Thursday, June 25, 2009

The King of Pop, 1958-2009

Michael Jackson died today, it honestly came out of the blue and I was taken by surprise. It happened on the same day we lost Farrah Fawcett, and the same week we lost Ed McMahon. I'm not big on the cult of celebrity, as you can tell from my post on Perez Hilton and Will.I.Am, but all three of the people we lost this week were enormous talents who deserved and earned all of their fame. Jackson through his music, music which defined a generation, Farrah through her screen work, and McMahon thanks to his prolific resume and down to earth character. It is tragic.

Michael Jackson's "Bad" was the first CD I ever owned, and I still own it. It's an excellent album, in fact Michael rarely put out bad music. The man's career became overshadowed by his eccentric behavior in the 90s and allegations that he had taken advantage of children. He was never proven guilty, many claimed that his status as a mega-star helped him get off the hook, I don't know. I don't think Michael had the heart to harm anyone.

He often spoke of how he never really had a childhood and his fascination with Peter Pan, he famously named his ranch "Neverland", a homage to the fictional universe of Peter Pan. Michael suffered the same torments as many child stars, Dana Plato for example, except Michael suffered them in the spotlight. His career never really fizzled out like many other child stars, an testament to his special talent and brilliant songwriting ability. Despite the millions of dollars, and billions (literally, billions) of fans, you could often feel yourself feeling sorry for Michael, and while some may disagree at times he seemed somewhat of an unwilling celebrity. His reclusive nature attracted the cameras, as there was money in capturing Michael's face on film, but he always seemed as if he wanted to escape from adulthood, like Peter Pan.

Despite being reclusive Jackson did love his fans. He loved them in an odd way, but he never forgot that without his fans he was just another person, something many modern celebrities could learn a lot from.

I hope his legacy is that of a brilliant musician and generous philanthropist, and not that of a strange man. Michael had many problems, but he was also an original. Until his last day he remained one-of-a-kind in a Xerox world.

He is a legend.

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