Michael Jackson: 1958 -2009
I was quite happily minding my own business last night, I was watching Sky Sports News getting the latest on what the British and Irish Lions were doing and how they were going to avenge their defeat to South Africa last weekend in the first of three tests.
Then I get a text, "Mate, turn on Sky News." and almost simultaneously my friend sends me a link to the Sky News website on MSN. Neither people are aspiring journalists so I thought it must be quite important.
It was, Michael Jackson, the self proclaimed 'King of Pop' had died. However, at the time of switching on Sky, the reports were unconfirmed. The Telegraph details how the story broke and when his death was announced officially. The Mirror provides an easy to read timeline of events.
I sat up, for about three hours, watching the coverage on Sky News. Uri Gellar gave this interview after he cut off an earlier phone call because he felt he needed to get in touch with Jackson's family. The site is awash with articles, pictures and videoes on what has become a memorable day.
Predicatbly, we woke to the site of newstands being dominated by Michael Jackson. Of course the details are definate. Michael Jackson died after going into cardiac arrest. But editors still had the job of making their coverage stand out.
The Sun has a page full of celebrity tributes. Including, Gordon Brown, Stephen Fry and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but to name a few.
Michael Jackson had money problems, that was no secret. He had debts of around $400 million. The Telegraph has a page dedictaed to 'conspiracy theories and unanswered questions' surrounding the music megastar's life and death.
Oliver Burkeman and Esther Addley in the Guardian took an extensive look at his life. From child star to King of Pop and how dealing with fame from an early age affected his life.
"If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same", he once said, "then everything that happens in between can be dealt with." - The Guardian.
My go-to paper, the Times dedicated 7 pages to the tragedy. Talking about a variety of subjects, they assess the cost to the O2 Arena now they are facing 50 empty nights. A popular story is the affect on the internet (mainly twitter) with the dramatic increase in traffic and the largest number 'tweets' per second since the election of Barack Obama. They also, like most other newspapers have an obiturary on their site. However the piece that caught my attention this morning was a commentary by Ben Macintyre. He speaks about the famous names that died young and compares those sudden and iconic deaths with Jackson's very public deterioration and somewhat, plain, end.
"So much in Jackson’s life was lurid, embarrassing, and strange. Yet his death was none of these. A brilliant artist passed in a way that was, by contrast with his prematurely dead peers in the pop trade, almost mundane, an ordinary death from a common disease. Perhaps, in a way, that was Jackson’s vindication." - Ben Macintyre
Radio stations up and down the country are dedicating song after song to Michael Jackson. Almost everybody could probably find a Michael Jackson song in their music collection. The first ever single I bought was Earth Song. With album sales going through the roof, 'Thriller' remains the biggest selling album of all time, topping 100 million copies sold. His following album, 'Bad', was considered to be somewhat of a failure after only selling 30 million.
Court cases, plastic surgery and dangling babies aside. Michael Jackson ought to be remembered for his musical genius and unrivalled dancing ability. You cannot ignore all the controversy that followed him ultimately to his grave, but you also cannot deny that he was and probably always will be, the 'King of Pop'