Saturday, 27 June 2009

Musical First: A Thriller

Being of a certain age my music collection is in 4 formats vinyl, tape, cd and electronic. Trust me I'm constantly trying to get it all unto one/two but there is always so much more good new stuff and only so little money. Yeah as someone who gets the odd little copyright payment I will not rip off another artist. Therefore sometimes some of the older scratchable (vinyl) or chewable (tape) formats are the only way I can listen to stuff.

The first album I owned was obviously bought for me as there are numerous kids albums that are still in the LP box back home. However, after my first couple of 7" singles the first 12" of grooved plastic I got my sweaty mitts on was a gatefold Album sleeve which featured on the inside the artist with a baby tiger. The album had only garnered two number ones of it at the time. But I was thrilled to hand over my own pocket money (this was before a paper round led to me buying an Album a week) to buy my first album Michael Jackson's Thriller.

So though my musical tastes are wide and varied that first piece of black plastic that revolved around my parents' turntable at 33 1/3 RPM was full of tunes like Billie Jean, Beat It, Human Nature, Wanna be Startin' Something and that unforgettable, mad, Vincent Price cackle from the end of the title track itself. There was also the Paul McCartney collaboration The Girl is Mine for which the reciprocal duet Say, Say, Say was on the former Beatles star's Pipes of Peace album also part of my music collection.

Amazing from the 9 tracks from that 42 minutes and 16 seconds of music that could be jammed between the lead in and outplay parts of the grooves on both sides of that disc of joys 7 were released as singles. Is it any wonder that the album is still the best selling of all time. Returning to number one a total of four times (thus far) in the US, UK and Australia. Looking at the Albums that sandwiched it takes me back through my music collection. Synchronicity my first Police record*, Footloose the film some of us watched on a school trip to London (and we then did the steps on the Hovercraft over to Calais in the morning), True by Spandau Ballet (yeah even this Duranie had True), War by U2 (what can I say I'm Irish), Touch by the Eurythmics and The Swing by INXS by equal first album of theirs with Listen Like Thieves**.

So for the last 24 hours I've been reliving early and later musical memories. Watching some of the tributes from Glastonbury including Lily Allen who was threatening a double (single gloved and a potential wardrobe malfunction a la sister Janet in that top) as well as samples of riffs or songs plugged at the last minute into sets.

The news continues to seep through, gladly now just a trickle amongst the other stories. But all eyes are looking at the physician who was with Michael just before he went into cardiac arrest and who was present in the room when a member of staff called 911. The coroners office in LA has ruled out foul play but an accidental misdose of prescription drugs may now have led to the cardiac arrest that took the King of Pop.

On a personal aside one of my colleagues at work who has a pair of tickets for one of Michael's O2 shows is not going to seek a refund. Instead he is going to frame them as a lasting tribute to the entertainer whose music he still appreciated.

*Sorry just had to use that pun.

** This was pre their international big break on Live Aid and after much hounding of the local record shop on the recommendation of an Australian penpal. I'm quite pleased of my early UK released INXS collection of everything in every vinyl format.


  1. "Odd little copyright payment...", do tell what for? How many more strings do you have to your bow Mr Glenn - were you a rockstar too?

  2. Sadly odd and little are two very apt adjectives for the trickle that comes from the rarities that have been recorded of my song writing talents.