Michael Jackson: Heal the World
It was quite a shock, hearing the news that Michael Jackson was dead. And like most everyone I assaulted the web trying to find out as much as I could. How? Why? I wasn’t even aware he was ill. As it turns out he was not that ill, but victim of a sudden heart complication. A failure of some sort, and though a confirmed cause of death has not been announced there is no shortage of rumors and speculation. But more than that is the shock, and the realization that the world has lost one of its greatest entertainers. And possibly one of the least understood.
His first live performance as part of the Jackson 5 was at 10 yrs old at a club called “The Daisy”, and they were formally introduced by none other than Diana Ross. That was the beginning of their success, and many many hits followed for the group before Michael went solo. But imagine for a moment if you will, what it took for those brothers to be able to perform at that young age so well. They had natural talent that much is obvious, but that does not mean that hard work and many hours of rehearsing was not involved. MJ was 10 when he first performed live, and blew away the world. How hard did he have to work, and at what sacrifice did this little boy have to make to his childhood? I wonder. If you have never heard the song “Childhood” by Michael Jackson please listen to it, and if you have heard it listen again, and think about what I just said.
When “Thriller” exploded on the world it was like nothing seen before. His success with “Off the Wall” had set the stage and cemented his future but this was absolutely incredible. I was a disc jockey in a popular dance club in Ottawa’s Byward market when “Billy Jean” was released. To say it was the most requested song would be laughable. Playing that song 4-5 times a night was almost demanded, and when the extended remix was released even more so. There was no one else, no one, as popular as he was after the release of that song. It changed everything. And then came “Thriller”. Those people that already bought the album and listened to all the tunes had already heard the song, but it wasn’t until the video was released that it really took off. MTV owes Michael Jackson and “Thriller” the reason for their huge success. And “Thriller” was not just a song, it was a masterpiece. There was nothing else like it. And to this day, there still hasn’t been.
Like the Beatles, and Elvis, Michael Jackson is unique. A creative talent the world only sees ever so often, and taken away too soon. Many other stars and performers have been lost over the years to tragic accidents. But something else has been taking them as well. Is it the pressure? The constant spotlight with very little peace, and hardly having a moment to wind down and enjoy life? Is that why drugs enter these lives? To cope? The list is long. Elvis, Kurt Cobain, Anna Nicole Smith, and on and on it goes. Drugs were a factor in all those deaths.
The days ahead will be filled with more rumors and speculation, more reminders of his legal troubles. That he was charged with child molestation. I wonder what people will remember. The allegations, or the more than 140 people that testified on his behalf. And that ALL charges were proved false.
I hope you will be remembered for all the joy you brought to the world. All the children you saved with your tireless efforts and generosity. There is nothing we can do about the past, but we can change the present, and the future.
RIP Michael, You are not alone.