Yesterday Michael Jackson turned 50 years old; 50! Talk about defining moments on one’s life. I’m not ready for MJ to turn 50; it means that I’m that just closer to reaching it myself, and I’m certainly not ready for myself to be 50.

Michael Jackson is my favorite performer of all time. I don’t care what he looks like or what anyone has to say about him, he’s still my favorite. He was my favorite when he was with the Jackson Five, and he remains so today. There have been so many defining moments in my life that I can tie a song done by a Jackson to my life that it’s scary.

What many people don’t remember today, through all the talk and scandal, is that Michael Jackson basically saved the music industry. Sales were flat, music companies were suffering, artists were suffering, and no one knew there to go. Sure, MTV had been on only a couple of years, and at that time they weren’t playing any black artists on the network (I know someone’s going to say there was one somewhere in there, but no solo artists). CBS Records, which Michael Jackson recorded for, had the Billie Jean video and pitched it to MTV, which initially rejected it, but then CBS said if they didn’t put it on then they would never be allowed to broadcast any CBS performing artists ever again. MTV capitulated, and the Billie Jean video hit the airwaves. And it was popular, though not earth shaking to many at the time.

However, when the performance below came on, which was supposed to be a tribute to Motown, suddenly the roof blew off the sucker, and the age of the mega-superstar was launched. The performance below helped Thriller sell over 50 million records, and was ultimately responsible for acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and U2, to have albums that helped make them icons in the world that they still are to this day.

I couldn’t handle MJ being 50 yesterday, but I can handle it today. I hope you enjoy this video; how could you not?