I Miss Michael!
November 16, 2013
As I was inside a book store recently (yes, we librarians still occasionally go to bookstores), they had strayed from their typical overhead music and were playing what must have been a collection of "Halloween Hits" on the overhead speakers. Thriller, by Michael Jackson, came on. I was instantly filled with energy as I heard this song again. I've heard it a thousand times, but never in a normally staid and calm atmosphere where the usual music repertoire consists of soothing classical music or soft jazz. While no one said anything, I could tell the other shoppers were conscious of the music, too. A man near me smiled and bobbed his head in a "this is cool" kind of way. And then I noticed the woman next to me. She was dressed like a business professional... conservative blouse and jacket, long skirt, and black heels. It was oh so subtle, but I looked down and saw that she was tapping her right heel to the beat of the song. She was probably a little older than me, perhaps late forties, and her glasses and short brown hairdo reminded me of my mother from 20 years ago. But that tapping foot made me smile. She was reading a book she had in her hand about caring for older parents. I'm guessing she had come in to the book store for a little research material. At this moment though, she was listening to Michael Jackson, the beats of Thriller invading her thoughts much like mine. As for me, I wanted to moonwalk a bit and get moving to the music, but social decorum had me thinking better of that.
For this moment though, all of us in the book store were hearing Michael. The King of Pop. He's gone now, of course, and many of us remember growing up hearing his music. Some people adored the man, some didn't like him, some thought he was absolutely insane, and others thought he was a criminal.
I can think of no other musician who stirred up so much controversy and created such emotion with what was basically bubble-gum pop music. He was a personality that became so much larger than himself.
Love him, hate him, I challenge you to find another musician that can get your toes a-tappin' in a stuffy book store on a Wednesday afternoon.