Thursday, June 25, 2009

Remember the Time? Michael Jackson (1958- 2009)

As my roommate Machete and I settle down to listen together tonight to the Michael Jackson greatest hits CD, I think it's only fitting to document my devotion (there's no other word for it really) for the departed king of pop when I was a kid.

For before there was JM, for me there was only MJ. Indeed, from the ages of 12 to 14 (ok, 15) , nobody rocked my world more than Michael Jackson (well there was Steffi Graf but that's another post some time). Confession time: my room used to be dominated by two huge MJ posters ( both of which looking back were undeniably creepy but which were among my most prized possessions in the world). I know exactly who J. Randy Tarraborelli is every time he is quoted in any MJ related article because I owned that book, I recorded every video on VHS tapes that later mysteriously disappeared...In short I was somewhat of a fan. In subsequent years of course I grew disillusioned and it was no longer socially or musically cool to listen to Michael Jackson. The 'hand holding' and what not with kids didn't help, MJ steadily became more wacko than jacko and that was that- apart from the occasional listen to early MJ. But tonight it's time to remember the glory days of MJ ...

Thus, here in no particular order are my top MJ related memories.

1. Getting up at an ungodly hour to watch MJ's interview with Oprah in 1992 or 3 - I remember my dad woke up and watched the whole thing with me even though he didn't like MJ which I think is the sweetest part of the story. :)
2. Excitedly running home from the video store with the Remember the Time (Making of) video and calling my best friend at the time to come over and watch- we watched it for hours on repeat
3. Being blown away with the face morphing end sequence in Black or White and terrified of the werewolf changing scene in thriller.
4. Really, truly believing in the lyrics to 'Man in the Mirror' - with an earnestness I can't believe I possessed.
ETA: Still a great song, btw
5. Really truly refusing to believe Michael would ever hurt a child because he 'loves children'. Hmmmm...
6. My mom's horrified face when she saw some video of girls fainting during a concert. Her exact words "It's a cult!"
7. Listening to the dangerous album on my walkman every night in the dark for a few months
8. Indoctrinating my sister into the ways of MJ
9. MTV awards- "And they thought it wouldn't last"

I'll end with two snippets that capture MJ the performer who at his peak could be electrifying on stage- first, the Motown 25 performance of Billie Jean that catapulted MJ from the Jackson 5 to becoming the king of pop.

And the moonwalk, in all it's glory and courtesy slate, a lovely video of its influence on all of us

MJ, hope that you're finally at peace. Thanks for the music and for taking me back to my childhood!

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