It was a hot and humid Swedish summer night, I was up, translating a book. That was the night when Michael Jackson died. I saw the news first in a friend’s Facebook feed, as he had posted a link to a Finnish site that ran a headline “Michael Jackson dead”.
And it turned out they were right, even if the status in LA media at that point still was either “rumored dead” or “in a coma”.
So, I stayed up some more, watched BBC on the Web, and finally heard the confirmation that the King of Pop had, indeed, passed away.
I only own one Michael Jackson album, and it’s not Thriller. Instead, it’s a 1972 collection of Motown hits that my Dad brought home from London. I think this was after Thriller, though, because I’m pretty sure that he had asked his buddies for advice on what to get me. (My Dad’s and my musical tastes meet at “The Platters”).
Michael Jackson is probably the biggest star I wasn’t that into – Madonna is close – but having heard a half a dozen radio shows about MJ, the artist, I may just buy Thriller now. His legacy is enormous, and he was worthy of the self-proclaimed title.
This has happened to me before.
When the King of Rock’n’roll died, I was nine, and didn’t own any of his records until a couple of years later when I bought Elvis’s “The Rockin’ Days”, with classics like “Tutti Frutti”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, “All Shook Up,” and “Long Tall Sally” at a Helsinki record store. And then watched all his movies.
When John Lennon was killed, I had just turned 13 the same day, only with the time difference, I was already in bed with a smile on my face, and heard the news the next morning. I think, I’m making this up as I write, because I have no recollection of the magnitude of the public shock.
But since Mom always had a radio on in the kitchen in the mornings, that’s probably where I heard the news.
Anyway, up until about 1985, five years after Lennon’s death, I was in the Paul camp*.
Fortunately, their music is still with us.
*) I’m now in both camps.