I remember the first time I became acquainted with the music of Michael Jackson. I was 11 years old, and at a friend's birthday party. She received the "Thriller" album as a present. She put the album on her record player and we danced around the patio to his music in delight. My love for MJ's music was born. Many years have passed since I first came to know the king of pop's music, and over his career, Michael's music evolved and his looks changed, too.
Yet, no matter what Michael looked like on the outside, he knew how to make great music. No matter what the media said Michael did or didn't do, he knew how to entertain millions. No matter what, Michael will always be a musical idol in my book, and in the books of countless others.
Even today, when I hear a Michael Jackson song, I enjoy the beat of a familiar song or I stop and really listen to the words of one that's not so familiar. I find it hard not to sing along to "Billie Jean" or to enjoy the originality of "Thriller." "Man in the Mirror" is one of my all-time favorites, and "Black or White" and pulsating beat of "Beat It" always make want to get up and dance.
I will always view Michael as a true idol, akin to the likes of Elvis for others. His untimely death saddened me, as well as his quest to morph into a person who was unrecognizable from his photo as a young child in the Jackson 5. I understand that Michael undoubtedly struggled with many emotional and physical issues, but none of it stopped his true gift from shining through to the world -- the gift of his music.