Yahoo! stunned me this morning with the breaking news of Michael Jackson’s death at the age of 50. This was certainly a devastating development for his many fans all over the world.
Flashback. I was a kid and lived in Jamshedpur. Mom had run into serious trouble for losing a key. Months later, when I accidentally rediscovered it, she was ecstatic and promised to reward me with a music cassette. Since my taste was already inching towards the esoteric, a realm mom had no inkling of, she innocently bought an album by Michael Jackson called Thriller. I was less than thrilled and made no bones of my disappointment. I realized a lot later how rude I was to her.
That’s how Michael Jackson joined my tiny assortment of cassettes. It was an embarrassment, a complete misfit. I never added another of his albums. His hoots, shouts and screams never really impressed me. It was largely to his credit that music had become more of a video experience than audio, oddly enough. To me, the flamboyant MJ was a dancer, a performer, an entertainer, a superstar, but certainly not a singer nor a genuine artist. His onstage performances made crowds go wild with hysteria, he had built an empire worth millions and he even managed a cult following rivaling Elvis. His signature costumes gave rise to a whole crop of talentless impersonators. Money made him go wild and he did some pretty silly things.
However, it’s undeniably true that Michael Jackson will go down in history as the King of Pop. That title, in today’s culture, can’t have a more rightful claimant.