When I first heard the reports of Michael Jackson being rushed to the hospital, I thought, “Here’s another crazy publicity stunt.” Like the boy who cried wolf, Michael Jackson always had a way of getting our attention, usually in sensational ways.
Of course, this time it was different.
When news of his death became official, I felt genuine remorse. I guess that is because part of my childhood died. As a kid I was a huge fan. Thriller was my first “real” record that I bought myself.
I didn’t stay a mega fan for long, in fact Weird Al soon replaced Michael as my favorite singer (thanks to “Eat it” and “Fat” ). But I’m still a huge music lover (as seen in my Pearl Jam posts) and I think I owe part of this to Michael Jackson’s influence on me as a youngster.
The morning after his death I was listening to NPR’s marketplace and they had a story about how he was deeply in debt. Actually they said he was $400 million in debt. Hearing this made the remorse return.
Although this time it was more like pity.
He went from child star to an international icon to a freak show. This all happened so very fast.
But when the allegations of child molestation came up, most of us had had enough. Of course it didn’t help that the allegations came at the same time his physical appearance was transforming before our eyes.
He is a prime example of stardom ruining your life.
Perhaps if his comeback tour would have been successful he could have gotten his life back together. I highly doubt it, but perhaps. An article on Yahoo details where his earnings went, not surprisingly most of it was squandered, so he definitely didn’t have a good history with money. Perhaps his kids will have better luck with his estate than he did.
As I write this, 6 out of the top 10 songs in the itunes store are Michael Jackson songs. I am not surprised by this. Even accounting for the natural posthumous sales bump an artist gets, I think his records will sell like hot cakes for awhile.
Whether it be admiration, the need for nostalgia, or watching a train-wreck, the world loved Michael Jackson.
Which camp do you fall in? I’ll admit that as I got older his music was a guilty pleasure of mine. I didn’t wear rhinestone pants or scream whenever I saw him, but I always thought he was “one of a kind.”
Rest in Peace Michael,
Until next time,
**Update** on 7-01-09 “All Things Considered” ran an interesting story about how much Michael was worth at the time of his death.