My late grandmother always thought I loved Michael Jackson's music. I think she got that impression because I used to listen to my cassette tape of Bad over and over again when I was a toddler. As I grew older, my grandmother would still make the same comments, except I'd brush off the idea as if to say "pshaw, I'm SO past my Michael Jackson phase..."
Now, a couple of decades later, I am a bigger fan of his music than I have ever been. "I Want You Back" never fails to put a big smile on my face, I still shiver a little bit when Vincent Price speaks at the end of "Thriller," "Billie Jean" still makes me want to go home and practice my moonwalk, and "Beat It" makes me want to go have a knife fight (kidding).
In all seriousness, it's truly unfortunate that he became the tabloid and urban legend fodder that he was prior to his death. Sure, he was odd. No one argues that he grew into a very strange, possibly crazy man-child. He may have even committed some pretty terrible crimes...
But he was also the King of Pop. He held that title in an era when it actually meant something, back when Kings reigned for more than the life of a few singles. He made music that changed my world, the world of music, and, as great music does, the world in general. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.
Rest in peace, Michael Jackson.