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He was not yet 14 when he covered the above Bill Withers hit, but then he had already been a part of The Jackson 5 since the age of 11.
Growing up in Calcutta, it was fashionable for some of us musical snobs to be dismissive about him, but there was no getting away from the sound of Beat it, even in those pre-MTV schooldays, when pop music came in pirated IMD cassettes. But all that was in the innocent days, much before the weird stories and the face and colour changes:
And, then, of course came the MTV, and it was he who broke the white monopoly, it was he who was clearly the most popular black man before Barack Obama, even before his Black&White, the controversies, the Thackerays and the freak-show his life had become: "Yeah, Wacko Jacko, where did that come from? Some English tabloid. I have a heart and I have feelings. I feel that when you do that to me. It's not nice"
Many of us, may not have rated him as our favourite pop-singer, but we knew that he mattered in the scheme of things. Rolling Stone rated him at #35 Greatest Artists of all time
This not yet 50-year-old had been a star for close to 40 years.