I was shocked when I heard the news yesterday that Michael Jackson had been rushed to the hospital from apparent cardiac arrest.
Minutes into my radio show, the legendary performer and entertainment icon had died.
I have reported, sadly, the deaths of many famous people on my show over the years. Politicians, movie stars, authors, humanitarians, local and national icons. I will never forget being called in to do a special edition weekend show back when Princess Di was killed in that horrific car crash.
But to be honest, the death of Michael Jackson hit me more than most have.
Sure he was known most recently for his quirks and downright bizarre behavior. But he will not be remembered for that. The greatness of his talent and musical genius will be his shining testament to a life of entertainment which brought joy and wonder to countless millions around the world.
Michael Jackson was my generation's Elvis. And his passing must be as shocking to me as the death of Elvis was to my parents and their generation.
I remember vividly buying his albums in San Francisco at the famous Tower Records in North Beach. Sadly, that iconic record store is no more. But for decades, that is where people went to buy new and old music alike.
It was the day of the record store. When Vinyl and cassette were king and a CD was something you put your money into for a safe investment.
I have sweet memories of holding THRILLER in my hands and thinking I had just struck the Motherlode. Now I could listen to the songs over and over and over again.
When the THRILLER video debuted on MTV (back when they played videos), I remember watching it around the clock. Few who saw it at the time could ever forget the extensive "Making Of" documentary that aired so often I think I must have memorized every detail and line.
Michael Jackson's death has made me quite sad. It made me shoot back to the 80s and re-live the glory of my childhood in San Francisco. In those days I had a full mane of hair, kids had arcades to go to for fun, 64K was all the memory a computer needed, my mother was alive and strong, and life had yet to load my shoulders with the burdens and responsibilities of adult hood.
His death made me miss so many people, and places, and things that have passed from my life as well.
THRILLER came on the radio last evening and my baby girl started grooving to it. She started snapping her fingers at an amazingly young age and she was certainly snapping to that song.
It made me laugh and cry at the same time.
Goodbye Michael. Your passing has filled my heart with sadness. I would like to think you are now doing the Moonwalk beyond the stars, free of pain and pressure and burden.