Watch Michael Jackson Accept The Video Vanguard VMA — 26 Years Before Beyonce

Happy birthday, MJ!

There was a time when MTV’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award was simply known as the Video Vanguard Award. But in 1988, the King of Pop changed all that.

On Sunday, August 24 at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards Beyoncé took home the Moonman that was once the Lifetime Achievement Award and a hallmark that stood for an almost peerless contribution to music — a standard set and upheld by Michael Jackson throughout his entire career, a standard that we continue to celebrate five years after Jackson’s death.

Related: Did You Ever Think You’d See Michael Jackson Shmoney Dance To Bobby Shmurda? Now You Can

Had Michael not passed away on June 25, 2009, he would’ve turned 56 on Friday, August 29. MJ has left us with so many unforgettable moments, but given it’s Michael’s birthday and given the unbreakable ties between the VMAs and Michael’s MTV history, we dug into the MTV vaults and pulled out one that felt appropriate: Michael Jackson’s 1988 Video Vanguard Award win.

Unforgettable.

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