My Life of What Ifs

Monday, November 2, 2009

Music Memory Monday (almost)

This post from JamsBio is especially significant for me because it was part of a contest associated with the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller album. I entered with a vivid memory of my twelfth birthday party and low and behold I won second place. That $250 prize helped me believe in writing as a career, or at the very least as a step above a hobby or a pipe dream. It was some validation for my work and one more step in my "process".

Another step in that process is on it's way. I am 10 days from my one year anniversary and so much has changed. But when I wrote this music memory 18 months ago, I had no idea. I had no idea that Michael Jackson would be dead a little over a year later and I had no idea the growing I would do in that time. But I have grown, and it's been thrilling.

Patience, Perseverance & Birthday Cake

When Michael Jackson's album Thriller came out in 1983 it was a hit with everyone. The songs caught everyone’s attention and the videos were unlike anything anyone had ever seen. That fact was never more apparent than with the release of the video for the title song.

Life was different in 1983. The internet didn't exist and that meant you couldn't Google "Thriller" and watch the video on YouTube whenever you felt the need. As far as I knew the only way to catch it after the world premiere was to tune into MTV and watch. Endlessly. Or at least as long as your parents would allow.

In April of 1984 I celebrated my 12th birthday and was lucky enough to have a slumber party with about 6 of my closest friends. At that point the Thriller video had been out about 4 months and it was still as popular as ever. My friends and I all had posters of Michael Jackson in our rooms and some of our guy friends had even finagled the "jacket" from their parents, but the video, was the most attainable. That evening we made our beds on our living room floor, lined up our Cabbage Patch Kids, and turned on MTV. We waited and prayed that the video would come on. Eventually it did.

Being me, I had wanted to write a letter to MTV begging and pleading for them to play it that night. I'm not sure why I didn't, or maybe I did but it never found its way to the mail. But after hours of being pre-teen girls and making someone watch the TV at all times we were rewarded. I don't remember if it was part of a countdown or just random, but excitement spilled over that night at my house. As a group of 11 and 12 year olds, the Thriller video allowed us to do what we did best. Scream.

"It's so scary!"

"Did you see his eyes?!"

"The Zombies are dancing!!!"

"That laugh is so scary!!! AHHHHH!!!"

I have many memories associated with my 12th birthday party. We had a lip syncing contest (ala Puttin' on the Hits) and stayed up late. But Michael Jackson's Thriller and it's video will always remind me of that slumber party and that with patience and perseverance in the 80's, you would eventually see the video you wanted to see on MTV.

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