Monday, July 5, 2010

Michael Monday: P.S. Do You Think 14 Is Too Young to Get Married?

Young Michael Jackson got plenty of fan mail throughout his Motown career. An early press photo shows Michael in his bedroom, next to bag of mail that's almost as big as he was. While it would have been impossible for any of the Jackson 5 to respond personally to even a portion of their weekly boatload of mail, fans who wrote them always had hope that their letter would miraculously slip through, be read, and that we'd get a response. [For the record, Jermaine never responded to any of my letters, but Edmund Sylvers did -- I caught him just as his star was rising.] This, of course, would lead to friendship, love, and a marriage proposal.

These aspirations on the part of the young fans who wrote to Michael were perfectly captured in "Dear Michael," a 1974 song especially written for Michael by Hal Davis and Elliott Willensky. The song was issued on his last Motown solo LP, Forever, Michael, and even inspired the album title, using the closing salutation for the letter he wrote in response. "Dear Michael" was used as the B-side on Michael's last single while at Motown, "Just a Little Bit of You" (M1349F), released on April 29, 1975.

In 1984 when Michael was at the height of his Thriller fame, Kim Fields, the young star of The Facts of Life, recorded a cover version of the song that was released that year on the Critique label. The B-side featured an instrumental version of the song, and the single was released with a picture sleeve showing Kim smiling through her braces.

Her record didn't exactly set the world on fire or launch a long career in music for her, but it did at least get her a guest appearance on Soul Train. Today it is one of the kitchy-est J5 collectibles.

No comments:

Post a Comment