Michael Jackson’s death is perhaps more surprising than Farrah Fawcett’s, but it is the final chapter in an increasingly bizarre life story that saw him go from the highest reaches of pop stardom to the life of a recluse. As a child of the ’80s, I played the Thriller LP on my Fisher Price turntable. My father brought the album home for me when I was sick with the chicken pox, roughly at the peak of Jackson’s popularity. Both Jackson’s music and much else about him subsequently moved in directions much less to my liking, but anyone who grew up in my generation — or who saw him even earlier on as part of the Jackson Five — will remember a natural showman.
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