As you may have already gathered from the majority of content on this website, I’m into music in a big way. As far back as I can remember, it’s always been that way. Most of my earliest memories involve music in some way, and when I look back over the story of my journey so far, every pivotal moment has a song or two attached to it.
I’ve been listening to those songs a lot lately. As I start a new chapter in my own life, it occurred to me that it might be nice to spend some quality time with the tracks that in someway shaped the person I am at this moment in time. S
So I did, and the more I listened, the more I found myself reflecting on my story. The more I reflected, the more I wanted to talk about these songs, to write about them, to share them with people.
That’s when I came up with the idea (probably stolen from somewhere) for 52 Songs That Changed My Life. Every Monday for the next 52 weeks, I’m going to take one song that influenced, inspired, or otherwise played some key role at some key moment of my life to this point.
For the most part, I’m planning to do this in chronological order, starting with my earliest favourites. By the end of the year, I hope we’ll reach the chapter of my life story that I’m currently living now.
Ready? Then I shall begin.
52 Songs That Changed My Life: 1 – Michael Jackson – Bad
And so it begins not with the scathing riffs nor the introspective lyrics that would later go on to be staples of my musical diet, but with a pop song -a very popular pop song- from the 1980s.
I was born in May 1984. Three years and three months later, Michael Jackson released Bad, his first studio album since the landmark album Thriller back in 1982. At some point, a copy of said album made its way into my parents small collection of pop records, and it was from here that I first realised what a powerful effect a really good song could have on me.
I loved Bad. I loved every track on the album and then some.
More than that, I grew to love Michael Jackson. There was something about this enigmatic figure that made him a hero. From the way he dressed to the way he simply oozed confidence and charisma, everything about Jackson was bold, brilliant, larger than life. He was like some kind of sequined superhero who just happened to make really catchy pop songs.
I had many obsessions as a kid –pro wrestling, Power Rangers, writing stories- but Michael Jackson was my first, and when I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. I even clearly remember a time when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I answered ‘Michael Jackson.’
I didn’t mean ‘Like Michael Jackson,’ or merely ‘A singer’ I wanted to be the Michael Jackson, this larger-than-life, super-charismatic superstar who was just about the most awesome human being I’d ever seen.
As the years went on and I discovered loud guitars and the thrill of rock ‘n’ roll, my enthusiasm for Jackson diminished, though never entirely. Today, though I don’t listen to his music often, each time I do brings back a fond childhood memory for me, and in many ways I think that many of the things I would go to like were somehow formed by the enigmatic superstar who was my first true hero.