Friday, June 26, 2009
One bad apple and one bad voice
Michael Jackson's life could be broken into three segments; (1) the last 15 years when he more or less went off the deep end as "Wacko Jacko"; (2) the 1980s and early 1990s "Thriller" period when he was truly the "King of Pop"; (3) the early years when he was the young lead singer of the "Jackson 5".
That early peroid was my best association of Jackson, who was about two months younger than I was. Funny what you remember for no particular reason.
It was the early 1970s. My mother had this oversized casette tape recorder. I borrowed it when the spirit moved to record me doing dumb things, usually dumb off-key things. So here I was, in the privacy of my own room and in my own 14-year-old mind, charming an arena of young girls with my lyrics.
"ONE BAD APPLE DON'T SPOIL A WHOLE BUNCH GIIIIRRLLL!"
Then I can hear my late dad, in the living room watching TV, yell down the hall: "Hey, hush in there!"
And then there's me, not missing a beat, whispering: "give it one more chance before you give up on lu-uv...yeah."
The tape recorder picked it all up perfectly. For a long time, we still had that casette at the house I grew up in, and about every five years or so, someone would play that for posterity and I would cringe. It's gone now, but with my dad's voice on it, it would be great to still have it.
The other MJ connection about the same time was in the Groom drugstore where they had some pinball machines and a jukebox going. "Rockin' Robin" was a hot song, and that thing got played a lot during that time.
Songs are a great reminder of past events. Even today, if I hear that song, I think of some high school freshman in an FFA jacket, totally in the zone, just a 100 points or so away from hearing that sweet popping sound that could only mean a free game of pinball:
"He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin' and a-boppin' and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet
"Rockin' robin, tweet tweet tweet
Rockin' robin' tweet tweetly-tweet
Blow rockin' robin
'Cause we're really gonna rock tonight..."