Like everyone in America, I became a fan of the Jackson 5 when they first hit the scene. Who didn't like the idea of a group of kids from one family (except maybe the Osmonds) performing with such professional aplomb, led by their cute and charismatic little pixie, Michael.
Of course I was finishing up college when J5 was at their peak and we at Howard were probably more into the Five Stairsteps (World of Fantasy, You Waited Too Long, Oo Oo Child, etc.). They were the same deal basically although one of the five was a sister. Don't know why they didn't go on to enjoy similar success to the Jackson 5, although not having the support of a Berry Gordy and the Motown machine is probably the biggest reason.
That said, I've been trying to figure out why I'm not as bummed out about Michael's death as so many people world-wide seem to be. I suppose the main reason is the inescapable conclusion that Michael led such an unhappy life that his death gives him some respite from the suffering.
Still, I made a list off the top of my head of the entertainers I was most bummed out about after their premature deaths and Michael comes in at, I don't know, somewhere in the lower half. After Hendrix, the list is in no particular order and is not exhaustive in any case:
 Jimi Hendrix
 Otis Redding
 John Belushi
 Natalie Wood
 Curtis Mayfield
 Richard Pryor
 Gilda Radner
 Phyllis Hyman
 Isaac Hayes
 Bernie Mac
 Minnie Riperton
 John Lennon
 Marvin Gaye
 Michael Jackson
 Luther Vandross
[Honorable Mention] Barry White, Eddie Kendrick, Levi Stubbs, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin.
Don't get me wrong: Michael Jackson was a supremely talented man who tried to make the world a better place through his music and humanitarian efforts. He meant a lot to a majority of people whose lives he touched and he will justifiably be missed (even by me) and mourned. I am saddened by his death. I'm just trying to understand why I'm not more moved by it.
For the record, my favorite Michael Jackson song is "The Lady In My Life," which saw a lot of air time on WHUR's Quiet Storm back in the Melvin Lindsay days, although there are many more that I liked as well. I remain more drawn to Michael Jackson's ballads than his dance music.
I'm sure others (entertainers I will miss) will pop into my head but R.I.P. all of them including Michael. And Steve McNair, too.
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