Last night as we walked around New York, it seemed like every single car had a Michael Jackson song playing, every radio station was running a tribute and everyone on the street was telling a story about whatever moment they remembered from 20 years ago when Michael did something they’d never forget. Even this one kind of crazy looking dude who walked up to us and asked, “Is it true? Is he dead?” and when we answered he just gasped and said “No, it can’t be true” didn’t seem all that crazy in his response. On the radio this morning, NPR played clips of people’s reactions in Africa, Europe, Asia and America and everyone said the same thing: It can’t be true. No one seemed particularly sad, just maybe a little shocked that he was human.
We were looking through our back issues trying to decide if there was even one cover artist who wasn’t influenced or affected by Jackson to some degree, and our answer was, No, there wasn’t, which was obvious but still mindblowing to think about. We may not ever see someone like him again. So we picked a couple YouTubes of moments we remember vividly and one interview we’ve never seen before that reveal a lot about how special he was and how tough that must have been. Something to consider when you look back at his life.
James Brown, Prince and Michael Jackson onstage together in 1986
1993 Oprah interview, beatbox 1m mark:
Making of “Beat It” video interview