In celebration of the Michael Jackson’s birthday, Couch Sessions writers are taking time to reflect on their first memories of the King of Pop. Michael would’ve turned 52 this year.
My mom was a lover of music. She bought records and later on in life I bought tapes. So naturally the big entertainment table that sat in the corner of the living room was a necessity. Embedded in one side of the table there was an AM/FM radio and the other a drawer that contained a working turntable. Every once and a while my mom would put on records and her and my uncle would do the bump. I liked watching them because I thought they were silly. I was not permitted to touch the record player for fear I would pull the drawer out too far and it would fall on me. So for my birthday my mom got me my own turntable. It stood about 4 feet and it had flashing lights and a microphone to sing along. It was perfect to play 45’s but I had a “real” album that I had to spin. Not an Alvin and the Chipmunks 45. I was super excited to play Ben, from a young Mike. To which I would sing every word as I held the album cover and swayed to the melody. I loved the arrangement and just new he wasn’t singing ’bout no rat. That is one of my earliest recollections of my love for MJ. My love was so strong in fact, that my friend Keisha received an album with Michael’s image directly on the record itself for her birthday. A true predecessor to CD’s. I was pouting and so obsessed, I mean upset that my mother did’t get me one and remained upset for the duration of at least a week.
For me Michael Jackson has never been a tangible being. He has always been a supernatural creature whom I would watch, captivated. He was forever reinventing yet remaining consistently a Michael to oooh and ahhhhh about. I can remember putting Thriller on the record player and sitting on the floor of my grandparent’s house to sing along with every ‘heeee heeee’. I would unfold the album cover with the poster size photograph of Mike laid out in his white suit and black shirt and just gaze into his eyes while the ‘funk of forty thousand years and grizzly ghouls from every tomb were closing in to sealing my doom’. I could go on and on about MJ memories and his impact on my musical tastes.
Did I mention I had the Michael Jackson doll… with the whole Thriller outfit? He and my African American Barbie were really in love.