The great lady Elizabeth Taylor gave Michael Jackson his popular nickname King of Pop. By its essence, this would stand for Popular Music. But with the extent of MJ’s influence, this has turned into popularity. And what a King he is, as evidenced by the worldwide depression of all his fans.
Imagine that twelve people were reported to have committed suicide due to his sudden death.
Popularity has always been a double-edged sword because just as it attracts fame and fortune, it also attracts negativity and rumours. MJ over the years has experienced it all, from all the musical accolades to the most pressing scandals.
Of course, his worldwide popularity was aided by his early start in the name of show business. In fact, he was too young. Michael has been acting since the age of five and continued on to the success of the Jackson Five.
He then embarked on a solo career with the 1978 album Off the Wall. This propelled him to new heights when he released the Thriller album in 1982. From then on, he became a household name all over the world. He was in every respect an icon of popular culture.
Here’s an interesting look at his popularity through the eyes of normal people. A disc jockey, who was working in a record bar when Thriller was released, recounted that the types of people Thriller brought in were actually from various niches and groups of people. Punk rockers, old ladies, little kids – the spectrum was really limitless.
MJ also used his popularity to communicate strong messages against poverty, hunger, injustices, and the like. She was one of the most influential people who took a stand, challenging ordinary people to do the same. This is one of her memorable acts for humanity, embodied in the songs Heal the World, We Are the World and Earth Song, among others.
He communicated all his emotions and beliefs through his music. In the end, all the negative rumors and issues thrown at him will be forgotten, but his music will remain in people’s hearts. It was creativity incarnate, truly a bundle of joy that he gave us as kids with the Jackson 5.
In fact, MJ has given us a roller coaster ride of life. It was a mixed and convoluted collage of contributions to popular culture that will be well remembered for a long time.
I guess with the way the world mourned his death, it’s only fair to include MJ in the echelon of names that have truly shaped a century. Elvis, The Beatles: there were really a few and Michael is now one of them.
We may never know what Michael still has up his sleeve for his 50-date comeback concert kicking off in London. We really wouldn’t know. Even if a 2-minute dress rehearsal video of him performing They Don’t Really Care About Us surfaced two days before his death, it wasn’t enough to satiate our need to see him perform again.
But here was someone who saw it up close. Ken Ehrlich, the executive producer of the Grammys, was invited by Jackson to watch the rehearsal the night before MJ died. This was what he had to say:
“Watching him rehearse these signature dance moves that he created, that nobody did before, you could say James Brown, but he created [them], they belong to you. And then you’ve seen 25 years or more, 30 years or more people doing those moves, and remembering that they all came from him. That’s the legacy of him.”
The King of Pop will live in our hearts forever.