Michael Jackson was unsurpassed as entertainer and pop icon. His best-selling album of all time, Thriller defined popular music in the decade of the 1980s, fusing song and dance with rhythm and image to create a new way to market and sell music. Michael Jackson’s rise to superstardom in coincided with the introduction music videos as a marketing devise for selling albums. He was the perfect fit for this new medium for mass marketing of music. The success of MTV and popularity of BET can largely be attributed to Jackson’s groundbreaking videos.
With the Thriller video Jackson was able to bring together dance and song, image and word. No other artist has been able to achieve this task with such artistic grace and electrifying movement as Jackson. He set the standard for what music videos could be, and in the process defined his place the annals of music and popular history, rising to the level of head of state. He eclipsed Mohammed Ali as the world’s most popular and recognized entertainment figure. His dance moves gave drama and added narrative to his songs. His signature dance step, the Moonwalk, developed through hours of disciplined practice and a drive toward excellence, illustrates why and how he captivated audiences across the world.
In brief, Michael Jackson embodied the best of what had come before him and what was to come. This is why so many mourn and honor him in death today.