Michael Jackson, the early guy was the one I remember

michael-jackson-billie-jean-lit-street-paversThere are many parallels between Elvis and Michael Jackson. And, for my generation, growing up a teen in the 80s, Michael Jackson was our Elvis. But the one I will always remember is the “early” one, much like many prefer to remember the non-cape wearing, postage stamp friendly, early Elvis.

I debated whether to even write this post. There are, and will be, more stories on this topic right now than anything else. Why one more?

Like a lot of people, the Thriller album was as influential as it gets for a youngster growing up, even if that fan was a pale, freckled, awkward-80s-dancer from Canada. Sometimes embarrassing to say, but my trusty old Sony Walkman would either be queued up with Thriller, or Duran Duran’s Rio. I would listen to both over and over, and over again — even when the battery ran low, and the tape began to crawl.

When I would take our little cairn terrier for a walk on a blistering winter Ottawa evening, it was the music that would keep me warm, my adrenaline racing as I fought the -20C cold.

I also remember the Thriller video (but Billie Jean remains my favorite song). Who can ever forget it? I also remember standing in front of our 13″ TV in the family room trying to mimic Michael Jackson’s moves, with embarrassing results no doubt. But it made you feel good. It was fun. Sort of like the 80s in a nutshell really.

I’m not sure Michael Jackson was the best singer. But no doubt, he was the best dancer. And by far, the biggest and best entertainer. You just had to watch.

So many questions remain. I wonder, if he had lived, what would have happened at his much publicized 50-date comeback tour? Would it even come close to the 80s King of Pop, or would it more closely resemble the later, parodied, broken down, unfortunate freak show version?

We’ll never know. And regardless, I prefer to remember the magic that was the early Michael Jackson. Indelible images, songs and performances that will live forever.

Michael Jackson’s version of Mean Joe Green (but for Pepsi!)

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  • Kate Bampton

    My memories of Michael Jackson also gravitate to the early years, <br />
    Flashback to Summer of 1984,…. Usually unhappy and bored 2 and 4 year old sons being driven the length of England on congested motorways visiting grandparents and other family members, They were 6000 miles away from their home and friends in Southern California and definitely not &quot;happy campers&quot;. <br />
    Well I thanked God and Michael Jackson for &quot;THRILLER&quot; When all else failed and a meltdown was imminent I allowed them to sing, yell scream,their heads off, or anything else they fancied to &quot;BEAT IT&quot; Worked like a charm every time!!<br />
    Bruce Springsteen's &quot;BORN IN THE U.S.A.&quot; was a close second.<br />
    <br />
    My now 29 and 26 year old remember it well and I had texts from them on Thursday.<br />
    Very sad.

  • Kate Bampton

    My memories of Michael Jackson also gravitate to the early years,
    Flashback to Summer of 1984,…. Usually unhappy and bored 2 and 4 year old sons being driven the length of England on congested motorways visiting grandparents and other family members, They were 6000 miles away from their home and friends in Southern California and definitely not “happy campers”.
    Well I thanked God and Michael Jackson for “THRILLER” When all else failed and a meltdown was imminent I allowed them to sing, yell scream,their heads off, or anything else they fancied to “BEAT IT” Worked like a charm every time!!
    Bruce Springsteen’s “BORN IN THE U.S.A.” was a close second.

    My now 29 and 26 year old remember it well and I had texts from them on Thursday.
    Very sad.

  • Kate Bampton

    My memories of Michael Jackson also gravitate to the early years,
    Flashback to Summer of 1984,…. Usually unhappy and bored 2 and 4 year old sons being driven the length of England on congested motorways visiting grandparents and other family members, They were 6000 miles away from their home and friends in Southern California and definitely not “happy campers”.
    Well I thanked God and Michael Jackson for “THRILLER” When all else failed and a meltdown was imminent I allowed them to sing, yell scream,their heads off, or anything else they fancied to “BEAT IT” Worked like a charm every time!!
    Bruce Springsteen’s “BORN IN THE U.S.A.” was a close second.

    My now 29 and 26 year old remember it well and I had texts from them on Thursday.
    Very sad.

  • Clinton Stark

    Thanks Kate for a great story. Come to think of it, my parents used the same trick on me as a kid traveling across the US and Canada in the 70s in a camper van. The weapon though: ABBA.

  • Thanks Kate for a great story. Come to think of it, my parents used the same trick on me as a kid traveling across the US and Canada in the 70s in a camper van. The weapon though: ABBA.

  • Thanks Kate for a great story. Come to think of it, my parents used the same trick on me as a kid traveling across the US and Canada in the 70s in a camper van. The weapon though: ABBA.

  • DJ Klanker

    Hello Clinton,

    Liked your story! Well written, true, and funny.

    Regards,

    DJ Klanker

  • DJ Klanker

    Hello Clinton,

    Liked your story! Well written, true, and funny.

    Regards,

    DJ Klanker

  • DJ Klanker

    Hello Clinton,

    Liked your story! Well written, true, and funny.

    Regards,

    DJ Klanker

  • laura

    I think michael jackson has always been and will always be the worlds greatest singer, dancer, preformer and entertainer that that the music industry will ever see..He was so inspirational and yes he made some absolutley amazing songs in the 80’s but the songs all the way up to his death are still just as amazing..He had alot of talent, alot more that all of the artists today because everything they do whether it be thier singing, dancing or preforming, michael jackson has already done it before them and made a way better job of it aswell..
    All i know is that i don’t think there is one person in this world who does not know the name Michael Jackson, he was an absolute legend and his name and legacy will live on forever.
    He truly is and always will be the King Of Pop…And he will live on through his fans because they won’t let his name die…
    If i had one wish that would just make me soo happy, It would be to have met The ledgendary Michael jackson and just be in his presence..But sadly that will never happen..
    RIP MJ…You rock…Hope i see you when i go up to the pearly gates..Because if i do, Its worth dying for…

    LoveYou Michael..Your the best..EVER

  • laura

    I think michael jackson has always been and will always be the worlds greatest singer, dancer, preformer and entertainer that that the music industry will ever see..He was so inspirational and yes he made some absolutley amazing songs in the 80’s but the songs all the way up to his death are still just as amazing..He had alot of talent, alot more that all of the artists today because everything they do whether it be thier singing, dancing or preforming, michael jackson has already done it before them and made a way better job of it aswell..
    All i know is that i don’t think there is one person in this world who does not know the name Michael Jackson, he was an absolute legend and his name and legacy will live on forever.
    He truly is and always will be the King Of Pop…And he will live on through his fans because they won’t let his name die…
    If i had one wish that would just make me soo happy, It would be to have met The ledgendary Michael jackson and just be in his presence..But sadly that will never happen..
    RIP MJ…You rock…Hope i see you when i go up to the pearly gates..Because if i do, Its worth dying for…

    LoveYou Michael..Your the best..EVER

  • laura

    I think michael jackson has always been and will always be the worlds greatest singer, dancer, preformer and entertainer that that the music industry will ever see..He was so inspirational and yes he made some absolutley amazing songs in the 80’s but the songs all the way up to his death are still just as amazing..He had alot of talent, alot more that all of the artists today because everything they do whether it be thier singing, dancing or preforming, michael jackson has already done it before them and made a way better job of it aswell..
    All i know is that i don’t think there is one person in this world who does not know the name Michael Jackson, he was an absolute legend and his name and legacy will live on forever.
    He truly is and always will be the King Of Pop…And he will live on through his fans because they won’t let his name die…
    If i had one wish that would just make me soo happy, It would be to have met The ledgendary Michael jackson and just be in his presence..But sadly that will never happen..
    RIP MJ…You rock…Hope i see you when i go up to the pearly gates..Because if i do, Its worth dying for…

    LoveYou Michael..Your the best..EVER

  • laura

    I think michael jackson has always been and will always be the worlds greatest singer, dancer, preformer and entertainer that that the music industry will ever see..He was so inspirational and yes he made some absolutley amazing songs in the 80’s but the songs all the way up to his death are still just as amazing..He had alot of talent, alot more that all of the artists today because everything they do whether it be thier singing, dancing or preforming, michael jackson has already done it before them and made a way better job of it aswell..
    All i know is that i don’t think there is one person in this world who does not know the name Michael Jackson, he was an absolute legend and his name and legacy will live on forever.
    He truly is and always will be the King Of Pop…And he will live on through his fans because they won’t let his name die…
    If i had one wish that would just make me soo happy, It would be to have met The ledgendary Michael jackson and just be in his presence..But sadly that will never happen..
    RIP MJ…You rock…Hope i see you when i go up to the pearly gates..Because if i do, Its worth dying for…

    LoveYou Michael..Your the best..EVER