Sunday, 1 July 2012

Remember HIS Time...

Monday 25th June marked the anniversary of the day that Music, Entertainment and Creativity as a whole, dimmed for all time.

The third since Michael Jackson's passing, only two days earlier, four of his five brothers performed in Detroit for the third stop on their 'Unity' Tour - reformed in their youngest brother's honour.

Reading through the tracklisting in the show's Review; I couldn't help reminiscing on some of my all-time favourite music. As the childhood memories came flooding back, along with all the rest that comes with nostalgia of this kind, I got the idea for this latest blog piece. And since we're talking the Jackson Family, it was only right to consult my own...So I asked them:

'What's your favourite MJ track and why?'

Ok, so my track has to be 'The Way You Make Me Feel'. That was MY jam back in the day and still gives me the same uplifting feeling today. Michael had this incredible and unmatched (apart from Prince!) ability to force your body to MOVE. That track has to be one of my fave beats of all time...just so guttural!

Michael Jackson with model Tatiana Thumbtzen
I was also OBSESSED with the girl in the video...I wanted to be her! She pretty much represents everything good about 80s style to me.

I still can't believe he's gone because to me, as long as his music is playing, he's right here with us, still making us move... :oP

Fully in agreement with our Char; I would constantly rewind the cassette on this one - I wanted to be Tatiana too! MJ's fashion from the video even inspired a little 'homage moment' from me at a tribute event last year...

Michael Jackson has always been and will always be, the most Iconic person / name / brand in music history. It's really just that simple. No other artist has influenced so many people from so many different walks of life, or been an inspiration to so many different musicians, artists and more, regardless of genre. Anywhere you go, there's a major MJ fan just a few feet away from you.

My favourite MJ song is 'Remember The Time'. It's the raw energy in his vocal that always does it for me and I've loved that song for the same reason, since from before I was even at an age with double figures. I remember when I learned the song as a kid, anytime I played it at home, I would always get my MJ dancing on in the living room (aka the CHA'MON skank).

'Remember The Time' also produced one of my favourite videos from MJ as well. The first time I saw it, I was lucky enough to see the full 9mins+ version, which was unheard of for a music video at that time...well I had never heard of another like that at my age. The opening scene with Eddie Murphy and Iman as King and Queen and all the 'jesters' like Michael Jordan, was real funny and then MJ appeared, after first entering as a cloaked magician of some sort...

MJ made fun music videos and 'Remember The Time' wasn't the only one. 'Smooth Criminal', 'Billie Jean', 'Thriller' and so many more of his videos were groundbreaking; in terms of technology, special effects and well-written scripts. MJ had a knack of making record-breaking videos in his own way and he did it time after time. He was an excellent songwriter, composer and musician who leant his talents to many projects outside of music. From working on film scores to acting; his work has been hailed all over the world and became another important part of his career.

Truly an Icon in whatever he was involved in; the world will continue to dance to the sounds of MJ...

No personal homages to this one (yet); but I can say that firstly, I was way more obsessed with Michael's hair and outfit in this video, than Iman's! As for the release; I remember the furore surrounding this video like it was yesterday...the first  time the world saw Michael kiss a woman! The controversy took over the pages of The Sun newspaper for MONTHS and sans MTV at home; they were the first to announce the Tops of the Pops Premiere time on the Monday morning, for something like 7:21PM, that Friday evening. I willed the week away with all my might and when school let out that day, I literally flew home and Did. Not. Budge from the front of the telly until I recorded the video from it. It was enticing in a way I didn't yet understand, futuristic (for a story set in the past) and as Lek said, slick in so many ways we had never seen for music videos of that time. Like nearly every MJ release, 'Remember The Time' was light years ahead of its time...

Now I wanted to blame these two for picking favourites with some of my most vivid memories attached...Then I sat down to pick my own and realised that actually; there are few to NO Michael / Jackson 5 tracks that I don't have a strong tie to, because I remember the 'What, When and Where' of every time! So which will I go for? Well I'm going to be cheeky and go for more than one thing because it's too big of a question to ask of me!

Now bear in mind, I think my first words were quite possibly Jackson lyrics. Most kids were raised on fairytales, I had Motown, Stax and Chess (Thank You Mummy)! So asking me to pick a favourite is akin to choosing a favourite limb. But I feel like picking something from the group, rather than just Michael's catalogue. My earliest memory is of playing 'Goin' Back To Indiana' from 'The Third Album', until I was no longer allowed to touch the vinyl album. I learnt precision in 'The Art of Restarting Tracks on a Record Player', just from playing that song, but my Mum almost started to hate it for that very same reason!

Although I would probably say 'I Wanna Be Where You Are' is my ULTIMATE favourite - I said probably, I'm going to go for one of my interchangeable Top 3...5...well anyway, my pick  is 'Never Can Say Goodbye'. Released in 1971, on the 'Maybe Tomorrow' album, I cannot find one thing wrong with this entire song, I love it to the point where it never, ever gets just one single play. It's even on my phone's music player! How can a 12-year-old sing not just about love, but heartache, with so much emotion? It gets me every time! Check out their first live performance of the track:

Being the one of a kind, all-round Entertainer that Michael was, there was so much more than music. For my absolute, one hundred percent favourite thing, I'm going to go back to something that not too many people will remember...

Whilst still in single figures, my number one, favourite present of all time, had to be a compilation of poems and art penned almost entirely by MJ himself. His second book, 'Dancing The Dream' - released a year after the 'Dangerous' album in 1992, literally blew my young mind away. Although a stage school brat exploring my own 'multi-talents' by then; I had never come across a Master of so many Arts!

I never really understood until that moment that when it comes to the avenues you want to pursue in life, you don't have to 'pick one and stick with it'. Michael opened my eyes to the concept that there is no such thing as 'either, or'. Michael's Artistry taught me that there is no guarantee you can do everything you turn your hand to, but you will absolutely never know what you are capable of, if you never take the time to Try.

Photo courtesy of

Thanks for the Good Times Michael; we're still having them because of You.

Michael Jackson, Artist Unknown