I was going to write about the current situation in Iran, when I was stunned by the shocking news of Michael Jackson’s death.
Anyone born between the years 1970-1990, knew him as the king of pop, and can name and/or sing 5-10 of his songs. I would be bold to say that of these people, before the age of 10 would have told you that he was their favorite singer.
There was no other artist, that is as well known in as many countries as Michael Jackson. Religion, culture, and political beliefs aside, many people all over the world were touched by his music.
Music is one of those things that transcends all these things and can be a universal unifier. Which is why in the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in the remotest village in Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, anywhere you go someone has heard of Michael Jackson and can tell you what their favorite Michael Jackson song is. Yes, even Osama Bin Laden probably has a favorite Michael Jackson tune, and tried to moonwalk when he was a young fanatic. Hell, white Christian fanatics like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh probably have a favorite Michael Jackson song.
He was the first real megastar in music. He was a whole lotta crazy well before Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse. Before boy bands, there was the Jackson 5. You may say Beatles, but the Jackson 5 were younger, the first true boy band. Justin Timberlake wouldn’t have any dance moves or falsetto without Michael. Before U2, Michael Jackson pushed the boundaries of the largest overblown, multimedia, multi-million dollar rock shows. Yes I say rock, because he employed the best backing rock session musicians in his albums and tours.
Before Michael Jackson, Bollywood movies actually had plots, and the only music was the backing soundtrack, and the only dancing was two lovers running through forests and around trees in the beautiful mountains of Kashmir. From the 80’s onwards, choreographed dance sequences are now the central part of the movie, and all copy the moves from Thriller, Beat It, Smooth Criminal, and such.
The list goes on, but he was truly extraordinary, and his departure will be mourned all over the world and in also the least likeliest of places.
P.S. I know mg and jb will crucify me for posting this 😛