Sunday, 13 June 2010
There had been reports in the press that Michael Jackson had made the first £1 million video. An unprecedented amount of money back in the 80's. As I watched Top Of The Pops, I sat there with the video on pause, I was going to tape this and didn't want to miss a thing. The presenter then said that they would be showing the full video, another first as it was over 10 minutes long. I unpaused the video and sat there staring at the screen.
We all know how it plays, but for me as a 12 year old child it was like someone had taken me into another world. I had never seen anything like it. The make-up, the dance moves, the laugh at the end of the video, it was pure magic and so started a life long obsession with anything Michael Jackson.
I pestered my parents for weeks to buy me the album but was told I had to wait for my birthday, so one of my cousins taped it for me onto a cassette which I still have now. I listened to that album everyday, learnt every word, knew every beat, it is in my opinion the most complete album ever made.
earnt from a paper round I did as a child, I covered my walls with every poster I could get my hands on. I asked all my aunts and uncles if they had Jackson 5 albums and if so would they do me a cassette of it. I didn't listen to anything else.
A few years later the rumours started about a new album (Bad) and a possible tour of Europe. In 1987 my dream came true, Michael Jackson was coming to London for 5 nights the following summer. My parents tried desperately to get me a ticket but couldn't get through the lines were constantly jammed. I was upset for days at the thought of missing my idol.
As time passed I became more jealous of people I didn't know who had been lucky enough to get a ticket. The album Bad came and went and the summer grew ever closer. The dates arrived and still I had no ticket, there were photos in the press, and I savoured every detail, disappointed I wouldn't be there to see it.
A friend of my mum had a son who like me was a huge Michael Jackson fan and we hatched a plan. We would go too Wembley and see if we could buy a ticket on the day. We set of at 7.30am and got there at 9am. The doors didn't open until 4pm so we sat on the steps outside the turnstile and waited. As the day progressed more and more people arrived, some with stereos playing Michael Jackson music, others dressed like him, but all there for the same reason, to see the King of Pop.
As time grew closer to the 4pm deadline, we still hadn't bought our tickets yet, we hatched another plan to get in, we would offer money to the bloke on the gate and see if that worked. Believe it or not it did and we were in.
At the end of the European leg of the tour the story broke about him and Jordy Chandler. Did I believe it? Honestly no, I like most Jackson fans thought it was lies and with no solid evidence I gave him the benefit of the doubt. There were further allegations down the years and another court case. The tabloids went after him, how much plastic surgery had he had, did he want to be white, he slept in an oxygen tank, he wanted to marry Elizabeth Taylor. Endless ridiculous rumours, he never denied them and that seemed to add more fuel to the fire. To me even though he had been found innocent from the court case, there was, in my eyes, no smoke without fire.
I had long ago removed my Jackson posters and my music tastes were beginning to change, I still bought the albums but after the second trial I stopped listening to them. They didn't hold the same feel anymore and felt tainted somehow. Before his death he had agreed to do 50 dates at the o2 arena. He was never going to be well enough to complete these dates as rumours had started about his drug abuse and ill health. I was offered the chance of getting tickets but declined them as I didn't want to be disappointed.
I awoke on the morning of the 26th June to hear he had passed away, I was stunned by this, Michael Jackson dead it took a few hours to sink in. I watched the news and read the papers taking it all in. It was true Michael Jackson my idol through my teen years was dead.
A few weeks later I was clearing out some cupboards and found that old Thriller cassette. I put it on and listened to it for the first time in years. It brought back so many memories, happy memories of a time long ago. I found my Dangerous programme and the scarf I had bought, my Bad programme, I dug through my Cd's and started to listen to them again. My daughter asked who it was and I told her, not bad she said and I listened to them with her. I did what all parents should do, I passed on my knowledge of a great music artist, like my dad had with me with the Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Wembley in 1988. All the scandal should not take away from the man who changed the way music was made, watched and performed forever. He was found not guilty twice. Let it be. Remember him the way he wanted to be remembered The King Of Pop, Michael Jackson, R.I.P.