Michael Jackson died yesterday afternoon and the reality of this unexpected event is still sinking in around the world.
I watched the Jackson 5 on the Mike Douglas show in the 1970’s. I watched, glued to the screen, Michael bloom into the King of Pop on the Motown 25th Anniversary special in 1982 and, like millions of others across the globe, I was blown away!
I listened to Thriller repeatedly in the coming years. I watched Michael’s pioneering videos in the early days of MTV.
While the passing of Farrah Fawcett was expected, and we have already mourned for her and her family, with Michael, this has come as such as surprise to everyone.
The first single from The Jackson Five was “I Want you Back”, released in 1969 soon after signing with Motown Records. The Jackson family never looked back.
As early as 1972, singing and dancing out in front of the group, Michael was clearly destined to become the cornerstone of the Jackson family dynasty.
By the early 1980s, Michael Jackson was ready to break away from his brothers, releasing Thriller in 1982. Thriller still holds the record for the most top 10 singles from one record.
Today, the world news has become dominated by the unexpected death of a 20th century icon. Few reach the pinnacle that success that Michael achieved.
Entertainers like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, and John Wayne, just to name a few, are truly important enough to the planet, significant to our shared history, and such a part of a popular culture, that the world has to slow down and take a moment when they are no longer with us.
While what we leave behind as human beings, our legacy, or what we give back is what ultimately defines us, I often think of what is lost when someone like Michael Jackson dies.
Certainly, none of us will be able to enjoy his comeback tour which was to begin soon in London. But, neither will we see the serious philanthropist Michael was to become. Michael’s impact on fashion is remarkable too. We will never see what future fashion statements the older, wiser Jackson would make.
Speaking of Michael’s legacy, there are reports from some close to Michael’s that he was having a hard time getting motivated and was burned out as the 20 century came to an end.
He achieved so much at an early age, and, like so many, he seemed lost for the past decade or so, not sure what to do next. Michael had stopped enjoying the journey and had nothing higher in mind to reach for.
I just wonder how much of his lost feelings might have contributed to his speculated prescription drug and obvious health problems.
He touched so many, from all walks of life. Michael was known to Presidents and world leaders, iconic Hollywood celebrities, like Liz Taylor and Paul McCartney. It also seemed like his millions of fans throughout the world knew him too, although we really didn’t.
Many famous people have been sharing their personal experiences with Michael. Cher talks about his appearance, with The Jackson Five, on The Sonny and Cher Show.
People who have performed with Michael and those who actually do know him have only had good things to say about him. They have stuck with him throughout the years as have millions of his fans.
Michael is a really nice guy! That’s what people say.
And then there’s the Grammys and the many lifetime achievement and humanitarian awards Michael has won. Truly bridged the gap between pop music and Motown.