This morning, a local DJ remarked that Michael Jackson’s album Thriller is still selling thousands of copies a year – more than 25 years since its initial release.
His comment sparked a memory of when I first saw the video for Thriller. Back in 1984, there was a relatively new television station that played only music videos. Aptly titled Music Television, MTV played music videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s hard to fathom that MTV used to be all about music and not what it is today.
In the beginning, MTV did not play black recording artists. Then along came Michael Jackson and Thriller. According to Wikipedia, Michael is the artist who broke the self-imposed MTV color barrier and made it more acceptable for black singer’s videos to be placed in to rotation.
The night of the video’s premiere was preceded by days of anticipation. Everyone knew the day and time the video would be shown. At my god parent’s house, my sister, god sisters, god brother ate fast and I made sure our homework was out of the way.
We did not want to miss this event because we knew the next day everyone would be talking about it at school.
We prepared as if we were going to witness the greatest thing since the showing of the miniseries Roots. In our eyes, this video was something that we would never witness again.
I remember sitting in front of the TV, eating popcorn and waiting for the show to begin.
And what a show it was.
Michael Jackson gave us 14 minutes of something we had never seen before – a video complete with acting and a story line that actually went with the song lyrics. Sitting on the floor, I felt myself becoming scared as the scene opened with Michael and his date being at the movies.
I remember flinching and closing my eyes when Ola Ray did.
Walking down that dark street, we knew something was going to happen. But what? I was on edge the entire video.
Michael Jackson did not disappoint with Thriller. He set the bar high and made it so you expected much more from a music video than just singing and dancing.
Despite what you may think of Michael, his influence and revolutionary way of entertaining us through song changed how we would forever view videos.
There are many who have tried to duplicate his style, but there will never be another artist who has done what Michael has.