Look at this photo taken in 1984. Who is visiting who here??!! It’s as if the Reagans are Michael’s guests—not the other way around. And I love how Jackson coolly waves to his fans, while the most powerful man in the world and the First Lady appear to radiate in Jackson’s company. It was reported that an aid called the starstruck White House “really king of embarrassing.”
The term “global icon” is overused. Few people or things ever really become global phenomena. (Even the Beatles popularity was limited to America and Britain.) But Michael was one of them, because he was the greatest performer that ever lived (despite his being unthinkably bizarre), and he’s right up there with Bach, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Kraftwerk as one of the most influential artists of all time.