I walked into a record store in Chicago this past Thursday, and was surprised at what I found. I did not find the quietly excited atmosphere of music waiting to be heard that I had come to be used to in this establishment, oh, no. I found instead that a depressed gloom had settled in its place. Rather than patrolling the aisles or feeling the music from under big black headphones, each of the two workers sat dejected at the front desk, eyes red and faces damp. All but one set of records display in the window were covered in various posters, different in design and display in color scheme, but all displaying one face, one immortal face, a face that easily represents pop music as a whole, a face that was now being mourned by the workers in the record store, and, indeed, the world; the face of Michael Jackson.
On August 29, 1958, Michael Joseph Jackson was born to parents Katherine and Joe Jackson. His professional life in music began at age five, when he joined the family band, The Jackson Five, consisting of himself and his four brothers. By the time Jackson was ten, The Jackson Five had been signed to Motown and by 1970 four of their songs had hit number one in the charts. Out of the public eye, however, Jackson was rumored to have had a fairly unhappy childhood, sheltered and regimented by his strict father.
Despite his childhood, however, his career after The Jackson Five boomed. He produced hit after top ten hit, including a duet with Paul McCartney, of Beatles fame. In addition to simple musical success he forced people to completely rethink music videos, aided with hit visual/audio extravaganzas "Billie Jean" and "Beat It", and even more so his "Thriller" video, which has routinely been voted best music video of all time. During his solo career Jackson achieved thirteen number one singles, thirteen Grammy awards, and his album Thriller was the best sold album of all time, selling 109 million copies and trumping such artists as The Beatles, the Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears.
Through the '90s and onward Jackson struggled with some personal issues and due to the nature of these problems was questioned publicly and shown photographed in tabloids in some compromising situations. Despite of this, his fans stayed loyal, and so Jackson kept on with his career. He released Thriller 25, which included remixes, new songs, and a DVD revolving around his top selling album, Thriller. He had also been scheduled to perform 50 concerts in London throughout 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately he never got to perform these last concerts. He was pronounced dead Tuesday after the paramedics found him not breathing at his home in California.
The point of this article is not to mourn the death of the king of pop. No, the point I intend to make is how his revolutionary music changed our world. Without him artists would not have been discovered, songs would not have been written, awards would not have been won. Without him the music industry would not be what it is today.
Author's Note: Sources: