I was born in 1983, at the height of the Thriller era, almost 26 years ago.
You can play that record today and it will be as relevant as it was back then.
Michael Jackson, however, was more than just a song. More than just an album. He was a movement.
He was known to be an extremely shy person and yet, through the music he put out, he let his voice and dancing shine through and he got other shy people like him to do it, too. Perhaps it was why he was so influential to so many artists.
He was not overly political apart from maybe this or this, but his music got people who would normally be apathetic to take action.
Michael's professionalism as a musician, performer, and entertainer not only made people want to work for him, but made those around him better. Better dancers, better collaborators, better producers, and better entertainers. Michael was a better artist and performer because of it.
Above all of that though, the music that has come out of four decades as a performer has brought people of all cultures, all creeds, and fans of all musical genres together.
I remember when HIStory came out and "Scream" was all the rage. I was at a summer day camp in the suburbs at the time and met this huge MJ fan who was my age. He was a white Jewish kid and for someone like me who grew up in mostly racially homogenized communities (whether black or white, HA get it?), it was both interesting and wonderful to see that this kid looked past any of his differences and appreciated his music for what it was.
As Videostatic so eloquently put it, Michael was and still is inarguably the greatest music video artist of all time.
They weren't just music videos, they were events. I remember the time (again, HA get it?) I watched his music videos when they premiered on Fox. Even Eddie Murphy got in on that shit.
25 years after the Thriller video came out, after a quarter of a century's worth of technological advancements in how music videos are produced, the Thriller video is still considered to be one of the greatest music videos ever made. It is old, but has not aged.
In this era of music videos, there are very few if any music videos that can hold a candle to it.
So many artists twittered (or is that tweeted) about his death. Rappers, rockers, pop stars, and metalheads alike are saddened and are probably reminiscing back to a day when they saw Michael moonwalk across a stage and decided that that was the day that they wanted to do what he did.