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MJ...the greatest ever?Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009, at 12:47 PM
Michael Jackson is the single greatest solo entertainer of all time.
For a moment, let's forget all the publicized controversy that surrounded Jackson's life even up until the King of Pop died June 25 after suffering a cardiac arrest -- the skin bleaching talk, the changing faces, the odd public behavior, the child molestation allegations.
Despite all this, the fact remains that Michael Jackson died as one of the most commercially successful and influential artists in history. That fact makes all the scrutiny and criticism that Jackson endured throughout his life pale in comparison. His career as an entertainer has not been matched. And he has influenced countless of today's top artists.
Yes, MJ was an odd character, yet a great, unique human being. His talents and contributions to the music industry, people and organizations all over the world overshadow the controversial aspects of his life and career.
There have been numerous talented singers, songwriters and dancers that have entertained audiences throughout the years, but when it came to pure talent and showmanship, none of them came close to Michael Jackson. The style, the fashion, the moves. No one else really compared.
MJ put on a show like no other, and attracted legions of fans everywhere he went. He was also a notable philanthropist and humanitarian and one of the top celebrities ever in terms of charitable giving. These endeavors alone speak volumes in the story of Jackson's life.
I remember growing up listening to his music. I remember, as an imaginative 9-year-old, trying to make the squares of sidewalk outside light up when I walked on them, much like he did in his famous "Billie Jean" video. I had the zippered jacket, the glove, the records, the tapes.
I remember practicing the robot, the moonwalk, and other famous Jackson dance moves in front of the mirror and family and friends. I remember playing his "Thriller" album over and over again until my mom wanted to smash the record. But my mom, also an MJ fan, knew she couldn't do that. She knew what that record meant to me, and to her, too.
I was saddeded when I heard of his death a few months ago. I think it will be thought of from now on as one of those "Where were you when...?" moments in history. I was on vacation with my family, dining in a restaurant when I heard the news. I was stunned, not really knowing what to think at first.
Not long after, as the news media began running around-the-clock coverage of his death and the surrounding controversy (it was a little much, the TV specials are still out there), I began listening once again to Jackson's music.
Before that, it had regrettably been several years since I had really listened to Jackson's music or watched him perform. Looking back on his life and career made me remember how I felt as a child, and glad the world got to experience such a fabulous musician and entertainer.
As popular and influential as he was throughout his life and career, it still made me kind of sad to realize that it took his death for me, and maybe other people, to look back and appreciate how much of a positive effect he had on the world, and to be grateful we got to experience his passion for music and entertaining, and for all that he gave to the world.
Jackson, who would have been 51 Saturday, is expected to be buried on Thursday. But his spirit, legacy and music are far from gone.
Thank you, MJ.
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