Five years ago today, the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson died at his home in Los Angeles. News of his death crashed Twitter, TMZ, AOL, and even Google. His passing has become one of those “I remember exactly where I was when I heard moments” in popular culture. Do you remember where you were?
While the public at large will probably never know the full story behind his passing, and he was an incredibly controversial figure, we have one thing still: thousands of hours of video. In honor of the fifth anniversary of his death, we present five of our most favorite Michael Jackson video moments. Because he’d probably want us to focus on his performances.
5. ‘I Want You Back’
Before he was the King of Pop, he was a groovy kid from Indiana with an insane amount of talent. This clip, from The Jackson 5 special “Goin’ Back to Indiana” aired in 1971. Michael was 13.
What were you doing at 13?
We want these outfits. Thank you.
4. ‘Blame It On The Boogie’
In 1978, they weren’t the “The Jackson 5.” They were just “The Jacksons.” And Michael was just about to become a solo star in his own right with “Shake Your Body” in 1979.
And yes, we want that star sweater too. We blame it on the boogie. And those trails make us a little spacey.
3. ‘Black or White’
When the video for “Black or White” debuted in November 1991, it wasn’t the song that had everyone talking. It was the last minute of the song, which featured some brand-new computer morphing technology that had only been featured in two movies up until that point (“Willow” and “Terminator 2.”) In fact, the video premiered simultaneously in 27 countries to more 500 million viewers, giving MTV, BET, VH1 and FOX their highest Nielsen ratings ever at that time. Oh, and it featured Macaulay Culkin and “Cheers'” George Wendt.
“Thriller” isn’t just one of the best songs ever. It set an unreachable standard for music videos that keeps people coming back, over and over again. You hear it every Halloween still, right?
1. The first time Michael did the Moonwalk
It was during a lip-synced performance of “Billie Jean” on the “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” broadcast, which aired in 1983 — 31 years ago. After performing a medley with The Jackson 5, Michael started in on a solo. At the end, around the 3:35 mark, Michael debuted the Moonwalk.
And people went nuts.
One interesting thing about the performance? “Billie Jean” wasn’t actually written under the Motown label. But we’re sure Berry Gordy knew what he was doing when he allowed Michael to perform it anyway.
What are some of your favorite MJ moments?