Do you ever get the feeling that some things have just passed you by? Those moments when other people are talking about things which were significant for them, and of which you have no memory at all? Even, or perhaps especially, when they tell you that everyone was listening/doing/watching?
I’m not talking about the things which I knew were around, but which I chose to avoid, like Only Fools and Horses, or Little Britain; I mean those things which left no impression at all.
I’ve just watched the first hour (of well over two) of Spike Lee’s documentary Michael Jackson: BAD 25, a track by track hagiography of an album released in 1987. Every imaginable contributor has been interviewed and carefully spliced together, wither now or in archive tape, from Martin Scorsese and Quincy Jones to each of the session musicians, and current stars who were inspired by it.
Apparently, if this film is to be believed, pretty much everything about the album and associated short films (music videos by another name) was extraordinary; from its sales figures and the number of consecutive number 1 singles to the fact that it gave Wesley Snipes his debut film role.
As the documentary progressed through the development, recording and performance of each of the tracks one by one, I was really surprised to realise that, with the exception of the title track (Bad), I would swear that I’d never heard any of them before.
How did that happen? In 1987 I still listened to music radio and bought loads of records, although I might have been transitioning to CDs around about then. I wouldn’t say I was a big Jackson fan, but I did feel I’d grown up with him. At the house-warming party for my first house, built on the edge of a cemetery, we had played Thriller on near continuous loop, with the windows open to the graves over the fence.
But the subsequent album completely passed me by; and now it’s gone, as the music was of its time, and having missed it first time round I have none of the nostalgia for it that all the contributors obviously share.
Do you remember it?