Electrifying sell-out crowds, with distinguished vocals and mind-blowing dance routines is one way fans remember Michael. For Tom Bahler, memories of Michael are meaningful, filled with harmonies, laughter and Motown soul. As a songwriter, studio singer, arranger and producer, Bahler has worked with a variety of artists, including the Temptations, Barbara Streisand, Elvis Presley and Smokey Robinson.
Among his list of seasoned performers is Michael, dating back to the early 1970’s. “Back in the day when I first met Michael, he was warm, and at the same time, inside of himself,” Bahler said. “He knew there was a fire inside of himself.”
Bahler, along with his brother John Bahler, began working at Motown Records in 1972. They were given multiple tasks, including background singing and vocal arranging. Together, they worked with the Jackson 5. “We use to start [around] 4:30 p.m.” Tom said. “They’d arrive in a limousine from school and go straight into the studio.”
According to Tom, he and John treasure their memories at Motown because of the music. “It was a wonderful chapter in our lives,” he said. “It was the greatest experience ever. I think it was spiritually fulfilling.”
Tom reminisces about Michael and considers his memories to be priceless. He said it’s hard to pinpoint specific memories because there are so many, but said he will never forget what Michael did one day in Motown’s studio.
“Being the youngest of the Jackson 5, everybody was always telling Michael where to stand,” he said. “It wasn’t because he was Michael Jackson, but because he was the youngest. One day, Michael walked over and leaned against a piano and just started singing. I was thinking, “A kid this young with this much soul.’ It was just extraordinary.”