Michael Jackson died today. It doesn't even seem real, does it? Not to me, not yet. It's still very much surreal, and until I have a few days to let it sink in, it won't seem real. Regardless of what you think of his personal life and all the drama that went down later in his life, Michael Jackson defined pop music today. He wasn't just the King of Pop, he was the Creator. Without him, there would be no Justin, no Britney, no GaGa, no Beyonce, no Madonna, no Usher... countless others. He defined not only the music video, but the entire genre of a generation. He WAS a genre, unto himself. Such a statement can be made about few others in music. Elvis, the Beatles, Queen, Elton John, maybe. That's about it.
For some reason I have a very separate and distinct memory of going to Wal-Mart as a little kid and buying his album History, which included the following song. I remember waiting in line with my mom, holding the CD in my hand and thinking, "Wow, $20 is a lot for an album." (It was a two-disc set!) My mom helped me pay for it, as I was nine years old at the time. I recall dancing around my room and singing and making up choreography to various songs off the album, but especially Scream, which I was obsessed with. Tonight, The Harlem Singing Man paid me another visit - but, this time, it tugged on my heart strings a little bit more. I'll always love you, MJ.
Until next time.
REMEMBER: BESSIE SMITH
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