The world has certainly seen singers just as good as Michael Jackson, who died on June 25. Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and The Beatles are all just as revered. Jackson’s lyrics are certainly not the most deep or complex among songwriters. His dance was capable of sending a thrill down the spine of millions of people, but there are other performers who are just as good. Jackson’s singing voice while instantly recognizable and versatile was certainly good, but was it the best in the history of pop music? Certainly not. So what is that which makes Jackson’s place unique in the annals of pop? What was it in Jackson that his death that triggered a worldwide outpouring of grief? What is it that makes Jackson the most consummate performer of all time, someone who has sold 750 millions records across the world?
Jackson was born in Indiana in the US in 1958. He was just 50 when he died. His body had been constantly abused by drugs and quirky dietary habits. Years ago, Jackson’s quest to have a dancer’s body had left him anorexic. He also suffered from a disease which turned his skin pale, often requiring him in later years to wear an umbrella to sheild it from the sun. From morphine to valium, Jackson is reported to have been addicted to a host of drugs. Though the exact cause of his death is uncertain, the abuse his body took certainly brought a quicker end to his life.
As the lead singer of Jackson 5, the youngest in the group consisting of Michael and his brothers, Jackson shot into fame at a tender of age of 10. He was precocious and extraordinarily gifted. In videos shot of the group performing, it is impossible to take your eyes off Michael. His high-pitched voice, which would mature but remain quite shrill over the years, was nevertheless versatile and sweet. In 1971, Jackson went solo with the album Ben. But it was Thriller released in 1982 that made Jackson an universally recognized artist. Continue reading