This was originally written one year after Michael Jackson died. This was only 6 months into my blogging career. So, many of you may not have seen this yet. Now, let’s remember “The King of Pop” and ’80s icon, Michael Jackson 5 years after his death.
The assassination of John F. Kennedy. 9/11. The death of Michael Jackson. These are all events that people remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. On this 5 years ago, I got the news that Farrah Fawcett had died. Not too long after that, I got an email alert that Michael Jackson had been hospitalized. Then from work, I went to get my hair cut. While waiting, somebody came in asked if we had heard that Michael Jackson died. Then we were inundated with the news on TV and radio. There were people gathering all over the world to mourn the loss of the pop star. Jackson had 9 of the top 10 (if not the entire top 10) selling albums on iTunes.
It wasn’t too long before his death that Michael Jackson was shunned by most of the entertainment industry. After all, he was looking less and less like a human being, and more like an alien:
In 1993, a 13-year-old boy accused Michael Jackson of sexual molestation. On January 25, 1994, Michael Jackson settled the civil lawsuit paying an undisclosed amount to his accuser. It was believed to be millions of dollars. People didn’t know if Jackson was a child molester, or if somebody was just looking for a big payday.
Then in Germany in 2002, in front of hundreds of fans and photographers, Jackson introduced his son Blanket (Prince Michael II) by dangling the baby out of the 3rd story balcony of the Adlon Hotel.
British journalist Martin Bashir interviewed Michael Jackson over a span of eight months, from May 2002 to January 2003, filiming the documentary Living with Michael Jackson. The documentary aired in 2003, and stirred up major controversy. Jackson revealed to Bashir that not only does he invite disadvantaged children to his Neverland ranch, he lets them stay in his bed while he sleeps on the floor. Bashir questioned Jackson why he invites children into his room. Jackson defended himself stating that such activity is natural when the children are of close friends or family, and that “many children,” including the Culkin family children (including Macaulay and Kieran) have slept in the same bed as him. Jackson strongly denied that there was any sexual motivation for this.
Not surprisingly, in 2005, Michael Jackson went to trial for child molestation. On June 13th Jackson was found not guilty of all charges against him.
After the trial Michael Jackson left the country, and lived in Bahrain.
In March 2009, Jackson held a press conference at London’s O2 arena and announced a series of comeback concerts titled “This Is It.”
Sadly, Jackson died just before the first concert. But in October 2009, the documentary Michael Jackson’s This Is It was released. It showed rehearsals for all of the songs he was to perform, and it showed a little bit of his process in preparing the routines. It became the highest grossing documentary or concert movie of all time, with the earnings of more than $260 million worldwide.
I saw the documentary in the theater, and sadly, this would have been a great concert.
But Michael Jackson’s lifestyle got the best of him. Nobody tried to set him straight, or if they did, he did not listen.
While Michael Jackson is known for his controversies and his music, he was also an incredible philanthropist. The Millennium-Issue of the “Guinness Book Of Records” names Michael as the “Pop Star who supports the most charity organizations”.
Michael Jackson wrote “We Are The World” with Lionel Richie in 1985 and performed it as part of an all-star single to raise money for Africa in 1985.
In 1984, Jackson equiped a 19-bed-unit at Mount Senai New York Medical Center. This center is part of the T.J. Martell-Foundation for leukemia and cancer research.
He donated the proceeds from the sales of The Man In The Mirror to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children who suffer from cancer.
Jackson donated tickets to shows in is 1989 Bad Tour to underprivileged children. The proceeds from one of his shows in Los Angeles were donated to Childhelp USA, the biggest charity-organization against child-abuse. Childhelp of Southern California then established the “Michael Jackson International Institute for Research On Child Abuse”.
In 1992, he established the Heal The World Foundation, whose work has included airlifting 6 tons of supplies to Sarajevo, instituting drug and alcohol abuse education and donating millions of dollars to less fortunate children.
My Top 5 Michael Jackson Songs/Videos
I will end this on what Michael Jackson is and should be known for – his music and groundbreaking videos. Here are my top 5 videos:
5. Black or White
I love the guitar riff in this song. This was also kind of ironic because at the time people were questioning whether Michael knoew if he was Black or White. The end of the video was groundbreaking at the time with the shape-shifting between the people singing:
4. Smooth Criminal
This is a very cool song, and the choreography is great. The end of the video features the Anti-gravity lean.
3. You Are Not Alone
This is my favorite Michael Jackson ballad. It is a nice simple song, and he puts a lot of feeling into it.
2. Beat It
At the time that this came out, I was more into rock than pop. I listened to Van Halen, AC/DC, and Ozzy. But when this song came out, it made Michael Jackson seem cool to me. After all, it can’t be do bad with Eddie Van Halen performing the guitar solo.
But, of course the song got overplayed. Then I preferred Weird Al Yankovic’s parody, “Eat It”. However, I’m digging this song again.
This is often regarded as the best music video of all time. And who could argue? This was a big event for MTV. It was released on December 2, 1983, and it was a “must see” event. It did not disappoint. It was directed by John Landis (The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places), and co-starred Ola Ray.
The choreography with all of the zombies was great. Oh, by the way, the song is pretty good too. How can you go wrong when Vincent Price narrates?
So what are your thoughts? Should Michael Jackson be getting praised and honored as much as he is? Do you have a list of favorite Michael Jackson songs or videos? Any memories you’d like to share? Has anybody seen him in concert?
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