For me, like any kid of the 80s – and indeed, for the many millions around the world – I grew up on Michael Jackson. Just slightly too young for Off The Wall, I was smack-bang in the middle of the tsunami ride that was Thriller. Many say the 70s was a time of great freedom and excitement, but I have to say to 80s were way better… and without the sex and drugs 🙂
It was a time of fun, of discovering great and new tastes in music, fashion and culture. And Thriller topped the lot. I wore the single glove. I owned the black fedora. I had the posters and cut out articles in magazines and newspapers – many of which I still have! I longed for the red jacket and the cool dance moves but money (and talent) only stretched so far. I remember the Countdown debut of the Thriller clip, a 15 minute mind-blowing extravaganza that was nothing like we’d seen before. It was amazing, it was stunning, it was huge. It was Michael Jackson.
Whatever you think of the man (and I’ve wavered between ‘crazy’ and ‘genius’ a thousand times), his achievements in music, fashion and culture are unrivaled. His self-taught dance moves, his God-like command over the industry. And the music… the music! Bestselling album in the history of the world. Ever. Most singles from one album. And now, in his death, the ONLY artist to have three albums in the charts at one time.
He was a brilliant performer. Here’s just of my favorite clips from YouTube – the Jacksons performing at Motown’s 25th anniversary bash:
He was an enigma, a musical talent who was thrust too early into the spotlight – and stayed there when I’m sure there were times he’d much rather be just one of the crowd. But he was also a troubled soul, who’s fame was on such a global scale that there was no way ‘one of the crowd’ would ever apply.