I’ve stayed away from the whole Michael Jackson situation because it seems like precisely the sort of collision of Christian and secular worlds that is ripe for unproductive pyrotechnics (indeed, I’ve received a few notes about a big MJ brouhaha that broke out on Kenny Bishop’s Facebook page and I’d rather that conversation not repeat itself here). I think after the Fourth, there’s been plenty of fireworks to last us a while.

But then I received this picture, courtesy of Rusty Golden (William Lee’s son) and … well, it’s just too good to pass up, because unlike the deadend fights about whether pedophiles go to heaven or “was MJ a sodomite” that have tended to pass for southern gospel commentary on the King of Pop since his death, this is really a bonafide sg connection to the Man that, on this day of his public memorial, ought to (even if it probably won’t) speak for itself.

Michael Jackson and assorted ORB

L-R: Marlon Jackson, Joe Moscheo (former Prophets and Imperials), B. James Lowry (guitar Oak Ridge Boys and Rambos), William Lee Golden (ORB), MJ, Jackie Jackson, Donna Jean (ORB office staff), Rusty Golden, Tito and Randy Jackson.

Photo: 8/31/81, Rusty Golden Private Collection, reprinted with permission

Email this Post


  1. Wade wrote:

    If you think Kenny Bishops page blew up over it go to mine and see what is going on now and then go back too June 25th and catch that one too…makes Kenny Bishops page seem like patty cake… plus if you go back on mine to the 25th you can see all the jokes collected on one place!!

    People here know I am open minded and take up regularly for gay people. BUT…

    Pedophiles are not regular gay ppl… one has nothing to do with the other…there are pedophiles who like girls and some like boys.

    If you have ever had your life touched… No pun believe me… by the sickness of a pedophile then you will know I was actually holding back… look at my profile picture on facebook and tell me HOW SICK YOU would have to be to want to get near the booty hole of a little boy like that.

    How sick do you have to be to HAVE A SECRET with a 12 year old little girl from her mommy while you are supposed to be the daddy of that little girl. I hope the devil has a special place in hell for those ppl.

  2. Tom Miller wrote:

    First, how unhappy does MJ look? My complaint about the coverage is that the media seems to overlook his WHOLE life. Yes, his music had a huge impact on pop culture but are we supposed to forget the personel craziness that is Michael Jackson especially the mulitple child molestation charges. OJ had a great football career but we don’t look at him the same as we did before the murder trial. The only sad note to all this is that MJ, from most accounts, died without really knowing the Lord. With all his money and fame he was still searching and lost in pain. I don’t see his life as a sucess story. It’s more of a warning.

  3. jbb wrote:

    Tom: I agree and I for one am so sick of turning on the t.v. and that is all you see and hear. I’m sorry, but, MJ died..He’s gone, never to return. His death is no more a tragedy than when I lost my father. The only difference is that my father stood behind a pulpit for 45 yrs. preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. His name wasn’t in lights, but, his life was a testimony.Could we please just let MJ rest in peace and go on to something else. He never was and never will be the King/God that so many make him out to be.

  4. Aaron Swain wrote:

    I read an article this morning that may or may not shed light on whether MJ died knowing the Lord or not:

    Take that as you will.

  5. Yeah... wrote:

    jbb - Actually, MJ’s death is likely a whole lot bigger tragedy than your dad’s death was. Your dad, a pastor for 45 years, went home to Heaven and received a Christian hero’s welcome. As for MJ? Only the Lord knows. But, if he died as he lived, then it’s a terrible tragedy. Your dad will be rewarded a hundred-fold for his service for the Lord, and so will mine. Their names might not have been in lights here, but they were well-known in Heaven. What a thought!

  6. jbb wrote:

    #4: You are exactly right. I was only speaking from the standpoint of how the public is reacting to this. It’s a sad reality that so many people don’t think about eternity. I chuckle when I listen to people talk about MJ like he was there best friend or something, but, I don’t put my faith in people here on earth. I personally think he was a very sad, lonely person and he reached out for the wrong things to help him.

  7. RDB wrote:

    This seems to me to be one of the saner overviews of Michael’s life, even if it is Mark Steyn. Steyn’s writing on music is probably better (i.e. more humane and personable) than his political writing, IMO.

  8. GrandmaPam wrote:

    #6 - Huge Mark Steyn fan here.

  9. Janet B wrote:

    Aaron, thanks for the link. Ever since MJ’s death, I’ve been haunted by the question - did anyone ever tell him that Jesus loved him? Loved Michael the person, not Michael the mega superstar? According to the article, yes - someone did.
    I cannot pretend to know what Michael’s life was like - I doubt that there’s anyone who could. But - God knows. And, only God knows the state of Michael’s soul when he died. Even if MJ was a pedophile, (I don’t believe he was), that, too, would be forgiven. Yes? And, given his “Peter Pan” personality, seems to me that he wouldn’t have difficulty coming to the Lord with the faith of a child.
    Those that are so quick to condemn him to hell…they likewise will be shown the same mercy.
    I hope that he has finally found the peace & unconditional love that eluded him in this life.

  10. RUSTY GOLDEN wrote:

    The main reason I wanted to share this picture was for the SG fans. There is Joe Moscheo (formerly with the Prophets and then the Imperials) old pal and bandmember B.James Lowry (guitar for Dixie Echoes, Rambos and Oaks), my Dad William Lee Golden (OakRidgeBoy since 1965) and then there’s me…Rusty, who not only played drums w/ the Rambos back in 1972 when it was just Buck, Dottie and Reba with a keyboard player and me on drums… (Reba still played bass!!!!). As of the last few years, I have been churning out nothing but Gospel songs. I have had cuts by Legacy Five, Kingsmen, Hoppers and more. I have had 3 songs go to the #1 spot on the Singing News chart:
    1. “John in the Jordan” (Ernie and SigSound)
    2. “What Salvation’s Done For Me” (Booth Brothers)
    3. “I Want to Thank You” (Karen Peck & New River)

    I also have a new song on the same chart called “Between 12 and 33″ that was recorded by the McKameys. I am not new to Southern Gospel Music.
    When Michael and his brothers came out of their dressing room and saw Dad, they all broke into the chorus of “ELVIRA” as it was the #1 song in the nation at that time (pop and country). BUT…after the singing was over, Michael turned to me and said “I remember when the Oak Ridge Boys were the #1 Gospel Group. Do they still sing Gospel??” I told him that yes they did and then he went onto tell me that he LOVED Gospel music…mentioning Andrae Crouch, Rev. James Cleveland and a few others. Yes, I know that those were NOT SG artists, but remember, MJ was after all BLACK and that’ s the type gospel music they knew. He mentioned how much his mother Katherine was also a huge fan of “Gospel Music”.
    OK…as far as the look on his face in this picture…’s the TRUE STORY!!

    Seconds before the camera flash went off, a Jackson’s aide rushed up to MJ and handed him a Sharpie pen and about 25 or so cocktail sized napkins into his “GLOVE” and then said “Hey Mikey….the promoter wants you to sign these”. I well remember the aide getting out of the way of the shot but MJ is looking straight at him and no….not too happy. More mad than sad. After the flashes of about 10 cameras went off, Michael just sorta’ said to anyone who could hear…”Don’t we have any regular pictures to sign? I mean c’mon man…NAPKINS????”

    That’s the TRUE STORY of the look on his face in that picture. Up until then he was a very quiet yet pleasant superstar who was happy to talk about Gospel Music.

    This picture was taken on 7/31/81. MANY years before the ‘allegations’, the ‘weirdness’….all the plastic surgery, etc.
    All I can say about some folks throwing stones….well…we ALL know who the REAL Judge is. I am NOT gonna tell anyone to ‘think’ what they want to…but to put it out there in ‘cyberspace’ for all 2 see….I am not going to tell anyone what i “THINK” about stuff I don’t KNOW about. I DO know the story behind the look on MJ’s face in that picture.

    I hope y’all are liking the songs I am writing these days. I hope that just because I have had my picture taken with “controversial” celebrities (MJ, Elton John, etc)…that you not ‘JUDGE” me or my love for the Good Lord, the deep appreciation HE has bestowed upon me as far as the Gift of Song and Communication, or even my earthly father and his group (Oak Ridge Boys). They have a brand new DVD/CD that was taped with Bill Gaither, Signature Sound and a bunch of other Gospel greats. The Oaks will ALWAYS be a “Quartet”…yes, they did record a whole bunch of ‘country’ songs starting in 1977. But I will tell you as a young kid watching it all from the sidelines….the Oaks were always a little bit ahead of their time…with their music, fashion, having a full band in the days when that was a very taboo thing. Nowdays, it seems like soundtracks are the norm and those tracks are FULL. I would even go so far as to say that I know of a few of the current SG groups that would LOVE to be able to afford to carry a full band with them. I watched the ORB slowly but surely get ‘pushed’ out of SG back in the mid 70’s and pretty much forced to learn ’secular’ songs to be able to make a living. BUT…they always made sure to include lots of GOSPEL songs in their concert sets to that the folks who had NO IDEA who they were…could maybe see and hear where they came from…musically. They went on to take that “4 part SG Quartet harmony” to sold out arenas and even to places where Gospel music was forbidden (RUSSIA…back in 1975). They (ORB) know where they came from. I am so very proud of them for pretty much doing a “360″ by coming back to where they came from.
    This is something I have also done with my songs. There was a long period of my life when I ran as far from Gospel music as I could because I saw all the ‘bad part of the business’. I have ALWAYS had a deep love for the MUSIC though. As have the ORB. I remember when they were at their absolute PEAK (around 1982 or so) them getting on their bus and putting on a tape of the Catherdrals. I guess they figured if they couldn’t make a living singing gospel…they could still LISTEN to it.
    I did not mean for this letter to turn into a “novella”…it started with a response to the expression on Michael Jackson’s face to…well, all of this. PLEASE folks, lets’ not throw stones. Let’s LOVE one another. Let’s FORGIVE. Let’s try to be more Christ-like. I know that’s a mighty tall order….but it does give us something to strive for.
    Oh…and a SPECIAL thanks to “AVERY” for having the “guts” to even put this picture out there. I really sent it to him so that some of you could see JOE, B.JAMES, DAD and maybe even yours truly…..someone who is SO thankful by the wonderful letters and emails I have received regarding how my songs have impacted your life. Some things are worth more than money. BUT….I still want ALL of you to go buy 10 copies of all of my songs ASAP. (hahahahahaha!!!!)

    Much Love and Respect,
    Rusty Golden

  11. Wade wrote:

    Thanks Rusty for the novella!!! Any time.

    I have played drums professionally since I was 14. While learning I perfected the craft playing along to PERFORMANCE @ The War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville and have 2 copies of it. Can still do the Introduction at the beginning and the Group Introduction by heart.

    Keep up the great work and pass along to The Oaks our sincere admiration!!

    I miss Don Breland!!

  12. scope wrote:

    Thank you, Rusty. I appreciate your explaination, and your committment to SG music. I’ll be listening for more of your songs.

  13. Cautious wrote:

    Sigh - any of you arrive in Heaven?

    For all the lives that come through or into this world I can make no judgement because judgement belongs to the Lord. So to question which direction a person is heading when they die is not one you can answer, except the Lord.
    I did a lot of internet searches when MJ died, but that was because I was curious on what people were thinking, finding that they were thinking the same as me. But to cap on it briefly, I dont believe MJ molested any children; I accept the charity work he provided (they dont talk much abou this at all) and I understand that his life experiences were different to mine.
    Our travel in this life holds many memories, and experiences, some we can salvage and others time does not allow you to go back.

    The Serenity Prayer says it all.

  14. Carla Hibberd wrote:

    I know this is old comments but I would like to thank Rusty for showing us that ‘all is not always as it seems’ and people of this world have become such experts and judgemental of people they have absolutely no idea of who they really are and how narcistic to put our opinions in cyperspace as facts!! And Cautious at least had the decency to do some ‘research’ into the man before declining to pass a negative opinion. What was so ‘weird’ about Michael Jackson that makes you uncomfortable. Take a look at the real person and be amazed, listen to people who KNEW him, spent TIME with him, listen to the messages in his songs, read his poetry in Dancing the Dream and tell me that he didn’t come to the Lord. Read the trial transcripts and 333 pages of FBI files and tell me you still believe he was inappropriate with children. Check the autopsy if you can stomache it and find out he ‘really’ had lupus and vitiligo! Millions have learnt the truth since Michael died including me and the first thing I will do, if I meet the Lord, for my life is not without its eccentricities, is yours so perfect, is to ask him to forgive me for the slurs, innuendos, doubts that I had for another human being. One that appears to have had the biggest heart of all.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked * Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.