Thursday, June 25, 2009
R.I.P. Farrah and Michael
I was preparing to write a Farrah Fawcett post tonight. I planned on watching the 20/2o special and then providing a final thought on the life of a person who defined a generation.
All of those plans came crashing down when this afternoon the Michael Jackson news broke. Like any good journalist I completely switched gears and scrambled to not only get a story up on the web (BTW I had the story on WZZM BEFORE many of the networks had it on their sites) and write a breaking news story for the 5:30 show. Before the 6 o'clock aired Michael Jackson had been pronounced dead.
I'll be brutally honest... I have never been a fan of Michael Jackson the person. His eccentricities weren't for me. But his music...now that was something I was a fan of. To me music has no color, no gender, no bias. It transcends politics, economics, and religion. Michael Jackson proved that at a time when racial tension still dominated popular culture.
My earliest Michael Jackson memory wasn't of the man, but of his music. When I was in kindergarten the Ludington High School showchoir sang "Heal the World". They needed kids to do the background vocals and fill the stage. I tried out and was given one of the parts. I'll never forget being up on the stage in that auditorium in front of hundreds of people for the very first time.
"Heal the world. Make it a better place. For you and for me and the entire human race."
I wasn't around for Charlie's Angels. Farrah Fawcett never inspired my hair style, her poster never adorned my wall. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. He is the reason that I went to every showchoir concert possible until I was in high school and finally able to try out for the group myself. He is one of the reasons that I stood on stage in front of hundreds belting out solo after solo. I wanted music to touch the lives of others as his music had touched mine. My theory is that if just one person is impacted by music in a positive way than it's worth it. Michael Jackson's music touched millions of people in that way.
That is why I'm forgetting about Michael Jackson the man. Unlike the specials on NBC and ABC I won't dwell on his court cases, his hotel/baby incident, or his plastic surgery nightmare. I'm going to remember Michael Jackson's music. Thriller, Bad, and the rest of the albums that transformed popular culture will continue to live on long after he is laid to rest. It will be another perfect example of how music never dies.