When Michael Jackson died in Los Angeles due to cardiac arrest, something happened. The music mattered again. All of the scandals were forgotten and we began remembering Jackson as the true artist he once was.
Michael Jackson was once the hottest name on the planet.
From the moment “Thriller” came out in late 1982, Jackson was everywhere. You saw him rocking MTV with the video “Beat it.”; hit ground-breaking, chart-setting territory with his “Thriller” album; appear with his brothers, the Jacksons, on albums and tours; and basically set a nation into a frenzy with his magical performance of “Billie Jean” during the television special for the 25th anniversary of Motown Records.
No one had seen such a star rise since The Beatles and Elvis Presley.
We had watched Michael grow up with The Jackson Five, this cute kid with an amazing voice and a smile that could light up a room. They had wonderful songs like “ABC” and “I’ll Be There” and a TV variety show and cartoon to boot.
But when Jackson became a soloist with “Off the Wall” in 1979, music fans had no clue about the avalanche of “Jackson Mania” that was to come.
On June 25, 2009, the nation was stirred again — this time by Jackson’s sudden, and tragic, death.
At the time, Jackson was like a cartoon character. We couldn’t take him seriously for wearing masks and seeing his skin change to white. We saw him have children, marry Elvis’ daughter, live with a prince and get rocked by scandal after scandal regarding child abuse allegations.
Jackson’s musical magic had turned to dust. He was pretty much considered a freak show and was often referred to as “Jacko.”
When Jackson died in Los Angeles due to cardiac arrest, something happened.
The music mattered again. All of the scandals were forgotten and we began remembering Jackson as the true artist he once was.
Fans flocked to record stores and downloaded his songs off I-Tunes at furious paces. Jackson was a known commodity once again.
This artist was also ready to recapture his thrown as the “King of Pop.”
Jackson was rehearsing to play 50 concerts in London, a feat that no one thought he could pull off. As evident from the DVD and movie “This Is It,” Jackson was ready to rebuild his legacy.
His death did that instead.
So how will we remember Michael Jackson in years to come?
Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contribution to music, dance and fashion made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.
He gave us “We Are the World.” His “Thriller” is the best-selling album of all time in the world. He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, won 13 Grammy Awards, 26 American Music Awards, had 13 No. 1 U.S. singles and sold over 800 million records worldwide.
When people die, we recall their accomplishments and recognize what they achieved in life.
Today, let’s remember Jackson for his place in music history.
Contact Dino F. Ciliberti at email@example.com.