More than anything else, of course, I wish that Michael was still with us. But the interesting thing that's happened in the year since he died — and it happened almost immediately after he died — was that people began to reevaluate what a music genius Michael Jackson was. All of his backlist and albums went to number one.
People were in absolute awe of the genius of this man. I think it was easy to have that forgotten when many headlines were tabloid nonsense.
I personally never saw anything quirky or odd about Michael. He was full of fun; he was someone who loved to have a good time, loved to play practical jokes on people — and loved to laugh. He was incredibly intelligent and read all the time — always carrying a book around with him that had words underlined, comments of his own in the margins.
I once spent two or three hours in a book store with him in San Francisco between interviews because he was just so crazy about learning and about knowledge. He was fascinated about entertainers who came before him and entertainers who were his contemporaries. He was a very interesting man, but I never saw anything or heard anything that would give resonance to any of the headlines that many people hung on.
People love Michael Jackson for the entertainer he was, for the musical genius he was. People were always conflicted by stories in headlines and whether or not there was any truth to them. He was found innocent when he was in court.
He was a profoundly fine musician — an incredible songwriter, singer and performer. He just had it all. When Michael walked on stage you could not take your eyes off him. He was so dedicated to his fans and his audience mattered so very much to him that he went out there and gave it his all.
The resurgence of that interest in Michael is people seeing his true genius: 'My god, that music was unbelievable — I have to have this album, I have to see this movie. I want to have Michael Jackson firmly in my life.'
Shaye Areheart, Editor of the MoonWalk.