Michael Jackson: 10 Years On and Still Gone Too Soon

In his speech accepting the Grammy awards for Best Producer for the album, “Off The Wall”, Quincy Jones  said: “Thank you Michael, but just be careful about breaking records because the next one you break might just be your own” Michael also won his first Grammy that night for ” You Can’t Get Enough “

In 1982 ,Jackson did just that with “Thriller” 8 singles of  which  swept the trophies.  The title album, “Thriller” is the highest selling song of all time whose video, directed by John Landis, helped shaped the way music videos would be made- forever. It was unthinkable to spend $20million on a music video at that time or to hire “American Werewolf in London” director, John Landis.  But such was Jackson’s reach for the stars. Even “The Making of Thriller ” became a mini-movie.  

At a White House ceremony on May 14, 1984, President Ronald Reagan awarded Michael Jackson with the Presidential Public Safety Communication Award for allowing the song “Beat It” to be used in a public service campaign against teen drinking and driving.
Reagan told Jackson “Your success is an American dream come true.”

From President Carter to Reagan, Bush Sr. ,Clinton, Bush Jr. , Michael had easy relationships.  
At the Atlanta Olympics in 1984, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie became two of Americans biggest brands on display to the world. 

In 1985,the two will co-write the immensely successful charity song, “We Are The World”.  The effort was to raise money ,food medicine and awareness for victims of famine in Africa.
“We Are The World” was another world’s first and still to be surpassed as group efforts go. It is the fastest -selling American pop single in history. 

It is very difficult to catalog Jackson’s many “firsts “.As a non-pareil,  he would suffer his own bout of Acquired Situational Narcissism because his fans and foes alike began to wonder if he was human. He was beyond just superlative. In a semi-autobiography, “Moon Walker,” published by Doubleday when Michael was 28 and that I read all night, he said it amazed “me when people ask me if I use the bathroom”.

He had his own share of personal demons. Perhaps too many for one man because behind the mask, the glitz, Michael was a man. Michael’s humanity was often reflected in his songs and videos even if they came surreal.  One of them is “The Earth” which almost got him the Nobel prize for Environment but for Al Gore’s “The Inconvenient Truth”. 

After ten year,  it’s still difficult to use Michael Jackson’s name in the past tense. Perhaps, this is because even in death, The King Of Pop is still invincible . And nobody has duplicated anything that the Legend pioneered.  

Here is how some described him

“Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the “King of Pop“, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers of all time. He was also known for his unorthodox lifestyle, residing in a private amusement park he called Neverland Ranch, and often becoming the focus of tabloid scrutiny. Jackson’s contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades”- Wikipedia contributor. 

“Michael Jackson is an extraordinary human being who is beyond category.” – Robert Johnson, associate editor, JET magazine

And this longish bit!
. “The eighth child of the Jackson family, Michael made his professional debut in 1964 with his elder brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon as a member of the Jackson 5. He began his solo career in 1971 while at Motown Records, and in the early 1980s, became a dominant figure in popular music. His music videos, including those for “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, and “Thriller” from his 1982 album Thriller, are credited with breaking racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. Their popularity helped bring the television channel MTV to fame. Bad (1987) was the first album to produce five US Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles. 
He continued to innovate throughout the 1990s with videos such as “Black or White” and “Scream”, and forged a reputation as a touring artist. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized complicated dance techniques such as the robot and the moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His sound and style have influenced artists of various genres.”
Perhaps these lines from a true cry from the soul, ” They Really Care About Us” sums up how Michael Jackson will later feel in life and how apocalyptic. 
Tell me, what has become of my life?I have a wife and two children who love meI am the victim of police brutality, nowI’m tired of being the victim of hateYou’re ripping me of my pride, oh, for God’s sakeI look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy, set me freeFinally, I think Michael Jackson was prescient enough to write his own dirge “Gone Too Soon” which was performed at his funeral by a tearful Usher. 

1 thought on “Michael Jackson: 10 Years On and Still Gone Too Soon

  1. Michael Jackson is an archetypal black man who would stop at nothing to overcome his background in order to achieve success in spite of the numerous obstacles. He possessed the CAN DO spirit. He may have had his shortcomings which is that hubris in every man but he was able to leave his footsteps on water. He will forever be remembered.

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