Michael Jackson...."Who's Bad?"

Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)

Instead of posting links to Michael Jackson’s songs, I’m going to share some of my own personal MJ-related memories as a tribute to an undeniably talented musician who will be missed by many.

– Michael Jackson’s 1987 release. ‘Bad’ was the first LP my brother ever owned. I’m supremely jealous of that credibility-enhancing fact because my own was ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley. Even at five years old, he was cooler than me.

– We used to sing along to ‘Librarian Girl’ for years as children…until we realised it was actually ‘LibERian Girl’.

– My poor brother was known from an early age for his ‘Michael Jackson dance’ and was brought out whenever any of my parents’ friends or our extended family came round to perform in front of everyone. Man, I wish we had that on video.

– It wasn’t just me and my brother, the extended family also got involved, translating MJ lyrics into Gujarati and singing ‘Ghandhari Diana…No!’ before collapsing in hysterics. (‘Ghadhari’ is the guju word for ‘dirty’).

– MJ’s ‘Dangerous’ tour in 1992 saw my first ever live concert – I was lucky enough to go to Wembley Stadium with my Dad and little brother. We were so tiny we had to stand on our seats to see anything because the lady in front of us and her daughter were side-step-clap dancing throughout the entire show. I also have vague memories of them both wearing lycra cycling shorts and an MJ t-shirt.

– At the same concert, being newbies to the mayhem of stadium gigs (Note to Wembley: you could learn a thing or two from Disney World), we didn’t remember to note down where we had parked our car so had to wait for two hours at the end until almost everyone had left and we could find it. Must’ve been fun for my dad with an 11 year-old and a 9 year-old screaming “I’m tired!” and “I’m hungry!”.

– So excited when ‘Moonwalker’ was released but wasn’t allowed to go to the cinema with my friends on Sarah Dalling’s birthday to see it so dragged my dad along. He fell asleep and was actually snoring in the cinema (a feat repeated many years later at of one of my favourite films of all time ‘the Matrix’).

– At 11 years old and trying to appear cool in front of two older girls I met on a school trip I pretended to know who the Inspiral Carpets and the Manic Street Preachers were whilst wearing a black Dangerous tour t-shirt and green jeans. For some reason I haven’t heard from Jackie or Emily for a long while…

– That same MJ t-shirt allowed me to bond with my Indian “cousins” when we went over to Gujarat in the early nineties for a religious occasion organised in memory of my late Grandfather and even led one of them to make me a keyring as a gift, which I still have.

Although no MJ links, here are a few of my favourite rock covers:

Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal
Chris Cornell – Billie Jean
Fallout Boy – Beat It
Ben Gibbard – Thriller (link from the RSL blog)

…and a hilarious Bollywood-style video for ‘Thriller’ (youtube).

As a friend of mine noted:

“Legends don’t die. They live in our hearts forever. R.I.P MJ – May your soul finally rest in peace.”