Michael Jackson’s death in June 25, 2009 affected me more than I thought it would. I mean, I know a lot of his songs, I’ve seen his music videos, I was familiar with his story – but I wouldn’t really go and consider myself a fan. But like they say, you don’t really appreciate what you had until it’s gone.
Anyway, a lot of people have seen Usher’s emotional rendition of the Michael Jackson classic, “Gone Too Soon,” during the memorial service for the King of Pop last 7 July 2009. The song was sadly appropriate for the legendary artist’s sudden passing: “Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight / Here one day / Gone one night.” I’ve known this song before but thought I’d do some research.
Released in 6 December 1993, “Gone Too Soon” was the 9th single from the album Dangerous. It was composed by Larry Grossman and Buz Kohan, and was produced by Michael Jackson himself.
The music video of “Gone Too Soon” shows video clips of a young American teenager named Ryan White, to whom the song was dedicated. At the age of 13, Ryan White became infected with HIV due to a contaminated blood treatment used to cure his haemophilia. When the fact that he was HIV positive became publicly known, he was expelled from school. This started a prolonged legal battle to allow him to go back to school, which turned Ryan White into a national celebrity and a poster child for AIDS.
White frequently appeared in public to promote AIDS awareness with celebrities like Michael Jackson, who became his close friend. The pop star even gave him a red Mustang convertible as a gift. A few months before White’s high school graduation, he finally succumbed to AIDS after battling a lung infection. Michael Jackson attended his funeral, along with other celebrities who have become close to him throughout the years.
A few months after White’s death, Michael Jackson recorded the song “Gone Too Soon” as a tribute to his young friend. He also performed the song for President Bill Clinton’s inaugural ball on 20 January 1993, where he took the opportunity to talk about the importance of AIDS research.
Another untimely death led to the re-emergence of the song in 1997 – that of Princess Diana, who died in a car accident on 31 August 1997. “Gone Too Soon” was included in the compilation album in her honor, which was called Diana Princess of Wales Tribute.
Although the song never reached #1 in the charts, “Gone Too Soon” will always remind the world of a brilliant artist who was gone too soon.
Note: Photo on the left is from www.michaeljacksontributeportrait.com