My lightnbolt experience with Michael started way back when I was a child. I can honestly say I didn't realize what it was then. But as an adult and since he's left this earth, I can say it truly was just that... the spiritual experience whereby my little soul recognized that amazing spirit of light inside this cute boy singing through my tv.
This all is started with Soul Train, the highlight of my Saturday. Not cartoons, but American Bandstand and Soul Train were my Saturday joys. Don't get me wrong, I liked cartoons and still do. But it was all about the fashion, the music and the dancing for me. And I had the whole living room area to do my dance moves; the couch and the chairs were my witnesses. One day during Soul Train, Don Cornelius announced, "Next week's guests will be the Jackson 5." Woooohoooo! I could not wait until that next Saturday. That week seemed to go by so slowly, even slower than a week at elementary school usually does. When Saturday arrived, I did my usual dancing to all the songs on Soul Train while waiting for the musical guests, the Jackson 5. I was pretty excited to see them cause the song they had out on the radio was pretty good. I really digged it.
I can't remember the actual introduction Don gave them but I think he said something like, "singing their hit Dancing Machine, the Jackson 5." YaY! I gave them my own standing ovation right there in my living room. There was no dancing during the performance just observation. They were perfect; it sounded just like it did on the radio. And their dance moves were smooth. Then, right at the little breakdown part of the song, Michael slips from behind the row of microphones where him Jackie and Marlon had just belted out some lyrics and did the most incredible edible dance moves! I had never seen anything like that in my life! What was it? It seemed to last forever and in my mind it was done in slow motion.
And THAT was the moment that something happened.
It hard to explain from a child angle but I can close my eyes and still see it and feel it. The feeling was overwhelming. It was like a feeling of you knowing someone but just really seeing them for the first time. It was a hello, where have you been? It was like a cool breeze on a hot day. But at the same time, it was summertime with winter all around you. Yes, the feeling was magical and it was strong. I thought it was just me really really really wanting to have this song. I had to have it. I don't recall what happened after Michael did that dance, which I found out later at school was called the Robot. I had to release this energy, this feeling I had. I had to have this record. I remember running into the bedroom and shouting to my mother with tears in my eyes that I had to get that song Dancing Machine …the Jackson 5 sung it on Soul Train… Michael did the robot… and I had to get it NOW. I rambled all that out in one sentence. My mother looked at me like I had lost my mind. She was like, "I'm not going to go get no record I don’t care who sings what, right now." Is she serious? Does she know what just happened? I mean Michael Jackson just did the Robot and everything! I begged and pleaded but it did not do any good. I walked away quite sad. Knowing me back then, a temper tantrum probably ensued. Man, if only I had a car and was old enough to drive.
My mom did eventually take me downtown to get the 45 rpm of Dancing Machine. I played that song incisively on my little record player. I even took the record to school for record day in music class. My little Dancing Machine, that’s what I called him. Michael Jackson, my little Dancing Machine. I will never forget that feeling.