Michael Jackson Memories: 28 Years And Counting
Saturday, Michael Jackson will have been dead for two years. Already. The King of Pop succumbed to a drug addiction on June 25, 2009, helped along by a crooked Houston doctor, a team of enablers, and public that had grown largely indifferent to the man (but not his music) by two summers ago. Jackson was only 50 years old, and even thinking of someone of his caliber being "old" was daunting after he passed. He just was, existing outside the realm of age.
All legal problems aside, and there are too many to compartmentalize, sheesh, the man was a legend through and through. The day he died there was such a swell of love and sadness over his death, that in a perfect world it could have all turned some spiritual tide and brought him back. But we live in world where sadly, heroes die, and all we are left with are the memories, that we keep forever.
In the run-up to this anniversary, I started compiling some of my own memories that I have attached to his songs from 28 years of being an MJ fan. Thriller is just a few months older than I am, debuting in November 1982 when I was just a butterball inside my mother's womb.
The day that Jackson died, I was sitting in the exact spot I am as I type this, and the weather was close to the way it is today, although a tad cooler I remember. That day at lunch, my friends and I were discussing the deaths of Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett, wondering who the third celebrity death would be over Cajun food at BB's in Montrose.
Maybe an hour later, I'm on Twitter trolling around for news to use, and TMZ flashes that Jackson has been rushed to the hospital in serious condition. Per my job description, music is always playing in my ears, either from Rdio or YouTube. I load up "Ben" for some reason. I had never owned a copy of the song, but I clicked on a YouTube clips and went into action doing further research.
To this day, it reminds me of taking my headphones off, telling the newsroom "Michael Jackson is dead," and a few people snickering or jumping on their own computers.
So in my experience, a song about a rat soundtracked Jackson's death.
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
About a week after Jackson died, I am pulling up to the office on the Milam side on a Saturday evening, after covering something that afternoon, something sweaty because I remember being barefoot. The Warped Tour?
As I get out, this huge black guy riding the most magnificent, blue-lit touring-style Harley pulls up to the light at Milam and Pease, blaring "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" as loud as his bike's system will allow. I sat there for the duration of the light, and long enough for him to drive off down the road and become silent with the distance.
That was my moment of silence for MJ, I think.