I wish I knew Farrah a little better. Her red one-piece, her lovely locks and her gorgeous smile made her an icon of Americana. I have a great deal of respect for her talents and her bravery. Hollywood is a little dimmer today after her loss. Still, she was a little off my radar screen, but the sudden death of Michael Jackson was not.
Being a product of the 80s, Michael Jackson was a significant part of my childhood. Harris and I loved him. And I’m pretty sure I actually participated in Derby Day they year my sorority had Michael Jackson as the theme (our dance won that year, by the way, and it was freaking awesome.)
Before the scandals, before the trials, before he had kids of his own, Michael Jackson was a true performer, with songwriting, singing and dancing chops like no other. And amidst all the shakiness that surrounded his sensational image, many forget all he did for the world. He broke barriers and built bridges, and wasn’t just King of Pop in the 80s – he was pop in the 80s.
I can’t say anything in this blog that hasn’t already been said and written better than I could ever hope, but I would like to make a little tribute of my own. Readers, you know I love a list, so what better way for me to honor the Gloved One than with a list of my favorites of his works, in no particular order.
Thriller - I accidentally left this one off in my original draft, and I assure you it was only due to my grief. Who would make a video last 13 minutes? Michael freaking Jackson, that's who.
Smooth Criminal – One of many songs ruined by re-makes. Don’t even try, wannabe pop stars out there. He’s not the King for nothin.’
Remember the Time – Not only a great song, this was such a cool video. Michael Jackson, Shaq and Eddie Murphy together? Poetry, my friends.
Human Nature – This song is totally different from the others on my list but I love it anyway. Why? Why?
Bad – Stupid Weird Al had to go and take a perfectly awesome MJ song and make a mockery of it. Who even likes him?
I’ll Be There – Though technically not a Michael Jackson song, but a Jackson 5 song, he’s still in the group, and this is my list, so it counts. I only wish Mariah Carey hadn’t ruined it. PS – there’s a grammatical error in this song…do you know where it is?
Black or White – I remember when this video made its debut on primetime TV. Now, how can you deny a musician’s power and influence when he can introduce his latest music video at the same time America was watching the news?
The Way You Make Me Feel – I love the swingy nature of this song, and I always wanted him and the girl in the video to really date.
Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough – MJ disco-style. Keep on with the force don't stop indeed.
Billie Jean – She’s not my lover, people. She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one. Take MJ’s advice: remember to always think twice. And when you walk around, pretend like your footsteps light up the squares on the sidewalk.
I Want You Back – How fun is this song? I wasn’t really around when the J5 were in their prime, but I still thought it was a little weird that an 11-year-old was singing about the one that got away.
Beat It – No one did videos better than Michael Jackson, and though most people think “Thriller” when they think of his videos, “Beat It” is by far my favorite. I once even heard that he was so intent on the authenticity of the video that he hired real gang members for the extras.
One of the CNN.com guys described MJ the best I’ve heard so far. I won’t even try to top it.
“He was lauded and ridiculed. He broke down barriers and built them around himself. He soared to heights unimaginable with his music, and he made the ignominous front page of gutter tabloids worldwide.
For Michael Jackson, the spotlight was always present, and the rest of the world followed."