The 80s Belong to Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson, The Early days with The Jackson 5
Michael Jackson, The Early days with The Jackson 5
Michael before the Transformation
Michael before the Transformation
The Thriller Era
The Thriller Era
Michael Jackson's famous white glove
Michael Jackson's famous white glove
The transformation is complete or is it?
The transformation is complete or is it?

Yesterday, June 25, 2009, I watched and listened in horror as headline news announced the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. As the musical tributes and biopic of MJ popped up on most of the major television networks, I could not but reminiscence of the 80s and what that mean to me and many of my generation. For those of us who came of age in the 80s, Michael Jackson's music and Farrah Fawcett's reruns of Charlies Angels was much a staple of the day as apple pie and American. Even though I grew up outside of North America, MJ was a major part of my coming of age. Michael Jackson's music had international appeal, to even the most prude of our world.

Lets forget for a moment, the weirdness, the child molestation allegations, the baby dangling fiasco, and focus if you will, on Michael Jackson, not only as an artist, but as a human being. He is unequivocal The King of Pop and the holder of the title for the best selling record of all times for Thriller. I think of him as the little boy who was trust in the spotlight at a tender age of eleven. He was a boy who charmed us all with his wicked dance moves, amazing singing voice and dazzling smiles. I think of him as a boy who only wants to be loved and will do whatever it takes to make you love him. That need for our love had driven him to change his appearance. Unlike most of us, he did not have the opportunity to develop as an adult without the preying eyes of the world. And yes, he made the choice or perhaps his family made the choice for him to enter into a business that would chew him up and spit him out. He had millions of fans all over the world, as well haters who want to see him hurt.

We all struggle with demons, whether its our weight, not feeling pretty enough, not feeling smart enough, not being accepted. Imagine for a moment, playing all that out under public scrutiny. A pimple on your nose suddenly becomes news in the Tabloids, what would that scrutiny do to your still developing psyche? Factor in the notion of a domineering father figure and then you have the recipe for a narcissist.

I watched in horror as MJ transformed himself to a person that if you were from another planet and didn't know of him before you would be confused about his race. What are the underlying reasons for his transformation? Have you ever thought that maybe if you didn't receive unconditional love, and re-assurance from your immediate family, you may not have turned out to be the person you are today? How about if you grew up in a society that made you feel inferior no matter how good you are at what you do? How about if you felt that you were a commodity, then it would be easy for you would change your packaging or improve your brand to meet market expectations to gain market share? Think for a moment about the above questions and then think about the result on the human psyche.

Micheal Jackson's music was evidence that he struggled with the socio-political atmosphere of the time in which he lived. For instance the videos of Scream, Black or White, Beat It and even Thriller depict the social consciousness and reactions to of some of the evils of our society. The question is, what is the irony of his transformation?

But I digressed. I was thinking about growing up in the 80s. Yesterday as I watched MJ's videos, I was reminded of the 1980s when I graduated from high school, graduated from college, started my first professional career, fell in love, gave birth to a 'love child', got my heart broken, became politically aware of such issues as apartheid in South Africa, Reaganomics, The Falkland Island Crisis, Thatcherism, Democratic Socialism, Invasion of Grenada, Famine in Ethiopia, We Are The World - US for Africa.

Even with the turmoil in the world, the 80s were the happiest time of my life. Artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springstein and Lionel Ritchie enhanced that happiness. Many of us can remember dancing or making out to the music of these artists. I would argue that the 80s belong to MJ. Most of the boys I knew wanted to be like him, they tried to emulate his dancing, and his style of fashion. The one hand white glove and white socks have shown up at many parties. Many dancers could be seen doing the 'moon walk' or the crotch grab. Michael Jackson's influence can still be seen in the dance moves of artists as Usher, Justine Timberlake, and many others.

My Favourite Songs of the 80s: Like many people from my generation, the ones in between the boomers and generation X, we grew up listening to varying types of music. The disco era was just about ending and a new art form in terms of music was emerging. Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince among others were emerging as rising stars of the Pop genre of music. While I can appreciate most music, some of my favourite popular music of the 80s:

  • 1981 - Celebration by Kool and the Gang
  • - Endless Love by Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie
  • 1982 - Thriller by Michael Jackson
  • 1983 - Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
  • - 1999 by Prince
  • - Let's Dance by David Bowie
  • 1984 - Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen
  • I Just Called to say I love you by Stevie Wonder
  • 1985 - Careless Whispers by WHAM
  • I want to know what love is by Foreigner
  • Material Girl by Madonna
  • 1987 - Bad by Michael Jackson

Hottest TV Shows of the 80s: Growing up in a tropical country, I spent most of my days outdoors, at the beach, playing tennis, soccer, volleyball or just relaxing with a book under a tree. I did not watch a lot of television, but from what I remember, there were some great family shows. I've seen some of them on reruns lately. The 80s reminds me of some of my favourite tv shows:

  • The Little House on the Prairie
  • Happy Days
  • Charlies Angels
  • The Jeffersons
  • The Duke of Hazzard
  • Knight Rider
  • The Cosby Show
  • Family Ties
  • 227
  • Three's Company
  • Miami Vice
  • Growing Pains
  • Who's the Boss
  • MASH
  • Macgyver
  • Different Strokes

The world has lost a few gems this week; Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. They will each be remembered for their contribution to the art. Michael Jackson will always be remembered, for his music and dancing as much as for his 'weirdness'. It's all a part of who was this complex genius. A true American Pop Icon. The King of Pop! May his soul rest in peace! Peace Farrah, may the angels greet you.

Comments 17 comments

Wonder Referrals 7 years ago

Great Hub !

Michael Jackson was a whiz on the dance floor & a genius in the recording studio.

There are demons in every one's soul at one time or another.

Michael's demons were planted at birth, with such a controlling father.

Chicago is my birth place and I started my DJ journey with the music of Michael Jackson. I deeply share the lost with his family.

The music industry also has suffered a great lost.

Michael Jackson changed the music industry forever !


Ladybird33 profile image

Ladybird33 7 years ago from Georgia USA

Great overview, great loss! Truly sad this happened but wonderful recap of his life, I loved the pictures, old pictures of Michael!


\Brenda Scully 7 years ago

I am a true fan of Michael, loved your hub....

Just watched the vid of the song for Africa.... that was wonderful of all the artists... thanks for that.


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Wonder Referrals, thanks for your comments. MJ was a real inspiration to all. I only got to see the replay of his memorial service today and was overcame with sadness of the magnetude of the loss. He was truly loved and respected. He will always be remembered as an American Pop icon. One of the GREATEST that ever lived... We are lucky to have experienced his music during our life time...


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

ladybird33, thanks for your kind comments. You are so right, MJ's death is a great loss. We tend to take for granted talents and greatness and then it is gone, but the truth is his music will live on forever. He is among the great like Elvis, NatKing and Old Blue Eyes...

RIP MJ...


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Brenda Scully, thanks for stopping by. MJ steps into everyone's heart with his big smile, amazing dance moves and dynamic vocals. I was a fan from back in the day - early 1980s and I remain one til now and will forever...

Most people didn't realize Michael's involvement in charity work such as the We Are the World fundraiser. He truly understood what it means to give back, even before it was popular. The world has recognized his greatness. I was heartfelt to see the emotions of his fans.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

As a fans of Michael Jackson thanks for sharing about him. I appreciate your hub. I know he is to be a king a pop until now. not just at 80's.


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

prasetio30, thanks for your comment. What I mean is that in the 80s MJ had many hits and then his career kind of quiet down in the 90s until very recently when he was about to make a come back. He is definitely the king of pop, even now.

Thanks for dropping by...


Jennifer 6 years ago

Michael Jackson for me is the only best arist that evered lived.Love him FOREVER.


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Jennifer, I agree MJ was one of the GREATS. He will be eternally remembered for his contribution to music and to making this world a happier place.

Thanks for stopping by.

Blessings


SEO IT! profile image

SEO IT! 6 years ago from Tucson, AZ

I'm late reading this, but AMEN. Until the day my daughter broke the news of Michael's death to me, I had never cried over the death of a celebrity. I had felt a sense of sadness, sure, but nothing touched me so much as his death. I cried all day and then broke out in bouts of tears unexpectadly for WEEKS. That talented man was a major part of my "growing up" years and there was so much more to him than the media circus put out there. Anyway, thanks for the great hub and the reminder to all about not only Michael's humanitarianism but his humanity as well.


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

SEO IT! thanks for your comments about the King of POP. Likewise, I was devastated for many days. He was indeed one of the GREAT in entertainment.

A whole generation got introduced to him after his death. My 6 year old son now knows his music and readily identifies his music. Proof that his music will live on...


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Beautiful... Thank you x


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Dim Flaxenwick, a life committed to serving others is a beautiful thing. MJ was shrouded in mystery but he was definitely a TALENTED human being. We tend to forget the human side of celebrity and see them only as figment of our imagination - what we aspire to.

May his soul find peace.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

l totally agree. l often wonder if ´fame´is worth the effort. It destroys so many.


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Dim, i am with you on this. Fame is a double edge sword; those who have it has to use it wisely and appreciate its duality.


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