Originally Posted by tangerine_dream
Forgetting the second half of his career when he was caught up in scandals and morphed into Wacko Jacko, I remember this moment like it was yesterday. It was one of the most electric TV performances that kicked off Michael-mania big time. It's all anybody was talking about the next day. And the day after. And the week after. Don't tell me none of you 80s babies never tried to copy his moonwalk or any of his other moves.
BILLIE JEAN MOTOWN 25
I found this article that articulates better what I was saying about this iconic moment from MJ.
Michael Jackson: The Moment That Made Him The King Of Pop
...Jackson's performance of "Billie Jean" on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever
, the 1983 television special, caught him precisely at the moment when he was at his most amazing, his most otherworldly in a good way, his most lithe and eye-popping and wonderfully alien. Still recognizably the kid who sang "The Love You Save," but recognizably something entirely new as well. It was six months after the release of Thriller.
For many, many people, this was the first opportunity they had to see this incarnation of him. This is where everyone I knew first saw the moonwalk, and if you weren't there or didn't watch it or maybe weren't a kid at the time, you cannot imagine what a big deal it was. I was in middle school, and I think we all tried it. You can hear the crowd scream when he does it here — it's not a scream of recognition, like it would be when he did it later. It's a scream of shock
Before YouTube allowed people to actually relive a performance like this at will and en masse, this was the sort of thing that spread as legend more than as reality. Watch this, though, and you can see that it was entirely real: