In 1979, after taking some time off from his waning post-Jackson Five solo career, Michael Jackson got away from the Motown machine, hired Quincy Jones as his producer, and completely reinvented himself with a revolutionary blend of disco, pop and funk.
It was, of course, a complete failure, and like what happened with renowned session man Jimmy Page after he abandoned The Yardbirds to form his own band, Jackson was never heard from again.
Oh wait. That’s not right: Off The Wall was his biggest selling record up to that point, and it spawned a shitload of massive singles — including lead track “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough,” which was his second #1 hit single (after his 1972 movie tie-in maudlin friendship song to a killer rat, “Ben,”) (the 1970s, right?) — and the official kickoff to his adulthood.
Not that I paid any attention to any of this at the time: it’s possible that some DJ spun “Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough” at a school dance or some shit like that, but in 1979, I was spinning theories as to why it was OK to like The Clash, Led Zeppelin, Ramones and Neil Young all at the same time, and not paying attention to what Michael Jackson was doing, at the exact last moment where it was possible to not pay attention to what Michael Jackson was doing.
So I didn’t purposely hear Off The Wall until it was reissued in the mid-80s on the heels of Thriller and we got a promo copy at KFSR, and I figured “what the fuck?.” And while I wasn’t blown away — disco, pop and funk not being at the forefront of what I was listening to in the mid-1980s — it’s impossible not to be impressed by Quincy Jones’ spotless production, somehow isolating every single instrument while blending everything together into a seamless whole.
And while then as now, I preferred Prince (and remember I prefer Chuck Berry to Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones to the Beatles), all of these years later, I can absolutely hear what’s so great about “Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough.”
Official Video for “Don’t Stop til You Get Enough”
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