On June 25th, 2009, the world lost a legend.
It’s pretty amazing how fast time flies, isn’t it? I can hardly believe it’s been a year already. On the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, I intentionally avoided the many tweets, facebook statuses and blog posts paying heartfelt tribute to the King of Pop. When television stations aired his videos in a constant loop, I changed the channel. If they came on the radio, I switched the station.
Honestly? It was much too upsetting even to listen to.
To say that I was a fan of Michael Jackson is a supreme understatement. I was literally raised with his music – it’s been the soundtrack of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve dressed as Michael for Halloween (circa Jackson 5), learned the moves to both Beat It and Thriller, secretly kept my parents’ original vinyl copies of Thriller and Off the Wall and even managed to try my hand at the Moonwalker video game.
When I heard about his death, I was at work. My sister sent me a text message. I remember my heart skipping a beat and everything slowed to a standstill. The last I had heard about MJ, he was talking about his massive comeback, the This Is It tour (I would have loved to see it – especially after that amazing movie) it shocked me. He seemed so frail but I also never considered that his health was in such a precarious state. He seemed mythic, in the truest sense – for some reason, I never expected him to die.
While I was glad, somewhat, that the public seemed to realize his legendary status, it was bittersweet to realize that he only regained the respect that he deserved after a sudden and tragic death.
While I mourn the loss of a musical genius, I also mourn the loss of a life – one that endured pain and disrespect until the end. I mourn for the young child who was denied a life due to a vicious father, and the man who was denied a private life due to our celebrity obsessed culture that I’ll admit, I feed into every now and again.
I hope he is at peace, although he leaves family and millions of heartbroken fans in his wake.
One thing that does give me comfort is his enduring legacy – his charity, his spirit and probably most famously, his music. His albums, from beginning to end, will be a great listen. I look forward to them becoming the soundtrack to the lives of many others as the years go by.
I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite Michael song, even if you narrowed it down to his solo work and excluded the Jacksons and Jackson 5. I would probably say Human Nature, or maybe Rock With You, or possibly Off The Wall. Honestly, there are too many to decide – just thinking of those three made other classics come to mind, like Beat It, Lady in my Life and many, many others. But for any hardcore MJ fan, I highly suggest the excellent mixtape by DJ Jazzy Jeff, He’s the King and I’m the DJ. It highlights his greatest hits, but also more obscure (at least to me) classics that I have fallen in love with, like Never Can Say Goodbye and Heartbreak Hotel.
RIP, Michael. You will be missed.