Can you believe it’s been 7 years since Michael Jackson passed away? It feels like it was just last week. His legacy is far from gone, however, and this week, we’ll be taking a look at and celebrating what made MJ the true King of Pop.
If there’s one thing that Michael Jackson should be remembered as after being an entertainer, it’s that he was a philanthropist. He gave generous amounts of time and money to various causes, visited sick children in hospitals, and created the Heal the World Foundation, amongst countless other incredible acts of kindness he did out of pure love for the world. To complement all this, he recorded several hit songs to help inspire people to take care of the planet and each other. Especially today, it’s important to take his messages to heart and live them.
“We Are the World” (1985)
Considered to be his first major charity single, Michael co-wrote “We Are the World” with Lionel Richie in 1985. What makes it so unique is that it was sung by a supergroup of famous musicians, collectively called USA for Africa, which included Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, and many others. The main goal of the song was to raise funds for famine relief in Africa and the US. As of today, the song has raised over $63 million and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. It serves as an excellent example of what we can do as a planet when we unify together.
“Man in the Mirror” (1988)
As the song says, no message can be “any clearer:” if we want to make this world a better place, we have to first change ourselves. From his album Bad, “Man in the Mirror” is a soulful gospel song that you just can’t help but be inspired by to help make a difference in the world. It was written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett (who sang with Michael in “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You“), and it is said to have been one of Michael’s favorite songs. Along with spreading its message of self-change, all of the profits earned by “Man in the Mirror” went to charity.
“Heal the World” (1991)
Off of the album Dangerous, Michael has stated that “Heal the World” is the song he was the most proud to have created. It’s a very soft and pure song that stresses the concept of “betterment for all,” especially for children. Michael performed it at the 1993 Super Bowl and would perform in during his Dangerous and HIStory world tours as part of the finale numbers. More importantly, however, the song inspired the creation of his Heal the World Foundation, which aimed to improved the welfare of children around the world. The charity raised millions, including all the profits from the Dangerous world tour.
“Earth Song” (1995)
Anytime I hear or watch this song, it’s always chilling how powerful it is. With “Earth Song,” the focus is on the environment and animal welfare, and how we have severely degraded the condition of our planet. But then the music video uses reverse motion to show the Earth undoing all the destruction to restore its natural beauty. It’s an incredible wake-up call for the human race, as it shows we can still fix the planet, before it’s permanently too late. The final chilling part about “Earth Song” is that it was last song Michael ever performed, as part of rehearsals for his This Is It concerts. Even though it was just a coincidence, I can’t think of a better final message that he would leave the world with.