« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 123: Another Tortured Artist

2019-01-15 | 🔗

A battered boy who couldn't stand the sight of his own reflection - so he changed it.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Because the way I heard it is now a book of the same name, and because that book is now a New York Times best seller. He said with great modesty, I am using the incredibly valuable space in front of the store you're about to here to invite you to pick up a copy for yourself now. It is tempting to point to the many hundreds of five star reviews that the way I heard it has so far received, but that feels too self congratulatory. So, let's just say: let's us, The way I heard it makes a heck of a Christmas present, which you can order right now, at Micro, dotcom, Slash book that micro dot com, slash book. Honestly, if you like the podcast, you're gonna, love the book, and if you like, an autograph copy for Christmas, perhaps we still have a few of those left at micro, dot, com, slash book. Having said that, that's the way I heard
back in the seventies before the world, knew him by a single name, a battered boy, stared into an unforgiving, mirror and considered his many imperfections. A split lip, a swollen jaw, a black eye painful, but not as painful as the words that accompanied the beating look in a mere boy. Your lips are too fast for your mouth. Your nose is two flat for your face and your skin
doesn't match your brother's I'm trying to run a business here, the boy in the mirror side his father was right. His face was not the face of a pop star. There was a flawed face, swarthy face a face that he could no longer live with, and his mother's make up cabinet. The boy found a solution, a glass jar filled with white powder. He opened it sprinkled some of the powder into his hands and began to rub it onto his face wincing ass. He did so. His wounds were still tender. Courtesy of the man, who would not tolerate a single mistake, onstage or even in rehearsal. Slowly, the boy in the mirror saw his complexion lighten. Would it be enough to mollify his violent and unpredictable father
Would it be enough to satisfy the people who pay to see him perform overtime? Those questions became less and less relevant. As the boys talent became more and more undeniable. By the end of the seventies, he was famous by the eighties. He was a national sensation by the nineties. He was an international phenomenon and by the turn of the century he was the undisputed king of pop yet for all his popularity. He never stopped obsessing over the color of his skin, even when his legacy was firmly in place, even when per snow relationships began to unravel around him, even when he began embroiled in scandal and court room drama, thanks to her
is unusual relationship with a fourteen year old boy, even in the grip of depression and addiction, the king of pop concealed his true complexion right up to the day. He died alone in his bed. If all this sounds vaguely familiar? Maybe it's because you know the story of another battered boy who stood before another unforgiving, mirror two centuries later in the nineteen seventies and considered his many imperfections. A split lip, a swollen jaw, a black eye painful, but not as painful as the words that accompanied the beating look at yourself boy. Your lips are too fat for your mom
of your nose is two flat for your face and your skin doesn't match your brother's, I'm trying to run a business here. It's funny how history so often repeats itself like his predecessor. The boy in this mirror was never comfortable with the source of his own, reflection. He too was born with the skin that didn't match his brothers. He too was raised by a violent, unpredictable man who exploited his talent at every turn, and he too left behind. Collection of popular music. Unlike anything the world has ever seen, but unlike his predecessor, this tortured genius lived in the era of plastic surgery and if you Google, his name, you can see the evidence for yourself a new knows a new chin, new lips new eyelids, another new knows
new cheek bones new hair. Another new knows new eyebrows, new eyelashes one more new knows and throw it all a complexion that somehow got later and later right up to the day, he died alone in his bed, its tempting to blame the father for screwing up the sun. So perhaps we should by all accounts, Joseph Jackson did a real number on his second youngest son, the artist. No, by a single name, Michael, on the other hand,
The old man did trade and manage and shape the career of the most popular musician of our time, as did Johan two centuries before, like Joseph Johan, forced his son to perform and rehearse every single day of his young life, like Joseph Johan, relied upon his son to pay the bills, a sun with a complexion there was simply to dark for his own good funny thing, though, if you, Google, his name you'll, find no visible evidence of his moorish ancestry, no portraits that reflect his natural skin tone, no busts that reveal a single non german feature thanks to a bottomless jaw
of white powder Yo Hans son was able to keep his complexion a secret, a secret that the Nazis happy to reinforce a hundred years after his death by ensue. Turning to the world that his unique musical genius was proof of german exceptionalism at a credit to his area race. Happily, the most tortured artist of all time never knew his music made it to the top of Hitler's playlist, a small blessing, perhaps the battered boy who was never comfortable at his own skin, the lonesome bachelor, who never found his immortal beloved, the legendary composer
who lost his hearing at the height of his power, but still kept on creating, even though he couldn't hear the applause is many masterpieces inspired, such with the burdens of the original king of pop, but we still remember today by single name Beethoven. Anyway, that's the way I heard it.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-30.