accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

The Michael Jackson legacy and reaction

Michael Jackson. Such a mundane name. Such a singularly incredible entertainer — at least until a few years ago, when he more or less disappeared from the stage when his health started failing him.

The legacy can be summarized in song titles and ineffable images. “ABC.” “Rock With You.” “Billie Jean.” The Moon Walk. “Thriller.” That single sequined glove. “Bad.” “Black or White.”

But then came the weird behavior, the child molestation accusations, the pigmentation problems, the plastic surgery. At age 50, he had been in the public eye for 40 of those years. He arrived as an adorable ball of energy with the Jackson 5. He became a gangly teenager, then a fireball of a performer and pop culture icon. He revived top 40 radio in 1983 and forced MTV to air black aritsts that same year. To this day, you can hear MJ on the radio or snippets of his songs sampled by others.

What is your favorite Michael Jackson solo song of all time?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Silas “Si-Man” Alexander, the night jock at Majic 107.5, recalls working at the Record Bar in Milledgeville in 1983 and watching with amazement the types of folks who bought “Thriller.” Rockers with nose rings. Little old ladies. Young kids. “It would just keep on selling. Nobody has had that broad of an appeal ever,” he said.

More recently, he’s been jockeying parties at local nightclubs. “I play ABC by the Jackson 5 every week at [Sandy Springs club] Taboo,” he said. “Any Michael Jackson song and it’s on and poppin’! And this is 2009, still going strong.”

On air right now (at 6:30 p.m.), with the L.A. Times reporting his death, V-103 has Wanda Smith on the air (with Frank Ski stuck in traffic.). The station is playing “Human Nature.” Even over on 94.9/The Bull, the country station, Lance Houston said, “Your heart just sinks when you hear about it.”

“It feels like a piece of me has passed away,” Smith said on the air.

Listener Courtney, on V-103: “I’m only 18 years old. It’s real sad. Everybody has been texting me…I want to break down in tears.”

Mark Arum is doing a live show this evening on 750/WSB-AM on MJ.

When I caught up with comic and syndicated morning host Rickey Smiley (heard locally on Hot 107.9) this evening, he was still shaken by the news. “This is devastating,” Smiley said. “I’m really just numb. I really just want this to go away. I wasn’t prepared for this.”

“For a lot of black folks,” he continued, “this is so personal. He’s our Elvis.”

Smiley said he grew up listening to Jackson 5 albums with his grandma and as a musician, too, he especially appreciates Jackson’s “Lady of My Life” and “Remember the Time.”

Smiley plans to dedicate tomorrow’s show to MJ. “I’m going to play some of his songs and let people call in,” he said, ” express what Michael Jackson meant to them. Give people a chance to grieve.”

Lee Cagle, program director at 95.5/The Beat, said the station, which focuses on current music, will throw in some old-school Michael Jackson, including a 9 p.m. special music mix of MJ. And tomorrow morning, the morning show will be all about Michael Jackson.

“Listen to Ne-Yo or The-Dream,” he said. “They were clearly influenced by Michael Jackson. So his legacy lives on with the current generation of singers.”

The news networks are wall-to-wall MJ right now, of course. Fox News at 9 p.m. subbed out Sean Hannity with good ol’ Geraldo Rivera. ABC is airing a special 20/20 on Michael Jackson at 9 p.m. tonight. CBS will have its own special on at 10. Biography Network will air a best of at 10 p.m. Saturday. Kiss 104.1, Majic 107.5, V-103 and even hip-hop heavy Hot 107.9 threw out their regular playlists and played Michael Jackson songs all evening.

Atlanta-based Ne-Yo, on CNN, said, “I wouldn’t be here without Michael Jackson… When I was growing up, he could do no wrong. Everything he did was magic.”

Just plucked through a few random YouTube videos. Here’s a compilation of his dance moves.

And a montage of photos of MJ to a… country song:

And another montage using “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ ” as the backer:

135 comments Add your comment

PHIL GEZ

June 25th, 2009
7:16 pm

RIP MJ. I WILL JAM TO YOU ON MY IPOD FOR 50 DAYS IN A ROW.

Lauren

June 25th, 2009
7:22 pm

TW

June 25th, 2009
7:27 pm

Gosh, I can’t even vote on any one song; they are all great songs. I admit, he had his issues (as we all do) and his behavior was a bit weird in his later years, but the fact remains that he (in my opinion) was a musical genius; a living legend in his own right. We must never forget that nothing lasts forever and we are all living on borrowed time…

Vick Supporter

June 25th, 2009
7:28 pm

Lady In My Life is the Greatest Song Of All Time. RIP Michael

kool$kat

June 25th, 2009
7:29 pm

What a talent. But sad that he faded (no pun) in the last decade. He leaves a huge legacy of memorable performances. He is also perhaps the greatest example that vast amounts of money and and fame are not enough to make someone happy, or bring them peace. Only Jesus can do that for you.

Antoine Campbell

June 25th, 2009
7:31 pm

Sorry, maybe his music was great but he was embarrassed by his colour and tried to bleach it out, he did not like his features and had that all changed and he seduced and molested little boys. Granted, he was found not guilty, but the payments he made to the families broke him and the studios dropped him. A victim or guilty…smart money does not abandon innocence.

As a father of a young boy, who needs a sick pedophile like that preying on my children. Good riddance.

Overkill

June 25th, 2009
7:33 pm

Huge influence. Music icon. Marketing god. Child Molester? Dead at 50. Greatest ever? Just another dead Celeb? Twenty years ago this would have been a loss. Now? Not so much.

Dan

June 25th, 2009
7:36 pm

Very creative, decent but not outstanding material. Very creepy personal life. A black “Elvis”? You can do better than MJ.

Vick Supporter

June 25th, 2009
7:39 pm

F U Antoine Campbell

Andrea

June 25th, 2009
7:40 pm

RIP Michael – you were a musical icon and you will forever be remembered by your millions of fans. Peace and blessings to your family and especially your children.

Let’s be brutally honest here: Antoine, you know full well Michael Jackson doesn’t know you or your child so the chances of him preying upon your son (as you put it) are zero to none.

It requires no brains, talent or character easy to speak ill of someone after they are dead.

Golfball

June 25th, 2009
7:41 pm

Rickey Smiley just had to insert race into it, didn’t he? “He’s OUR Elvis.” Why demean a star with racist limitation? Michael Jackson was EVERYONE’s Michael Jackson. Elvis was everyone’s Elvis. Both men will go down in history as musical geniuses but also as racial healers. What will Rickey Smiley go down in history as?

guy13

June 25th, 2009
7:46 pm

He was a child molester.

Terrible Truth

June 25th, 2009
7:48 pm

Gee, Michael, I knew you would never perform ALL fifty of those shows but…Hopefully the interest earned from the ticket sales will go towards paying those creditors and other individuals that you were so famous for screwing over. And leave God’s little boys alone! Provided, of course, that is where you are.

Vick Supporter

June 25th, 2009
7:56 pm

You people are sick man. The man is dead and ya’ll still talk sh… Some of you white people are just sick man. You people (not all of you) are just born full of hate….since you’ve been on this earth

Jeff B

June 25th, 2009
7:57 pm

He was just a POS child molester that got away with it because he had some money, karma is a b. Now we are in for a bunch of hour specials about his life and times, what a joke. What a sorry excuse for a man he was. Mike Vick would still be playing in the NFL if there had been someone to pay off. Rape little boys no problem, Mama can be bought.

Vick Supporter

June 25th, 2009
8:00 pm

You people are sick. Talkin shi… about a dead person

Percy

June 25th, 2009
8:00 pm

Rest in peace. My prayers go out to his family.

Venus

June 25th, 2009
8:02 pm

I’m remembering the times, when Michael Jackson and his brotheres all from Gary Indiana . visit the Motor City back in the day , and that’s how I’m going to always remember Michael he was a handsome young man. right today he has his Silver glove displayed at the Motown Hitsville in Detroit, Michigan I know in the Big “D” / Motor City is going to have a lot of events in the mourning/ Home going of The King Of Pop!
Missing You Michael ! I will always be your fan , no matter what they say !

Chuckles

June 25th, 2009
8:02 pm

I remember a Saturday afternoon in New Britain, CT. My dad was next door, getting his Saturday hair cut. I went to go get a burger, and there he was, with his brothers, on American Bandstand.

His music was the soundtrack to my middle school and high school days. And his style!
Imagine a fat, 15 year old pining to wear a red leather jacket. Yep. I was one of those folks.

I sit here now, having heard about his passing about 2 hours ago – and I feel the same pain in the throat I did when I heard that Jim Henson died – or Elvis – or any one of a handful of other event that, when they occurred, you felt was an important moment in history.

It also, in a way I think, brings us all together in a way. I had to call my friends, or 790 the Zone to tell the folks I was listening to that Michael was gone. The producer there was in shock.

My families condolences go out to the extended Jackson family, who have been through so much through the years, both good and bad. There are Atlanta connections, of course, with Janet and Jermaine Dupri. Perhaps others. God Bless, folks.

Manny

June 25th, 2009
8:04 pm

Point Blank: Greatest…entertainer…ever. This is truly a sad day.

Eddie Murphy

June 25th, 2009
8:12 pm

Tito, give me a tissue.
Jermaine, stop teasing.

Ayn Rand was right

June 25th, 2009
8:16 pm

Wow! I truly haven’t given MJ much thought in many years, but now the songs keep drifting in and out of my mind. What an amazing musical legacy.

Jesus Juice

June 25th, 2009
8:28 pm

Chuckles_ Don’t lie….you looked like KOOL-AID didn’t you in your red jacket. Will the death certificate say Black or White?

Rosita

June 25th, 2009
8:30 pm

I was angry at his behavior toward innocent children, but the man was dealt such a mixed hand — great genius and insurmountable barriers to learning how to be a loving, peaceful, mature adult. He had a wretched life, all in all, money and fame notwithstanding. Who would have (moon)walked in his shoes? RIP, great genius and poor tormented soul.

JCH

June 25th, 2009
8:39 pm

The AJC and others are letting people speak. Like it or not – the majority of it is NOT pretty. Search the Internet for yourself.

His self inflicted behavior is overshadowing any talent or good fame he ever possessed. Michael Jackson did this to himself, and for that it is hard to have any respect for him.

Maybe not that he is passed we can get some answers.

JamC

June 25th, 2009
8:52 pm

I hate to sound insensitive, but the world has lost… a PEDOPHILE. The reason he was broke was because he spent hundreds of millions using kids and paying off the parents.

Why would any decent person miss Jackson?

Famuan

June 25th, 2009
8:57 pm

It doesn’t matter what hate is expressed on this blog or on the news, its clear from the people who are gathering around the hospital, his home, his star on the Walk of Fame, the childhood home in Gary, The people stuck in their spots in Times Square, the images from ACROSS THE GLOBE…that Michael Jackson transcends whatever little bit of hate these numbnuts throw out right now. Every news channel has stopped covering EVERYTHING ELSE, just to cover Michael Jackson’s untimely passing and you haters think your little petty rants are even that noticeable in the grand scheme of things? Surely you’re not in THAT kind of denial. It doesn’t matter what Nancy Grace or Larry King shrill about, its clear the man is respected and his legacy is intact.

YouHavetobekiddingme!

June 25th, 2009
8:57 pm

First and foremost, I loved Michael’s music in the ’80s and I still do. It was not until charges were brought against him that I began to question what he does in his personal life. Personally, I could care less, what celebrities do, off camera, but when it comes to children, that is a major issue. I feel the parents of those children should be held accountable as well. The bottom line is that if you have money, you can pay for high priced lawyers to get you off. Look at O.J. Simpson. Michael and OJ paid to get off and were left broke. Michael went to the middle east and OJ robbed people in a hotel room. Desperate people do desperate things to survive, race has NOTHING to do with it.

Rest in Peace Michael

RH

June 25th, 2009
9:11 pm

Famuan – I feel so bad for you because you are only seeing what you WANT to see. Yes, this is BIG news that Michael Jackson has died, but the man was not respected and his legacy is not intact.

The news media is just doing what they have to do and saying nice things about someone that has just died, but that is it.

All the people you see on TV are just living the moment of “where were you when”. Unfortunately, this is the legacy he created for himself and this is what to be expected.

It’s human to hate and therefore very easy to have disrespect and malice for someone we don’t see as human.

Joker

June 25th, 2009
9:13 pm

Q. What’s the difference between Michael Jackson and a grocery bag?
A: One is white, made out of plastic, and dangerous for kids to play with and the other you carry your groceries in

Joker

June 25th, 2009
9:13 pm

Q: How can you tell if Michael Jackson has a hot date?
A: There’s a big wheel parked outside his house.

Joker

June 25th, 2009
9:14 pm

Q: Who does Michael Jackson consider a Perfect 10?

A: Two 5 year olds.

Biff Pocoroba

June 25th, 2009
9:16 pm

I hope that Frank Ski can find a way to make this all about him and his giant ego. I’m surprised he can’t get a police escort to get him through traffic from Mayor Shirley Girl.

Voice of Reason #1

June 25th, 2009
9:22 pm

Michael Jackson was a great musical talent. Too bad his propulsion into the spotlight at such an early age jacked him up socially. And he should have stayed a Black man–he was looking so good then. The whole “race” issue messed with his head. He was just mixed up and didn’t handle life well. Sad. His parents partly to blame. But I remember seeing him at the Apollo Theater when I was a teenager in NYC. His fascination with young boys, etc., criminal and unfortunate. In short, a great musical talent with a sad, tragic story.

POAD The CHOADE

June 25th, 2009
9:22 pm

RIP Michael, your talent will be missed.

FU Vick Supporter, you racist piece of sh1t!

Mike S

June 25th, 2009
9:23 pm

I am praying tonight that Michael is finally at peace and that the inner demons that tormented through the last half of his life are gone.

All the other things aside, what it comes down to is this – Michael Jackson was an amazing singer, choreographer, and performer. For those of us that grew up in the 70’s and became adults in the 80’s, his music will forever be the soundtrack to our lives.

Chuckles

June 25th, 2009
9:23 pm

JJ – I never bought that jacket. Thank Gawd. I mean seriously – I was a young kid, and like most kids, desperately wanted to be cool. Michael Jackson DEFINED cool. He just was.

As for the later years, the wierd behavior, the accusations of child abuse: I have no idea whether they were accurate. I didn’t know the man personally, but like most of us, I watched his life unfold and was saddened.

If he did it: there’s a special place in hell for him. If not: imagine the hell he lived through here.
I think one thing is undeniable though: the world’s reaction to his death speaks to his legacy, for sure.

GOOD RIDDANCE

June 25th, 2009
9:25 pm

12 year old boys around the world are much safer now.

Famuan

June 25th, 2009
9:28 pm

RH….Michael Jackson announced a concert tour in Europe and the tickets for 50 shows sold out in 5 minutes….FLAT. His legacy as evidenced by the incredible outpouring of support that is visually evident regardless of what channel you’re watching is undeniable. There is no reason to pontificate what his legacy will be when tomorrow, Billboard will be announcing that the number one sold CD for the week is either Thriller or Off the Wall.

Angie

June 25th, 2009
9:29 pm

Whether you liked or hated him…Michael Jackson was a true entertainer. Michael paved the way for practically all of the young artists today, from justin timberlake to chris brown. There is not an artist out here today or within the last 20 years who have come close to the entertainment that Michael has given us. His music is timeless. You can’t say that about alot of the artists out today. RIP Michael

Lynn

June 25th, 2009
9:29 pm

And the meltdown of hating white folks continues. Heh.

Carla

June 25th, 2009
9:29 pm

HERE, HERE FAMUAN!! Rest in Peace, Michael.

Won't be missed

June 25th, 2009
9:30 pm

So let me get this straight “Vick Supporter”, only white people hate child molesters?

itpdude

June 25th, 2009
9:35 pm

“Rockers with nose rings.” BS. 1983 Nowhere, GA did not have “rockers with nose rings.”

Try again. The guy had broad appeal, but please dispense with the BS.

FCM

June 25th, 2009
9:35 pm

Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. ALL icons, ALL gone.

Chuckles

June 25th, 2009
9:35 pm

Lynn – I suffer from whiteness – and I don’t hate Michael.
Prejudice cuts both ways, darlin’.

Deirdre

June 25th, 2009
9:44 pm

There were 2 Michael Jacksons.

1. The wonderful singer who amazed and “thrilled” us.

2. The sad, bizarre shell of a man who was probably a pedophile.

Thank God for the first. God will deal with the second.

Fred

June 25th, 2009
9:47 pm

Little boys around the world are safer since there is now one less pedophile to prey on them. Burn in hell pedophile.

FANS

June 25th, 2009
9:50 pm

Some of your people are just as sick as you are saying MJ was. Have some respect for YOURSELF AND LAYOFF THE BULLCHIT (YES I SPELLED IT THAT WAY) COMMENTS. ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE US.

Chuckles

June 25th, 2009
9:55 pm

By the way – The Sun in the UK is reporting that MJ’s aides say he died from reaction to Demerol.
This may be another ‘Elvis-like’ death, involving prescription drugs.
This is all hearsay at this point.

I went to go look through my music collection. I was surprised to see how much of his music I had.
This is just so sad.