His appearance on the Motown 25 special is one of a handful of moments I've watched on TV that can truly be called "unforgettable." The opening beat of "Billie Jean" is probably one of the most instantly recognizable notes ever recorded. His influence on pop music is matched by only Elvis, the Beatles and James Brown- and that's some pretty amazing company.
I remember watching little kids moonwalking in the streets of small Turkish villages when I was there in 1994. The only words in English those kids knew were "Michael Jackson," which they said over and over to me once they found out I was an American. When I went to Egypt and Jordan in 1997 it was still the same thing. Even the Bedouins living in Wadi Rum knew and loved his music. One wore a "Thriller" t-shirt.
His bizarre, freak show life eclipsed his enormous talent, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he was a unique, tremendously gifted performer- unequaled on many levels. Words alone can't really do justice to the man's talent, though there's no other performer who has had more words written about him. Mine feel very inadequate as I try to express the magnitude of his talent and how much pleasure it's given me since I was a little kid.
There won't be another like him and his death, like his life, makes no sense to me.
But his music will live on- and I'm glad we have it. The King is dead, so let's dance.