What happened to the fresh face that beamed from the cassette cover?
I'm of the generation that remembers the impact of the release of Thriller. I remember going into Oliver Crombie in Golders Green Road and buying the tape. I had to. I just had to get it for myself. Everyone else I knew was listening to it. It was all over the news.
I still remember sticking it my first Walkman, a metallic red cage, probably one of the first models which still works today. I recall hearing the songs, this being before I had got into The Beatles and wondering when I would hear the Thriller song, not realising that Michael Jackson was not singing "Driller" but indeed "Thriller" - hey I was 14, I was allowed to be stupid at that age.
I instantly fell in love with Billy Jean, I mean, how could you not get taken in by that entrancing beat? I loved Beat It and PYT and yes, even Human Nature. This was the first real album that I'd bought into, my virginal album experience. So for me Thriller has a very special significance. This was 1982 and there was nobody cooler on the planet than Michael Jackson.
When Bad came out, I'd already lot enough interest to avoid buying the album, although I admit that I'd copied it from the vinyl onto cassette. It was MJ do his thing again, but without the sheer sweetness of Thriller (although I Just Can't Stop Loving You was and is an absolutely gorgeous number). I eventually went out to re-bought Thriller on CD, as well Off The Wall- and I still remember shaking the house as I danced in my room to Don't Stop Til You Get Enough!
I could never have guessed that the face on the cover of my special album would become so unrecognisable over time and that this icon of the 1980's would end up being involved fronting such sordid headlines.
Over time, my so called love affair with MJ turned decidedly cold, not unlike that of others in my generation. Thriller transmogrified into more a chiller and now, so 27 years later, I stand confused at what's exactly happened to this ultimately tragic figure.
I want to play Thriller again and marvel at the talent who, along with others introduced me to a different musical experience. I just hope that I can erase everything that I've learned about Michael Jackson since the moment I pressed play on that trusty old Sony Walkman, in my mother's car, in Hodford Road, Golders Green, back in 1982.