Monday, July 6, 2009

The Undisputed King of Pop

(Originally posted on June 26th - it seems appropriate to move this back to the top of the blog in tribute...)

I saw Michael Jackson in concert when I was in the fourth grade. Third row. I’ve been to about a billion concerts since then and none of them stand out like that one does. Dirty Diana, Bad, Thriller, Man In The Mirror -- he didn’t hit a bad note. He didn't take a false step. I could tell you what I wore that night. I wanted to live in that arena.

Michael Jackson revolutionized music globally. It’s easy to forget that dance actually existed before Michael Jackson. Anyone who calls himself a singer or a dancer owes a debt to Michael Jackson. There wouldn’t be a Madonna, a Britney, a Christina, a Justin… without Michael. And there wouldn’t be a Michael Jackson without James Brown.

I have had the great fortune of seeing both James Brown and Michael Jackson in concert. It’s nice to imagine that they’re having a great big dance party together right now... wherever they are.

Michael Jackson and James Brown

Michael Jackson is so instantly recognizable, there isn’t a person alive that can’t identify Billie Jean by the opening notes. It isn't Halloween until Thriller plays. His music video premieres were events. We waited in front of the TV for them (before the age of Tivo and DVR.) It was worth it to wait. I worry that kids don't know that feeling anymore. Beat It and Bad were gangster. Now the videos look a bit feminine and strange, but back in their day they were gangster. (It was the 80’s… even gangster was feminine and strange.) ... And the "fight" in the Beat It video is still the most graceful one I've ever seen.

Every guy wanted to be as cool as Michael Jackson. When Thriller came out, all the girls were in love with him. It may be hard for people today to believe, but we all wanted him to be our boyfriend. Women and girls fainted as soon as he hit the stage or entered a room. I was always very sad about how his life tipped, but I choose to remember him as that handsome guy in Thriller... and as the man who put on the best show I have ever seen.

People will go on and on about whether or not the man was a sicko, a wacko, a pedophile, a weirdo. The bottom line is that we will never know for sure. It’s always someone else’s word against his on that front. But there’s no denying that he is the greatest entertainer who has ever lived. I’ve been watching his videos today. There’s so much to look at, to remember, to celebrate. His music videos play like movies. His dance moves were superhuman. The only person who can dance like Michael is Janet... period. And the man knew how to market himself as a brand. Even his silhouette is iconic. His shadow gets thrown onto a backdrop and you recognize him instantly. His hat, his glove, his white socks and black shoes – all legendary. Anyone have any idea what color socks Justin Timberlake wears? Anyone care about Chris Brown’s silhouette? Didn’t think so. 

Michael Jackson in silhouette
At least for today, let's remember Michael Jackson as the icon that he is. After what he has given to us musically, he deserves that much. Today I celebrate the incredible influence Michael Jackson has had on the world, on the music industry as a whole... and on my own little life. RIP Michael Jackson. Gone Too Soon...  


Jennifer said...

I would love to hear everyone else's Michael Jackson memories. Share 'em if you got 'em :)

Anonymous said...

Very well said.... It's the most facinating show to watch..."him in concert" I saw him at the Civic Center in Hartford, CT....awesome

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to find that picture of Michael in silhouette. Where did you get it? It took a long time to dig it up, and your blog is the only place that has it as far as I can tell.

Jennifer said...

It took me a long time, too :) I believe I found it on google images :) It's a great shot of him.

Anonymous said...

go to you will find thousands of pictures of Michael, including this silhouette =)

Anonymous said...

you can also check out which has a lot. God bless MJ!

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