June 27, 2009

Erich Bergen Reflects on the Untimely Death of Michael Jackson

June 27th, 2009

The late King of Pop, Michael Jackson was Erich Bergen’s inspiration. Erich spoke with Las Vegas One News about Jackson’s impact on his career and the superstar’s untimely death.


  1. I liked the Jackson 5 from the first piano arpeggio in “I Want You Back”. I am extremely partial to their earliest work.

    “The Coporation”, who wrote and produced their earliest works, included Berry Gordy, Jr. Gordy has long been rumored to have been a big Four Seasons fan, playing certain FV4S songs at Motown meetings, borrowing production and recording techniques, and signing FV4S to Motown during their leanest years of the early 1970s. One has to wonder whether Michael Jackson and the rest of his family were influenced by FV4S, growing up in the shadow of the Vee Jay record label which brought FV4S to early popularity. And Frankie’s high range could only be matched by Michael’s young voice.

    My all time favorite Jackson song is nearly a solo for Michael, called “Maybe Tomorrow”. The song, apparently partly written by Berry Gordy, speaks of inspiration in the verse:

    You are the book that I read each day,
    You are the song that I sing,
    Gonna sing it to you,
    You are THE FOUR SEASONS of my life.

    The verse appears FIVE TIMES in the recording. Even then, I always wondered if THE FOUR SEASONS were in part an inspiration for Berry Gordy, Michael Jackson, and the Jackson Five.

    Though Michael Jackson’s career an life had its ups and downs, I am saddened by his untimely death.

    How interesting that Erich Bergen was inspired by Michael Jackson and the J5, who may well have been influenced by FV4s, going full circle.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 27, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

  2. Ted, I also liked “Maybe Tomorrow”, although I didn’t relate the “Four Seasons” lyric until reading your comment above. I still can’t understand, why after six hits that either peaked at #1 or #2, Maybe Tomorrow stalled at #20.

    Michael’s other early solo hit that I enjoyed very much was “Rockin’ Robin”, which I haven’t heard during the last few days. (I’ve heard “Got to be There” and “Ben”, which came out at about the same period, over and over during this media tribute.)

    It’s also interesting that the “peers” of early Michael (Donny Osmond, and to a lesser extent, Foster Sylvers and Tony DeFranco), while obviously not as talented, took such different directions in their careers and lives.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — June 28, 2009 @ 10:32 am

  3. I believe Bob Crewe produced a song Michael Jackson recorded called One Day In Your Life for Motown.
    Before the untimely passing of Michael Jackson the bins in music stores were full of MJ and Jackson 5 cd’s.
    Why does it take soneones passing for the public to buy that artists recordings?
    At least FV4S are seeing the appreciation they strongly deserve while they are still alive.

    Comment by Marty — June 28, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  4. Howard, I didn’t realize the level of connection either until quite recently. Vee Jay was founded in Gary, Indiana, hometown if the Jackson family. We would also have to examine the role of Ewart Abner, Jr. who joined Motown after Vee Jay folded, and later became Motown’s President, in The Four Seasons early career, and perhaps their signing to Motown later.

    “The Four Seasons” lyric could be deliberate, subliminal, or purely coincidental. While it was and is speculation, it caught my ear immediately when the song was released. The “Maybe Tomorrow” album hit #11. I’d have to look at a Joel Whitburn publication to see if it was on another album whose sales possibly suppressed the popularity of the single “Maybe Tomorrow”.

    For a Four Seasons example, the fact that “Big Girls Don’t Cry” was on the “Sherry…” album probably suppressed the sales of the “Big Girtl Don’t Cry…” album. Releases sometimes have an odd effect on each other.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 28, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  5. I was deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Michael Jackson. As many people in my age category would probably agree, our youth and beyond was, in measure, defined by Michael’s music. My professional life coincided with release of The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back,” which was one of the first recordings to put Michael in a performing class by himself. His sensitivity to so many of life’s obstacles such as racism and human rights was broadcast through the lyrics of his songs. “Black and White” was intended to help break down race barriers – that message was clear. “Heal the World” brought attention to the plight of people treated inhumanely, suffering from illness and poverty – not only the lyrics but the videos which were produced to accompany the lyrics.

    I have been listening to numerous news reports and commentaries on Michael’s career and his personal life. Being an international celebrity
    placed him under intense scrutiny and Michael paid a huge price throughout his life as a result of this scrutiny.

    He leaves three young children behind, a close-knit family and hundreds of millions of fans who knew the fiber and soul of Michael.

    He did much more good for the world than any perceived wrongdoings. I hope the respect due to him is finally shown. His early death was predictable – let his memory be blessed.


    Comment by irene eizen — June 28, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  6. Marty, though I’m not familiar with the song “Morning Glow”, from a “Best Of” LP by Michael Jackson, the song was produced by Bob Gaudio, according to several Internet sources. So there’s another one.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — June 28, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

  7. It’s also interesting that Michael covered Frankie’s “To Make My Father Proud”. I think this was because of the Motown/Bob Crewe connection at the time.

    I also thought that the first Four Seasons recordings
    on Motown borrowed a lot from The Jackson 5, especially in the way of background vocals and instrumentation.


    Comment by Ray — June 29, 2009 @ 10:07 am

  8. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/jul/01/grateful-jackson-disciple/

    Comment by Leanna — July 1, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

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