We need you, Leon Kompowski.

Yes, I know. The entire world is talking about Michael Jackson right now. But it's not like the entire world did all my listening for me, so it's impossible for me to hear that he's dead and not reminisce a little.

Michael Jackson is the reason I gave up on Top 40 radio -- but not the way you'd think. One summer, the local station in Regina was doing a "Top 500 rock songs of ALL TIME" programming weekend, and I stayed by the radio loyally, pen in hand, transcribing this official record so that I might benefit from their wisdom.

(I was young.)

500 songs came and went, and Michael Jackson... didn't show up once. This was in the mid-90s, and the MJ of "Thriller" had completely vanished by this time, replaced by the National Enquirer's poster boy. Obviously, he wasn't "cool" anymore, and his image didn't jive with what the station wanted.

But to say that "Bad" was never good enough to crack the Top 500? That's not just denial. For a rock radio station to pretend that they never liked Michael Jackson... that's downright hypocritical. Like I said, that was the moment that I realised Top 40 radio just wasn't worth it. Listen to what you like, be it popular or hated. But listening to something *because* it's popular is a fool's game. That's what I learned from Michael Jackson.

And yes, he got freaky. I won't deny that. But that doesn't change the music.

And what music it was.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.