Michael Jackson: Off The Wall (producer Quincy Jones) 1979 Vinyl-New $49.99


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Michael Jackson: Off The Wall

In the summer of 1976, a variety show called “The Jacksons” debuted on CBS. The program came about during a relatively fallow period for the showbiz brood, after the Jackson 5 ignited nationwide fervor with hits like “ABC” and “I’ll Be There” but before Michael Jackson set out for solo superstardom. Their future success seemed in doubt, and the show—with its glaring lights, sparkling costumes, and rampant cheesiness—was a Vegas-style extravaganza that played to well-worn pleasures. One recurring segment called “On the Wall” saw Michael inviting various guest hosts to sign a fake brick facade and do a little dance before everyone eventually ended up in a frozen ta-dah! pose. Though Michael was all smiles on “The Jacksons,” he later claimed that he “hated every minute” of it. During the show’s year-long run, he was smack in the middle of gangly teenagedom, acne and all. Raised in the limelight by an infamously strict father, Michael was painfully self-conscious, worried that he might never be able to shake his child stardom. He didn’t want to merely cling to his family’s fading notoriety. He wanted to break away from it completely.

Between 1972 and 1975, Jackson released a total of four solo studio albums with Motown as part of The Jackson 5 franchise; Got to Be There (1972), Ben (1972), Music & Me (1973) and Forever, Michael (1975). Before recording his next album, which came to be Off the Wall, Jackson desired to create a record not sounding like a Jacksons record, but rather showcasing creative freedom and individualism.

Off the Wall peaked at number three on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart and number one on the Top Black Albums chart, staying at number one on the latter for 16 weeks, and was an enormous critical success. Five singles were released from the album. Jackson wrote three songs himself, including the Billboard Hot 100 number one single “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, which was Jackson’s first solo number-one single since “Ben”, seven years prior. The second single from the album, “Rock with You” also peaked atop the chart. With the title track and “She’s Out of My Life” reaching the top 10 of the chart, Jackson became the first solo artist to have four singles from the same album peak inside the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Michael Jackson had recorded solo prior to the release of Off the Wall in 1979, but this was his breakthrough, the album that established him as an artist of astonishing talent and a bright star in his own right. This was a visionary album, a record that found a way to break disco wide open into a new world where the beat was undeniable, but not the primary focus — it was part of a colorful tapestry of lush ballads and strings, smooth soul and pop, soft rock, and alluring funk. Its roots hearken back to the Jacksons‘ huge mid-’70s hit “Dancing Machine,” but this is an enormously fresh record, one that remains vibrant and giddily exciting years after its release. This is certainly due to Jackson‘s emergence as a blindingly gifted vocalist, equally skilled with overwrought ballads as “She’s Out of My Life” as driving dancefloor shakers as “Working Day and Night” and “Get on the Floor,” where his asides are as gripping as his delivery on the verses. It’s also due to the brilliant songwriting, an intoxicating blend of strong melodies, rhythmic hooks, and indelible construction. Most of all, its success is due to the sound constructed by Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, a dazzling array of disco beats, funk guitars, clean mainstream pop, and unashamed (and therefore affecting) schmaltz that is utterly thrilling in its utter joy. This is highly professional, highly crafted music, and its details are evident, but the overall effect is nothing but pure pleasure. Jackson and Jones expanded this approach on the blockbuster Thriller, often with equally stunning results, but they never bettered it.

Video: Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (1979)

Video: Michael Jackson – Interview (1979)

Video: She’s Out Of My Life 1979

Side One
1.”Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”Michael Jackson
Quincy Jones Jackson (co.)
2. “Rock with You” Rod Temperton Jones 3:38
3.”Working Day and Night”Jackson
Jones Jackson
4.”Get on the Floor”
Jackson Louis Johnson
Jones Jackson
Side Two
1. “Off the Wall” Temperton Jones 4:11
2. “Girlfriend” Paul McCartney Jones 3:08
3. “She’s Out of My Life” Tom Bahler Jones 3:41
4.”I Can’t Help It”
Stevie Wonder Susaye Greene
Jones 4:28
5.”It’s the Falling in Love”
Carole Bayer Sager David Foster
Jones 3:52
6. “Burn This Disco Out” Temperton Jones 3:39

Personnel as listed in the album’s liner notes.



Additional information

Weight 13 oz
Dimensions 12 × 12 × 1 in