This One’s Killing ME Softly

All of these people had a hand in making Marlo Thomas’s Free to Be You and Me that I referred to here yesterday. Among them were:

(deep breath)

 Alan Alda, Harry Belafonte, Mel Brooks, Rita Coolidge, Billy DeWolfRosey Grier, Michael Jackson, Kris Kristofferson, Shel Silverstein, Tommy Smothers, Dionne Warwick, Cicely Tyson, Carol Channing, The New Seekers and – whew! – The Voices of East Harlem.

BUT! the one whose participation – and image – move me the most is Michael Jackson seen below as a skinny boy singing one of the sweetest songs on the album with no less a crooner than Roberta Flack of Killing Me Softly fame.

I have to admit it killed me softly.What happened? What dark forces played on this  child to rob him of peace of mine, and a sense of self-worth and, by the end even of sleep?

I watch this short clip and find myself wishing someone could have stepped in and helped him somehow, just when he was at his height, right after the Thriller years. 

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9 thoughts on “This One’s Killing ME Softly

  1. Let’s not forget Shirley Jones and of course Marlo Thomas herself! I grew up with this album. I now have the cd! Maybe some day Caroline will appreciate the beauty, truth and innocence with these tunes and skits.

    It is heart breaking about Michael Jackson. A young lad with so much talent, it is a shame how he threw it all away because he didnt have anyone to turn to. He always wanted to be the one to Heal the World and look at The Man in the Mirror and try to face himself and try to make the world a better place, if not for himself then for those he loved and for everyone else. Too bad the drugs and trials got in his way. RIP Michael!

  2. One of the most thoughtful tributes to Michael when he died, was in the Atlantic. Andrew Sullivan noted that Michael ‘always wanted a normal life, but he didn’t have the compass to find it.’ He was responsible, as we all are, for his actions, but I do think he was a victim – he was his family’s ticket out of Gary and the steel mills.

    1. thanks for your comment on Michael Jackson and Gary Indiana. I am a big Andrew Sullivan fan as it happens; I will have to go back and re-read that
      piece in the atlantic (big Atlantic fan too!)

      Thanks Lee,

  3. What happened you ask? years and years of systematic character assassination by a relentless media for ratings. Thanks what happened.

  4. A child who was never permitted to be a child. The music and video is both beautiful and chilling…”I don’t want to change at all.” I wonder what goes through Roberta Flack’s mind upon seeing this now? Does it make her sad, or is she content to smile and recall wonderful memories? My grandson is now just about Michael’s age when this was recorded. The song and Michael’s body language reminds me of how he feels about growing up. Makes me both sad and wondering what the future holds.

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