While thousands of fans around the world are remembering the time they first fell in love with Michael Jackson’s music, Texas attorney Eliot D. Shavin will remember the month he spent on stage with the King of Pop.

In the late 1970s, Shavin had just finished grad school and was biding his time before he entered law school when he received a call from his musician brother about a month-long gig with The Jacksons.

Shavin, a classically trained cellist, didn’t know much about the band he would be touring with, but it paid about $100 a day, so he agreed. “I remember that I had no interest or knowledge of pop music at that time,” says Shavin, a Dallas private practitioner and a lecturer in the Civil Clinic of the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law’s Clinical Program. “I think that I looked down my nose at pop music at the time, but I really enjoyed playing the music. The music was more challenging than I expected it to be.” The one song that Shavin remembers playing? “Ben,” a song about Michael’s beloved pet rat.

Though Shavin had little interaction with the Jacksons — the family traveled in a separate bus than the backup band — he remembers once tossing a ball around with his brother and Tito. Shavin’s closest brush with fame came after a concert in Birmingham. A teenage girl asked Shavin for his autograph after realizing that Shavin would be the closest she’d get to MJ and his siblings. “I remember thinking, “This is pretty cool,’ ” Shavin says with a laugh.

Even though Shavin didn’t appreciate The Jacksons’ music at the time, he now says he realizes the error of his ways. “[The Jacksons] were a talented group of performers — they really did create a sensation. I never really appreciated Michael Jackson until Thriller, but he was really very talented.”