To say that Michael Jackson had a profound impact on my life would be an understatement. Like other people in my age group (I’m 51), I grew up listening to the Jackson 5. I continued listening to Michael after I heard the Off The Wall album, while I was stationed with the US Marine Corps in San Diego, California. His death in 2009 was a shock, but I’m sure you already knew that.
To be honest, I listened to a variety of music in the 80s. I heard the songs from the Off The Wall album, for the first time however, while riding in the car of a black friend (a fellow Marine – yes, I said “black”) and it was long before CDs were invented (everything seemed to be on cassette tape at the time).
San Diego had cable and so did I. I watched MTV when it was just starting out. Later, when I was stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, I spent more hours than I care to remember watching music videos on a music video jukebox. I didn’t see a music video with Michael Jackson, however, until 1985.
When I met my wife in 1983, she was way more talented than I expected. She could do every dance move Michael Jackson had had ever done, except the moonwalk (and she was a professional folk dancer). Well, Michael didn’t do the moonwalk in public until March 25, 1983 and I met her in May of 1983, so that could be expected.
I saw the Thriller video on MTV for the first time in 1985. 1985 is an important year for my family. I and my wife married in January and my younger son (I have an adopted older son) was born in November. This is the primary reason I listen to mostly eighties music these days. Of course, that isn’t the only reason. I listen to music while I’m working online, at Top 100s Radio, almost every day. I’ve listened to pre-80s music and post-80s music and I always return to the 80s music.
The Death of Michael Jackson and the Media Blitz
When Michael died in 2009, I made a conscious decision to avoid writing about it anywhere (other than a reference). The media had already had a field day for at least two weeks after that and it included the sales of his music. According to the reports I’ve read, 2009 was the highest revenue grossing year for his estate in history. That just seems wrong in so many ways.
Michael died at the age of 50 and not of natural causes. I’m 51 now, so I guess I’ve outlived him. That’s nothing new, however, because Elvis Presley died at the age of 42 in 1977. It’s entirely coincidental that Michael was briefly married to the daughter of Elvis, being the closest thing to the King of Pop having a relationship with the King of Rock.
Why do I bring it up now? Well, I was just listening to both Billie Jean and Beat It at Top 100s Radio and it just felt like the right time.