Happy Birthday to the Moonwalk
Yesterday was a national holiday: 32 years and one day ago, Michael Jackson debuted the Moonwalk while performing “Billie Jean.” (GOD, I know, how could I forget???) Jackson didn’t originate the move, but catapulted it to the mainstream and started a national craze. Soul Train’s website (everybody text your mom: did you know Soul Train had a website?) has a really charming backstory:
The audience thought they had already seen a dynamite performance, but they had not seen anything yet. During the bridge, Michael proceeded to demonstrate on television for the very first time the Backslide, which caused screams throughout the entire audience. He did the move again towards the end of the song and he recalls seeing a sea of people standing up and applauding him at the end of his performance.
Everyone backstage–from his brothers, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops and the special’s host comedian Richard Pryor–congratulated Michael on a fantastic performance. He did not feel totally elated about his performance since he wanted to stay suspended on his toes during one part of his performance; he didn’t feel better about his performance until a little kid came up to him and told him, “You are amazing! Who taught you how to dance like that?” “Practice, I guess,” Michael told the star-struck kid.
“Practice, I guess” is now the only acceptable response to being fly. Thank you, Michael.