I was not planning to do a tribute post on Michael Jackson. I was also not that moved by his death, shocked yes, but not moved. It was only when I saw the memorial service over television that the impact of the situation hit me. Being an Indian, your introduction to the world of western music is really determined by what your peers recommend or what you hear at home. I first heard Michael Jackson when I was 5 years old and my dad brought home an MJ album. I remember I had just started reading and speaking English at school and would come home to put on this cassette and try to catch the words. I think the music was what fascinated me . It was so different from the what my mom used to hear the whole day round (Lata M, Kishore K – all hindi music stars). I don’t think my dad was a fan of Michael Jackson – I guess he bought his music because that’s what was topping the charts. By the time Dangerous was released, I was the one wanting to buy the album. I had become a bonafide MJ fan. I remembered the millions of time I replayed – Jam, Black or White, I’ll be there, Do you remember the time?, Heal the world…
It was through MJ’s music that I was introduced to the world of western music – from where I went on to hear other artists like Madonna, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, the boy bands like Michael Learns to Rock , Backstreet Boys, Eagles, U2, Bob Dylan and so on.
One of the most vivid memories that I associate with MJ’s music is one of our high school annuals. The theme was ‘Heal the world’ . At the end of the last item , a group us dressed in white ,holding candles got on the stage. Students filed in the auditorium balconies, holding lit candles and on cue – we all sang Heal the World from our hearts. In the candle-lit auditorium, only the song could be heard – as if MJ’s message had travelled across the world just for us to pass on.
Rest in peace, MJ.