I am saddened by the death of Michael Jackson. He is my favorite singer because of his ability to touch people emotionally with his music. I have vivid memories of listening to Jackson 5 records growing up. I loved the singles "I Want You Back" and "The Love You Save." I remember watching the Jackson 5 cartoons on Saturday morning. I still own the record of his first solo hit single, "Ben." Those early hit songs communicated an innocence that I found appealing as a youngster in the early seventies.
Michael came out with great dance songs in the latter part of the '70s. Some of my favorites from that time period are "Off The Wall," "Don't Stop Until You Get Enough," and "Rock With You." Those songs are constant reminders to me to enjoy life to the fullest.
Michael had his greatest success as a solo artist in the '80s. His classic album Thriller was released on my birthday in December 1982. Hit songs like "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "PYT" are classic songs that I love to this very day. Those songs also touched me. They taught me to approach life with a sense of confidence.
Michael released the album Dangerous in 1991. One song in particular stood out for me on that album. "Black Or White" is a song that touched me. The message of that song is to embrace people of different ethnic backgrounds.
In 1983, he introduced the moonwalk on the American Music Awards. I was amazed at the way he danced backward. I thought it was the epitome of cool. Also in the same year, the video for "Thriller" debuted on MTV. Prior to "Thriller," MTV only showed music videos by white artists. "Thriller" was a fifteen minute mini-movie. It included the song and some of the best moves I have ever seen in a music video. Michael broke the color barrier for black artists. Many black artists followed his example after that. He was a pioneer in the music video world.
He was an artist who would never shy away from expressing how he felt in his music. His song "Scream" is a duet with his sister Janet. It is about his frustrations with the lies the press created about stories from his personal life. The song "Childhood" is about Michael's lost childhood and the loneliness he felt because of that loss.
Michael Jackson wrote the song "We Are The World" in 1985. That song was designed to raise money and give food supplies and medical care to the needy people of Africa. This one song brought the greatest names in pop music together for a single cause. That song is still very moving to me. It is one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs.
My one regret is that I never got a chance to see him live in concert. He came to Hawaii once twelve years ago. I did not have the money to see him, but a few of my friends did. They said it was one of the best concerts they ever attended. I did see his sister Janet in concert twice. I also thought that he would come back to Hawaii for another concert, but it will never happen now. Michael Jackson is gone, but his music will live on in my heart and mind forever.