Off To See The Wizard

June 28, 2009 at 12:14 am 1 comment

A few of my friends have posted on Facebook about their first memories of Michael Jackson because let’s face it, for my generation, his music was the soundtrack to a large part of our youth. Specifically, a couple of them have recounted memories of skating to Rockin’ Robin. These friends are obviously much, much older than I because I wasn’t aware that Michael or the Jacksons ever did a cover of that song.

I have some very vague memories of the Jackson Five/5 era, but I mostly came to know and love that music when I was older. I even have ABC on my ipod. Instead, I came of age during Michael’s Off The Wall period. I got my first real stereo with a turntable when I was twelve and that was one of the very first records I owned. Instead of Rockin’ Robin, I have memories of skating to Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.

I love that video. Especially compared to the trailblazing sophistication of some of his latter videos. I can just imagine them explaining the concept, “Basically Mike, you stand in front of a green screen and sing the song, then we’ll add an LSD trip post-production.”

That video was made in 1979. There was also a video for Rock With You (Hamburglar pants and glitter Uggs, Mike!). MTV didn’t begin airing until 1981. So where were these videos being shown before MTV? I have some foggy, faint memory of something on TV late Friday night maybe that showed music videos…does this sound familiar to anybody else? Or is this one of those things that nobody has ever heard of except my sister and me, like Barbapapas?

I didn’t love the Thriller album like many people did. Probably because it was played to death and I have this thing about if I hear a song too often, I officially detest it and will henceforth avoid it at all costs. Billie Jean is one of those songs. I thought it was a stupid song to begin with (yes, I’m one of those people that actually listens to and judges a song based on it’s lyrics) but the music was great and it was catchy, they just played it. into. the ground. I had also moved on from pop to more of a punk/rock thing by then. I will admit that’s it’s possible that I may or may not also have in the very recent past had P.Y.T. on my ipod as well.

I also really liked a lot of stuff off his Bad and Dangerous albums. I still can’t resist the urge to bop along when I hear The Way You Make Me Feel. “You knock me offa my feet now baby. Hoooo!” And remember the anticipation of the primetime premier of the video for Black or White, with the cool morphing faces at the end?

Michael had a lot of problems, and he made some really poor choices. I don’t know that we’ll ever know the full truth behind a lot of the controversy that surrounded him. But he’s gone and that’s between him and his maker now. I suspect that his musical legacy will outlive all of us though, and rightfully so.

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We are here! What I’d Say

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. barb  |  June 28, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    But didn’t you grab your hairbrush (it was close by because at age 12 you brush your hair ALOT) and sing into it when Michael came on the radio?Why I remember curling my “feathers” ala Farrah when Michael would come on WLS AM 99 and started my singing career. Loosing 2 of my childhood icons in one day was hard! hate getting old……

    Reply

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