Michael Jackson’s birthday was yesterday. He would have been 60. Ten years ago, in advance of his 50th birthday, he gave a brief but revealing interview to Good Morning America’s Chris Connelly, in which he discussed his favorite career moments, his parenting style, his thoughts on younger artists and more.
The 2008 conversation starts off innocuously. When asked how he’ll be celebrating his 50th, the soft-spoken Jackson, speaking via a crackly phone line, replies, “Oh, I’ll just have a little cake with my children and we’ll probably watch some cartoons.” Then he says he’s taking the time o remember one of his idols, who died less than two years prior: “I’m just watching, you know, a little James Brown show right now.”
Jackson responds to Connelly’s question about the happiest moment in his career by saying, “The recording of Thriller and Off The Wall...that meant very much to me...and seeing it received so beautifully by the public and the world, I enjoyed it very much.”
He speaks on younger artists by referencing Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake. “I think Chris Brown is doing wonderful and [Justin] Timberlake—I really admire what they’re doing.”
On his parenting, Jackson reflects by saying since his childhood didn’t include what most would consider a normal childhood, he makes sure that his children get to do “normal” things, like go to the arcade, the movies, and so on. He even goes on to say that, “Yeah, I get pretty emotional when I see them having a wonderful time, when they’re on a ride and they’re screaming and they’re happy and they’re running. It makes me emotional.”
Last year, Jackosn’s Child, Paris, paid tribute to her father on what would have been his 59th birthday. “Birthday wishes to the love of my life, the one person who showed me what passion truly was, the one that gave me solid morals to live by and how to dream.” She also went on to say, “I will never feel the love again the way I did with you. You are always with me and I am always with you. Though I am not you, and you are not me, I know with all of my being that we are one. . .Thank. You for the magic, forever and always.”
Though Jackson died on June 25th of 2009, his legacy continues and will forever. Beyond all the allegations and controversy is a man whose music catalog and performance history is so broad that it cannot be removed from American history and our minds. His tracks relate to our lives and for some, are the soundtrack to that.
Happy 60th to the King of Pop.