Mandatory Music – Michael Jackson

By Jenny Mason

Growing up with parents who were young in the 1950s and 1960s as kids we were exposed to a lot of The Beatles, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, and even Frank Sinatra. Your folks cannot help inflict their music onto the next generation. As a child of the 1980s I feel I grew up in a really special era. The gloss of nostalgia always makes things seem better perhaps, but when I think of the anticipation we had every time Michael Jackson released a new film clip and the ground breaking that occurred back then, I still truly feel fortunate. Yes technology was not what it is today, but it was still amazing. Yes we used cassette and video tapes to record things, no we did not have the internet, but it was a really fun time in entertainment. 

Michael Jackson not only released timeless music, he also harnessed the medium of the video clip arguably better than most. There are many clips that stand out from the 80s. Prince, Madonna, Aha, Peter Gabriel, Wham, Culture Club. They were all unique. It seems to me that many of the stars today are still in Jackson’s shadow. 

The funny thing about Michael Jackson was that he made so many songs and videos where he was ‘tough’ and ‘masculine’ – think about Bad, Beat it, Smooth Criminal, and Scream with Janet. He was the king of pop and the king of dance fights. Yet he was so softly spoken. 

In his huge number of hits, he worked with the best, his film clips featured Marlon Brando, Wesley Snipes, Eddie Murphy, Magic Johnson, Iman, Naomi Campbell, Macauley Culkin, and so many more. 

Jackson was an all-round talent: singer, dancer, writer, beat boxer, entertainer extraordinaire. 

Of course he too was influenced by those who came before him, but maybe not as much as he has influenced those after him. I feel truly lucky to have lived through this time, waiting eagerly for every MJ film clip. It was truly an event. 

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