Me and Michael Jackson

When the album, Thriller, came out, I was living in Toronto, paying $465/month rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in a triplex, with an older couple living downstairs. I lived there with my sister and we painted our walls charcoal with white trim, the fireplace grill and radiators gold, and added tons of plants. I thought it was heaven. We had a field mouse that would run down the hall, watch TV with us and scoot back out. It was the decade of the 20-minute workout, aerobics and Reebok hightops.

I had a Pioneer stereo and turntable with Sansui speakers and the vinyl always sounded incredible. When Thriller was released, we, all of us, ALL of us, were dumbfounded. My sister and I played the LP over and over again. It worked us up, the music was infectious. We danced in our living room, jumped our aerobic routines to every track on the album. Sadly, our downstairs neighbors disagreed strongly, and just as we’d get into the running in place part of the routine…BAM, BAM, BAM…they literally hit a broomstick into the ceiling, to signal us to turn down the music and stop jumping on their ceiling. So we’d turn down the volume, and dance standing in place because the music got into us and we had to listen to it and had to move.

Michael was just a few months older than me, so I always followed his career — the ups and the downs — and when he brought his Victory tour to Toronto in 1984, we got our tickets and watched the King of Pop in concert. He was a spectacular artist. He was a pop genius and he changed the face of the music of our time. I never expected he’d live a long life, but like so many others, I’m kind of shocked today, and saddened at his death. A bright, shining, lonely star, whose interpretation of the relationship of music and the audience reshaped an industry.

One thought on “Me and Michael Jackson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *