It was seven years ago today, that Michael Jackson passed away. I can remember coming home from work that day, and my ex telling me to look at the television—Michael Jackson had been taken to the hospital. It wasn’t too much later that he was prounounced dead. Farrah Fawcett died on that day also, but most of the news was about Michael.
On my old blog, I wrote a short tribute post that night, even as I wasn’t even sure why I was writing at all. I think what I wrote about were the memories—the joyous memories the man provided me. I’ve seen the clips, though if I saw it live I don’t remember it, of this young kid with his brothers on the Ed Sullivan Show singing “I Want You Back.”
From there, the hits piled up. And as he and his brothers became more and more famous, I believe that Michael lost pieces of his childhood. Between his early solo recordings and albums with the group, it had to be a constant grind for a young man who achieved superstardom so early. But I don’t want to make this about how hard it was when he was young, or how eccentric he became as he grew up. This post is about the joy he brought to millions with his gifts.
Can you think of another artist who single-handedly broke down the invisible barrier for black artists at MTV? Another artist who took the video format and transformed it into something more than a promotional tool? A young man who had such vocal and dancing talent beyond his years?
What I remember most about Michael actually starts with my childhood; after all, he was only a few years older than I am when he first became famous. I do remember getting a Jackson 5 record on the back of a cereal box, but I couldn’t tell you what song or songs was on it. I remember watching the Saturday morning cartoon, believing that the Jackson 5 was voicing their characters (of course they weren’t). I can remember seeing them on Soul Train singing “Dancing Machine,” with Michael doing the robot dance.
Of course, I couldn’t possibly leave out the Motown 25 performance: first with his brothers, then doing “Billie Jean,” introducing the world to his “moonwalk.” One of my favorite parts of the clip is the early footage of Michael aping James Brown’s “I Got The Feelin'”. He got a lot of inspiration from Brown’s moves back in those days.
Of course, all of the memories would be accompanied by songs. Suffice to say there are so many songs I could choose, and so many that I like that it might take forever for your browser to load this post, were all the videos included. I’ll end this post with a few of my favorites over the years.
There are so many, many more I could feature in this post, but I will stop right here for now. These are some (and not all) of the early favorites of mine, some are well-known and others less so. What they all show is that there wasn’t one like him and there won’t be one like him. I hope this post makes the point perfectly clear, even seven years gone.