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Michael Jackson Forever: 15 Ways We've Seen a New Generation Fall in Love With MJ

The King of Pop's reign may never end

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A daughter's arc

Jim McCrary / Getty Images

September 2010: My 3-year-old daughter, well versed in the Number Ones collection, sings the chorus of "Beat It" as "don'tchu wanna see the BEEEES!" and is terrified by nothing so much as the Vincent Price "Thriller" voiceover. Jackson 5 comes on the radio one day. She goes, punctuated by claps: ''I. Want. To. See. Michael. Jackson. But! He! Is! IN! HEAVEN!!"

December 2015: The now-9-year-old fourth grader and I make a too-rare visit to a record store before a road trip with our no-aux-cord-stereo car. We're each buying a CD for the ride. I think she might go for the new Bieber or Adele something Top 40ish, or one of her heavy-rotation favorites—Beyoncé or Janelle Monáe, maybe. But she makes a beeline for the Michael Jackson discs and starts debating between Off the Wall and Thriller. She picks Thriller (because she knows more of the songs), takes the booklet out in the car, giggles at the booklet's little New Yorker–ish drawings and reads every lyric as we go. –Zach Dionne

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This super-emotive Swedish toddler bumping "They Don't Care About Us"

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This spot-on impersonator

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"Beat It" ballet

VARIOUS, VARIOUS - JUNE 25:  **IMAGE RESTRICTED - NOT AVAILABLE FOR USE IN A NORTH AMERICAN MAGAZINE COVER UNTIL JULY 31, 200
Kevin Mazur

I used to teach beginner ballet classes to kids as young as three and as old as 11. In my classes I liked to switch things up and have my students do barre exercise and move across the floor to different genres of music from different decades. It was always appreciated and mind-blowing when my little ones were jamming out to the MJ tracks on my playlist and were able to sing along to his hits. Seeing the new generation of kids taking an interest and liking to Michael's music shows that he was a true icon and and his music will forever be a classic. –Mang-Sabrina Xiao

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This fussy baby calming down with "Rock with You"

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This Chinese 4-year-old who made it to 'Ellen'

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This teenage talent-show winner

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The hypnotized little brother

Michael Jackson performs during halftime of a 52-17 Dallas Cowboys win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII on January
Steve Granitz

I was writing a special for VH1 about Michael Jackson’s videos back in the 1990s, and brought a VHS tape (yes, a VHS tape) with me to my father’s house so I could work on it while I was visiting. My brother Will was about five or six at the time, and was busy playing in the room where the TV was when I popped in the tape. The first video came up: it was “Rock with You” from back in 1979, an early video starring Michael in a sparkly suit, singing into a handheld mic and dancing with strobes and colored lights behind him. 

I turned my head, and saw that Will had put down whatever he was playing with and had gotten to his feet. He was dancing, completely lost in the music and whatever world inside his head was created as a result. It was a visceral reaction; he heard the music, and his body needed to move, to express itself, to dance. It wasn’t something he thought about, it was just something that happened, and kept happening, until the song was done. I’ll never forget it. –Laurie Ulster

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This budding "Heal the World" karaoke champion

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This Bulgarian 11-year-old getting backed by a whole choir

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This very serious "Beat It" singer

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The Moonwalk never dies

Michael Jackson performs during halftime of a 52-17 Dallas Cowboys win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII on January
Steve Granitz

My 11-year-old nephew and 7-year-old niece have a fairly deep knowledge of the classics (The BeatlesElton JohnMadonna, etc. etc.), but they have embraced Michael Jackson’s music so fiercely, you’d think that there was MJ and then there was everything else. They know every single word to every single hit, imitate the dance moves and can rattle off the iconic videos; we watched Free Willy recently because there’s a Michael Jackson song at the end that they had never heard (and because, come on, Free Willy rules). What does all this mean? Nothing, really; it’s an anecdotal detail that makes me smile. But it also proves, yet again, that a song like “Thriller” does not belong to any specific time or generation, and that the hooks of “Billie Jean” do not need to be modernized. I was awkwardly trying to moonwalk when I was 7, and in 100 years, 7-year-olds will be doing the same. –Jason Lipshutz

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This little rock star's moves

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This tiny talent show star hitting "Smooth Criminal"

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This Nepali 3-year-old going way back with "Ben"

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