Friday, June 26, 2009

Working long hours and having little computer time has a negative impact on my blogging, but today there are a few things I wanted to say regardless of sleep. Thanks to the explosion on Twitter today I was kept up to date on the situation with Michael Jackson. I know everyone and their mother is blogging about this right now, but I still want to express some feelings.

For as long as I can remember in my brief life there has been Michael Jackson. I cannot remember a time with out him. Off the Wall came out a year before I was born so I was never alive in a world without him - until now. My cousin was a big fan, as well as anyone on the planet, so I heard his music from the very beginning. By the time I was old enough to know a little, around four, I would emulate Michael everywhere. I had a small "Beat It" style jacket, white glove, glittered socks (which I still have) and, of course, the penny loafers. In fact, it was at the shoe store where my show would begin.

The name of the store escapes me at the moment, but it is a kids shoe store in Ft. Worth and this is where my mom always took us for footwear. While trying on the penny loafers I would proceed to do my Michael impersonation. "Beat It," "Billie Jean" or "Thiller" and all the dancing that came along. Learning how to moonwalk was one of the greatest things to me at the time, and it's something I still enjoy doing on occasion.

At this young age all I wanted was to grow up to be Michael Jackson. I would either tell people I wanted to be him or a singer just like him. In my copy of the Dr. Suess My Book About Me I have Jackson's name written in my just-learned-to-write chicken scratch under "Hero." He was my hero, but I was not alone. Kids and adults all over the world worshiped the ground on which he walked. Girls would cry like babies and even pass out during his concerts all because they were witnessing him perform. I never got a chance to see him live, but it was something I wished for all the time. Just the other day I was talking about the few acts that I would pay a lot of money to see if they came through Dallas again and his name was on the top of that list. Sadly, I will never get a chance to see him in the flesh.

Not everyone of my friends knows how much I love MJ. Sure, I had his music on my iPod, but who doesn't have a few of his songs? I have bought everyone of his albums at one time or another (with the exception of Invincible which I heard, but did not really like), and some I bought on vinyl, then cassette and finally CD. Yes, this means I even bought Dangerous. The first two solo albums are the best, without a doubt, and Bad has its moments, but just does not compare. Most of his albums' weight came from Quincy Jones being behind the sounds and lyrics, but no one has been a performer like Michael. An incredible dancer who moved like no one before. Just watch in the video below where he debuted the moonwalk at the Motown 25th anniversary show. The crowd went nuts, as did everyone watching their TV sets at home. No one could believe their eyes. Now so many people have been so heavily influenced by this man that it borders on plagiarism. This was just a small piece of what the man did to make his mark on the world. Look at the "Thriller" video (which is on MTV right now, it's even the long version) - this basically revolutionized the music video. There had been videos before where people would have a bit of a "story" involved, but Michael's musical short films grew the attention of the nation and were helmed by accomplished film directors (John Landis, Martin Scorsese). These videos featured elaborate budgets, FX and choreography that people cannot help but repeat. We had a copy of "Thriller" from the first airing that I pretty much wore out from so many viewings.

I read the news while I was working and while it did depress me quite a bit, there was not much time to think about the news. On the way home I put on some of his music and shed a couple of tears for the man behind the music that has been with me for my entire life. Have I turned into one of the fainting concert girls? I hope not, but I am saddened by his passing, mostly because of the shock. They say the celebrity deaths happen in threes, but I never would have expected Michael. Ed McMahon was old and not doing well and Farrah's cancer had been widely publicized, but this came out of the blue. I still cannot believe what has happened.

A lot of people probably wonder why anyone is sad for the death of a "deviant" such as Michael Jackson. I'm not sure if he did everything he was accused of, but I will admit there was something fishy happening. Why anyone let their child spend the night, alone, with a non-family member adult is beyond me. He had his moment and his artistic, and personal, choices took him somewhere that it was hard to watch. I'm not condoning the actions he is accused of, nor is this any excuse, but this is what a bad effect abuse can have on a person.

I hope people take the time to remember the good things about Michael, and the good times. Listen to some Jackson 5 or anything from Off the Wall or Thriller and you will find it hard not to remember a time you were in love with the King of Pop.

R.I.P. Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Check out this great article on HitFix by Drew McWeeny (aka Moriarty from Ain't It Cool News).


Beth said...

Very well said. I don't know if he did all the screwed up things he was accused of over the years, but I DO know that my best friend and I used to rent Thriller weekly and watch it beginning to end - even the how-to on the make-up - and think we were seeing the coolest. thing. ever.

And y'know what? We were.

Sean said...

I heard someone say it perfectly on the news this morning, "Michael jackson isn't some one who comes around once a century, or once in a lifetime, he is someone who comes around once."


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