Everybody now knows Michael Jackson died yesterday.  RIP. 

My fave thoughts about Michael drift to being 9 - about to turn 10 - years old and hearing "Thriller" (yes, on cassette tape) for the first time.  I begged my musician father to let me carry his giant "Ghetto Blaster" portable stereo to school with me so I could play my Thriller tape at recess and dance with my girlfriends in the playground.  There was a big pile of dirt in the play area and while one girl manned the cassette player, we all crouched behind the dirt, and when she pressed the PLAY button, the song "Thriller" would start and the rest of us would oh-so-dramatically climb up from the dirt like zombies, trying to dance like the video.  We did it over and over for god knows how many weeks...

Last February I wrote in a blog on this site that Michael Jackson's poster for "Human Nature" (from the album Thriller) was the first music poster I ever hung on my bedroom wall.  The one of him wearing a white shirt, bow tie, pale yellow vest and a big rhinestone brooch with his hands in his pockets.  I've been told that as a young child I loved The Eagles' song "Hotel California."  I know that the first cassette tape I ever bought *with my own money* was Phil Collins' "No Jacket Required," and I know that Michael Jackson in that yellow vest was the first music poster ever to grace my wall.  Did I understand the meaning of the song "Billie Jean" at that age?  Definitely not. 

I also didn't know until today that the video for "Billie Jean" was the first time MTV ever aired a black artist's video.

I'm not sure my husband quite understands how much of an impact Michael Jackson's death has had on me today.  My husband's from a small town in northern England, and he's enough years younger than me to not really relate.  He wasn't that type of kid.  He didn't practice moon-walking in his bedroom, and he definitely didn't dance to "Billie Jean" wishing the sidewalk squares would light up under his feet -- nor did he get giddy while watching the half-million-dollar, 15-minute-long video for Thriller in the early years of MTV. 

And that is, of course, totally fine.

I just kinda wish I was back in LA today -- though clearly the vibe surrounding Jackson's death is global, based on the TV I'm watching this morning from London.  Last year TV's "Britain's Got Talent" was won by a teenager named George Sampson, who did a dance routine that never would have existed without 1970s and '80s MJ-created dance moves (don't forget MJ created the "robot" in the 1970s and then the "moon walk" in the '80s).  This year, an early front-runner for the same show was a boy who surprisingly belted out a fab rendition of a Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 number.  Clearly, Michael Jackson remains an artist by which all others will be measured.

Whoever you are, wherever you're from, some piece of Michael Jackson's music is a part of your life's soundtrack, whether you realize it or not.

I know a zillion people will write much better comments and retrospectives about Michael Jackson than this humble blog entry -- I just wanted to say my bit. 


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply.