Music is important. Even if it were good for nothing else, it is key to the way I put my own memories in context.
Family trip to Florida in 1983: Kris Kristofferson’s Here Comes that Rainbow Again.
Visiting my sister at college: Pulling Mussels (From the Shell) and Tainted Love.
Getting beat up by my brother (the early years): Twisted Sister.
Getting beat up by my brother (the later years): License to Ill.
Sixth grade gym show where my class slam dunked basketballs with the aid of trampolines: Groove is in the Heart.
Ratt and Extreme and Duran Duran and EMF came and went, but Michael Jackson was always there. When I was very young, I wore a silver glove around the house. In kindergarten, I ripped my chin open playing Thriller with my friend Eric. I was the werewolf, he was the girl. When I got home from the hospital that night, all I wanted to do was put Thriller on and run around some more.
As a tween (ha!), I bought Dangerous and Nirvana’s Nevermind on the same trip to Merle’s Record Rack. When I was pretty certain that real music was defined by the amount of distortion on a guitar, I was still transfixed by videos like Scream and Black or White.
Michael Jackson knew something about music that remains hidden to the rest of us. I am sorry to see him go.
PS – If there was one moment of levity in all of yesterday’s coverage, it came when, in a random street interview on E!, a woman said, “Michael Jackson was the Barack Obama of music.”