips.