As most of you might have already heard, today, we lost the ‘King of Pop’ to the Grim Reaper. I woke up this morning with Dad texting me that the king was no more. And for a number of reasons, I felt deeply grieved by this news. R.I.P Michael Jackson….
I remember, from way back in the day, MJ was probably the first performer and artist that I took a major liking to. This was way before Metallica, Pink Floyd, Guns N Roses, Megadeth and Pearl Jam came into my life. Well, in India, MJ was perhaps the only English artist whose tapes one had access to. And till date, MJ will still continue to be the King of Pop. It was one of the few songs that I remember growing up as a kid, where I would sit and listen to with the entire family and Dad would not rant about, ‘what filth are you listening to’. And MJ’s music is probably one of the fondest memories of my youth. I remember singing songs like Bad, Thriller and Billie Jean at the top of my voice, going all off tune…this was accompanied by a rendition of my version of the moon walker. Thanks to excessive public ridicule, I don’t dance any more. I remember the very first poster I put up on my wall was that of the cover of MJ from Bad. I recollect wanting the jacket which he wore in the video for the longest time ever. Thank god the obsession stopped before I wanted to own a silver glove. Well, all said and done MJ was probably the first music icon for a lot of us.
MJ had this uncanny ability to break boundaries people thought would never be broken or was too high to climb. And you may not like his music, but one cannot ignore the fact that Michael Jackson is and always will be the greatest performer of all time. No one can boast global sales and recognition like he has done. You ask anyone in the world, Yugoslavia to Kenya, Sudan to Hungary, Mexico to the remotest village of India, Michael Jackson was the most recognized performer. This is a feat no present day artist can boast about…Not even Metallica, Pearl Jam, Linkin Park…or even the so called queen of Pop…Britney Spears!!! MJ was the greatest figure of our times and I feel fortunate to have grown up in this time. I still remember picking up one of the very few first tapes of ‘Dangerous’ off the shelves the day it came into the stores, way back in class 4…this was before we had any of the Music Worlds or any place to download from. The shows, the music and the performer are something which no one can hope to emulate. Everyone would only be merely copying or modifying the standards set by this artist. Music aside, MJ till date remains one of the greatest dancers of all time. If there was someone who knew to take a tune and act it, MJ could do it. Even today, if someone pulls off a moon walker at a party, it still brings the crowd to cheer and go all ooooh and aaah. This is the influence of MJ on our time. Even in his younger days, when one saw a video of ABC from the Jackson 5, MJ was the only one who stood out….like they say, some men earn greatness, some have it thrust upon them…and some are just born to be great. Michael Jackson was one of the few in the last category. And he is one of the many people who realized their ability to move people and make a difference in the real world. Beyond his music Michael Jackson has used it as a lightening rod to make people aware of issues like racial abuse, poverty and hunger in Africa, AIDS, animal protection and many more socially relevant issues of our time.
Even considering the controversies of child-molestation, dangling a baby from a balcony, the black to white skin grafting, one can’t help but feel sorry for the King. At some level, I think the world just got to him. The world just became too much of a place. Some stand strong, some find solace with alcohol and drugs, some with God and some just end up losing their mind. All of us have our little vices and insanities, its just some are more public about their madnesses. I can’t help but pity a person in his shoes, who till the last day, even when people believed he no longer was relevant to our time, would have cameras capturing his every move. Even on his way to court, MJ being the performer he is gets up on top of the car and waves to the crowd. And even now, when one thinks of MJ, they ignore the madness and remember only the music and the way it made you want to dance and it still does. I’m right now listening to ‘Billie Jean’ and my feet are going all crazy, except my butt does not share the same enthusiasm and does not want to budge from the chair.
Michael Jackson will forever continue to be one of the greatest figures of our time, a figure to be as influential as John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. At the end of it all, today we mourn the death of one of the finest artists of our time. Long Live the King of Pop.
Michael Jackson - August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009 – Thank You for all the great music and all the great memories. Long live the music you gave us and everything you’ve done for us. Long Live the King of Pop!