Thursday, June 25, 2009

What Michael Jackson Meant To Me

I am currently watching the news that one of the biggest icons in the history of entertainment, Michael Jackson, is dead. I wanted to reflect on what he meant to me. 'Thriller' was my childhood. That album, as I am sure it was for anybody 30 and over, was a defining moment in my life. I can remember as a 5-year-old child playing Thriller on my Fisher-Price record player. I would stick it out of the living room window so that all of us kids in the neighborhood could dance to it in the front yard. For me, Thriller and Michael Jackson were the first meaningful memories of my life.

Today Michael Jackson, and a big part of my childhood, is dead. It is a sad day for me since I can actually remember when he was the biggest star in the universe. Most people under 30 will remember him more for his odd behavior and lawsuits. Those things ended up tipping the scales and took away from the music and rightfully so. It was hard to think of Michael Jackson and not think of plastic surgery and court room settings. For all of you out there that only know him for that I ask you to give a listen to Thriller. It is more than just an album, it was a landmark event in the lives of millions.

As sad as I feel about these events part of me believes that this was the only way it could end for Michael. Much like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson was on countless amounts of medications. Eventually those things do catch up with you. If it has not been brought up yet the comparisons between Elvis and Michael will be made. Much like Michael now, Elvis had become more known for things other than his music. For Michael it had to be this way. There was never going to be that redemption. There was not going to be farewell tours. There was not going to be the role of elder statesman of music much in the way that Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, and Bob Dylan have achieved. There was no other way for the Michael Jackson story to end but with him simply dropping dead, snap, like that.

For as much as the oddities and eccentricities will define Michael Jackson for many people in the world, I am going to choose a different route. I am going to grab my IPod in place of my Fisher-Price record player, and sit in my front yard and listen to Wanna Be Startin' Something from Thriller and I will smile as I remember the piece of my childhood that passed away today in Los Angeles. Rest in Peace Michael, I will never forget what you meant to my life.