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On This Day In 1983: Michael Jackson Dazzles ‘Motown 25′ Viewers With The ‘Moonwalk’


When I was growing up, I vividly remember wishing I was born just a few years earlier than my birth year of 1981. The toys seemed cooler, and of course I wanted to be on the same level as the cool kids (aka the older kids) in my neighborhood. Another reason, is because at 2 years old I was too young to be aware of what took place on this day back in 1983. 50 million people tuned into a ‘Motown 25th Anniversary Special’ on TV celebrating a quarter century of some of the best music in history from Motown … but no one knew that for the first time on television, they would see a 25 year old MJ in his mothers sequin jacket and one crystal-encrusted white glove …. and they would witness history.

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Already well-known since the age of 11 as the star and lead singer of the Jackson 5, a family musical act made up of Michael and his brothers that was signed by Motown in 1969, Jackson released his first solo album, Off the Wall, in 1979 when he was 21 years old. The follow-up, 1982’s Thriller, was packed with seven hit singles and went on to break all music-industry sales records as it made Jackson a worldwide superstar. Jackson’s May 16, 1983 performance on the Motown 25th Anniversary Special boosted enthusiasm for the release and spawned the ‘moonwalk,’ a dance move–in which he appeared to be slowly moving forward as he actually moved backward–that is now synonymous with Jackson and his unprecedented critical and commercial success. (The move was actually a takeoff on the ‘backslide,’ which had been performed on Soul Train a couple of years earlier.) Later that year, he released a hotly anticipated 14-minute music video for the song “Thriller” on the year-old MTV music network, and was well on his way to revolutionizing not only pop music, but television as well.

[via Sublime Goodness]

I still get chills when I watch this video. RIP MJ.

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