On this day in music history: January 5, 1980 …

On this day in music history: January 5, 1980 – “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 6 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 4 weeks on January 19, 1980. Written by Rod Temperton, it is the third solo chart topper for the R&B and pop music superstar. While working Michael Jackson’s fifth solo album “Off The Wall”, songwriter Rod Temperton is asked by producer Quincy Jones in late 1978 to contribute songs to the project. Temperton had initially written “Rock With You” for his own band Heatwave, who are recording their third album “Hot Property”. When the bands’ lead singer Johnnie Wilder, Jr. tells Temperton he doesn’t like the song, the songwriter gives the song to Jackson and Jones, as well as writing “Burn This Disco Out” and “Off The Wall” specifically for MJ. While Jones is back in Los Angeles cutting the basic tracks for the album, Jackson is on the road with his brothers, touring in support of their then current album “Destiny”. Jackson flies back to L.A. on weekends or on other days off from the tour to record his vocals and monitor the sessions in progress. Michael records his lead and background vocals on “Rock With You” in one six hour long session in early 1979. Before the song is released as a single on October 3, 1979, engineer Bruce Swedien remixes the track noticeably from the version that appears on the first pressing of the “Off The Wall” LP. The remixed version features a punchier mix with more prominent guitars, orchestration, and accented with hand claps in the chorus sections. The record takes off immediately at radio and on club dance floors around the world. An alternate remix of the track surfaces in Japan as a very rare promotional only 12", which to date has not been released to the public, but has circulated as a bootleg among fans. “Rock With You” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.