I can’t say the death of Michael Jackson affected me as much as it did my peers. I didn’t know him like they did. But I was touched when my friend A.L. wrote this tribute:
Michael Jackson is dead – I read it, I write it, and still it’s hard to believe. I am really, genuinely sad, as if I have known him, as if a friend just passed. But …you know… he WAS my friend. I grew up with him. He taught me in lyrics, compositions, dances. He comforted me through heartbreaks, and family fights and all kinds of other worries. He accompanied me – as so many others all over the world – through major stages of my life. And that is why so many, many people all over the world feel the way I do now- and can’t fathom that he is gone. Still, this is also a very personal sadness, and it is real.
I remember dragging my mom to a music store to buy my first own audio cassette tape. It was in 1987, I was 7 and it was Michael Jackson that we went to buy. From that day on, I sucked everything in related to MJ. When I was 8, my stepfather bought me my first “Bravo” (for non-Germans), a teen mag, with articles, pictures, and sex education – wayyyy to early for me. But there was a poster of him in it which marked the initial stage of the transformation of my wall paper – MJ all over with a not single white spot on the wall left or teddy bear uncovered – and it stayed that way for years. A year later, I was given his autobiography and pretty much memorized it by heart (I probably can still name all the 9 Jackson kids).
Moonwalker. I was taken to the movies for that grand event (I love my parents!) For years it was my favorite movie. ( Today, I am willing to admit, it wasn’t one of his artistic masterpieces). Off the Wall was my first record ever-a gift of my stepfather to show me that MJ “was black at one time.” I could sing his songs before I even knew English. Everybody wanted to dance like him, myself included. The origin of my love, my appreciation for dance came from MJ. My mom used that MJ mania skilfully to teach me order and discipline. Once as I complained about cleaning up after myself again, she took the first thing coming into her hands and threw it out of the window, my copy of “Bad” out on the streets! This trauma shaped me and my sense of order deeply…
In 1992, Michael came to Germany on his Dangerous World Tour but I got sick, so my Mom didn’t let me go. Oh how mad and sad I was! It took me a few more years til I finally could experience him live – all day, outside on a Formula 1 Racing field in Hockenheim, Germany, with 100,000 other people – probably my own lil Woodstock! Even though it was already past his peak -in 1997 (?), it was the grandest show I have ever seen. Ever!
To me he was and is the World’s Greatest, incomparable to anything or anyone else, only beaten by his own standards and success. His later musical creations have been broadly discussed and severely criticized, but still his productions and performances over the decades were consistently top quality and top entertainment. He picked up trends and streams and converted them into his own, making it bigger and better and spreading it all over the world. The only one better than him, was the earlier him. Who was bigger than him? Who is out there now, coming even remotely close to the bar that he raised? The variety of compositions you find on Thriller and Bad are in its true sense “timeless”, you can always detect something new about the pieces, a new note, an instrument you haven’t paid attention to, a little coloration in his voice here and there. I stand up and admit loudly, that I loved Invincible not only due to a current sentiment of nostalgia and grief and despite all the negative reviews and critical voices. And I love “You Rock my World”!
For me, Michael has a place in every situation, in every mood of my life- birthdays, BBQs,heartbreaks, family feuds, road trips, hospitalizations. He cheered me up, comforted me, made me wanna sing, and always dance! I don’t go anywhere without MJ. And if I should ever get married, I’ll make sure he is there.
Even if I might have abandoned the King of Pop for Hip Hop and Soul – he was my first musical love and my only idol. He, his music, taught me in other ways, too. Man in the Mirror seriously shaped my ways of acting, reflecting, seeing things
Like a first love, he always kept and will keep a special place in my heart. And for a little moment… I might just be heartbroken.