R.I.P. Michael Jackson, 1958 – 2009

What more can be said about the legendary King of Pop that hasn’t been said? In the man’s half-a-century lifetime of incredible highs and lows, one thing certainly stands the test of time: Michael Jackson was and always is relevant in music for the rest of our lives. While there were a great deal of tragic events that plagued the man’s life, that isn’t relevant at such a fresh time. Instead, here’s a look into some of my personal memories in discovering the man himself:

I remember as a wee six year-old in first grade when the worldwide premier of the video for “Black Or White” came on every single channel. The video felt like this mega event that seemed to go on for hours, when in reality the video was only roughly eight or nine minutes. Jackson always over succeeded the hype regarding his product and that’s why the world loved him for it. When “Black Or White” was shown on MTV, Fox, NBC, ABC and whatever else was on cable TV at the time, everyone in school the next day talked about it. Questions like: “Whoa! Did you see what Michael did?”, “Did you see the changing faces at the end??”, “The kid from Home Alone was rapping next to Michael!”, and of course, the famous panther scene. Needless to say, aside from the Super Bowl and probably the last episode of M*A*S*H, in our lifetimes we were fortunate to witness one of the biggest events in television history.

Who also could forget the 1989 classic Moonwalker? I had already mentioned before the famous and indefinitely awesome dance sequence of “Smooth Criminal”. Without a doubt, this has perched atop the highest mountain of excellence since day one. Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold — he had that Midas touch for music. What about the arcade game? That too! I remember playing that as a kid at my local arcade and it was a blast. Not only could you shoot lightning out of your hands, you could make Michael dance and moonwalk with all of the enemies to snippets of “Smooth Criminal” and “Another Part Of Me”. Truly genius.

Before all the mysticism, I first heard the man on an old cassette tape of his 1987 classic album Bad. It shaped my life from such an early age. I still have that cassette with me to this day and as we speak, it’s sitting in my old shoebox next to my guitar amp. Yep, I can still see the old coffee stain on the casing from when I was a kid. Over 20 years later, this stuff still moves me, and I’m not alone. From childhood to adolescence, teenage years to adulthood, the King of Pop still reigns.

It really is a sad day for the music world. I’d honestly put him up there with The Beatles’ deaths of John Lennon and George Harrison as an epic tragic day. While the King is gone from this earth, his soul lives on in all of those old cassettes, those old Converse shoes, those old leather jackets, old zoot suits, music videos and the whole nine yards. Words and worlds colliding cannot do justice to this former Gary, Indiana native. What we can take away from this however is that whether yesterday, today, or tomorrow… Jackson’s music lives on.

Rest in peace to the King of Pop. You were and still are a beloved man all around the world.

August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009

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