The Jackson Five

" . . . Billy Jean is not my lover, she's just a girl who says that I am the one, but the kid is not my son . . ."


How did I get Billy Jean stuck in my head?


It's not stuck in my head, someone is listening to Billy Jean in another room.


Why is Calvin listening to Billy Jean? Other than the Jackson Five Christmas album, I don't think we own a single piece of Michael Jackson's music. Not because we don't think he's awesome, it's just that  whatever we did own, was on vinyl or cassette and who knows where that stuff is anymore.

Hey dude, are you listening to Michael Jackson?


Where did that come from?

A kid at school. Wait . . . Dad?

Uh huh?

You know who Michael Jackson is?

Of course, dude. He was one of the biggest pop stars ever.

Wait . . . Dad?


Is he still alive?

No dude. He died a few years ago.

Oh. How did he die?

Well, hmm, do you know what a perfectionist is?


Well, a perfectionist is someone who does something over and over and over again until they get things perfect. Sometimes that's good, and they can do amazing things, but sometimes it's bad and it makes them stupid crazy.

Kay (giggle at the word stupid)

Well, he was working too hard and thought it would be a good idea to take a whole bunch of drugs to keep going and after awhile his heart just stopped.

Oh. Wait . . . Dad?


Did you know he could lean?

And so the questioning begins. I am sure there will come a day when I can no longer compete with Wikipedia to answer every question he's ever had about anything, but today is not that day. So as I sat there watching my son watch Michael Jackson videos on his iPod, I quickly had to come up with all the random Michael Jackson facts I could think of:

The Anti Gravity Lean:
When I first saw Smooth Criminal on MTV, (No kids, that wasn't a reality series, there was a time when MTV played music videos like YouTube only there was less commentary and more Kurt Loder), anyway, when I first saw MJ doing the anti gravity lean, I thought it was just a camera trick. Raked stage or wire rigging, whatever. But then we all saw him do it live on stage and kinda got our minds blown. Turns out, it was a special pair of shoes that could hook onto some studs that rose from the stage floor. Cool fact: Michael Jackson himself owned the patent on the design.

which takes us to . . .

The Moon Walk:
MJ's signature move, but unlike the anti gravity lean, was not actually a Michael Jackson original, but was created by legendary Broadway Director/Choreographer Bob Fosse. In my humble opinion, the Fosse version is much much much much cooler, and honestly, you can pretty much attribute all of Michael's choreography to Fosse. We can also thank Fosse for "Jazz Hands" Fun Fact: Fosse is the only person ever to win an Emmy, a Tony, and an Oscar in the same year.

and speaking of awards,

Setting out to create one of the best sounding records ever, Producer Quincy Jones and MJ spent 12 to 15 hours a day in the studio on retakes and over dubs, but when they got the first pressing of the album, they were horrified by the lack of fidelity (Science Fact: On a vinyl record, you start to lose fidelity when your tracks run too long) So, they had to completely recut both sides of the album in order to give them the fidelity they wanted. Thriller won 8 Grammys. Fun Fact: Quincy Jones is Rashida Jones' dad.

and while we're talking fathers,

Joseph Jackson
Kind of a dick.

and while we're on the subject of terrible,

Van Halen:
I remember being told that Van Halen was going to be playing the guitar solo on MJ's "Beat It" video. I remember being acutely excited, because for some reason it seemed uniquely cool that there was gonna be this clash between Pop and Heavy Metal (Yes kids, there was a time when Van Halen was considered Metal) I remember having my prepubescent mind blown. I have since gone back and had a listen and found it to be off-puttingly terrible. Fun Fact: GunsNRoses guitar player Slash got a lot of flack for playing on MJ's song "Black or White", but for some reason he never caught shit for his opening riff being an almost direct rip off of Melancamp's "Hurt So Good" riff.

This is clearly an incomplete list of a 40 year career, but I only got as far as "specially made shoes" before Calvin dismissed himself and went to kill unicorns with a lightsaber.

I win again, Wikipedia.

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