The great dame Elizabeth Taylor cave Michael Jackson has all-popular nickname King of Pop. By its essence, this would mean Popular Music. But with the scope of influence of MJ, this has come to mean popularity. And what a King he is, as evidenced by the global depression of all his fans.
Imagine there were a reported twelve people who committed suicide because of his sudden death.
Popularity has always been a double-edged sword because as much as it visits fame and fortune, it also joins negativity and rumors. MJ through the years has experienced it all – from all the musical accolades to the most pressing scandals.
Of course his global popularity was helped by his early start in the name of show business. In fact, it was too young. Michael has been performing since the age of five and carried on towards the success of the Jackson Five.
He then embarked on a solo career with the 1978 album Off the Wall. This propelled him to new heights as he released the album Thriller in 1982. He became a worldwide household name from there on out. He was in all aspects a popular culture icon.
Here is an interesting aspect of his popularity through the eyes of normal people. A disc jockey, who was working in a record bar back when Thriller was released, related that the types of people who brought Thriller were really different niches and groups of people. Punk rockers, old ladies, young children – the spectrum was really unlimited.
MJ also used his popularity in order to communicate strong messages against poverty, famine, injustices and the likes. This was one of the more influential people taking a stand, challenging ordinary people to do the same. This is one of his memorable acts for mankind – embodied in the songs Heal the World, We Are the World and the Earth Song, among others.
He communicated all his emotions and beliefs through his music. In the end all the negative rumors and issues thrown at him will be forgotten but his music will remain in the hearts of people. He was creativity embodied, certainly a bundle of joy given to us as a young child with the Jackson 5.
Indeed, MJ has given us a roller coaster ride of a life. It was a mixed and convoluted collage of contributions to popular culture which will be remembered very well for a very long time.
I guess with the way the world mourned his death it is fair to include MJ in the echelon of names which have truly shaped a century. Elvis, The Beatles – there were really a few and Michael is now one of them.
We may never know what Michael still has up in his sleeves for his 50-date comeback concert to kick off in London. We really would not know. Even if a 2-minute video of his dress rehearsal performing They Do not Really Care About Us two days before his death surfaced, it was not enough to satiate our need to see him perform again.
But here was someone who did see him up close. Ken Ehrlich, the executive producer of the Grammys, was invited by Jackson to watch the rehearsal the night before MJ died. Here was what he had to say:
“Watching him rehearse these trademark dance moves that he created, that nobody did before, you could say James Brown, but he created them, and then you’ve watched 25 years or more, 30 years or more people doing those moves, and remembering that they all came from him. That’s his legacy. ”
The King of Pop will live long in our hearts forever.