Saturday, June 27, 2009

Where were you when Elvis died?

The passing of 3 major Hollywood figures this week was a bit shocking. While I'm not easily star struck, I'm always sad when someone famous dies. Yesterday I was listening to Michael Jackson coverage on NPR and started to tear up. I couldn't believe it. I'm one in 750 million who never owned a MJ album. But I realized that with his passing a part of my life goes too. I had never given MJ much thought until now.

I'm a music snob. As far back as high school, I listened to college stations and indie musicians. I snubbed my nose at pop music. I took pride in knowing bands no one had heard of. And while I never owned MJ's music, I could never take my eyes off of his dance moves when he was on TV. If the Thriller video was on, I watched it to the end. I knew the words to his songs and would sing along. Clearly his music seeped into my life.

So now, I find myself reminiscing, watching MTV's coverage of MJ, and telling the boys this is their "where were you when Elvis died" moment*. With utmost respect, I'm explaining to the boys how MJ's life was really sad but his talent brilliant. My boys are peicing the music puzzle together as they learn that MJ is the man behind the moonwalk and the ABC song. M (my 12 yr old) was even shocked to learn that the song by Alien Ant Farm, Annie are you OK [correction 6.29.09 - Smooth Criminal], is a MJ remake. E (my 7 yr. old) is just frightened by MJ.

I commented to M that I felt badly for Farrah Fawcett's family and how MJ's passing has totally overshadowed it. He wisely pointed out that maybe this is a relief to them and they'll be able to mourn in private. He's so right and I hope that is how they feel.

M was shocked to learn that FF was in the original Charlie's Angels - or that there was an older version of Charlie's Angels. I had to explain the popular poster and how every boy, including his dad, had that poster in their rooms. I told him how I worked tirelessly each morning to unnaturally make my hair flip back like hers. This was quite an accomplishment for a 1/2 Asian girl with stick straight hair.

While Ed McMahon was more my father's generation, I grew up with his hearty laugh in the background as I was in bed. Johnny Carson and Ed were on TV every night in my home. They almost seemed like grandfathers to me. There hasn't been much talk about him to my boys because they don't even know about late night talk shows. But, I'm sure that my father and I will reminisce about EM the next time we chat.

It's a big bummer to see 3 icons go. But, this is life. And now I feel like after all these years, maybe I should buy the Thriller album...for my kids.

*BTW, I was a grade schooler sitting on my front porch with my friends when I got word Elvis died. I accused my friend of lying to me. Where were you?

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