Michael Jackson Felt 'Young' at 50, Never Reached 51

In his final TV interview last year, Jackson was planning a comeback.

ByABC News
August 27, 2009, 4:02 PM

Aug. 28, 2009— -- Michael Jackson may be gone, but that won't stop thousands of fans from around the world from celebrating the King of Pop on what would have been his 51st birthday.

Only a year ago, on the eve of his 50th birthday, Jackson was planning a much more low-key celebration of cake and cartoons with his three children when he spoke with ABC News' Chris Connelly exclusively by phone from his home in California.

In Jackson's final television interview before his death on June 25, the pop superstar dropped hints of a comeback in the works. He boasted about still having his signature moves – and showing off some new ones – saying his greatest achievements lay ahead.

Jackson died as he was mounting his comeback tour in London, doing what he told Connelly he loved the most: performing.

For Jackson's 51st birthday, ABCNews.com is republishing the original exclusive interview, including many passages that was left out of our story last year:

Connelly: Michael, happy birthday! How are you?

Jackson: God bless you. I am fine thank you.

Connelly: How do you feel turning 50?

Jackson: Oh, I don't feel any different. I am fine actually – I am just having a wonderful time. Just relaxing, I am just watching a little James Brown show right now.

Connelly: Is that right?

Jackson: I love James Brown, yes.

Connelly: As you look back on 50 years, when do you think you were the happiest?

Jackson: The happiest? Oh boy, probably the recording of "Thriller" and the "Off the Wall" albums. That meant very much to me and seemed to be received so beautifully by the public and the world, you know. It was a time I enjoyed it very much.

Connelly: What was the most special thing about that experience for you? What moment do you remember most happily?

Jackson: That I could compose and write music and get to share it with the masses and the people around the world and to have them to receive it so beautifully – I love that. That's what I spend a lot of time doing. I love composing and writing music and dancing and performing and conceptualizing creatively for visual mediums. I love to create.