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Michael Jackson

Hum Along and Dance: JACKSON FIVE

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Lots of people have irrational fears, and lots more have specific fears of all sorta illogical crapola, from people to animals to inanimate objects. Some peeps cower at the sight of clowns, some duck and run when any sort of bird (parrot, seagull or pigeon) zooms in close, there are even some fine upstanding heterosexual he-men who are more scared of mice than they are of yer friendly neighborhood transvestite. Irrational? Yup. Understandable? Kinda.
I myself have had mucho experience with both fear and horror: I’ve been married thrice, divorced twice, seen 2001: A Space Odyssey under the influence of early-70’s LSD, actually listened to Dark Side of the Moon straight as an arrow, I’ve seen a live mime show, an actual Poco show, and an old and puffy Frank Sinatra sing the songs that he virtually lived with the sad help of a teleprompter, I’ve even been behind bars on three separate occasions, and once, dare I say it, I donned sandals.



Michael Jackson on the roof of Woolco in Memphis, Tennessee


When Michael Jackson appeared on the roof of Woolco in Southgate Shopping Center in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1977, he had no idea that one day he would be wed to the daughter of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and that he would even vye for the King’s throne.

Then, Michael was not yet the beknighted King of Pop. In fact, he was more one of the Five, and not yet the grand amalgamation of pop cultural touchstones that he would become.

As the story has been told, the Jackson 5 were appearing that evening in concer and had just visited the South’s great R&B radio station, WDIA. Michael and his brothers were eager to please their fans, and that would mean going into the community to sign autographs. So WDIA planned a remote broadcast at a Woolco in the Southgate Shopping Center on South Third.

Although Woolco was selling Jackson 5 recordings, the manager of the store had never even heard of the group. As a result, nobody at this particular Woolco had anticipated what would happen when they opened the doors of the store despite the fact that the store was actually selling tons of their records.

Of course, hundreds, then thousands, of fans rushed in to meet the young pop icons. One estimate is that at least 10,000 people had been waiting in the parking lot to see the group.

The WDIA handlers decided to put the Jackson 5 on the roof for everyone’s safety.