Michael Jackson

Remembering Michael Jackson: One Year On

Monday, 6th September 2010

Louise Gardiner

It is still shocking to think that more than a year ago the music legend Michael Jackson, 50, suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at his Holmby Hills mansion in Los Angeles, consequently causing his untimely death. With a 50-show run at London’s O2 Arena only weeks away, the King of Pop was ready to reclaim his title as the greatest living entertainer on the planet. Dubbed the ‘This Is It’ tour, Jackson was to make a memorable comeback, performing classic hits such as ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Man in the Mirror’, and ‘Thriller’ to an array of adorning fans from around the globe.

On June 25 2009, however, the tragic news broke that Jackson had overdosed on a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs. As the staggering story stole the headlines, it became clear that Michael Jackson was the man of the moment once again. Regrettably, the man himself was not able to observe the overwhelming number of tearful tributes from family, friends and fans paying homage to a performing phenomenon who could make music magical.

Reflecting on what would have been the late singer’s 52nd birthday, we look back on a year of touching tributes, multi-million business deals, and an ongoing case, firmly keeping Jackson’s legacy alive and accessible for future generations to come.

First was the star-studded memorial service at Los Angeles Staples Centre, publicly celebrating the moon-walking star’s musical and humanitarian contributions, with poignant performances from Mariah Carey, Usher and Jennifer Hudson. Remembering Jackson as a gifted child protégé, Gordy remarked how “little Michael’s performance was way beyond his years”. The highlight of the memorial, however, came from the singer’s 11-year-old daughter Paris, who spoke touchingly of Jackson not as a singing superstar, but as a dedicated daddy.

As millions of people tuned in from around the world, it became obvious that Michael Jackson had inspired and intrigued many with his unforgettable music, dazzling dance moves and eccentric lifestyle. From Neverland to never-ending shopping sprees, Jackson never failed to make the headlines. With a controversially child-like persona, the multi-million selling ‘Thriller’ star was always going to be a vulnerable target to those on a mission to make money out of him. Regularly ridiculed by the tabloid press, the tragic singer’s infamous trial and acquittal of child abuse cases was in many ways the beginning of the end, ultimately overshadowing his unprecedented talent and humanitarian efforts.

While family, friends, and fans continue to mourn their loss, the enquiry into Jackson’s mysterious death is slowly progressing after the autopsy reported “homicide”. On February 8 2010, Jackson’s personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray pleaded not guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter, and has since made three further court appearances in the case. While Murray remains on a £50,000 bail, he is still able to practice medicine and does not appear in court until the beginning of next year.

Just like Elvis Presley, Jackson has reportedly generated an unbelievable sum of up to £500 million since his sudden death, making him a valuable commodity from beyond the grave. On October 28 2009, the world witnessed the release of the This Is It rehearsal footage, giving fans a rare glimpse of a genius at work and raking in an expected £181 million worldwide.

With his albums selling in their millions and more material on the way, Michael Jackson the mortal man might have died, but his music and message live on in the minds of those who were moved by his unparalleled ability to perform and promote world peace, even when the world had given up on him. Love him or hate him, there will never be another Michael Jackson, and it is his timeless music that we should celebrate when remembering this troubled genius.

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