I just arrived at high school in the UK and after having lived in India, Yemen and Kenya I was bewildered by pop culture. So far I had been listening to Bollywood music as a kid so I had no idea what rock music was or sounded like!
Although back when I lived in Libya, I remember going to a party and sitting with the kids in the kids room where they had a TV and VCR. They were talking about Michael Jackson and kept watching that video for Bad over and over again. As a kid it was really exciting to see his sharp dance moves and we all wanted to dance like him!
But what really got me into Michael Jackson was when a friend of mine (who wanted to educate me into the ways of western music) gave me the Bad album copied on cassette. This was about the time the Dangerous album had been released so MJ was back in the frame big time. I got really fond of that album and was listening to it again and again through my Walkman, it was a work of pure genius in terms of pop and had just the right blend of ballads, guitars and great songs to get me into the grittier, heavier sound of rock.
On The Thriller album I was blown away by the guitar solo on Beat It and I was sold to rock music forever! The melodic riff and solo on Give In to Me also got me into guitar and eventually Guns N Roses, who at the time had just released the Use Your Illusion albums. Sadly I was just a kid and couldn’t afford to see either MJ or GnR on their tours 😦
So for all the cynicism, clowning and the circus that has and goes around MJ, I was saddened by his death. Sure, I had stopped listening to his stuff ages and ages ago but his music influenced me all those years ago to get into rock. He inspired a whole generation of kids to become artists and performers and I am glad to have been one of those kids. Rest In Peace Micheal.