Michael Jackson died one year ago today, on 25 June 2009, just weeks before he was to begin a series of comeback This Is It concerts at London's O2 Arena.
Amid all of the expected tributes to mark such an anniversary, and they're all certainly warranted in this case, one thing usually goes overlooked: the music itself.
The alchemy of personality in paring Jackson, as he rose from child superstar (then one of the most natural, least self-conscious performers to ever walk the planet) to troubled icon (by then one of the most calculating, self-conscious ever), with guitarists both world famous and unknown, is one of the more fascinating aspects one encounters when examining the late entertainer's oeuvre. The casting was carefully done - and even when steeped in the absurd, the results were, more often than not, glorious moments of rapturous beauty.
On the following pages, we take a look at seven axemen - and axewomen - who provided both silky grooves and molten shred to Jackson's music, and who, in their own disparate ways, helped give him the sound by which he became The King Of Pop.