On Finally "Getting"
Michael Jackson
by Robert Winter
Michael Jackson Michael JacksonMichael Jackson
SYNOPSIS:  The singer of "I'll Be There"ultimately found no one there for him--although millions watched.

Until recently, I would never have imagined myself understanding Michael Jackson.  I couldn’t even have pictured myself being interested enough to devote much thought to him.

I’m normally less interested in celebrities than anyone I know.  On top of that, if I were ever to get into fan worship, I would find Michael Jackson an especially unlikely object of devotion.  To the extent that I’ve even acknowledged his existence, I’ve regarded him as essentially just an example of something strange in popular tastes.

Then just recently, I found myself recalling a song from the 1970s, I’ll Be There.  I was mildly curious about the engaging little soprano-voiced boy who had belted the song out so touchingly.

It was the sort of question that, in an earlier age, wouldn’t have stayed in my mind long enough for me to go to the library and actually research it.  But this being the Internet age, I was able to get instant gratification online.

When I learned that the singer was none other than Michael Jackson, the pieces of his adult personality began almost immediately to fall into place for me.