RIP - Michael Jackson, "King of Pop"

That's the headline that is making the news, and will likely be something that is talked about for a long time. People are saying it's like when Elvis or Marilyn Munroe died; young, before their time, unexpected. I always thought MJ would not live to be an old man, and honestly thought he would have been gone by now, but June 25, 2009 was his day. Some people you just see and you know they aren't going to make it to their 80's, 90's, and he was one of them.

I haven't been a fan of MJ since all of the allegations, weird behaviors, etc. that came in the late 1980's, early 90's. However, there is no denying the impact he had on music culture, and was a huge part of my childhood. In the early 1980's there were two huge names - MJ and Madonna. Madonna is a different type of icon - she isn't the best singer, but she's a performer and goes for shock value. She seems like the type who will live a long life. MJ, however, was a performer and a genuine artist. He had the voice, he understood music, and with every new song he put out there was a new adventure, a new twist, a new sound. When the song and video "Thriller" came out, it was life changing. It was the first music video I saw, and it was just something you could not get enough of. It was brilliant, and unlike anything that came before it. I would say that there has not been another one like it, though many have tried and come close.

These next weeks, months, years will be interesting. It will be filled with stories, accusations. It could likely become the next "Anna Nicole Smith" with stories of people around him allowing him to be self destructive with his behavior and lifestyle. Today, the day after, most people seem to remember the Michael they knew in the 70's and 80's; the not-so-good stuff appears to be forgotten for now, and are mere footnotes. His early death has made him a bigger legend than what he already was, and that was pretty huge. Sometimes the stars that shine the brightest fizzle out before the others that are more dim. He was certainly a bright star.

While I was not a MJ fan of anything he did from 1990 on, I have always acknowledged his contribution to music prior to that, and you cannot listen to a song from that time and not have it take you back to your younger years. Singing, dancing to the music with friends and family. Watching the videos on MTV. Going for the jukebox at the local Pizza Hut and selecting his songs. Never got into the glove or jacket, but I know several who did. It was a good time, at least from my perspective and memory of my younger years.

People are saying they will remember where they were when they heard the news. I'm not so sure...maybe I will too, but my memory is not what it used to be. So for the electronic record, I was in an executive committee meeting at work. One of the members pulled out his phone as he received a text message, and out loud he read that "Michael Jackson just died from cardiac arrest." There were some "Really?" comments, a few seconds of silence. Then it was back to work, though I got the feeling that those of us who grew up with his music were a little distracted after that. People - including myself - started going online with their phones while somewhat listening to the conversation to see the news for themselves. I was one of them, and it took me about five different sites before I finally got one to load and see the new for myself.

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