Thursday, May 12, 2011

Michael Jackson - "Off the Wall"

Off the Wall (Single Version) - Off the Wall

(Debuted February 16, 1980, Peaked #10, 16 Weeks on the Chart)

In the 1970s, Michael Jackson was best known as a member of a group with his brothers. Though he would go on to notch a solo #1 hit with "Ben" and appear in a movie version of The Wiz, he was still seen by many as the young singer whose voice graced those early hits by The Jackson 5. In the 1980s, he developed into the biggest star on the planet.

The seeds of his 1980s success were already being planted in 1979, when he released the LP Off the Wall. That album was produced by Quincy Jones, who also directed Thriller and Bad for him. They first worked together for the soundtrack for The Wiz, and their partnership was a mutually beneficial one. Quincy Jones had a long list of credits and was known to have a keen ear, and Michael Jackson's raw talent presented a great opportunity.

The success came almost immediately. The first two singles from Off the Wall -- "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock With You" -- would hit #1 on the Hot 100. The title track and its followup also made the Top 10, which made it the first LP in history by a solo artist to notch four Top 10 singles on the American pop chart.

It's worth mentioning that when Jackson began doing his vocals for Off the Wall, he was still only 20 years old. He had been notching hits for nearly half his life, and still had his best music ahead of him. The album began what would be a phenomenally successful decade, which is even more amazing when that success was generated by a mere three albums.

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