Friday, June 26, 2009

I'll miss ya, Michael Jackson


I have to say, it really shocked me how saddened I was by the passing of Mr. Jackson yesterday. Honestly, I haven't even thought of him or his music for years unless a song randomly showed up on the radio. But watching the news coverage brought back a storm of memories and nostalgia.

I'm a child of the eighties. To my younger readers, that probably makes me sound as old as their Great Grandpa Whitaker runnin' around in his long johns scratchin' himself. But it wasn't THAT long ago if ya think about it.

Anyway, Michael Jackson is my generation's Elvis Presley. (Kids, go google that name. He lived before Zac Efron but after Abraham Lincoln.) Jackson is an icon. His music defined my childhood in many ways. He changed the industry. And to this day I love every single song on the Thriller album.

Do you realize that thing sold 48 MILLION copies? Do you have any idea how staggering that is? In today's world, if an artist sells ONE million they are considered a big success, and if they sell ten million they are an absolute super star. Twenty million would put you in the stratosphere.

Mr. Jackson sold 48 million. Of one album. Wow.

Well, I just wanted to pay a small tribute to him. I loved his music as a kid, and I've loved hearing so much of it the last couple of days as everyone is talking about him and paying respects. Also, the music video world changed forever with THRILLER. Watching that thing was an event for us, let me tell you.

And, ya know, we can all learn a valuable lesson from his later life. None of us will ever know if he did some of the things he was accused of. Maybe he deserves the benefit of the doubt. And yes, he was very eccentric. But the world branded him as a freak and made fun of him. Brutally and cruelly. Imagine if he'd been your son, or your brother, or your father. Shame on you, world. Shame on me.

The world also lost Farrah Fawcett yesterday (another major eighties icon). My wife taught me another valuable lesson. I said something about how unfair it was that Fawcett didn't get any real media tribute because it was the same day as Michael Jackson. My wife responded, "Well, most of us don't."

True that.

18 comments:

LiteraTeens (Jenny) said...

oh boy--when the music king of my generation dies, I can only ask: am I *really* that old?

Kimberly said...

True indeed. A great tribute to a great talent, James. Well said.

Summersfam said...

So true. We build 'em up just so they have farther to fall when we tear 'em down. Makes me stop and think about how I contribute to that culture so that I can stop. Shame on all of us is right.

L.T. Elliot said...

This is a very kind tribute, James. I'm very proud of you for writing it.
(And I had to laugh at Old Man Whitaker.)

J.N. Future Author said...

I didn't realize he was that big...now I kind of miss him. i didn't really know anything about him before

Melony said...

James, as always you know how to put great words to a subject. MJ had an impact on most people. Chances are if you are over 21 or so, you have memories that include an MJ song. Well written.

Piglet de' Erin said...

James Dashner- you just became that much cooler! I LOVE Michael, and I was so sad to hear he passed away.

You Rock...thanks for the tribute.

Karen Pellett said...

I think your wife's comment was brilliant. You married one profound woman. Good job!

I understand about the feeling old. I like Michael's music, but haven't heard any in sometime. I listened to a musical tribute that the cast of HAIR did for him on Good Morning America and said there and bawled as they sang "I'll Be There."

Heather B. Moore said...

Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.

Rachel said...

I didn't even grow up in the 80's, but I still find it sad that he is dead. When I found out at camp yesterday, everyone was laughing, but I couldn't help but feel embarrassed for everyone. He *was* amazing!

James Dashner said...

Wow guys, thanks for all the nice comments!

Diva Donna said...

I'm still processing how I feel about MJ's death. He was unique and a music icon and I definitely have fantastic memories of dancing to his songs and having fun with them. The jokes and ridicule around lately in reaction to his death is indeed shameful. Well said.

Shell said...

I played the Thriller, Beat It and Billie Jean videos for my boys Friday when I told them Michael Jackson had died. I could still sing along with every word. My ten-year-old knows every word to Viva la Vida, and will probably know them when he's a great-grandpa running around in his long johns, but I don't think it's quite the same. I can't imagine another album like Thriller, and I can't imagine another performer like Michael Jackson.

numberonedashnerfan said...

Ya lol they had an anouncement of that at lagoon it was intreasting....I think Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley were tottally rad lol.....my friend and i would watch thriller on her ipod all the time when we were camping or having a sleepover....I went 2 build a bear and got 6 new bears a shirt and beach towel all for 41.33 last week btw which takes lots of skill....Billy May died 2 it makes me sad......tiki tiki

Luisa Perkins said...

True that, indeed!

...MY NAME IS ELENI AND I AM A BOOKAHOLIC... said...

I miss Michael :( I've been playing his music non-stop...

Rachelle said...

Great thoughts, thanks for sharing. I was sad, too. I owned a pair of red gloves with the fingertips cut off--Jackson style. It's crazy the things you remember. His music was amazing.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Nice tribute, James. You said everything I've been feeling since hearing about his death. He was definitely one of a kind.