By Wayne Harada
Shock. Disbelief. Totally unexpected.
Michael Jackson’s death will be logged in all our minds like the earlier passing of iconic show biz types — Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, on a national scale; Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and Genoa Keawe, on a local note — with stunning surprise.
You’ll never forget how you heard about it, what you were doing when the news hit. Yep, just like the John F. Kennedy assassination.
Some figures are larger than life, so their deaths take on a magnitude and life of its own.
Cable TV and Internet sources play a huge role in disseminating and dissecting the news. You cherish and reminisce what you adored about the icon, you shelve and discard all the negatives.
That the world is mourning and sharing remembrances about Michael Jackson tells you: His star has been one of the brightest in the galaxy.
Ten reasons why we salute and miss the King of Pop:
• “Thriller:” The killer of all MTV videos. ‘Nuff said. Defined and ignited the music biz like never before.
• The single glove: Who’d have thought of creating a fashion trend with half a pair of anything?
• “We Are the World:” At a time the world needed, he contributed (collaborating with Lionel Richie) a song of humanity and hope, and didn’t we all sing it in praise of USA (United Support of Artists) for Africa?
• Peter Pan syndrome: He called his now tarnished wonderland Neverland, a place where you never grow old — a dream we’ve all thought about.
• Moonwalk: He may not have invented it, but he mastered the maneuver of the glide.
• His body of work: Perhaps prophetically, most of Jackson’s album titles — from 1972 to 2001 — sum up his culture and his career: “Got To Be There,” “Music and Me,” “Forever, Michael,” “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Dangerous,” “HIStory,” “Invicible.”
• Top seller: “Thriller” was his best-selling album ever, with sales more than 100 million; the death will inflate the whole Jackson catalogue.
• A man of many anthems and styles: Pick any one of his solo and family hits — "Billie Jean," “ABC,” “I’ll Be There,” “Ben,” “Man in the Mirror,” “I Want You Back,” “Got to Be There,” “Rock With You,” you fill in your personal fave — and you’ll sample the spectrum and spectacle of his greatnes.
• Wacko Jacko: He was, um, different. The insecurity, the fame, the abnormal white skin. His normal was not ours, which put him in his a league of his own.
• American idol: Jackson was possibly the biggest American idol who grew up in front of our eyes, not through a reality show, but a child star with the Jackson Five who evolved on TV and matured in concert appearances through his solo career. A reality that was ...unreal.