Just the other day, I reminisced about Tupac Shakur on what would’ve been his 39th birthday. That post was much easier to write than this one. It’s still too soon.

I was a fan like everyone else when I was younger. Thriller came out when I was six years old and I had the flea market glitter glove like every other kid. But I fell off as a fan. I’m not really sure why, other than it probably just wasn’t as cool to be a MJ fan anymore. I still knew the music and I still enjoyed it, but I was nowhere near the fan that I am today.

Right around my late high school and early college years, I just started to buy everything in site. I bought a J5 four-CD set, all the Jacksons albums, and all of his back catalog on CD. And today, while I won’t say I have everything the man put to wax (or plastic), I do have most everything he’s done. Now if they’d only release all the old J5 and Jacksons’ TV footage.

What’s interesting about Michael Jackson’s death to me is that he was so much larger than life when he was alive that it was almost like he wasn’t really alive. He was a living legend. And by that, I don’t mean the cliched way that the term is used. He was like a fairy tale that we lived through. Michael Jackson the real person was almost like a character from a book. He was a surreal celebrity who was hard to relate to.

So to me, I still think of him in that way. He was never someone I could touch. I could only see him and hear him.

Rather than look back at how I felt when I heard he passed (sad), where I was when I heard (work), and how I followed the situation (Twitter), I wanted to point everyone to some of the cool things I’ve read and seen in the past few days.

Our previous editor and lead writer and friend of SC, Big Money Mike, wrote an exhaustive four-part series on Michael’s music at Popdose which you can read here, here, here, and here. It’s a fantastic read.

Nancy Griffin writes a stellar piece for Vanity Fair called The Thriller Diaries, which studies Michael during the filming of the Thriller video just as his superstar status was entering white hot mode.

Last month, the New York Daily News posted an interesting photo of Michael that was being considered as album art for his 2001 album Invincible.

The Beautiful Struggler deals with Michael’s death with one year of retrospection.

Lastly, I wanted to showcase a few videos that I’ve come across and also my favorite video that wasn’t actually a performance or music video.

Someone Put Your Hand Out was recorded during the Dangerous era and was actually released in Europe through Pepsi to promote the Dangerous World Tour. It was released in the US several years ago as a part of MJ’s The Ultimate Collection. It’s one of the better previously unreleased tracks that have come out.

This next video isn’t really all that ground breaking. It’s just him rehearsing for We Are The World. I’d never seen it before until recently. It’s kind of interesting to see him bide his time and try to figure things out with the song. And for whatever reason, he breaks into a dance step for 2 seconds, which I found pretty funny.

This is my favorite non-performance, non-music video piece of footage out there. It’s actually for a Pepsi commercial, but you get to see Michael play an instrument and it seems like he’s truly happy in that moment. For whatever reason, I’ve just always been fascinated with this short piece.

Edit: I added one more that Questlove tweeted out. Michael is literally a dancing machine.

Lastly, if you can find it, go download DJ Jazzy Jeff’s mixtape, He’s The King, I’m The DJ. By the looks of it, people are having a hard time finding it though. It was released shortly after MJ died last year.

From Jazzy Jeff’s Twitter:

Miss u Mj…He’s the King….I’m the Dj….find it if u can…for real Mj Fans

Photo of MJ shared via Wikipedia and licensed through Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported