In the aftermath of Michael Jackson’s death, his music has overwhelmed me. When I first found out, I called a co-worker from Cutting Edge Entertainment, Tony, whom I know as a huge MJ fan. While remembering him, we tried to compile our Top 5 MJ songs. As we started to compose this list, we realized it was almost impossible. As one song was added, two or three more popped into our heads, which had to be on the list. After a half hour conversation, we deemed it impossible to come up with a Top 5 list. Michael had so many number one hits, thirteen to be exact, which makes it extremely difficult to condense the greatest ones into such a small list. As a DJ, I could spin ‘Thriller’ or ‘Off the Wall’ and the dance floor would be packed for every note. This is how Michael should be remembered, by his music and the way that he impacted the music industry. His music videos are unforgettable, and his dance performances on stage was unlike any other performer’s. How could we forget the red leather jacket in the Thriller video, or the moonwalk; these moments were Jackson’s gifts to us.
This past weekend at Columbia Station in Phoenixville, I had my first opportunity to pay tribute to Michael. We saved our MJ set for the middle of the night, when the dance floor was packed with all the guests. Putting aside all of the jokes made by our team throughout the day, we shared a moment of disbelief; the voice that we heard was now gone , making the music all the more powerful and inviting us to listen to its real meaning. During our set, I thought of an interesting question. Was Michael’s voice lost in his death, or was it lost before he was taken from us? I’ll explain…
Michael’s life was surrounded by controversy. When I think of Michael Jackson I see the entertainer, the man who changed the music video forever, the amazing dancer, the incredible songwriter, the isolated soul… not the other things. However, I cannot speak for the rest of the world, who unfortunately remember him for the negativity that became his legacy, though never proven. For those that see the stories as the truth, his voice was lost many years ago. Looking back on his life, I am amazed at how the ‘King of Pop’ became this anomaly that cannot be explained. The greatest entertainer in history was left behind, as a new man was born, one who was completely different from the man he was in his previous life.
I do not let his two lives clash when I think of Michael because it just wouldn’t be fair. There have been many celebrities that have had their legacies tarnished by personal problems; their contributions and accomplishments become less important because of the blemish they create for themselves. In Jackson’s case, nothing he did could tarnish my appreciation for the artist that he was. I am not deeming Michael an innocent, but instead a sad and tormented soul, searching for the childhood he never was allowed to live. That much I know to be the truth. I am just offering my take on his life, as well as suggesting that people judge too freely, and far too harshly.
Michael Jackson’s voice was long gone before his death, and when thinking about him, or making any judgments about his legacy, take that into consideration.