I remember as a child, I first became aware of Michael Jackson with his song “Ben”. I was around 10 years old at the time and I remember thinking this is the sweetest song I’d ever heard about friendship.
I remember when Off the Wall came out. I was 18 years old, full of “piss and vinegar” and was just getting started into my clubbing days. I had a lot of good times during that period and Michael’s music was the soundtrack to that part of my life.
I remember when I first heard “Billie Jean” from the albumn Thriller. It was “off the wall”!!! At the time I thought it was the best dance song I’d ever heard. I sweated at the clubs (and at home) to hit after hit from that albumn: “Beat it”, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”, “P.Y.T.” Then came the video to the song “Thriller”! I remember the first time I saw it and I just sat there on the couch, stunned for a while… and then thinking: “This is the most amazing thing I’d ever seen in my life!”
I remember Michael’s signature dance moves. When he first performed his “moonwalk” on the Motown special, I was floored! I will never forget the dance sequence at the end of the original video for the song “Black or White”. His complex dance moves, including the tap sequence, which seemed to be driven by a foreboding sexually charged energy and then all released through violent, destructive and explosive behaviour… though controversial… was something I had never seen before and has never been nor will never be duplicated.
Just like with Bob Marley, the passing of Michael Jackson is a significant event in my life. The man and his music represented a time and place in pop culture that influenced and shaped the lives of not only those of my generation, but also those before, after and to come.
Rest in peace King of Pop.
“And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.”
From “American Pie” by Don McLean