With the passing of Michael Jackson, so many thoughts have crossed my mind on what to write about the dude. I mean, there’s really nothing that can be said that every media outlet in the world hasn’t already covered. He was brilliant. He was odd. He was a child in an adult body. Let’s face it…the guy was a little off his rocker. But you have to imagine that the childhood that was forced on him and then the media scrutiny and paparazzi probably took what little sanity he had and turned it inside out. I’m not condoning his life…I’m just trying to understand it. Nevertheless, an artistic force from my childhood is now gone and I’ve been trying to think what memory I have of The King Of Pop that I can share that no one else has covered…and I have found it.
It’s a track from the 1984 album by Michael and his brothers called “Victory”. You would probably remember it as the Jackson comeback album that was supposed to capitalize on Michael’s popularity after “Thriller”. Basically it was a way for Epic to make a few bucks because there really are only 2 tracks on the album that are fronted entirely by MJ (and one of those he shares with Mick Jagger). The rest are a variety of combinations of him and his brothers. Anyway, I’ve always liked this album. It’s not the best work of the Jackson 5 (well…”Jackson 6″ actually), but it came out at a time in my life that I have fond memories of. And to this day, there is a track buried on it that is one of my all-time favorite songs that no one has ever heard.
Track #2 on “Victory” is called “Wait”. It is actually a song that is fronted by Jackie Jackson and it has this great pop rhythm to it. It’s a long song (clocking in at 5:24) and it’s really not until 3:35 of the song that Michael makes an appearance. And for some reason, as soon as his signature vocals make their entrance, this whole track changes. And that is the magic of Michael. He has a distinct and irresistible voice that just takes an otherwise average song and transforms it into something that sticks in my head and holds my interest over 20 years later.
The man was an amazing icon and one that transformed music into what it is today. He basically took what Elvis started, with the dancing and hip thrusts, and took it to another level. Add in the magic that is “Thriller” plus several incredible tracks from the rest of his body of music and you have an artist that has not only inspired waves of musical talent after him, but also influenced how a generation listens to pop music.
Michael Jackson is gone and that is a very sad thing. How his legacy will be remembered, only time will tell. But when I’m in the mood, I’ll throw in this track and remember when I was young and how it made me want to dance. And when Michael’s voice soars, it makes me want to moonwalk. And that was the magic of Michael Jackson. He makes us (the 80’s generation) feel young again.
Rest in peace Michael. Your music and your talent will be missed!