Top 20 Reasons We Heart Michael Jackson

By now we’ve all heard the news: Michael Jackson, the King Of Pop, died on Thursday at age 50 after he went into cardiac arrest.

Unfortunately, Michael Jackson's last years weren't exactly good times for him or anyone around him. But that doesn’t take away from the incredible musical legacy he leaves behind or the fact he was one of the most vibrant personalities in modern history.

To honor the good times in MJ’s life and the positive marks he left on the entire world, here are Kidzworld’s Top 20 Reasons We Heart Michael Jackson.

20. The Music: Michael Jackson’s music has influenced all genres, from the Motown sound he helped define to the fusions of rock, R&B, pop and hip-hop he created and made possible. It's impossible to know what music would sound like today were it not for him.

19. The Dancing: No one’s ever moved the way Michael Jackson moved. There was something magical about what he could do. Not only did he change music, he changed the way we dance to it. Every time a video is made where a singer is backed up by rows and rows of dancers (hello: Britney, Lady GaGa) – that’s all Michael Jackson. The only difference being: he did it FIRST, BIGGER and BETTER.

18. The Moonwalk: First seen on a Motown 25th anniversary TV special taped in March 1983 during a performance of "Billie Jean," this dance speaks to everything about Michael Jackson’s performing ability. It was thrilling to watch and has been attempted at least once by every single person in the world. Sure, it was just a dance move, but it blew our minds.

17. The Album: Released in November 1982 Thriller still the best-selling album of all time, since it's sold over 100 million copies.

16. The Video: The zombie dance, the red leather suit, the famous line from Michael Jackson: "I'm not like other guys." Thriller wasn't a video – it was the video. It IS the video.

15. Black Artist: At a time when many people were still racist, and videos by black artists were hardly played on TV, stations had no choice but to play "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" side by side with videos by white artists – Michael Jackson was just that popular.

14. Beat It: Michael Jackson's decision to feature a screaming guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen on "Beat It" redefined the boundaries of what was possible both in rock music and R&B. MJ knocked the wall down between the two styles.

13. The Boy Band: Part of The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson was a child star — but not just any child star. He possessed a level of talent no child star has displayed before or since. He had rhythm, soul, style and personality – you’ll never see a party not turned upside down when someone starts playing of "I Want You Back" — possibly the happiest song ever recorded.

12. The Cartoon: The Jackson 5ive was an early-'70s cartoon featuring Michael Jackson and his brothers and their wacky adventures – think a cross between Alvin & The Chipmunks and Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids.

11. The Glitter Glove: At the height of Michael Jackson’s popularity they were on sale everywhere and for at least a little while it was possible to wear one without being punched. At some point Michael stopped wearing it, but it never ceased to be a symbol of his uniqueness.

10. The Style: His leather Thriller suit may not be up everyone’s alley, but everyone wanted to be Michael Jackson from 1983 to 1985.

9. Bubbles: Everyone wants a monkey, and Michael Jackson had one. Bubbles became one of his best friends at the height of his fame, and though some may be jealous, it sort of says something about the loneliness of being on top.

8. Bad: The follow-up to Thriller included a video starring Wesley Snipes as a street thug and Michael Jackson as a kid returning to the hood from college.

7. The Surgeries: Michael Jackson never seemed happy with his physical appearance. Over 20 years of plastic surgery changed his face so much that we can only imagine what 50 year-old Michael might have looked like had he never gone under the knife. We don’t love MJ because of this – rather, you can’t help but feeling sorry for a guy who, despite endless amounts of fame and fortune, just couldn’t seem to be at peace with himself. It’s an important lesson for us all about what’s REALLY important in life – and that’s inner beauty.

6. Skin Color: Michael Jackson's transition from a black man to a pale, almost white man officially told us how much he hated himself. Though he claimed to suffer from a pigmentation disorder that lightened his skin, the transformation that occurred to his face and body only confirmed what he had tried to tell us years earlier: "I'm not like other guys."

5. The Elephant Man: Michael Jackson tried to buy them. Why? Who knows? It's a mystery. But it's clear on some level, Jackson felt a kinship with the 19th century circus sideshow Joseph Merrick — a man so horribly deformed he provoked shock, fear and wonder in all who saw him. Perhaps, though, it's not really such a mystery at all.

4. Black Or White: The release of the song Black Or White in 1991 brought Michael Jackson back to the top of the pop charts. The song is about bigotry and tolerance.

3. Neverland: Michael Jackson bought a huge house in California with a zoo, a movie theatre, bumper cars and a rollercoaster and he named it after the magical land in Peter Pan — a story about a magical boy who never grows up. In 2008 he sold the property he could no longer afford to keep.

2. Lisa Marie Presley: If Michael Jackson was going to marry, it seemed only fitting that the King Of Pop would wed the daughter of the King Of Rock 'N' Roll. Seriously, you couldn't make this stuff up.

1. Ultimate Fame: We think it’s pretty safe to say Michael Jackson was the most famous man on earth. There are plenty of celebrities that cause frenzy in the United States, but how many are known by every person in every city in every country on every continent of the world? For 25 years that man was Michael. For many reasons, this was a curse: it put him into a bubble. He couldn't go outside without wearing a disguise. He developed phobias about the air and about touching people. While fame created Jackson the icon, it may have destroyed Jackson the man. But there was only one and there will never be another. His name and his music will live forever.

From everyone at Kidzworld: Rest In Peace Michael Jackson. We hope you’ve gone to a better place and have finally found the peace, love and happiness you seem to have been searching for endlessly your whole life here with us on earth.

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