Michael Jackson never wanted a long life but through his music he's immortal
Michael Jackson often spoke about a fear of growing old.
“I don't want a long (life)... I don't,” he once admitted. “I don't want to grow old, I think growing old is the ugliest thing.”
We never got to see Marilyn Monroe grow old and ugly, he argued, while James Dean will always remain a mystery.
And if the Beatles were still together, nobody would care because they’d be “funky and old”.
It broke Jackson’s heart when his hero, singer/dancer Fred Astaire, once confessed late in life that if he attempted a single spin, he'd fall flat on his face.
In the weeks before his death, Jackson was preparing for a mega comeback tour which was due to kick off with a whopping 50 dates at London’s O2 arena.
While he adored his fans, the truth is Jackson didn’t want to be there. He hated touring, and the sleeplessness that it induced. His inability to get some rest in the hours after a rigorous rehearsal was what ultimately killed him ten years ago to the day, on the morning of June 25, 2009.
We’ll never know if Jackson, crippled by insomnia and an aching body, would ever have forgotten the lyrics to ‘Billie Jean’ in front of thousands screaming fans, or slipped on his backside while performing one of those iconic moves in his battered penny loafers.
In the final decade of his life, Jackson only appeared on stage a handful of times and released a single album, Invincible, which was undeniably average by his standards.
But while his very best days were in the past, he died with his legacy intact. He never suffered the age-induced decline he so deeply feared, and people never had the chance to get bored.
In truth it was always difficult to imagine him living into his 70s or 80s.
But even in death, people continue to talk about Michael Jackson. The headlines this year have been negative, but we’ll continue to debate, and we’ll continue to listen to the music. It seems little can change that.
Of course, Jackson had no desire to die at the age of 50. He dearly loved bringing up his three young children as a single father, and still harboured dreams of finally cracking the movie industry.
But he also once spoke of a desire to vanish from Planet Earth.
“To disappear is very important,” he said. “We are people of change. We need change in our lives. That's why we have winter, spring, summer, fall.”
And disappear he did. But to escape death, he bound his soul to his work.
Through the music, Michael Jackson ensured he’ll live forever.