Goodbye to the 'King of Pop'

In this photo from July 7, 1984, Michael Jackson wears a white glove during his performance kicking off the "Victory Tour" at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. <BR><I>AP?File Photo</I>

NEW YORK - When Michael Jackson anointed himself "King of Pop" over two decades ago, there was considerable rumbling about his hubris: Yes, he may have become a world sensation with record-setting sales of "Thriller," and yes, he may have had a string of No. 1 hits with smashes like "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," but the king of pop music?

He broke MTV's color barrier, becoming the first black artist played on the young, rock-oriented channel. Jackson's amazing talents as a dancer were also displayed to the world during his Emmy-nominated performance for Motown's 25th anniversary. It is still considered one of TV's most thrilling moments, from his moonwalk strut to his pulsating pelvic movements.

There will be no comeback now, no Jackson 5 reunion, no new music to share with millions of fans. But the legacy he leaves behind is so rich, so deep, that no scandal can torpedo it. The "Thriller" may be gone, but the thrill will always remain.

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