Making Sense Of Michael Jackson's Legacy

michael jackson

The King of Pop's life is an amazing story but his musical legacy will outlast us all.

The King of Pop's music has generated more revenue in the few weeks since his death than in the 20 preceding years (that may not be entirely true). After his heart attack, the music and the musician were somehow decoupled. It was possible to enjoy the incredible lyrics, beats and singing of his greatest hits without too much dwelling on the odd, sad man he'd become.

Though thousand and thousands and thousands of fans at Neverland Ranch would disagree with me, very few people knew anything about Michael Jackson. We saw him as he progressed from an adorable and talented little boy into an incredibly talented, normal-looking man and then into the mess of a middle-aged fellow that he eventually became. His strangeness made it somewhat difficult to remember his brilliance… until one of classic songs was being played.

Try not nodding along to "Beat It." Try not hitting the dance floor when "Billie Jean" comes on. Try changing the channel when you hear Vincent Price's creepy-ass voice in "Thriller." And try not feeling for Michael as the lothario Paul McCartney tries to swipe his lady in "The Girl Is Mine."

Michael Jackson is dead, long live Michael Jackson's legacy. The rumors swirl about the identity of the actual mother (and, fittingly, father) of MJ's kids. His family squabbles about inheritance and custody of his children. But, with all due respect to his family, Michael's legacy lies in the music that he left behind. That and his story. And he left them both to all of us. While we'll likely never have any huge insight into what made him tick or what strange things ever took place at Neverland Ranch, maybe some combination of his music and some of his life story will give us some glimpse into what it was like to live, love and leave like Michael Jackson. Read: Michael Jackson's Lovelife: A Timeline

To that end, we're giving away copies of the new Michael Jackson biography, Unmasked, (in stores today, July 14th) from Ian Halperin. Just follow our Celeb Love blog on Twitter and you may be randomly selected to receive a copy of the book.

Photo: Bauer-Griffin