“Earth Song” mattered deeply to Jackson, who rightfully considered it one of his greatest artistic achievements. He planned for it to be the climax of his ill-fated This Is It concert series in London. It was the last song he rehearsed before he died.

It conveyed musically what Picasso’s masterful aesthetic protest, Guernica, conveyed in art. Inside its swirling scenes of destruction and suffering were voices — crying, pleading, shouting to be heard (“What about us?”).

“Earth Song” would become the most successful environmental anthem ever recorded, topping the charts in over fifteen countries and selling over five million copies. Yet critics never quite knew what to make of it. Its unusual fusion of opera, rock, gospel, and blues sounded like nothing on the radio. It defied almost every expectation of a traditional anthem. In place of nationalism, it envisioned a world without division or hierarchy. In place of religious dogma or humanism, it yearned for a broader vision of ecological balance and harmony. In place of simplistic propaganda for a cause, it was a genuine artistic expression. In place of a jingly chorus that could be plastered on a T-shirt or billboard, it offered a wordless, universal cry.

Michael felt a profound responsibility to use his celebrity for more than fame and fortune (in 2000, The Guinness Book of World Records cited him as the most philanthropic pop star in history). “When you have seen the things I have seen and traveled all over the world, you would not be honest to yourself and the world to [look away],” Jackson explained.

At nearly every stop on his Bad World Tour, he would visit orphanages and hospitals. Just days earlier, while in Rome, he stopped by the Bambin Gesu Children’s Hospital, handing out gifts, taking pictures, and signing autographs. Before leaving, he pledged a donation of over $100,000 dollars.

While performing or helping children, he felt strong and happy, but when he returned to his hotel room, a combination of anxiety, sadness, and desperation sometimes seized him.

Jackson had always been sensitive to suffering and injustice. But over the years, his feeling of moral responsibility definitely grew and you could see that in his work.

When people told him to simply enjoy his own good fortune, he got angry. He believed completely in John Donne’s philosophy that “no man is an island.” For Jackson, the idea extended to all life. The whole planet was connected and intrinsically valuable.

“[For the average person],” he explained, “he sees problems ‘out there’ to be solved… But I don’t feel that way — those problems aren’t ‘out there,’ really. I feel them inside me. A child crying in Ethiopia, a seagull struggling pathetically in an oil spill… a teenage soldier trembling with terror when he hears the planes fly over: Aren’t these happening in me when I see and hear about them?”

Once, during a dance rehearsal, he had to stop because an image of a dolphin trapped in a net made him so emotionally distraught. “From the way its body was tangled in the lines,” he explained, “you could read so much agony. Its eyes were vacant, yet there was still that smile, the ones dolphins never lose… So there I was, in the middle of rehearsal, and I thought, ‘They’re killing a dance.’”

When Jackson performed, he could feel these turbulent emotions surging through him. With his dancing and singing, he tried to transfuse the suffering, give it expression, meaning, and strength. It was liberating. For a brief moment, he could take his audience to an alternative world of harmony and ecstasy. But inevitably, he was thrown back into the “real world” of fear and alienation.

So much of this pain and despair circulated inside Jackson as he stood in his hotel room, brooding.

Then suddenly it “dropped in [his] lap”: Earth’s song. A song from her perspective, her voice. A lamentation and a plea.

The chorus came to him first — a wordless cry. He grabbed his tape player and pressed record. Aaaaaaaaah Oooooooooh.

Here is the song in all it’s beauty. I think after all these years people are ready to receive and really understand it’s powerful message:

In 2011, the song was paired-up with the poem ‘Planet Earth’ which was previously released on Michael’s ‘This Is It,’ in 2009, with him reciting the poem and released as a song on the remix album ‘Immortal.’

“Planet Earth, my home, my place

A capricious anomaly in the sea of space

Planet Earth, are you just

Floating by, a cloud of dust

A minor globe, about to bust

A piece of metal bound to rust

A speck of matter in a mindless void

A lonely spaceship, a large asteroid

 

Cold as a rock without a hue

Held together with a bit of glue

Something tells me this isn’t true

You are my sweetheart, soft and blue

Do you care, have you a part

In the deepest emotions of my own heart

Tender with breezes, caressing and whole

Alive with music, haunting my soul.

 

In my veins I’ve felt the mystery

Of corridors of time, books of history

Life songs of ages throbbing in my blood

Have danced the rhythm of the tide and flood

Your misty clouds, your electric storm

 

Were turbulent tempests in my own form

I’ve licked the salt, the bitter, the sweet

Of every encounter, of passion, of heat

Your riotous color, your fragrance, your taste

Have thrilled my senses beyond all haste

 

In your beauty I’ve known the how

Of timeless bliss, this moment of now.

 

Planet Earth, are you just

Floating by, a cloud of dust

A minor globe, about to bust

A piece of metal bound to rust

A speck of matter in a mindless void

A lonely spaceship, a large asteroid

 

Cold as a rock without a hue

Held together with a bit of glue

Something tells me this isn’t true

You are my sweetheart, soft and blue

Do you care, have you a part

In the deepest emotions of my own heart

Tender with breezes, caressing and whole

Alive with music, haunting my soul.

 

Planet Earth, gentle and blue

With all my heart, I love you.”

Written by Michael Jackson.

Michael’s humanitarian message lives on!

Sources used: MJworld, huffingtonpost (Joe Vogel)

   
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