A Tribute to Michael Jackson

There was a heated discussion today at lunch regarding Michael Jackson. The question on the table was whether you grew up listening to Michael. Almost everyone in the room was around my age, and so, naturally, in my mind, they all should have grown up listening to Michael (and they all did except for one guy, which shocked us all). Sure, I don’t exactly remember when Off the Wall or Thriller came out because of my young age at the time, but I do remember listening to the music when I was young. And as I grew older, I went back and became familiar with his music. I remember my mom telling me how she watched the 1983 Motown 25th Anniversary Special where Michael Jackson performed with his brothers as the Jackson 5 and then performed ‘Billie Jean’ live on stage. Thriller was still a new album at the time and his performance seen across the country that night helped boost the album to become the best selling album of all time. He also performed the Moonwalk on stage for the first time in that performance and changed his image forever. The passion and emotion he showed that night instantly catapulted him to another level. Young, old, black, white, it didn’t matter, everyone was listening to Michael after that.

When Bad came out, I was old enough to follow music on my own. I remember watching the video for ‘Smooth Criminal’ over and over and trying to mimic his dance moves. There was no doubt that at this point he was the King of Pop. He had transformed the music industry and revolutionized music videos and live performances. Later in my life I caught Michael Jackson performing live at the 1995 VMA Awards and remember thinking he was the best dancer in the world. Despite what he became and the problems he had in life, he will always be remembered for what he did. For me, the Michael Jackson prior to the Dangerous album is the King of Pop. He is an American icon and no one will ever come close again to achieving what he did. He is the one and only. On this day that the world pays tribute to MJ, I wish to add my own tribute to him as a great artist and part of my childhood. Thank you for the great music and memories.

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