memories of the ’70s – Off the Wall by Michael Jackson

A smiling adult African American male with a black afro, wearing a black tuxedo, white shirt, and a black bow tie. Both of his thumbs are hooked into his pants pockets with his palms and fingers facing forward and splayed out. The sides of his jacket are tucked behind his hands as he leans back slightly, giving a playful, casual touch to his formal look. Behind him there is a brown brick wall and to the side of his head are "MICHAEL JACKSON" in yellow chalk writing and "OFF THE WALL" in white chalk writing. "JACKSON" and "WALL" are separately underlined.In summer 1979, Michael Jackson made his fifth studio album, and started the next part of his solo career with Epic Records and the release of Off The Wall.

Jackson had left his previous label Motown, and had finished making The Wiz with Quincy Jones. As a result, Jones produced the album in December 1978.

Wanting to make a change, Jackson focused on themes of loneliness, escapism, hedonism and romance, mixing funk, pop, soul, jazz, soft rock and disco sounds into the album.

Jackson worked with several collaborators on this album including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Carole Bayer Sager, David Foster and Rod Temperton, as well as had his brother Randy play percussion. Although Jackson didn’t write all the songs, he did three of the singles, including the first single, Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough.

Released in August 1979, the album was received by fans with open arms, gaining praise for his maturity and his movement away from his Motown years, and positive reviews from Rolling Stone and the Village Voice.

The album was an award winner – winning multiple awards at the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B performance for Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough.

Jackson became the first solo artist to have four singles from the same album peak in the Billboard Hot 100 top 10. Overall the album released five singles including Rock With You, Get on the Floor, She’s Out of My Life,

One of the best selling albums of all time, Off The Wall has been certified platinum multiple times in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Germany, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, and eight times platinum in the United States. It is one of Jackson’s best-selling albums, only second to Thriller.


About Waheeda Harris

A pop culture junkie with a penchant for exploring our planet.
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