Saturday, June 27, 2009

They don't make 'em like they used to.

Do you remember the time when we fell in love? Do you remember the time when we first met?

Michael Jackson's music is so pervasive, I can't even remember the time when I first heard one of his songs. I was a little girl when he made his legendary performance of Billie Jean, deubting the Moonwalk on MTV in 1983. We were still perfecting our moonwalks in Junior High, a decade later.

My mom was a college kid at Auburn University when she saw the Jackson 5 live. They brought out their baby sister Janet, who toddled and bounced on the stage in her poofy little girl dress. I was 17 when Michael and Janet's Scream came out; we watched the video debut on MTV.

I never considered myself a fan: for my generation, he's always been around, and we couldn't help but tap our toes and try to moonwalk to his and his family's work that helped to shape our lives. And as a music lover with a collegiate minor in performance, I believe it was for the better.

Sure he had problems. Sure he was eccentric, a nutcase, in desperate need of therapy and deprogramming. Sure my mom HATED when he grabbed his crotch. I wasn't a big fan of that either. Who would ever want to shake his hand? Maybe the glove was disposable. But his was the kind of persona who could put such off the wall thoughts in our heads.

Highly intelligent and talented people are very often highly crazy. It doesn't forgive whatever his personal transgressions were, but I'm sure you can think of a few other examples.

The cold hard truth is this: in his professional capacity, Michael Jackson had more talent in his little finger than any of the Britneys, Ushers, Amy Winehouses, and most musicians of the next generation combined. They are pale in comparison. He was a savant, and I feel sorry for today's generation who will grow up not knowing his genius and believing that the latest American idol has an ounce of his musicality.

Photo courtesy of


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Yes, he was a highly troubled man, but the fact is too is that he was a total genius. His music is my childhood, and what a nice childhood it was. I think I watched Thriller 500 times, and every wall had a poster of him on it in the 80s. I even lined up for hours when his newest poster unveiling was happening, just to get one before anyone else! Sure wish I had held onto all that stuff. Sad to think that many will never know who he was or experience his music.


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