So where to begin? I've been struggling with exactly how to get this ball rollling. I guess since today marks the two year anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson, some words on the self-proclaimed king of pop would seem appropriate. As a child, Michael was my first real musical hero. Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of favorites. Music was a big deal in my household. I've been a huge Pink Floyd fan as long as I can remember and I probably knew every Beatle lyric by the time I was 5... but Michael was really my first contemporary favorite. Never mind the fact that it probably only lasted until Weird Al's second album came out, it opened doors for me that would never close. I clearly recall being 8 years old and asking my mom, "Why do I like Michael Jackson so much?" She answered, "Well, he's a great singer and a great dancer..." I cut her off... "No. Why do I like him soooo much?" I didn't understand it. It was my first emotional connection to music, which I guess is something you can never fully comprehend.
The news of Jackson's death came as a shock, as I'm sure it did to most. I was sitting on my couch in Brooklyn, about to go see Dinosaur Jr. when a friend relayed a text from his girlfriend. Without hesitation, I got up, turned off my ipod, put 'Off The Wall' on the turntable and listened to a masterpiece. I didn't want to hear the details, I didn't want a run-down of his trials and tribulations, I just wanted the music.
Fans seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. Suddenly, most had forgotten the reasons they had turned their back on Michael through the years, but I understood. It was a lot like finding out your favorite teacher from grade school passed away or your best friend when you were ten. The relationship you had is no longer relevant, but the loss is substantial and what they meant to you at one point in time all comes rushing back. On the other end of the spectrum were the non-fans. The ones who never cared. As the media took the story and ran with it, I heard plenty of people saying enough is enough. But it's a hard thing to explain, especially to people a little younger than me. They'll never be able to experience the magic and energy that was Michael Jackson for that moment in time. I mean, if my first exposure to him was after 1985, I wouldn't get it either, but I guess you had to be there.