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Maybe Tomorrow…

It’s been a few days now since the world was hit with news of the death of Michael Jackson. The sad if rather unsurprising story has all the sordid elements that have played roles in the untimely deaths of so many other entertainment legends. Elvis, Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, John Belushi, Chris Farley, the list goes on and on…

If anything, these tragedies just go on to further drive home the idea that fame and fortune usually doesn’t bring happiness or peace. In fact, if anything, it probably makes those worthy trophies of life only more distant and elusive. It makes you wonder why anyone would even want to be rich and famous. Sounds like there are just too many occupational hazards to me. I got pretty close to being “rich” at one point of my life not that long ago. And it’s no surprise that I was not even close to being happy. Funny how that works.

Anyway, when I first heard the news about MJ, my reaction was a bit blase’ admittedly. He had been living the life of a circus freak in recent years and had only become incredibly more bizarre and disturbing as time went by. The child molestation allegations (which, after seeing the court documents, to me, can only be at least somewhat true) surely didn’t help my impression of him. And if anything, I was more than happy to see his scarily surgically-enhanced face fade into the back pages of most magazines and tabloids I didn’t read anyway. It’s been a long, sad, way down for him.

But one thing kept coming into my head these past couple of days. My childhood. Remembering being about 5-6 years old, and buying my two first 45RPM records of my very own. I’ll never forget them. To me, they were the pivotal event, the defining moment, that paved the way to my undying passion for music. All kinds of music. Those first two records, while very different in genre, started it all for me. The records were “Maybe Tomorrow” by the Jackson Five (but it might as well have been the Jackson ONE as far as I was concerned), and “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors (I wrote about this connection in post four years ago after visiting Pere Lachaise (Jim Morrison’s resting place) in Paris.)

The first time I heard “Maybe Tomorrow” broadcast on AM Radio in the spring of 1971, I was immediately enamored with the song. I could not get the catchy chorus out of my head. Here was a kid who didn’t sound much older than me (he was 10 when he recorded the song), who sang with such passion and even wisdom. I was floored. For the next month or so, it was all about me saving my pennies, nickels, and dimes until I finally had enough money for the two 45’s of two VERY different songs that I just absolutely had to have. I guess you can say that I had eclectic taste in music even at six years old.

Yeah, I went on to like some of the other music by the Jackson Five, and of course, even Michael’s solo stuff later. My sister Judy was way more into him though, and I cared less as I got older. He did have a bit of a revival with me, oddly enough in the early 80’s. Despite the fact that I was totally into hard-metal, punk, and new wave at the time, I could not deny “Thriller”. When it came out, I was hooked and couldn’t resist. As far as I was concerned, that was Michael’s masterpiece, his “David”.

Really though, for me, it all goes back to that 45 I bought at the Woolworth’s at Ford City shopping center on Chicago’s southside. That’s where and when it all started, and Michael was part of it. Despite all that happened at the end of the line, there is no denying it.

One Comment

  1. elizabeth says:

    Rider’s on the Storm on a 45? That’s classic! My first 45’s were Le Freak and Love Rollercoaster. I think they must have infected my brain. LOL.
    Moving on…Thriller comparable to the David? Good god, T! Say it ain’t so! :p