I don't care who you are or how you approach this world. Be you a cynic, a prude, an elitist or a bitter hateful curmudgeon - if the Jackson 5 singing ABC doesn't put a big smile on your face and get your feet tapping uncontrollably, then, quite frankly, you are dead inside and likely won't enjoy the rest of this column . . .
. . . For anyone still reading this then, let's take a moment to recognize Thriller himself, also known as M.J., also known as the King of Pop and ultimately known as Michael Jackson.
His music was beyond amazing and uplifting. It was life affirming. The pure and almost religious joy of feeling that incredible Billie Jean beat pulsate through one's body from the rapidly spinning 45 is enough to make this quirky cultural icon worthy of household familiarity for the next 100 years. But his list of accomplishments extends far beyond this one song.
I Want You Back, Don't Stop till You Get Enough, Beat it, Bad, Smooth Criminal, The Way You Make Me Feel - these are just a taste of the gifts this individual, himself surely gifted with a touch of divinity, gave us either to cherish or perhaps merely keep as the soundtrack to our lives.
When I was just nine years old, my family went on the quintessential Disneyland vacation. The entire trip was so surreal and dreamlike, I really don't remember much of it in what might be considered accurate detail. However, one attraction I recall with vivid clarity was the Captain EO 3-D film, starring none other than Michael Jackson.
Just seeing M.J. on a big screen in three-dimensional space was thrill enough for me. The wickedly awesome performance of Anjelica Huston as the evil alien queen was certainly secondary compared to the King of Pop (though Huston is great and probably deserving of her own column).
For me, I suppose Michael Jackson has served me most at dance bars and wedding receptions. Just when I'm ready to call it a night, one of those perfect songs he sang so well pumps over the speaker and I can't stay off the dance floor. Forces beyond my comprehension propel me. I am trapped in a euphoric delirium and totally controlled by that pure and high-pitched voice, those feel-good pop rhythms and memories of just how amazing this music has always made me feel.
Oh, how I wish he could have had one more chance to show us how he loved us. Could you imagine how awesome an acoustic version of his greatest hits might have been? Just Michael, six strings and a microphone in a recording studio - it would have been stellar.
Or, maybe just another album of absolute classic, catchy, pop-culture M.J. is all we needed. There's so much joy this spectacular icon might have offered if only he had more time - his redemption tour.
Fortunately for any fan of good music, there is a universe of pleasure in every one of this icon's lengthy list of greatest hits.
. . . And then there's the dancing . . . my God, the Moonwalk . . .
Carter Haydu can be reached at 691-1265.