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LOSING MICHAEL JACKSON: A Few Thoughts
Remembering a musical legend
Yesterday the world suffered a horrible loss, which will be mourned for weeks to come.
At the very least.
When I heard on CNN that Michael Jackson passed away after suffering cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, it was like taking a Mike Tyson punch to the jaw; I was absolutely flattened.
And then I became very sad, as I watched the tributes on TV to a person who was perhaps the greatest entertainer of the past forty years.
Indeed, it was exactly four decades ago when Michael first broke out with his Jackson Five brothers, dropping the number one smash, "I Want You Back"; he hasn't left our sight since.
I remember vividly those early days, being pre-school age at the time and watching that Saturday morning cartoon that he and his brothers did.
From then on, I was intrigued, must like the rest of the world - I fully admit that. I wore an afro - not well, I'm afraid - well into my teens largely because Michael did. And I remember enjoying his songs and records, such as "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There", immensely.
I'm not going to lie, though - throughout most of the 1990s and this decade I thought MJ had gone nuts, like millions of other people. What with his wanting to buy the Elephant Man's bones and taking his pet chimp Bubbles everywhere, and things like that.
But no matter how eccentric this King of Pop may have been, no matter how many problems he may have had in his personal and financial affairs, there has always been one thing that I've felt so strongly about the gloved one, which is this:
Michael Jackson was an outstanding talent throughout his forty years in show business.
His albums and songs, classic LPs like Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad, as well as chart-topping tunes like "Beat It", Billie Jean", and "Smooth Criminal", were - and are - excellent. The music that he made will leave a legacy matching that of Elvis Presley and the Beatles.
He had that much of an impact not only in the world of entertainment, but in society as a whole. And as far as the best musical acts of all time, he's right up there with the King of Rock and Roll, Liverpool's Fab Four, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan in my book.
Much like the deaths of President John F. Kennedy, Elvis and John Lennon, people will remember where they were when they learned that Michael died; he meant that much to countless numbers of people.
I personally feel that the greatest thing about this all-time best selling artist was that he brought people together. Racial and cultural differences, gender and generational gaps, all melted away when it came to this legend.
That's a rarity for anyone or anything, and it is that sense of unity and togetherness that Michael was able to bring about through his music that I'll especially miss about the man.
I was listening to some of his CDs late last night, remembering how uplifting his music was. When I put on Thriller, there was one set of lyrics that made me a bit misty eyed, that I felt summed up his vision for the world:
"Lift your head up high, and scream out to the world
I know I am someone, and let the truth unfurl
No one can hurt you now, because you know what's true
Yes, I believe in me, so you believe in you..."
Quite inspiring, isn't it?
That's the Michael Jackson I will remember, not the one who allegedly slept in a hyperbolic chamber or who was accused (and acquitted) of messing around with young boys, or who always wore strange masks in public.
Rest in peace, Mike. I and about five billion of your closest friends will miss you dearly.