It’s been a sad week with the passing of Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett and now Michael Jackson. I identify all three with different parts of my childhood. I feel the worst about Michael Jackson. His was a life that was derailed along the way, his childhood never quite fulfilled and an ongoing struggle for him to find his place in the world on his own terms. But, beyond his personal troubles, he was a singular entertainer and artist. There can be no doubt he’s one of the greats of pop music and entertainment.

Like pretty much everyone else in the world, I enjoyed his music. I’ll admit I never found the need to purchase any of his albums. He seemed so ubiquitous in the 80s it didn’t seem necessary to pester my parents for his music. Oddly, I did long for the over $100 “Beat It” jacket but settled for a much less expensive, nylon/polyester one that only evoked a feeling of being inspired by the original. By the time the 90s came and I had my own buying power, I had moved on. In our iTunes collection of over 5900 items (we have several hundred CDs as a starting point), there are just 3 songs with Michael Jackson singing: “Thriller,” “Billie Jean” and The Jacksons’ “Can You Feel It.”

Why those songs? I can’t speak of “Billie Jean” since that came as part of my wife’s music collection, but I can trace “Thriller” and “Can You Feel It” back to a birthday party in elementary school. Continue reading “Thriller”