So today we lost two icons of the 70s (and 80s).
I never owned a copy of ‘Thriller,’ but I didn’t need to. In 1982 you couldn’t get away from it. The songs were all over the radio. I liked ‘Beat It’ largely due to Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo. I also liked the title song. Hated ‘Billie Jean’ though.
So Michael Jackson and his act with his brothers didn’t really have much of an effect on me, but in 1998 I married an African American woman (I’m going to call her Tania) who grew up listening to the Jackson 5, and loving Michael. By then Michael’s life had started to spiral, but he had – to my mind anyway – not gone completely off the rails. I bought a Jackson 5 greatest hits CD for her and through her I developed a greater appreciation for his gift at such a young age.
My favorite song from those old days was ‘Got to Be There’ from 1971. It spoke to how I felt about Tania, how much I wanted to be in her life, to “be there in the morning when she says hello to the world.”
Oh what a feeling there’ll be
The moment I know she loves me
‘Cause when I look in her eyes I realize
I need her sharing her world beside me
The marriage is over, but Tania and I are connected through Boodles of course, but have chosen to remain friends. When I heard of Michael’s death today, I called Tania to see if she had heard the news. She had been working and had no media on, so I was the one who broke it to her. She was of course shocked, but her first reaction was similar to mine: Almost a relief. Relief that there would be no more stories, rumors, weird plastic surgery, jokes (like the graph I put up a few days ago), and finally we hope, maybe some peace.
I also didn’t have a copy of Farrah Fawcett’s iconic poster (my parents never would have allowed such a thing in our house), but again, it and she were everywhere. She was, as we would have said in the 70s, “a fox.” She was the perfect girl next door sex symbol.
Although my folks wouldn’t have allowed the Farrah poster, we did watch ‘Charlie’s Angels.’ It was cheesy, and we knew it, but in those days there were only three networks so what choice did we have? The guys all professed to have their favorite angel. Some claimed to favor Jaclyn Smith, I personally stated a preference for Kate Jackson’s less “jiggly” more cerebral type, but we were full of it. It was all about Farrah. Like previous generations had Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth, we had Farrah to fuel our fantasies. That hair, those eyes, those teeth, those…well you get the picture.
Not that us horny 70s adolescents cared, but Farrah could really act. But we never did take her seriously did we? Again, I hope she now has found peace.