Although the top of his Afro barely reached his brothers' elbows, Michael Jackson was the sensational star that rocketed the Jackson 5 to stardom.
His bright, boyish look was engaging, his toothy smile was camera-ready, his dance moves were contagious and his pitch-perfect pop-star voice redefined Top 40.
As he grew older, Michael Jackson earned the title "King of Pop." Records like "Off the Wall," "Thriller" and "Bad" made him millions. He was one of those rare talents who was capable of raising the performance bar even higher. His tours were sold out months in advance and his popularity was worldwide.
Along the way, though, his weirdness created a sordid shadow. The reconstruction of his face. The odd interviews. Building Neverland. The short-lived marriage to Lisa Marie Presley. The dangling baby. The public child molestation accusations not once, but twice. Each of these creepy chapters was like a needle in a voodoo doll.
It is the child molestation charges that will serve as the tragic undoing of Michael Jackson. He bought his way out of these charges more than a decade ago. It won't happen again. When the evidence is overwhelming and justice truly needs to be served, money doesn't matter.
Regardless of the outcome, Michael Jackson, perhaps the greatest entertainer of our generation, is shackled and irrelevant.
What a shame.