I was never one of those rabid Michael Jackson fan who owned everything he ever did or every piece of merchandise ever produced. I didn't support him as his career plummeted and the scandals flew. I fully believed that at 50, he didn't have a come-back in him and he was done. I also fully believed that the guy seriously needed to see a shrink because he had a LOT of problems, whether or not he did all those things people alleged.
What I do remember about MJ is that I loved the Thriller album. On my 8th or 9th birthday I had a party at my house. I think maybe 6 girls attended. My friend Kristy Cordeau, whom I'd known all my life, gave me the record (yes, record) for a present. I have a sneaky suspicion she bought it at JJ Newbury's, a long-since defunct store that carried a little bit of everything, and even had a lunch counter held over from the 1940's.
I played that record into the ground. This was before my 10th birthday when I received a tape player, so at the time my records consisted mainly of this, an ABBA record stolen from my mom, and the Return of the Jedi spoken soundtrack (I can still do that movie word for word). We didn't have MTV, so I didn't know all the dance moves; it didn't matter. I danced to it anyway. I loved it. It was the soundtrack of everyone in my elementary school. Every recess you'd see half the school moonwalking across the playground.
That poor guy had a tortured, spoiled, unrealistic life. However, the world has lost a great talent who positively touched the lives of so many people on this planet. For a time, he was the great unifying force everyone could get behind when no one could agree on anything.
I hope he has found the peace and relief he was so desperately looking for all his adult life.
Safe journey to you, Michael Jackson.