I n the days, weeks and months following his death on June 25, 2009, a popular reclaiming of Michael Jackson as a beloved, once-in-a-lifetime musical genius took hold. While cable-news pundits endlessly pored over the tawdry circumstances of his demise, millions of fans new and old simply shrugged their shoulders and happily popped in their Michael Jackson CDs.
In July, he regained his spot at the top of the Billboard sales charts, moving 422,000 units in the week after his death alone–to date, the Jackson catalog has sold 9 million copies in the year since he passed, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Spontaneously, kids from Bed-Stuy to Beijing were seen sporting bootleg “Thriller” T-shirts and blaring “Billie Jean” as if it were 1983 and Ronald Reagan was in the White House.
We may have lost the man, but we didn’t lose the legacy and that incredible catalogue and body of work. We didn’t lose any of that. At the press of button, we can still experience the magic.