?uestlove Remembers The Times: 132 Michael Jackson Memories - Okayplayer

?uestlove Remembers The Times: 132 Michael Jackson Memories

by Ginger Lynn
11 years ago

1. i remember the first time i saw you do the robot on soul train in 73.
i was a 2 year old. but my memory serves me WELL. so well i spent the
next 2 years performing that dance at EVERY church function.

2. i remember the time when my parents let my sister go see you guys at
the Looking Through The Windows tour of that same year. She purchased
2 black and white 8×10 photos of the group in concert.

3.i remember thinking you were a real chubby fat kid based on how the
photo is stretched on 71's Third Album

4. i remember making my sister angry when i took her collector's stamps
and licked them and added them to the back cover collage of the ABC
album cover

…READ up to #132, after the jump!

5. i remember asking a complete stranger to buy me a record player and
records at my father's show, the next night she came back with rufus'
"dance with me" on 45, neil sedaka's "bad blood" on 45, and my first
J5  "Looking Through The Windows". surprisingly i DIDN'T get in
trouble like i did when i asked a stranger for a quarter to play
"Brick House" on the jukebox at a corner store.

6. i remember my aunt karen giving me the jackson test by taking the Get
It Together album cover and testing me by pointing (*points* "jackie!"
*point* "marrron!")

7. i remember not understanding how you looked like a kid (like me) on
the first 4 albums, but then on G.I.T. you went into phase two and
became the tall adult pre Off The Wall MJ (actually now that im grown
i will say the teen mike really didn't hit until Moving Violation in
75 but i was 3 then what did i know)

8. i remember not getting the inconsistent ink job at motown's pressing
plant, thus saw your albums in two categories' "the dark skinned logo"
and "the light skinned logo"—the dark logo was navy blue/purple/red.
the light was yellow/purple/orange. i always wondered why they were so
inconsistent with the logo job. your first 5 albums had the dark
skinned logo and horrible fonts (again i was a kid and for some reason
i used to judge albums on how they looked when rotating on the
turntable, NOT on the music contained) your last 3 albums had the
lighter logo and amazing fonts and that is partially the reason why
ive taken to liking the Get It Together/Dancing Machine/Moving
Violation albums

9. I remember the interludes on the G.I.T. (especially Dennis Coffey's
rattling guitar noise at the end of "Mama Got A Brand New Thing") and
how scary they sounded, i'd NEVER listen to GIT without it being

10. i remember a side profile shot of you in my mom's essence magazine
and your left thump would over extend the head of the mike (as if you
were sucking your thumb while singing) for about 20 years i would hold
the mic that way until i started rhyming in the early roots and held
my mic like chubb rock (both wrong by the way)

11. i remember the first magazine cutout my sister posted on our wall.
she used too much glue and ripped a piece of it below his eye. was NOT
a good look when you were alone in the dark staring at it as a kid and
you looking back at me with the bad glue job soiling the photo
watching my every move. *shivers*

12. i remember my aunt karen trying to explain to me what an earthquake
was because apparently on the carol burnette show there was a rattle
shake on the set and instead of breaking character yall went through
the sketch and improvised. and later i was told what happened.

13. i remember wondering "why would motown resale an album with "dancing
machine" on it when clearly that song is already on a j5 album

14. i remember you singing on "free to be you and me" with roberta flack
for marlo thomas

15. i remember how i had to perform the "jermaine crying" skit that opens
"christmas won't be the same this year" for grandmom EVERYtime i came
to her house

16. i remember asking my mom "why did they run the cop over with their
car on the album cover?"

17.  also remember scratching my head at that very cop only giving them
a ticket for doing so…..(imagine being 5 black dudes in a Rolls with
a driver rocking a pimp hat cocked "ace deuce" (marlon) running over a
cop AND his motorcycle both UNDER the car in 1970's los angeles and
all you got was a ticket?! MAN that Spielberg is AMAZING!

18. i remember your 4th appearance on soul train and was a tad
disappointed yall didn't do "Breezy"

19. i remember you guys trying to teach vicki "mama's family" lawrence
how to do the Body Language on The Carol Burnette Show (and Carol's
"Anybody Named Jackson" song

20. i remember you guys seeming like black superheroes because on EVERY
tv appearance you seemed to be able to jump 5 feet in the air in slow

21. i remember the echo effect on the GIT and Moving Violation albums
peaking my curiosity to the usage of echos on album.

22. i remember you and your brothers rapping the nominations for the
american music awards back in 1976

23. i remember my dad explaining to me that you left Motown

24. i also remember seeing Kenny Gamble and my dad talking about Ken and
Leon producing the new Jackson's LP

25. i remember having mixed feelings over the "fusion" logo of Epic AND
Philadelphia International sharing the same bland space (i judged
albums on logos and how they looked while rotating)

26. i remember the radio spots i heard for the new Jackson lp and somehow
i literally thought the album was going to be called "Smash Self
Titled LP"

27. i remember dreaming about that very album thinking if yall bad ass
mofos rolled over a cop on the last album cover,….then yall must be
smashing car windows for this new one huh (little did i know some 15
years later you would smash car windows on your debut single.)

28. i remembered being in front of the tv every wednesday at 8 oclock and
watching The Jacksons Variety show followed by Damon "Lamont You Big
Dummy" Wilson post Sanford project "Baby Im Back" with a post Mrs
Butterworth's Kim Fields.

29.i remember seeing David Letterman as a support cast member on that
very show. (just as i remember Jay Leno being on the Billy Davis
Jr/Marylyn Mccoo  variety show)

30. i remember the kids in my class teasing me for doing the right leg in
air while left foot skips forward dance that was pretty much mike's
trademark dance throughout 1976-1982

31. i remember your first music video coming on the local Prime Time show
for "Going Places"

32. i remember meeting my older brother tony in 77 and him buying me the
Goin Places 8track tape.

33. i remember you doing the sesame street xmas special and you did a
scene with oscar the grouch about scrooge.

34. i remember it being a snow day and my dad took me to my favorite mom
and pop spot on 52nd street called King James and i got Going Places
on 8track.

35. remember crying MAJOR tears to convince my grandparents that "yes my
parents allow me to get up and watch Soul Train at 1am!!"—Don was
giving them the entire show and i was NOT about to miss this.

36. i remember getting up at 11:45pm and
s……..l…….o…….w…….l……y…indiana jones style
navigating my way (loud creaks and all) from my squeaky bed (:14
mins), opening my door (5 mins), hallway to the bathroom (8 PAINFUL
mins—almost got caught and decided to just say i was going to the
bathroom in case they STOPPED snoring), flushing the toilet and making
it to the first 7 steps w/o using my feet (slid down banister
slooooooooow) (3 mins), Tom Mission Impossible Cruised the remaining
11 steps about 1 min at a time and deciding whether or not i should:
chose the color tv in the living room which left an aroma when turned
on OR the kitchen which had a 12 inch black and white (and mice to
boot)—this episode of Soul Train was worth facing my fears so i
headed to the kitchen and watched the entire show defiantly to my
father's parents who made me go to bed at 10. mind you if i woulda
gotten caught: my "it takes a village" uncles woulda came and whupped
my ass IN ADDITION to my father once he came home from touring. it was
porn in a christian household level volume, but worth all the trouble.

37. i remember seeing my favorite video of yours that show. the
reflection overloaded "blame it on the boogie"—this was the moment
my obsession with soul train and the jacksons went hand in hand.

38. i remember you having the girls rush the stage and the cops playfully
breaking it up on "shake your body down to the ground" and me thinking
the cops were (yet again) trying to arrest you.

39. i remember being in super awe of the JACKSONS logo for this
particular tour and it being on all the tv shows and drawing that logo
on all my school books.

40. i remember every detail of this show, and having only seen it once,
would play it back in my head over and over and over again for 20
years until i found it in (of all places Tokyo) and shocked myself at
how i aint miss ONE detail about it since seeing it 20 years prior.

41. i remember the day dad brought me the switch and the jackson's
destiny 8 track tape

42. i remember you always jerking your head all the way to the sky after
every gasp in "the things i do for you" like it was part mover's
torettes part nervous rhythmic twitch. you seemed to do that more than
you did your previous signature move: The Spin.

43. i remember my mom telling me imma have to wear a neck brace for life
if i keep on doing that "twitch"……31 years later i still do that
twitch out of a force of habit

44. i remember discovering later all the songs on the 8track being in
mixed order.

45. i remember not being used to hearing "the things i do for you" on wax
without the fade out the 8 track did, so once converted to cassette i
duplicated the 8track fade just to be a smartarse.

46. i remember my mom and i staring at the Destiny album cover and being
very impressed with the peacock on the back cover.

47. i remember it was on your Destiny album that i saw the brand new Epic logo.

48. i remember when you guys hosted Midnight Special and Jermaine reunited with you guys to do the title cut and i noticed a common motif with all of your tv appearances as of late: there is always a cut to that slow motion jumping. also the climax of the song had you and tito wrestling in slow motion. tito almost bust his ass twice btw, then all of yall ascended in the air —in slo mo. curious performance if there ever was one.

49. i remember you guys doing American Bandstand the next week but was a
tad disappointed that you guys didnt show the "can you feel it?" video

50.i remember my sister's broken promise to me that she would take me to
see the destiny tour.

51. i remember me and my cousin kevin making up a dance routine to "shake
your body" at the family picnic the day i found out minnie ripperton

52. i remember the very first time i heard a REMIX of a song and my jaw
being dropped and all the questions i had (to my annoyed sister) about
"Shake Your Body Down To The Ground"

53. i remember waking up at 9 in the morning to see the early Wiz
downtown just to see about 300 people already standing in line.

54. i remember near crying on the way home cause 4 shows were sold out.

55. i remember trying again the next day and we got 430pm tickets (barely)

56. i remember when people stayed in a movie theater to see a movie twice
just i we did to see the Wiz

57. i remember the family outing to see dressed to kill and the
amityville horror show at the drive in….and driving home there it
was…."Don't Stop" debuted on WDAS. man i was JAW dropped.

58. i remember running to king james asking for that new song "keep up
with the four star!" on 45 (and they looked at me all types of crazy.)

59. i remember being in pittsburgh fall of 79 and my dad and i walked
from the carlton house to a record store and he told me i can either
have heatwave's hot property or michael jackson's off the
wall.—please don't ask me why i chose the former i was obsessed with
rod temperton's work and i needed to hear "Therm Warfare". (lil did i
know i coulda had the best of both worlds had i got Wall but i was
only 8)

60. i remember asking my mom to get me Off The Wall some 6 hours later at
a mall. jackpot!

61. i remember putting my white socks on the lampshade hoping they too
would glow in the dark just like the back of the album cover.

62. i remember the first time i stayed up til 4am: listening to Off The Wall.

63.  remember i couldn't stop listening to: "oooooooaaaiigt ooofff
myyyyyyyeeeehhhhhhhhh…….llllleieiiieiiiiiief…..mmmmmmh hmhmmmm".
that shit froze me to death like seeing porn for the first time. did
he just cry on his own album?!!?

64. i remember reading all the liner notes wondering if i was a part of
"the year of the child" so i could feel like this album was dedicated
to me.

65. i remember seeing the role of all those involved in the making of
this album studying everything from the horn arranger to string
arranger to rhythm arranger (that one always confused me)

66. i remember once again ANOTHER tour being announced and alas another
empty promise.

67. i remember 20/20 doing a in depth focus report on The Jacksons. The
first day of school (in the 4th grade) it was all we talked about.
this is the first time i was met with indifference with non MJ fans
who almost caught a beatdown for making fun of your high voice.

68. i remember Traci Hall from my school being the be all and end all of
all news on MJ. her father was a legendary philly radio dj and he
always had promotional albums. me not ever seeing one before (and
thinking this was something special) ran home and marked all of his
father's albums with "do not sale: promotional only" with crayola
water colors…..much to his chagrin.

69. i remember wolfman jack premiering M's "Pop Muzik" and MJ's "Don't
Stop" videos on Midnight Special, and kept wondering how did he get
those kaleidoscope and marble designs in that video

70. i remember asking my mom what happened to his afro and why does his
hair look like it does now.

71. i remember putting globs and globs of my grandma's dippity doo in my
hair so my hair can curl up like that. it wasn't until later that i
discovered the term "jheri curl" and both my parents given me a stern
ass "NO!" when i begged em for one

72. i remember both me and mwanamke jordan bring our off the wall albums
to school and me sneaking when her back was turned and switching
records cause mine had a skip on "i can't help it"

73. i remember the day the jacksons caused a freenzy when they came to
broad street to see gamble and huff at their offices which was next
door to my school, the entire school went mad and we caught a mini
glimpse of them as they pulled off.

74. i remember traci hall recalling every detail  of that concert, which
was good enough for me, cause it was obvious that i would NOT see
these cats perform

75. i remember the night i watched the american music awards and watching
what i thought to be alot awards won. and i think you remarked that "3
Makes Me Happy". i also remembered you made a candid face when you
were groovin to kool and the gang's "ladies night"

76. i remember having to sit through an entire UNICEF show just to watch
you do "Rock With You" and asking about words like "humanitarian" and

77. i remember my first trip to the virgin islands and meeting what was
then my first MJ look alike, its not like he looked like him per se,
but from afar he had the same mj lanky walk (and he was the frist dj i
saw cutting and scratching so double the points

78. i remember the OG version of "off the wall" where there was NO
handclaps on "Rock With You" nor guitar lines on "Get On The Floor"

79. i remember barely being awake when midnight special premiered "Rock
With You", less marbles,

80. i remember the day traci and all of performing arts delivered the
news to me that your brother Randy almost died by crashing his car
around a pole in Hollywood.

81. i remember buying Blues & Soul magazine and you gave a recipe for
something called "Chicken Wrap Ups"—it lead me to believe that you
made this with your own hands.

82. i remember the first of MANY gag albums from motown and me thinking
"One Day In Your Life" the LP was a NEW album

83. i remember not knowing what the word Triumph meant when i first heard
that title.

84. i remember when the Right On! Super Special came out. Took forever to
save the 5 bucks it took to buy it.

85. i remember the whole family gathering in mom and dad's room to watch
the Diana special when Michael performed "Rock With You" and "Upside

86. i remember getting a latoya jackson cassette for getting a good
report card in 5th grade. i chose it because of "night time lover"

87. i remember getting the ebony cover story of the jacksons and deciding
the only way to get in this family is to auction off my sister. i dont
think she minded for there was no woman who didn't dream at one point
of wanting to  marry  mike.

88. 3rd times a charmer. i'll NEVER forget my first Jacksons' concert.

89. i remember the head jerk and point finger dance and ALL of us doing
it after we went to the concert

90. unfortunately i'd like to forget the punishment i endured over the
Jacksons Live album incident

91. i remember "playing the jacksons" like they were superfriends and
somehow i always wound up Tito.

92. i remember how Lou Ski of Soul Train fame was pretty much the EXPERT
of MJ imitation. since we didn't have access to youtube, that was all
we had. (he didn't even look like you (he was a 6"5 blaxiican) but
he had the posing and pointing to his socks down.

93. i remember don playing the "can you feel it" video on the brothers
johnson/latoya jackson episode of soul train: i was confused cause i
never saw a video in which the makers of the song didn't sing the song
in their video.
not to mention there were alot of special fx.

94. -…and i remember a half houe later the same video coming on
american bandstand

95. i remember shawn riley giving me his tour program from the triumph concert.

96. -i remember the rock and soul issue in which steve ivory did a
profile of what was then an obvious peek into what would become
thriller. and your then discovery of the idea of a drum machine.

97. i also remember in the same issue you saying one day the japanese
will invent a device so that non singers can be able to sing cause a
computer will sing for them. (oh little did you know)

98. i remember reading your Rolling Stone record review of Thriller for
the first time and also starting my obsession with record review
section and the drawing illustrations that came with that magazine.
which of course made my xmas gift that easy: i got thriller when i was
in puerto rico in dec 1982.

99. i remember your interview from the ebony jet showcase in 1982 in
which you spoke of listening to classical music which in turn made me
curious about that stuff

100.i remember my aunt delores getting me the rolling stone "life as a
man" cover story. the first RS cover story i read.

101. i remember discovering and entire box of old Right On! and TCB! mags
(from my sister) in the basement and it taking 3 weeks to build a
jackson shrine on my walls.

102. i remember seeing more and more and more of these street vendors on
the streets selling MJ posters….

102a -…now tshirts…

102b -….now buttons….

102c -…..and this week pocketbooks and wallets

102d-……and socks?

102e -and MJ shoestrings?

103 i remember in a 8 month period 52nd street going from 8 cats to about
19 cats on each block. and that was before

104. me NOT getting my homework done in time for Motown 25, a show i was
so determined to watch i neglected a mid term science paper to watch
it. i knew i was gonna get in trouble but damnit i was determined to
see history. not that i knew you were gonna make history, but based on
the motown 25 commercial and the spin you did i KNEW this was an
important historical night.

105 i remember where i was the second i saw it.

106.i remember faking sickness the next to do that paper.

107. i remember brian, mark, robert and john and i being sent to the
principal's office a day later because we all scuffed the floors with
our penny loafers trying to do you know what. we spent 4 lunch hours
erasing EVERY last shoe scuff track on that white marble floor. my
cousin told me his catholic school issued similar punishments for all
of those caught moonwalking in his school too.

108. i remember there being a RIDICULOUS amount of vendors on 52nd street
now: posters of all sizes, buttons, keychains, wallets, jackets,
chains, anything you could imagine it was like the soul version of
what christ discovered in john 2:14-16

109. i remember getting and reading  nelson george's biography on MJ in
one night and then doing a book report on it.

110. i remember the day in recess in which i got hit bullseye in the nuts
in a game of dodgeball so hard that i knew all women were lying about
the pain they feel when their period comes for i knew that at least
THEY can stand.

111. i also remember the date being december 2, 1983.

112. i remember the school not taking chances and rushing me to the
hospital……and the doctor keeping me overnight.—-meanwhile….

113. i remember my cousin (who lived in the suburbs) was teasing the shit
outta me cause he saw the world premiere of Thriller.

114. i remember "watching" that video on the telephone imagining what
was going on.

115. i remember begging my dad to let me watch the american music awards
instead of practicing my 3-4 drum ritual. he did. i was happy.

116. i remember a month later asking the same thing for the grammies and
getting my wish granted.

117. HOWEVER i also remember wynton marsallis thanking his father for
MAKING him practice his trumpet 5 hours a day while he accepted his
classical award in which my dad was like "to the basement now!" (my
mom pleaded my case by saying the neighbors would be thrown off with
drum noises happening at 10:40pm so he let me slide THAT TIME.

118. i now remember there being about 200+ vendors on 52nd street selling
bootleg leather jackets of mj

119. i remember my mom buying me a bootleg for easter 1984.

120. i remember the chipped tooth i gave my cousin for making fun of my
gear that day

121. i remember another week of punishment for that action

122. i remember the only highlight was hearing on the clock radio the
premiere of "tell me im not dreaming" with you and your brother

123. i remember "when doves cry" as the beginning of the michael vs
prince syndrome.

124. i remember my father telling me that we are going to kansas city for
the DNC….little did i know the kickoff city to a lil tour called The
Victory Tour would ALSO be in that town.

125. i remember the summer of 1984 being the best summer in memory. i had
no hope whatsoever in seeing a $30 dollar show (the most expensive
ticket up to that point) and my dad taught the whole family a trick:
scalping the scalpers

126. i remember the desperation of scalpers who copped more tix than they
knew what to do with going as low as $10 bucks for victory tour tix.
so thus: my entire family went to see the show…..for just $50 bucks.

127. i remember laughing at the same cousin who teased me about "thriller
nuts" last year THIS YEAR cause it was a thunderstorm at the philly
victory tour. so thus the show had to move on….til december.

128. i remember december 84 seeing the makeup show at the Vet. my 3rd
jacksons show.

129. i remember the day i heard you stopped being a jehovah's witness.

130. i remember the day We Are The World premiered on the radio

131. i remember the day Bad came out and i found out that day Scott La
Rock passed

132-1,000,000,000,000—i can't write anymore guys…..it was supposed
to be 10 then 100 then i couldnt stop myself.

the memories i have can pretty much fill up 1 million blogs. and the
memories are all i have now. part of me felt as though i had to write
all of these memories down to remind myself how much of an impact you
actually had on my life. you became so ubiquitous like water or lights
or bread even that ita easy to forget how much impact you had. you
were pretty much the main reason i even had white, asian, latino
friends at school (well dr j played a part too—soon prince and hip
hop would follow suit) or you being the bridge that could bring the
teachers and students together at my school. i am sad that i didn't
get a chance to see you one last time. but i am happier that you are
at peace. the memories i have are more than enough to last a lifetime.

thank you mike


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