Friday, June 26, 2009

Thoughts on hearing the 7 o'clock news

A long time ago, BBC Radio 1 broadcast a documentary about Kraftwerk. The thing I remember most clearly from it was a story about how, when they heard 'Billie Jean', the band was thrown into crisis, believing that the song was such a leap forward that there was nowhere for them left to go.

Much later, I saw a clip of Jackson performing the same song at the Motown 25th Anniversay concert, and thought 'Well, pop music should have given up at that point, because nothing is ever going to top that.'

This morning, there were no tracks from 'Off the Wall' in the clips played on the Today programme (not big MJ fans, I guess), so we put the cd on. Anyone who doesn't like this record doesn't like happiness. Let us single out for praise 'Rock With You': that rare thing, a brilliant mid-tempo pop song, totally sophisticated and totally disco at the same time. You can imagine Smokey Robinson or Ella Fitzgerald singing it, and that's the company he deserves to be remembered alongside.

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