To truly fathom the loss of today, you have to be one of three things:
40 years or older.
A dancer or aspire to be one
A singer/songwriter or aspire to be one
Michael Jackson wasn't "another" cross over, hip hop, R&B, Pop, or bubble gum artist......he was all of that, yet he was none of it. He was the originator of most of it.
Michael along with his brothers virtually invented "bubble gum" pop. With all other acts to follow, from New Edition to NSync, they were ALL fashioned after the Jackson 5.
Michael broke the mold for "Black" entertainers. Entertainers whose music had to be marred in the sound of the Temptations and Smokey Robinson, or they had to be HUGE like the production of Kool & The Gang or the Commodores. Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, even Marvin Gay as great as they were and are could never grab the audience as Michael did because he made it OK for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians to all feel good about listening to the same music.
Michael took the sage advise of his mentor Quincy Jones, and grabbed onto the world of theater, dance, and held the hand of video as they walked together into MTV's infancy, and pushed it beyond the walls of metal and punk video. Before Michael Jackson there were no "Black" videos on MTV, there was no BET, or VH1. Michael forced MTV to change their perception of what music video was. He led the way for other artist and the need for video outside of MTV. Hip Hop, Popping, Locking, break dancing, were all thrust into the spotlight because Michael included them in his videos, and his stage shows.
Michael Jackson and his music brought my generation into and out of our adolescent years. His music wasn't "Black" and it wasn't "White", it was plaid, full of color and life. Those of us who grew up in the military, traveling all over the world his music was everywhere. It was a common bond we all shared and related to, and as such we didn't feel as alone. At the same time many of us lived in larger cities, myself in San Diego again due to being a military bratt. But ANYONE who lived in a larger city anywhere felt the same thing. People from all areas were able to come together for no other reason than the Music and dancing of Michael Jackson. Michael made it OK for kids, teenagers, tweeners, and even young adults to like one another regardless of your color or where you were from. We emulated his clothes, his dance moves and our parents didn't have a problem with it either, because they liked it too.
As an artist grows so does their music, and Michael was no different. He left behind the American idea of what "Pop" music was and made sure he included the world in his music. His music and remixes of it play right now in every club you go to.
Once in a generation a figure comes along that holds that kind of spell over an audience....Hank Williams, Sr., Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra. They grew beyond entertainment, and created culture around themselves. Michael Jackson was one of these, ICON does not begin to describe his impact.
This isn't about the eccentricity or the tragedy his life spiraled into. This is about remembering a great entertainer, artist, and a man who brought so many people in the world together through his music.
I saw my mother crying on the day Elvis died, and was perplexed to the reason.
I don't have that problem anymore, I understand today.....
Rest In Peace.