Rock/pop Superstar, Michael Jackson, is dead at 50 according to reports on the AP wire.
Jackson, a child star featured in the group The Jackson 5, was one of the brightest stars American pop music has ever seen. The band's sweet, multi-layered harmonies were nothing short of infectious with musical chops that elevated the group above the disco-dreck of the late 1970s.
Jackson's solo career was explosively successful with the Glen Ballard produced Off The Wall album. However, Jackson's Opus was his 1982 Thriller record produced by Quincy Jones. Thriller defined pop music for the 1980s as well as the emerging media of the music video as seen on MTV. His John Landis directed 13 minute music video for the title track of "Thriller" was truly an epic pop event the likes of which nobody had ever seen. Thriller sold a reported 47,000,000 records worldwide - more than any other single record in music history.
His career boomed with the success of Thriller to make Michael Jackson the most popular star of any media throughout the 1980's. His global tours created untold sums of money thanks to millions of loyal fans in every country of the world. Jackson's appeal was in no way limited to the United States, as he as possibly more loved in Russia and Asia than his homeland. Records like Bad and Dangerous never met the commercial success of Thriller but no record in recorded music history ever did.
By the 1990's Michael Jackson's stunted emotional growth and childish behavior caught up with him as he became a Santa Barbara based recluse that would make Howard Hughes proud. The money that poured in from the rights to his ownership of the early part of The Beatles catalog kept him flush with money; however the worst events of his life were ahead of him. Allegations of child abuse and an ensuing trial tore the reputation of Michael Jackson down to mere shambles. Countless plastic surgeries made Jackson look like - to be polite - an absolute freak. Things for Jackson had never been worse.
Jackson survived his legal challenges but never regained his popular appeal in the United States throughout most of the 2000's. He lost control of his music publishing that Sir. Paul McCartney (with special thanks to his wife Linda and her family) helped him to acquire, which ended up property of Sony Music. He lost his Santa Barbara Ranch and moved quietly to the Middle East with his three children.
In the past year, Michael Jackson was a star once again on the rise. He had moved back to Los Angeles with the help of a venture capitalist and was living in the tony neighborhood of Holmby Hills - an area known best for being closely located to the Playboy Mansion. Jackson was to give new life to his career with a series of sold-out concerts at the O2 arena in London starting just weeks form now on July 8, 2009.
Today, Jackson's staff called EMTs in because the performer had suffered cardiac arrest. At about 3:30 PST Los Angeles time, Michael Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center.
Michael Jackson's legacy is one of the most important musical figures of the Twentieth Century. As an on-stage presence, there may be no other act more dynamic or more beloved ever again. His songwriting and song styling put him at the top of his class. From a business perspective, there may never be a more "bankable" talent than Michael Jackson. Despite his troubled childhood and his storied life - Michael Jackson must be compared today along with the single most important musical talent of his era including Igor Stravinsky, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane and Prince. The King of Pop is dead and one can argue that pop itself died a little today as there will never be another Michael Jackson.