Michael Jackson’s fifth studio release, and first to be produced by the legendary Quincy Jones, is one of the most successful albums of all-time. Critically it was just as successful… lauded far and wide as a benchmark pop release. Combining 70s sweet soul, funk, disco R&B, soft rock, and a sound that essentially defined 80s pop, it, along with the release of Thriller (1982), cemented Jackson place as one of the most iconic artists of all time.
The Classic Pick is a weekly feature at 4pm M-F on The Home Stretch, sponsored by the Good Oak Bar. Each Monday at 4pm Kris Kerry comes in to give us insight on this classic album.
MICHAEL JACKSON – OFF THE WALL
Released August 10, 1979– 36 years ago
MJ’s 5th studio release is one of the most successful albums of all-time. Critically it was just as successful – lauded far and wide as a benchmark pop release. Combining 70s sweet soul, funk, disco R&B, soft rock, and a sound that essentially defined 80s pop, this along w/ the release of Thriller (1982) cemented Jackson place as one of the most iconic artists of all time.
– This was the first release of Jackson’s not on the Motown label. Jackson’s previous 4 solo releases were on Motown. The Jackson 5 left Motown in 1975… and Motown moved to LA in 1978.
– Off The Wall was hugely commercially successful and won. This was the first record by a solo artist to ever have 4 singles peak inside the Billboard Top 10. 8x Platinum in US and has sold well over 20 million copies worldwide.
– Off The Wall was hailed as a breakthrough from the get-go. Almost every industry critic thought it was amazing. MJ had his first Grammy Award w/ this record… being nominated for two awards. In 2003,
The Natinal Association of Recording Merchandisers listed it 80 on Definitive 200 Albums of All Time. #68 on Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums of all time.
– Quincy Jones has co-producer credit on album, but many consider him as mastermind behind this album as well as Thriller and Bad. These releases along w/ Off The Wall are generally considered Jacksons best works. Jones has had a very impressive career as producer, conductor, arranger and composer. Along w/ Jackson, he has worked w/ Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin and Miles Davis to name a few.
– Songwriters on album, other than Jackson himself, include Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Heatwave’s Rod Temperton.
– Recorded a Westlake Recording Studios and Cherokee Studios in LA. Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Donna Summer, Boston, Van Halen, Missy Elliott and Nine Inch Nails among artists to record at Westlake. Other artists to record at Cherokee include David Bowie, Mötley Crüe, Frank Sinatra, Warren Zevon and Ringo Starr.
– Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson met during filming of The Wiz (1978 musical based on Baum’s Wizard of Oz… which I believe Duncan Hudson, KXCI music director is related to). MJ played the Scarecrow. Overall, critically the movie was panned. MJ’s acting, however, was pointed out by several critics as one of the few high points in the musical.
– Rashida Jones, who plays Ann Perkins on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, is Quincy Jones’ daughter.
– Michael Jackson was inducted in the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001.
– Quincy Jones was inducted in 2013. Also, he won a Grammy Legend Award in 1991.
– Jackson died June 25, 2009.
– Jones is still alive… 82 years old.