Millions of words have already been written and, no doubt, million more will be written about the sudden death of Michael Jackson. He touched so many lives (not always in a good way) and he was simply the most famous person on Earth. He was also a part of my life in many ways.
When I was a teenager I idolized the man, like mostly everyone else did in the 80s. One of my first scrapbooks was all about Michael Jackson! My dream then was to see him in concert and I would have done except for my inability to get good grades in Math (long story...)
When my family finally got satellite TV and I discovered MTV, the very first video I saw was Thriller and I was amazed. It set the bar very high for all other videos and I remember at the time being very disappointed that other videos weren't 15 minutes long and had movie-style credits at the end. And the dancing: WOW. I loved the whole thing and of course bought the Thriller album, like millions of people did.
His connections to Disney are well documented and of course his most famous was the Captain EO 3D video that played for a long time in Epcot. It was some amazing piece of film - directed by Coppola, written by George Lucas and starring music by Michael Jackson himself. How cool is that? I know that a lot of people didn't quite rate the video but I loved it. I also remember watching the "making of" show on the Disney Channel more than once.
I could identify with his Disney obsession, after all, if I had the money I probably would also try to build Disneyland in my back garden! Recently there was that auction that never really happened, of items from MJ's house and within it there were hundreds of items made by Disney especially for him, like a gorgeous Peter Pan installation that was designed especially to fit the space on the inside of the house, with characters flying all around the ceiling - I loved that. I was also so jealous that he owned so many priceless pieces of Disney art!
As I got older I suppose the obsession tapered off to appreciation and while I still loved the music, I didn't quite get the person that he was turning into, with all the weirdness and the court cases. It was the mid 90s and was then when I moved to Florida to work at WDW for a year. I did in fact see Michael Jackson while I was working in Disney, in his disguise as an arab woman and while I wasn't allowed to approach him or even show that I knew who it was, it certainly was an exciting day for me. I was also struck by how small he was in real life. And how big his entourage was.
While living and working at Disney I met a lot of lovely people and among them was this guy who was very cute and also happened to like Michael Jackson. On a trip to the mall he bought the History album (2 disc set) and as he didn't have a CD player, I suggested he come round to mine so that we could listen to the album. It turned out to be a memorable evening, where we heard the whole thing twice (remember, 2 disc set!) and talked about everything and anything. That night things changed and we went from friends to a couple... all because of a Michael Jackson CD.
We got on so well that we eventually got married and I moved to the UK to be with him! One of the first things that we did when we moved to the UK was to go to Wembley and see Michael Jackson in concert - finally! It was an amazing show and I am almost embarrassed to admit that I too cried when he came out, just like you always see his fans do on every concert... it was very emotional and the show blew me over.
So Michael Jackson has always been there, sort of moving my life along. Every year we celebrate our 'anniversary' on the 25th June - the date that we got together to listen to History. We celebrate by listening to the album again and chatting like we did then... and we were doing just that last night... and then woke up to the sad news that the dude is gone.
So lots and lots of words will be written, some good, some bad but there is no doubt that Michael Jackson was a talented artist and perhaps a little bit weird; he was the most famous person in the world and also the most famous Disney fan of all; he was Captain EO and the father of 3 children. He was weird and wonderful and, like it was said of Walt Disney when he died, we shall never see his like again.
RIP Michael and thank you for the music.