It is an extremely sad and dark day for music, as a man who made so many people happy and lit up any place with his music and performances has passed away. Yesterday, June 25th, after suffering a cardiac arrest and being taken to hospital whilst in a coma, at 2:26PM (Pacific Time) Michael Joseph Jackson was pronounced dead.
Millions of people worldwide are feeling the unexpected loss of one of the greatest to ever do it, he came onto the scene as 1/5 of the Jackson 5, but always stood out from such an early age, his ability as an artist and presence to command a stage all helped him bring him further into the spotlight, it was soon inevitable that the young Jackson would embark on a solo career, he had released solo albums, Got To Be There (1972), Ben (1972), Music and Me (1973) and Forever, Michael (1975), he grew more and more into the spotlight but continously looked at as a child star, everyone knew that there was more to come, the question was when? the answer is 1979, teaming up with the legendary Quincy Jones, Michael released the album Off The Wall, an album which has grossed a total of $20 million worldwide, 10 tracks of a mature michael, embracing a new fusion of R&B, Pop and Disco. Off The Wall is also the album to feature the classic (I think every track is a classic) Rock With You:
that would be a dream for most artists today, to peak at such a level, however Michael was just getting started, the next album was Thriller, an album which has sold way over $50 million worldwide, even if there was not any downloading today, no artist could match those numbers, Thriller boasts the hits Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, The Girl Is Mine featuring Paul McCartney), Human Nature and P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing) to name a few, as well as the three real genre-crossing anthems, three songs so good that at least one should be in your all-time top 10, of course the title track Thriller:
The Van Halen assisted anthem, Beat It:
last but not least, most probably his most famous hit to date, Billie Jean:
Billie Jean was more than just a single, it was the first song Michael performed as a solo artist, a moment every Michael Jackson fan remembers, Motown 25 was not just the first performance of the song, but also the introduction of his signature move, The Moonwalk:
Michael Jackson broke barriers as an African-American artist, barriers which had constricted previous artists, he was the first ‘Black’ artist to be played on MTV, he continued to dominate in the charts and record sales alike, Michael Jackson’s music appealed to all people, regardless of their race, religion or colour. As a child growing up I too wondered and would ask “why is the man on my cassette cover a different colour and singing it doesn’t matter if you’re Black or White?”, but like the song says, “It Doesn’t Matter If You’re Black or White”, Michael’s colour may have changed but the talent remained as he continued to make great music and perform with some of the most amazing live shows ever. A lot that we see today all derives from or is inspired in some way by Michael Jackson, we see Chris Brown dancing and singing, without being disrespectful because he is a great talent himself, but a singer + dancer of that style was seen before with Usher, who as much as they try to make their own name (and have done) will always be second to Michael, as will Ginuwine, Sisqo, Omarion and even Justin Timberlake, who all credit Michael Jackson as a major inspiration.
I wrote this out of respect, many know him more for his controversy and the negatives, I’ve always been quick to debate and i believe that he did not get to have a childhood with touring and being in the public eye so he was a big kid, he had money, fame and an insecurity, he was human after all, many can compliment you but if you do not see it yourself you cannot beleive it, but his mistake is a lesson for those in the future, apart from that, Michael Jackson’s name and legacy can never be matched, I wanted people to understand the importance of him and his music in many people’s lives, as a child growing up I have had my fair share of situations, pressing play on a MJ track was the only way I could find a slight bit of comfort, watching videos of him performing his hits, then practicing them, Moonwalking on the kitch floor until i had holes in my socks, the best thing about that is that I’m not the only one!!
The history kept being made as he continued to shatter sales records, he released Bad in 1987, selling over $30million worldwide, this album featured more contribution from Michael in terms of writing and production, the album which is obviously recognised to have the song of the same name ‘Bad’, however it also features, “The Way You Make Me Feel”:
“Another Part of Me”, “Man in the Mirror”, “Dirty Diana” and “Smooth Criminal”, Then came the greatest and highest selling New Jack Swing album off all time, ‘Dangerous’, featuring “Jam”, “In the Closet”, “Remember the Time”:
“Heal the World”, “Black or White” (feat. Slash on guitar), “Who Is It”, “Give In to Me” (feat. Slash on guitar):
and obviously “Dangerous”. Michael Jackson went on to release the greatest his compilation HIStory, this man truely made history, his story will forever go down in history, it is hard to put into words the impact and influence this man has had on the world, it is even harder to put into words the feeling of his loss, however, they say “You don’t know what you’ve got..until it’s gone”, and i think a lot of people are realising this. Remember though, his music will never die and through it Michael Jackson shall live forever.
13 Guinness World Records, 19 Grammy Awards, 22 American Music Awards, 12 World Music Awards and the sale of over 750 million units worldwide – Michael Jackson R.I.P