Michael Jackson's musical legacy: Tell us how you remember him

Michael-jackson-dead_l No matter what you may think of his personal troubles or legal travails, Michael Jackson was, indubitably, one of the brightest supernovas in a dazzling pop galaxy — regarded as a musical prodigy with the Jackson 5 when he was just a child, a burgeoning solo star by the '70s, and a bona fide international phenomenon with the advent of 1982's Thriller, 1987's Bad, 1991's Dangerous, and beyond.

It's nearly impossible to capture the scope of his legacy, but we would love to hear from you, Mix readers, and learn what his music meant to you.

Did you first get to know him as the little boy with the impossibly clear, high voice singing "I Want You Back" with his brothers in the Jackson 5? Lighting up those glowing sidewalk squares in the video for "Billie Jean"? Moonwalking across the stage at 1983's now-legendary Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever broadcast? What about the then-groundbreaking film-morph technology in the '91 "Black or White" video?

Share your memories of the King of Pop below, and help say goodbye to one of the most controversial, gifted, boundary-pushing performers the world has ever seen.

More from EW on Michael Jackson:
Michael Jackson: 18 key moments in the life of the King of Pop
Michael Jackson dies at 50
Jackson on TV: A classic artist, a revolutionary
Michael Jackson: Share your memories
'Thriller' at 25: Still Can't Beat It
Wanna Be Stoppin' Somethin'
Michael Jackson's 'Thriller the Musical': Would you go see it?

Comments (927 total) Add your comment
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  • Hannah

    MJ taught me how to love music, myself, and the world around me. There will be no other.

  • Natalie

    he was the king of pop, and will never be forgotton

  • Kaiulani

    My very first concert ever was the Jackson 5 when I was in 7th grade around 1980.

  • Brian

    I remember that 1983 performance of Billie Jean at the Motown Anniversary that took him from superstar to ICON! Appreciate those we have with us now, because we never know when they will be gone. Thanks for everything Michael!

  • Outshined

    Listen to Off The Wall and marvel in the greatness.

  • Paul Pitsaras

    An extremely talanted musician, a creative and loving individual. His legacy will live on for ever. RIP Michael.

  • Ellen

    The worst thing is that, for a long time now, I can never listen to his best music without feeling sad about what he was and how much he changed. In time now no doubt his musical reputation will overcome his more recent controversies, but that doesn’t seem much of a comfort right now. His passing, for me, is just a reminder that he could clearly never be the person everyone expected him to be, and the transformation that that fact caused in him was painful for us, and it was probably painful for him, too. I hope that our memory of his music will overtake all the others, because I still get excited when I hear Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough or Man In the Mirror or anything from Thriller.

  • Laura

    I was one of those people who said “He is such a freak!”. But I am now a person who is so sad, who feels so bad for his children, who wishes he could have had the chance to show his gift again. RIP Michael – you WILL be missed and remembered as a true talent.

  • MJ :(

    I grew up with a poster of the ‘Bad’ album cover on my wall of my bedroom …and I was going to marry him.

  • Ellen

    And, more relevantly, I was still very young when Earth Song came out, and my first ever album was HIStory. I drove my family crazy listening to it over and over again, reciting Vincent Price’s commentary in Thriller. Back then I was still to young to think about his personal life or know about his public controversies, and that’s my most important memory of the man.

  • Tabitha

    As a young girl, I always wanted to go to one of his concerts but my mom would never pay those high ticket prices. So now that I’m in a position to afford a Micheal Jackson concert, I will never be able to witness his greatness. My heart is bleeding as tears fall down my face. This day will be forever remembered, as the Kin of Pop & the Legend passed away on my 29th birthday.

  • James L Howlett

    My memory of Michael is one that not many people know. Just before Thriller came out, MTV wasn’t playing black artists and weren’t going to play anything from Thriller until Epic Records threatened to pull all their artists off MTV. The network caved in and played Michael’s music and the rest is history.

  • Erin

    I remember growing up in the 80s, I was at a friend’s house and watched her younger brother get in huge trouble with their mom for cutting the fingers off his new winter gloves in order to be like MJ.

  • Chappel

    I remember him best from him paying a huge sum of money to the family of a boy that claimed he was molested by Jackson so the boy wouldn’t testify against him in court.

  • Chichi

    Michael Jackson is America. He is us at our worst and at our best. We created Michael Jackson. The high voiced prodigy in love with excess and with fame. The man who faulted not under his own talent but the fact that he had too much to live up to.
    I grew up on his music. He changed my life the first time I saw him spin. Through any changes he made to himself, he made just as many changes to the landscape of popular music.
    Rest In Peace, Michael Joseph Jackson. And may your poor tortured soul finally find solace.

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