It was in listening to his music that it hit me. He was gone. But he left an incredible wave of music in his wake.
Like Elvis and The Beatles, he had a huge impact on the music industry, adding volumes of different songs to the playlists over his many decades as a musician.
My strongest memories are how his music videos, like "Thriller" ushered in a whole new realm of appreciation for music in the shiny new MTV world of the 80's. I remember sitting captivated and watching the mini-movie video for Thriller and, with the rest of the world, marveling at the story being told within that 13 or 14 minutes of short film.
And yes, I know, there are all kinds of stories about his personal life. But right now, I'm more interested in the music. Yes, there is no disputing the fact that Michael Jackson was a complex man -- but sometimes, the message of his music was simple and powerful.
"I'm starting with the man in the mirror.The King of Pop is dead. Long live the King.
I'm asking him to change his ways.
And no message could have been any clearer.
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and make a change."
- "Man in the Mirror" - 1988