Saturday, May 06, 2006

MJJ

Michael Joe Jackson - my very first major celebrity crush. I was in the seventh standard when I first started listening to MJ songs with more than just a passing interest. Soon, I was totally hooked and wanted to own all of his cassettes (no, CDs weren't popular then). Shilpa was my primary partner in this madness. Both of us used to gift each other MJ cassettes for birthdays and other occassions - so that our combined collection could grow. I think together we owned tapes of almost all the MJ collections available in Chennai at that time.

We transcribed the lyrics for most of his songs and exchanged notes about it. We knew the lyrics by heart for almost all the songs in his Thriller, Bad and Dangerous albums.We argued over whether it was "pleasures" or "plow-shares" in Heal the world. We could compose entire essays with just the titles of his various songs. We watched his movie Moonwalk (did anyone else even know about the existence of this movie?) plenty of times. Yeah, it was total, complete insanity - we were SO smitten!

When my dad got transferred to a different place when I was in the ninth standard, S's parting gift to me was a huge poster of MJ. I faithfully stuck it to the wall of my room in the new place. That was the year when Michael Jackson was supposed to come to India. The newspapers had contests - I think BPL was the sponsor - if you won one of those, you could get free tickets to MJ's concerts. My eyes sparkled at the prospect. I forced my mom to let me send out four different entries just so I could increase the probability of winning (my mom's grumbles about wasted stamp money fell on deaf ears). Of course, that was the tour which finally got cancelled at the last moment. So, other than the Indian postal service, nobody else benefitted much.

I don't know when exactly the crush ended. I think it just came on gradually. One fine day I just took the poster off the wall. And with that stopped the obsessive tracking of anything related to MJ. Oh, I still liked listening to MJ songs, but that was about it.

When I was preparing to travel to the US for the first time, Bad and Thriller found some of the precious space in my suitcase. Once I landed here, I managed to locate the songs and get them on CD. I still listen to it from time to time (and now have it on my ipod too) - and I still like them a lot. Sadly enough, MJ's life has turned into a topic for ridicule now for quite some years now. But I still think it does not take away what he has contributed to the music world.

All these memories came flooding back tonight. It being a quiet Friday night, I was reading a book and watching bits of Minnale (for the nth time - I find some of the Vivek comedy in that movie too funny). Then suddenly it struck me that I could search for long unwatched Tamil videos on youtube. I watched a couple of favorite Tamil videos when a typo brought me to a video of MJ performing live for the song Billie Jean. As I watched the video, I remembered how crazy I used to be about the famous "moonwalking" step and realized how superbly MJ does it (obviously, he has to - its his invention I guess!). Then, obviously, I HAD to search for other MJ videos too. So Liberian Girl (which I have never seen before), Black or White and Remember the Time followed. Man, those videos are simply awesome. So much thought (and money I guess) has obviously gone into it and every frame of each video shows that!

By now I was completely hooked and had to find more videos. And I continued to watch. It was then that I discovered the video for the 1988 live performance of The Way You Make Me Feel at the Grammys. OMG! I never thought I would see that video again! That was the very first time I saw Michael Jackson in action - I remember being very impressed by the super dancer. At home, we used to tape the Grammy awards regularly. So we used to have a video cassette which contained the Grammy awards ceremony from different years. This particular performance (the bit where MJ and a group of guys dance in complete sync) used to be a favorite with all of us kids and that portion of the tape became quite worn out due to the constant requests for encore! I don't know where the tape is now or if it is even in existence...

Seeing the Grammy performance reminded me of another very favorite video - Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry Be Happy. The song is very uplifting and the video is funny! We used to watch this video over and over again too on that cassette. There is this one particular step where all the three guys featured in the video hop around on one leg in a single file. In eight standard, my friends and I used to try to do those steps during free periods in the classroom. It used to be major fun :-D - ummm... my wonderful eight standard life *happy reminiscenses*. And guess what, I found that video on youtube too :-). The link to it is right here if you want to see it :-):

Ah well, to all those generous souls who put up this stuff on youtube: May you live long and happy lives (btw, is uploading videos legal? Regardless, you still have my good will ;-))! I had such a lovely trip down memory lane :-)!

BTW, trivia for the day: This is my 100th post...yaaaay :-D! Just so this post doesn't feel left out, I am putting up an image marker for this one too!

17 comments:

Prabhu said...

Wow! 100 posts? Cool. Congrats. You'va made us all proud :)

Dont Worry Be Happy song - LOL :)
I think the "If you come today" is inspired from this song. My nieces are liking it more than us.
Minnale " say haii to her" thaan best comedy :)

Rahul Obla said...

Congraats!....and a great 100th Post!. MJ's Billie jean performance is some kinda once in a 'Blue Moon' thingy . I remember trying the 'Moon walk' umpteen times.... some have it and some just don't!:o). He was thee 'Complete Performer'. MJ rocks...!.
As for 'Don't worry....' lovely song and did you know this was Clinton's fav song during his presedential campaign ?!!

Saranya Kishore said...

Hey Arch,
Congrats on your 100th post. :)

MJ, I used to like his songs, and my brother had a craze for his videos and 'moon walking' .. and the posters were in his room :)
I loved 'Heal the world'.
But I dont think I can listen to them now. Those were different days

Shilpa said...

First of all a BIG Congratulations on ur 100th post !

Ah MJ....Archu we were so mad abt him back then !! Do u remember, we used to watch MTV hoping that they would play his songs. The instant any of us saw a song, we would call each other so that both can watch the video !

I had all his tapes too...and I have 2 big scrapbooks with all the paper cuttings that ever came in the newspaper. I found them in my cupboard this time. Din't have the heart to throw it out. Maybe in our old age, we can sift through it and laugh !

I hardly listen to his songs now.
But the old ones are superb even now. None can match the videos too. Thriller and smooth criminal videos are still superb.

Don't worry is a gr8 song...we used to 'whistle' the whistle part of the song in class...remember ?
LOL abt the dance steps we tried...it was fun !

Archana Bahuguna said...

Congrats for hitting the century! Remembering MJ hmm ... I was not an ardent fan, but yeah, his music was one of a kind! Sad that his life has been an unfortunate sequence of events lately.

Archana said...

Prabhu - thank you! Nah - I think If you come today is in a league of its own ;-)!

Rahul - thank you :-)! I totally agree about the moon walk - I have tried doing ittoo (hahahahha). Hmm, I thought George Bush Sr. used to listen to it during his campaign?

Saranya - thank you :-)! One of the reasons I love the songs are because it reminds me of those different days :-)!

Shilpa - thank you :-)! Yeah, now I remember about the calling :-)! Next time we get together in B'lore we shd definitely go through your collections - shd be great fun :-D!

Archana - thank you :-)! I know - MJ's life is SO screwed up now :-(!

kuttichuvaru said...

congrats on the 100!! n I like his moonwalk a lot!! though many ppl try to imitate him, they dont hav the grace tat he does!!

madsies said...

100th post- Wow congrats! MJ - moon walk - I remember college culturals these guys used to so pathetically immitate him!
"Heal the world" so reminds me of school days when we sand this song for our school dramatics!
"Dont worry be Happy" used to be the song we listend to right after getting back from a sour ragging session (fresher days.
Whoa..you go tme reminded of my good old times. Nice post:-)

Archana said...

Kuttichuvaru - thank you :-)! And yeah, MJ rulez the moonwalk crowd!

Madsies - thank you :-)! Listening to songs from school/college days is sooooo nice na :-)!

dinesh said...

Archana,

Some of my opinions about MJ have been echoed in this post. I think it's a stage of our life..everybody was a fan of MJ one time or the other in India. Some of his videos like you say were beautifully thought out. And I have always wondered if he wrote his lyrics himself or there was some help somewhere. If he did it himself, I have to tip my hit to him ! I was a big fan of his too !

Sadly, this country seems to enjoy ridiculing him. So much so, that I don't think they recognize that he was talented at one point.

Nice post.

Thiya said...

It seems like fashion.. One day.. You are the talk of the town.. Till someone else comes and pushes you off.. I too am a great fan of MJ! Though honestly, I have to admit its been quite a while since I have listened to any of his.. :-):-( Anyways.. Nice post reminiscential of the past! :-) And congrats for your century!

Ginkgo said...

hmm... to have the 100th post about MJ.
Naa ennanu solla..;-)

have fun:-)

Archana said...

Dinesh - thank you :-)! I think most of us in our generation grew up listening to MJ songs - so they will always be special!

Thiya - thank you :-)! Fickle fame is right!

Gingko - I did not plan this topic around the 100th post - it just happened that this post turned out to be the 100th post :-)!

Prasanna said...

Congrats on your 100th post....ur an inspiration to upcoming blogger like me ;0)

Archana said...

Prasanna - LOL :-D! Thank you!

Sayesha said...

Congrats, Arch! :)

Archana said...

Sayesha - thank you :-)!