There was one unmistakable moment when Michael Jackson entered the American mind as an embodied possibility of not just our pleasures but also our ideals.
That moment came in early 1983. Jackson’s music was already in the air by that time - in fact, it was transforming the air. Everywhere you turned, you would hear an animating sound. It began with taut, maddened, funk-infused guitar lines that scrambled against the upsweeping curve of a string section in a heady depiction of emotional panic.
Photography: Getty/WireImage; Kevin Mazur, WireImage