Category: michael jackson

On this day in music history: August 10, 1979 …

On this day in music history: August 10, 1979 – “Off The Wall”, the fifth solo album by Michael Jackson is released. Produced by Quincy Jones, it is recorded at Allen Zentz Recording, Westlake Audio and Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles, CA from December 1978 – June 1979. Following their work together on the film and soundtrack for “The Wiz”, Jones and Jackson begin work on his first solo album for Epic Records. From the outset, the ultimate goal they have in mind is to craft an album that move the singer away his past childhood success, and be regarded as a mature, adult performer. The album features musical support from the cream of L.A. studio talent including Larry Carlton, David Williams, Marlo Henderson, Wah Wah Watson, Phil Upchurch (guitars), Louis Johnson, Bobby Watson (bass), John Robinson (drums), Greg Phillinganes, George Duke, David Foster, Michael Boddicker, Steve Porcaro, David “Hawk” Wolinski (keyboards), Paulinho DaCosta (percussion) and The Seawind Horns (brass & woodwinds). Recorded over a period of six and a half months, Jones cuts the basic tracks in Los Angeles, while Jackson is on the road with his brothers, touring in support of “Destiny”. He comes in off the road during breaks in the tour to record his vocals and oversee the sessions in progress. Buoyed by Jones’ flawless production and Jackson’s outstanding and spirited vocals throughout, it is released to universal praise, surprising the public who are taken aback at Michael Jackson’s stunning musical transformation. A huge commercial success as well, it becomes one of the biggest selling albums of the era, during a time when the music industry is experiencing a major downturn in sales. It spins off four top 10 singles including “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (#1 Pop and R&B), “Rock With You” (#1 Pop and R&B), “Off The Wall” (#10 Pop, #3 R&B), and “She’s Out Of My Life” (#10 Pop, #46 R&B). “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” wins Jackson his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1980, with the album being inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2008. The first CD release includes earlier mixes of “Rock With You” and “Get On The Floor” featured on the first pressing of the album, using the LP gatefold artwork with Jackson’s full body shown. It is remastered and reissued in 2001, featuring interview excerpts with Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton, and the demos of “Don’t Stop” and “Working”. The reissue features amended cover art showing only the lower half of the gatefold with the singers legs and feet. It is remastered and reissued again in 2016 on CD and vinyl, restoring the original artwork, with the CD being released with a DVD or Blu-ray disc with the Spike Lee directed documentary on the making of the album. “Off The Wall” spends sixteen weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number three on the Top 200, and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 4, 1972 -…

On this day in music history: August 4, 1972 – “Ben”, the second solo album by Michael Jackson is released. Produced by Hal Davis, The Corporation, Byhal Davis, Berry Gordy, Jr., Mel Larson, Jerry Marcellino and Bobby Taylor, it is recorded at Motown Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA from November 1971 – February 1972. While his successful debut album “Got To Be There” still riding the charts, the quickly maturing Michael Jackson (thirteen years old at the time) records most of his second solo release in the early part of 1972. The album features new material written for Jackson (some tracks were originally intended for The Jackson 5 and feature background vocals by the other group members, but are released as MJ solo material instead), paired with a number of cover versions of Motown classics (“My Girl”, “Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day”), and recent R&B hits (“People Make The World Go ‘Round”). The title track (the theme to the film of the same name) hits number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 14, 1972, and #5 on the R&B singles chart and is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. The track “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” (not to be confused with the Connie Francis number one pop hit from 1960) is initially planned as the follow up single, but its release is abruptly cancelled by Motown. The album’s original cover featuring rats superimposed on the front is quickly withdrawn and replaced, turning first press copies into sought after collector’s items. “Ben” peaks at number five on the Billboard Top 200, and number four on the R&B chart.

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On this day in music history: July 28, 1979 – …

On this day in music history: July 28, 1979 – “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson is released. Written by Michael Jackson, it is the first single issued from the landmark “Off The Wall” album. The melody for the song comes to Jackson while walking around the family home in Encino, CA in 1978. Enlisting the assistance of his brother Randy and sister Janet, they help him record a demo of the song in their home studio. For the official studio recording of the track, producer Quincy Jones assembles a crack team of A-list studio musicians which include Brothers Johnson bassist Louis Johnson, Rufus drummer John Robinson, guitarists David Williams and Marlo Henderson, keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, percussionist Paulinho DaCosta, and the Seawind Horns (Jerry Hey, Kim Hutchcroft, Bill Reichenbach, Gary Grant and Larry Williams). An instant classic upon its release, the record marks the beginning of Michael Jackson’s meteoric rise to an unprecedented level of superstardom as an adult performer. Originally clocking in at just over six minutes, the song is released with various edits for the original 45. An edit cutting Jackson’s rap at the beginning running under four minutes is initially considered for the US 45 release, but is nixed by Jackson. The shorter edit is reserved for promotional copies issued to Top 40 pop stations that feel that the stock 45’s 5:45 running time is too long. the 3:55 edit is also released in some foreign territories including the UK. A second edit featured in the songs music video which includes the full intro running 4:11 is issued on US re-service promo 45’s, and to date has never appeared on any Michael Jackson compilation. The single release of “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” is backed with the “Off The Wall” track “I Can’t Help It” written by Stevie Wonder and former Supreme and Wonderlove backing vocalist Susaye Greene, which also comes a fan favorite. “Don’t Stop” hits #1 on the R&B singles chart (5 weeks) on September 8, 1979, and on the Billboard Hot 100 (1 week) on October 13, 1979, becoming Jackson’s second solo chart topper on the pop singles chart. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” also wins Michael Jackson his first Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1980, earning a second nomination in the short lived Best Disco Recording category (won by Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”). “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Sepia magazine covers from the 1970s

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Making “Billie Jean”

twixnmix: Michael Jackson and Donald Trump a…

twixnmix:

Michael Jackson and

Donald Trump at the opening of Trump Taj Mahal Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City on April 2, 1990.

On this day in music history: July 3, 1983 – “…

On this day in music history: July 3, 1983 – “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson is released. Written by Steve Porcaro and John Bettis, it is the fifth single released from Jackson’s landmark album “Thriller”. During the recording sessions for the album in the Fall of 1982, David Paich of the band Toto gives producer Quincy Jones a cassette with three song demos on it. Jones is unimpressed with the first two songs, but immediately takes notice of Porcaro’s skeletal demo of “Human Nature” tacked on the end of the tape. He asks the keyboardist if the lyrics can be completed and Porcaro asks his friend, fellow songwriter John Bettis (The Carpenters, The Pointer Sisters) to finish writing the lyrics. Bettis completes the lyrics within two days. With the song finished, Jones and Jackson quickly record it, making it the final song completed for “Thriller”. The track is recorded at Westlake Audio in Los Angeles in October of 1982, and features Toto members David Paich, Steve Porcaro (synthesizers, synthesizer programming), Steve Lukather (guitar) and Jeff Porcaro (drums), Michael Boddicker (E-mu Emulator) and Paulinho Da Costa (percussion). “Human Nature” ends up bumping the previously recorded “Carousel” written by Michael Sembello from the final running order of the album. The original single version of the song is edited down to 3:47 (though the 45 label erroneously lists the album version timing of 4:05) and is remixed, and includes a brief synthesizer solo during the instrumental break not included on the commonly heard album version. The single remix version to date has only resurfaced on a rare Japanese CD3 disc released in 1987. “Human Nature” peaks at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 17, 1983, #3 on the R&B singles chart and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart. “Human Nature” is covered by Miles on his album “You’re Under Arrest” in 1985, with other versions by George Howard, David Benoit, Marcus Miller, and Boyz II Men. Michael Jackson’s original recording is also sampled by SWV for the remix version of the song “Right Here” (re-titled “Right Here/Human Nature”), by rapper Nas on “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”, Ne-Yo on the remix version of “So Sick”, and on “Journey To The Past” by Aaliyah.

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On this day in music history: July 2, 1988 – &…

On this day in music history: July 2, 1988 – “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #8 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. It is the eleventh solo chart topper for “The King Of Pop”. The dark, down tempo rock track about a groupie chasing after the singer, contrary to rumor is not about either Jackson’s longtime friend singer Diana Ross or Diana, The Princess Of Wales. Guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) is invited to play on the track by producer Quincy Jones after asking mutual friend and producer Ted Templeman (Van Halen) if he knew someone that could play guitar on Michael’s new album. Templeman recommends Stevens who at the time was signed to Warner Bros Records as a solo artist. Stevens comes to Los Angeles to work with Jones and Jackson during the “Bad” recording, recording his solos in a single session. While tracking the solo guitar part, Jones asks Stevens “can you put a little more custard on your cone, man…”. Unfamiliar with the jazz hipster slang the producer is using, Stevens asks exactly what he means. Jones laughs and says, “can you play a little more on top of the beat?”. Stevens laughs also and says “OK”. For the songs music video, Michael invites Steve to appear in the clip and is also pictured with Jackson on the back cover of the single picture sleeve. Issued as the fifth single from Jackson’s seventh solo album “Bad” on April 18, 1988, it quickly races up the charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #53 on May 7, 1988, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. “Diana” is also  the fifth consecutive chart topping single from the album, setting a record for the most number one singles from a single album. This record is not matched until 2011. “Dirty Diana” becomes a staple of Jackson’s live performances on the “Bad”, “Dangerous” and “HIStory” tours.

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Remembering “The King Of Pop” Mich…

Remembering “The King Of Pop” Michael Jackson – August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009

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Remember The Time