Michael Jackson was the Peter Pan of pop, the man who refused to grow old. It seems completely unfair that something as unremarkable as a heart attack should put an end to a magnificent career that survived scandal after scandal relatively intact. Unlike the majority of increasingly macabre media reports currently flooding the internet, I refuse to focus on the tragic side of Michael's life. The King of Pop clearly had his demons but he achieved more by the time he was 10 than most of us will accomplish in a lifetime. Instead, I'd like to pay tribute to an amazing artist by writing about my brief stint as one of his many devoted disciples. My love for Michael's music might have waned over the years but he never lost my admiration.
In the mid-80s my family finally got around to buying a VCR and one of the first videos we owned was "Thriller". I have no idea who chose it but I'm guessing it was my older sister. The clip was frightening stuff for a 5 year old and I had nightmares for a week. However, as I got older, it became one of my favourites and I watched that battered VHS compulsively. "Thriller" got me hooked on Michael and by the time "Bad" was released in 1987, I was already a loyal fan. More than twenty years have passed but I still remember purchasing the cassette with my pocket money and literally playing it until the tape broke. I listened to the album today and it isn't quite the masterpiece I remember. While "Bad" doesn't match the brilliance of "Off The Wall" or "Thriller", it's so intricately connected with my childhood memories that I find it hard to be objective. There's a bit of filler but time has been very kind to "Man In The Mirror", "Smooth Criminal" and "The Way You Make Me Feel".
I discovered Stock Aitken Waterman in the late 80s and my musical taste evolved radically (many would say in the wrong direction). By the time "Dangerous" was released in 1991, I had already lost interest in Michael. That's not to say I gave up on him entirely. Once you've caught the Havenhurst bug, there's no going back. Instead, I increasingly focused my attention on his fabulous siblings. My undying love for La Toya is pretty well known but I keep my admiration for Rebbie, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Randy on the downlow. I'm starting to ramble now but I just don't know how to end this post without sounding completely trite or overly dramatic. I guess I just want to thank Michael for being the soundtrack to so many happy childhood memories. My deepest condolences to his family and army of faithful fans.