the king of pop made me a dancin’ machine

Yesterday Michael Jackson, the king of pop died.

Say what you will about Mike’s personal life… some adjectives I’ve heard are: freak, crazy, mental, unhinged, idiotic, maniac, and the list could go on. Despite what these descriptions may say about Michael Jackson and his off-stage persona, on stage and in the studio he was, as Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President of Sony Corporation said, “a genius whose music reflected the passion and creativity of an era. His artistry and magnetism changed the music landscape forever. We have been profoundly affected by his originality, creativity and amazing body of work.”

Amazing body of work.

Yes, that is a good way to put it. Amazing. It was consistent. Original. Lyrically, sometimes unbelievable, lucid and poignant. Other times… simply danceable.

I remember when I was in fourth grade I was invited to a birthday for some guys I knew from school… twins. I wouldn’t say I was friends with them really but I knew them from our apartment complex. They were paternal twins so they didn’t look alike. In fact one of the boys was, I guess what would be termed, albino. He was very, very pale and very sensitive to the sun. He had white hair and even white eye lashes. Then there was his brother who was, I guess what would be termed, gay.

Actually he wasn’t just gay… he was gaaaaaaay! I mean he was gayer than gay. He was super gay. Weird huh. Even at age eight we could tell he was gay.

So at the party there was the obligatory cake and ice cream, presents, party games and stuff but because of the gay brother (pretty sure he thought this one up) there was going to be a dance contest. Well, all the kids at the party knew no one had a shot at winning because we’d seen him dance before.

I mean the boy could dance.

Well, my turn came up and I was pretty reluctant. I thought the idea of a dance contest was pretty dumb plus I didn’t really know how to dance. But peer pressure is an amazing thing and so in the living room of a small apartment I heard the following song start up… and loud.

My body started moving… kinda slow at first. My feet came in and then my arms. But I heard it over and over… “dancin’ dancin’ DANCIN!” And I started really moving.

I was gyrating like a paint can in one of those paint mixing machines. I was incredible! I could barely keep my breath as the driving bass line kept my feet moving and twisting. I couldn’t help it. The horn section was blaring. I felt my muscles weakening but inertia must have taken over and if someone had been able to stick electrodes to me I probably could have lit a light bulb slightly… you know the way you did in science class with a potato. I mean I was pushin out some energy.

I was a dancin’ muh-sheeeeen!

Somewhere in my frenzy I kicked my leg and my shoe flew off. Holy crap!

But the kids in the room cheered and danced along in a circle around me and only made me think I should just take my other shoe off.

Look, don’t judge!… it worked the first time I figured i should do it again.

When the music stopped I was the undisputed dancing machine that day. I walked home a little taller that day carrying my plastic dance trophy.

Doesn’t even compare to what my man Mike could do though. Here he is with the same song as above performed in 2001.

10 responses to “the king of pop made me a dancin’ machine

  1. When I was very young, I thought he was at the local radio station singing “ABC”.
    I didn’t get the concept of records yet. Apparently I am old. It is shocking that he won’t be able to grow old. (although I suspect he was a kid til the end).

  2. I regret the loss of the King of Pop Michael Jackson! Jacko is a legend. I hope he gets where he is now, finally in peace.
    Leave also your last greeting at Michael Jackson on our site, thanks.
    a big and now sad fan

  3. Did you have a polyester vest, shirt, and slacks when you became a dancin’ machine? And a ‘fro? Well, probably not in 4th grade, but Michael brought my generation music, moves, and style. As for my favorite song of his, it will always be Ben, written about a rat. I sang all the words to my daughters the night Michael died.

  4. NPR had a good tribute to him this weekend. A number of people who knew him were interviewed, including Spike Lee. They spoke of how hard working he was. Lee reiterated the point, underlining that he knows some very hard working athletes, such as Michael Jordan, but that Michel Jackson worked as hard or harder than any of them. It was genius, but it was a lot of sweat, too.

  5. And do you dance to this day? Or did you leave dancing behind as one of your childish ways? Me, I love music, but somehow that has never translated down past my head (well, maybe a toe tap or two). But, I certainly did appreciate what an entertainer Michael Jackson was – and the riveting way he was able to combine singing with dance. Few have done it better.

  6. I like your blog- I’m a UU Texan also. UU Waco.
    Come visit us sometime. Come play for us sometime.

  7. I miss Michael. I grew up listening to him. My fiance mocks me, but to hell with him on this one. He was an icon and a talent that we’ll never see the likes of again.

  8. This a nice, touching, original story. Just goes to show we never know how we’ll affect people.

  9. People find a lot of nice things to say when someone dies.

    I remember being a kid, and listening to. I remember being a huge fan of some of his earlier hits. He just got so very weird.

    I am a big fan of *you*, though, Mr. Dance-Machine.

  10. : ) [blush]

    you always make me smile Am. muah, muah, moooo-Ah!

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