Back when the celebratory special "Motown 25" aired, I made a recording of it with my enormous Betamax and put the tape on during a casual party we were having. As it went on, more and more of the party crowd gravitated toward the TV, and things pretty much stopped in their tracks while the Jackson 5 reunited and then Michael performed solo.
He did the moon walk. He broke the Motown-songs-only barrier with, I think, "Billie Jean." Something from the era when Michael was indeed contending to be the King of Pop. It was a stunning moment, and one that -- like so many other Jackson musical triumphs -- was later tainted.
It was tainted by his eccentricity, the allegations of sexual misconduct, the seeming madness that made it difficult to revisit the MJ classics. As great as some of those songs were, both with the Jacksons and Michael solo, I have stopped short of loading him up on my iPod. Because every time I thought about Michael, I thought about the man as much as the music.