Michael Jackson: The Way You Make Us Feel
You are gone but the thrill of Thriller remains.
Michael Jackson once said, “My fans truly are a part of me, we share something that most people will never experience”. Ask any of his fans and they will tell you why and how. The 13 nail biting minutes of Thriller takes you to a different universe and ‘almost stops your heart’. An almost stopped heart, dilated pupils and tapping feet are testament to the kind of performer he was. He died nine years ago but the legend of Michael Jackson hasn’t diminished one bit, it only grows with every musician and dancer he has influenced and inspired. This August, it will be 60 years since he was born and to celebrate his birth, we take you through the charismatic voice, explosive moves, artistic videography, eccentric fashion and magnificent celebrity of the King of Pop.
Greatly inspired by the likes of James Brown, Fred Astaire, Diana Ross, Bob Fosse and Charlie Chaplin; Michael himself has been an inspiration to an entire generation of artists such as Justin Timberlake, Usher, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Bruno Mars, Prabhu Deva, AR Rahman, among others. His songs are sampled by singers even today. With a phenomenal body of work, he has been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. His swift yet graceful moves would leave the audience gaping and asking for more. He popularised dance moves like pelvic thrust, crotch grab, moonwalk and anti-gravity lean and had every aspiring dancer imitate him.
His live performances and music videos were never about music only. They were complete packages. That’s why Billie Jean isn’t Billie Jean without the moonwalk and Bad directed by Martin Scorsese is nothing without the leather jacket and chains. Michael was one of the pioneers of music promotion through videography. The special effects and concepts of his larger than life music videos were a rarity at that time. He would stun, persuade, impress and entertain, all at the same time. And if the concepts, lyrics, music and dance moves weren’t enough; he had an unforgettable wardrobe as well. His fedora hat, zipped leather jackets, white socks, single white glove and an affinity towards all things glitter and bling were truly iconic
As the legend of Michael Jackson grew, he was caught in a whirlpool of undying controversies. But controversies could never deter his fans as he is one of the most revered artists, even today.
MJ5, a dance group from Delhi have not only named the group after Michael Jackson but have also modelled their dance style after him calling it the MJ style. Here’s what MJ5 has to say about MJ. “Michael Jackson was the reason we all came together. The world knows him for his moonwalk and we have created a world record with our 25 new types of moonwalks as a tribute to him. We are Michael’s extended family from India. To dance like MJ and representing his dance is a huge responsibility that we fulfil with our whole heart and soul. Not just a great dancer but he was a humanitarian also. His songs were a lesson. We love his passion for his dance and work and he will be remembered till the very end.”
The Official Michael Jackson Fan Club is a ‘one of its kind’ Indian fan club dedicated to the King of Pop. Nikhil Gangavane, Founder President of this club first saw Michael’s Black or White video in 1992 and has been a fan ever since. Nikhil pays a fitting tribute, “I don’t really consider him just a dance icon. He was one man show, a complete performer who could deliver a performance that involved singing, dancing, drama, pyrotechnics and a lot of other illusions all at once. These elements made his performances stand out from everyone else. Looking back today, I feel that no one can perform like him. You can impersonate him by wearing clothes like him, wigs and moonwalk but the way Michael Jackson glided on the music without much of a conscious thought, it is something very few performers can achieve.”