the first album i ever bought: michael jackson – bad


The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs (almost) every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here. My friends at This Is American Music are about to take over this feature for at least the next few weeks, so enjoy.

My brother, Danny, and I were Michael Jackson fans from the first time we heard the song “Beat It”. We were maybe all of 7 and 4 years old when it was released as a radio single. And even at that young age, I remember going apeshit in the backseat of my Mom’s car every time the song would come on the radio. We would hear the intro (with those opening synth notes) and start freaking out. We couldn’t understand half of the lyrics. But we sang along to what we thought the words might be, and filled in the blanks where we were unsure.

At that time, I was a bit too young to buy music on my own. I was more concerned with riding my bike to the local convenient store and spending whatever change I had in my pocket on Big League Chew and Jolly Rancher candy. But we remained avid fans of Michael Jackson. In fact, I remember spending hours trying to learn how to Moonwalk. And I may or may not have owned a shiny glove at one point.

A few years later, the Bad album was released; and I had to have it. But I didn’t have much money, and my Mom’s birthday was coming up. So I said to Danny, “Let’s get Mom the new Michael Jackson album. Then we can listen to it whenever we want!” And that’s exactly what we did. We bought the Bad album on vinyl and gave it to my Mom for her birthday. Problem solved. Crisis averted.

Who’s Bad?

Matt Burke is the singer-songwriter for Tampa, Florida band HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL. The above photo is Matt and his brother Danny as kids.

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