I was sitting here today doing my normal stuff when I decided I needed a haircut. So just as I was going to go downstairs, BNO tweeted that Michael Jackson was being rushed to the hospital in cardiac arrest. As a life long fan of his music (I won’t comment on his personal life), I was shocked & instantly glued to my seat. As I sat here, talking to my wife about his career & what impact his music made on me personally, I was constantly refreshing my screen to see what was going on. As each minute passed, small details would trickle in. They said he was in cardiac arrest. They said he wasn’t breathing when the paramedics arrived. They said he wasn’t breathing when he arrived at the hospital. You could feel the doom & gloom spreading across the internet like a tsunami.
Then, word came. Michael Jackson dead at age 50. I was stunned. Granted, he had some personal issues (okay a lot of personal issues), but his music defined not only the 80’s, but an entire generation. I remember as a kid in grade school, we actually took a field trip to the local Moose Lodge (are they still around anymore?) where they were showing Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Even though it was less than 30 minutes, to us it felt like a full length feature film. From 1982 to 1989, all we talked about was Michael Jackson. I used to draw inspiration from his music to assist me in my every day problems as a kid. He spun us tales of love, loss, unity & hope.
It was disappointing that the later years were so tarnished by his eccentricities as he was almost god-like to many people. Men & women alike would faint at the sight of him. The fandom was so large & widespread that he was being categorized with the likes of Elvis Pressley & The Beatles by the time his 3rd solo album was released. He had 13 number one hits & worldwide sales records so big that I doubt anyone will ever topple them. He was a media icon who crossed into every genre, from books to video games & every possible piece of merchandise in between.
Was I a fan. Yes. I have every album he ever made. I had Michael Jackson records, cassettes, CDs & MP3s. Even though his name became synonymous with drama & scandal, I have never been afraid to admit that I’m a fan. I’m saddened by the loss. The loss to his family. The loss to his friends. The loss to his fans. Even now, my 11-year old son, who didn’t become aware of Michael Jackson until this decade, long after his prime, is upset. The world will morn. Even the people who deny their fandom will feel saddened. The King of Pop has left his kingdom.