Listeners Share Their 'A-List' Of Jackson Hits

The "Tell Me More" audience mourns the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson, who died suddenly last week at the age of 50. Host Michel Martin and digital media producer Lee Hill highlight a few listeners' favorite Michael Jackson hits and why the songs — and the King of Pop — will remain in their hearts forever. In contrast, one man tells why he thinks too much is being done to commemorate Jackson.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for BackTalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy is here, as always.

Hi, Lee.

HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, whether you loved him or hated him, it's still hard to believe that the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, is dead. We were wrapping up a long day here in the office last Thursday when we learned that the 50-year-old pop star had died in Los Angeles. Now as the investigation continues into what caused his sudden death, we asked our listeners to tell us their favorite Michael Jackson songs.

Here's Willie, who owns a record store in Virginia.

WILLIE: One of my favorites - all-time favorite is that "Human Nature."

(Soundbite of song, "Human Nature")

Mr. MICHAEL JACKSON (Musician): (Singing) If they say, why? Why? Tell 'em that is human nature. Why, why, does he do me that way? If they say, why? Why? Tell 'em that is human nature. Why, why, does he do me that way?

WILLIE: It had a light side to it. It was a big hit, but it just reminds me of a good time, you know what I mean? That was one of the last of the good side of Michael Jackson before he kind of changed over. But I know he went through a lot. Hopefully, he'll be okay, and he's in a better place.

MARTIN: Pat told us how the King of Pop helped her through some difficult times.

(Soundbite of song, "Never Can Say Goodbye")

JACKSON 5 (Pop Group): (Singing) Never can say goodbye. Say goodbye, girl. Every time I think I've had enough, I start heading for the door. There's a very strange vibration piercing me right through the core.

PAT: "Never Can Say Goodbye." I remember going to college that fall, and all my friends were leaving. I was traumatized, and the Jackson 5 made me survive those parting times. I'm really sad he's gone.

(Soundbite of song, "Never Can Say Goodbye")

JACKSON 5: (Singing) I can never can say goodbye, girl. Never can say goodbye girl. Ooh, baby. Don't wanna let you go, girl. I never can say goodbye. No, no, no. No, no, no.

HILL: And for Doris, Michael Jackson was a source of inspiration.

DORIS: "Keep The Faith," that's my Sunday morning song.

(Soundbite of song, "Keep The Faith")

Mr. JACKSON: (Singing) So keep the faith. Ow, don't let nobody take you down, brother. Just keep your eyes on the prize, and your feet flat on the ground. Keep the faith…

DORIS: That's my uplifting song, and I just love it. It was on the "Dangerous" album.

MARTIN: But some people are saying just beat it, that we're devoting too much coverage to somebody who just didn't deserve it. Here's a note we received from Dan. He writes: Michael Jackson was a manufactured pop star, no different from the latest "American Idol" contestant. His death might've been noteworthy for one day of press coverage. If I wanted saccharin, sentimental news coverage about has-been pop stars, I would watch "Entertainment Tonight." Please tell me less about Michael Jackson.

HILL: Ooh.

MARTIN: Harsh.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Thank you, Dan. Thank you, Lee.

HILL: And thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And remember, with TELL ME MORE the conversation never ends. To tell us more about what you think, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log on to our Web page. Go to npr.org, click on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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