Today In Entertainment History: August 14

Sources: The Fox 1049 | All Things Michael


1970: Singer Stephen Stills was arrested on cocaine possession charges at a motel in La Jolla, California. He was released on $2,500 bail.

1971: Rod Stewart released “Maggie May.”

1985: Michael Jackson outbid his competitors for the ATV music publishing catalog, which included many Beatles songs. Jackson paid $47.5 million dollars.

1989: Bon Jovi’s “New Jersey” was the first American album to be released legally in what was then the Soviet Union.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer-pianist Buddy Greco is 88. Singer Dash Crofts of Seals and Crofts is 76. Singer David Crosby is 73. Country singer Connie Smith is 73. Actor-comedian Steve Martin is 69. Actor Antonio Fargas (“Starsky and Hutch”) is 68. Bassist Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone is 68. Actress Susan St. James is 68. Romance novelist Danielle Steel is 67. Cartoonist Gary Larson (“The Far Side”) is 64. Keyboardist Terry Adams of NRBQ is 64. Actor Carl Lumbly (“Alias”) is 63. Film composer James Horner (“Titanic”) is 61. Actress Jackee Harry (“Sister, Sister,” ”227″) is 58. Actress Marcia Gay Harden is 55. Singer Sarah Brightman is 54. Actress Susan Olsen (“The Brady Bunch”) is 53. Actress Halle Berry is 48. Actress Catherine Bell (“JAG”) is 46. Guitarist Kevin Cadogan (Third Eye Blind) is 44. Actor Christopher Gorham (“Ugly Betty”) is 40. Actress Mila Kunis (“That ’70s Show”) is 31. TV personality Spencer Pratt (“The Hills”) is 31.

Read more at Fox 1049

35 Years Ago, ‘Off the Wall’ Put Michael Jackson On The Map

Sources: Entertain This | All Things Michael


On this day in 1979, the world witnessed the rebirth of a young superstar.

Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall came out 35 years ago today, and the album established him as a solo artist to be reckoned with after his childhood success with The Jackson 5.

The album came about after Jackson worked with super producer Quincy Jones on the film version of The Wiz in 1978. Jones produced Off the Wall, which featured songwriting contributions from Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

Four years later, Jones would produce Jackson’s Thriller – and we know how that turned out.

Off the Wall set records almost immediately. It became the first album by a solo artist to have four top 10 hits (Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, Off the Wall, Rock With You and She’s Out of My Life). Since its release, it’s sold 20 million copies.

Rolling Stone ranks it No. 68 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, saying:

“The unstoppable dance tracks on Off the Wall … remain more or less perfect examples of why disco didn’t suck.”



Michael Jackson’s ‘Off the Wall’ At 35: Classic Track-By-Track Album Review

Sources: Billboard – By Keith Partridge


There comes a time in every young man’s life when he must put on a snug tuxedo and gleaming white socks and go his own way. For Michael Jackson, that time was 35 years ago, on August 10, 1979. It was then, weeks shy of his 21st birthday, that Jackson released Off the Wall, the album that established him as a grown-up solo superstar and set the stage for his coronation as King of Pop.

Off the Wall didn’t sell as well as MJ’s follow-up, 1982’s world-devouring chart beast Thriller, but song for song, it’s arguably the stronger album. Produced by Quincy Jones, who Jackson had befriended on the set of the 1978 Wizard of Oz reboot The Wiz, Off the Wall introduces the Michael many fans would prefer to remember most.

Those aggressive grunts and hiccups hadn’t yet come to dominate his singing. He’s not playing a monster or a gangster or dressing like a Klingon general. Lyrically, he doesn’t take hyper-defensive stances against gossipy critics or those who would abuse the trust of elephants.

Despite all the sadness he’d already experienced, Jackson puts on a brave face. During what he later described as “one of the most difficult periods” of his life, he manages to look and sound like a fresh-faced kid with boundless talent and energy. And that comes across from the opening seconds.

“You know, I was … I was wondering, you know, if you could keep on,” he half-stammers at the start of the leadoff track, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” It’s like he’s addressing not just some girl, but a whole planet of girls — and guys and housewives and truck drivers and grandmas — he’s about to seduce with music and charisma he barely understands. “Because the force,” he says, “it’s got a lot of power.”

Indeed, the force was strong in MJ. On these 10 disco-funk burners and cottony pop tunes, he’s boyish yet confident, sexy yet naïve — the Luke Skywalker of pop. The first two singles, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock With You,” were nightlife anthems, and both topped the Billboard Hot 100. While the album peaked at No. 3, it would be the last time this notorious perfectionist would settle for anything less than No. 1. From here on out, Jackson owned the pop charts.

But on Off the Wall, this otherworldly being is just here to make us swoon and dance. Resistance is futile. Read on to get our track-by-track take of this pop masterwork.

“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”: Here’s where little Mikey becomes a man. “Touch me,” he urges, singing self-penned lyrics over music he’s written himself. “And I feel on fire.” Interestingly, Jackson delivers this come-on in a falsetto that’s far from masculine. It’s not exactly feminine, either. As rival Prince would say of himself years later, MJ is neither your woman nor your man; he’s “something that you’ll never understand.” One thing everyone can understand: This song’s irresistible disco-ball shimmer and rhythmic snap. You’ve heard it a million times, and you never get enough.

“Rock With You”: As with the previous track, the meaning is ambiguous. It’s possible he’s singing about sex, but this is Michael Jackson. If he’s sweating until dawn, he’s probably dancing. As far as grooving goes, this one’s slower and funkier than “Don’t Stop.” Jackson lets his voice go gravelly when he digs into the line, “Just take it slow / ‘cause we got so far to go.” He’s settling into this party he’s throwing, pacing himself to go the distance.

“Working Day and Night”: The second of three tunes written solely by Jackson, “Working Day and Night” would have been a smash single on any other album. On Off the Wall, it gets relegated to album-cut/ B-side status. Outfitted with bass pops and rattling percussion, which come in toward the end, this one’s a rhythmic monster — certainly not a typical disco-funk track. When Talking Heads cut “Remain In Light” the following year, they may well have had this record in mind. Justin Timberlake has certainly spun it a few times.

“Get on the Floor”: It’s no surprise that bassist Louis Jordan co-wrote this one. LJ doesn’t quite upstage MJ and his fluttery lover-man vocals, but his poppin’ bassline makes Jackson’s “dance with me” plea rather redundant. This song would make crippled robots dance, and Jackson knows it. He throws in some James Brown-lite grunts just for the funk of it: “Get up, won’t you g’on down!”

“Off the Wall”: Rod Temperton, the man behind “Rock With You,” penned this, the album’s third of four Top 10 pop hits. It shimmies ahead a bit like “Thriller,” which Temperton would write a few years later, and Jackson gives one of the disc’s most assured vocals. Amid his gasps, he even offers up a proto-“He-hee,” previewing one of his signature vocal ticks of the ‘80s and beyond. Still, this is safe, good-natured, friendly Michael. His message: Life is short; go nuts.

“Girlfriend”: Even though Paul McCartney included this tune on the 1978 Wings album London Town, he penned it with Michael in mind. It’s Macca at his doofiest and most tuneful, and the innocence of the lyrics — all about a guy who’s actually going to tell another fellow he’s having a fling with his lady — is perfect for Jackson. It’s supermarket rock with sax and synth sounds that have aged, but those “do-doot-do” vocals still bring a smile.

“She’s Out of My Life”: As the story goes, Michael cried at the end of each take, and he certainly sounds like a man on the verge of tears. As on all of his finest ballads, MJ lets his voice quiver at some frequency for those years of touring, recording, and trying to cope with the loneliness of being a child star. As he wrote in his 1988 memoir Moonwalk, he wept at the realization he was “so rich in some experiences while being poor in moments of true joy,” and that’s how he turns a relatively unremarkable love song into a showstopper.

“I Can’t Help It”: Yet another sign Off the Wall is a masterpiece: The tune Stevie Wonder co-wrote is among the ones people talk about the least. True, it’s a pastel-colored twinkle-fest of the sort that would earn Stevie a bad name in the ‘80s, but MJ’s sincerity and effortless vocals shine through.

“It’s the Falling In Love”: Here’s the perfect love song for Michael. It’s all about how the idea of romance, the mystery of thinking about what might be, is better than the real thing. Again, it’s lightly funky and infused with those horns give this record so much of its flavor, and the sing-songy chorus is the sort of thing for which Michael’s voice was made.

“Burn This Disco Out”: Temperton once again works his magic, and “Off the Wall” ends just as it began, with Michael vowing to keep the party going all night. In a few playful moments, he affects a low bellow and sings, “Keep the boogie alright.” To be continued…


Read more at Billboard

Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” Was The Perfect Pop Record

Source: The Root – By Mark Anthony Neal | All Things Michael


Die-hard Michael Jackson fans know that before Thriller, Off the Wall—released 35 years ago this week—was his signature achievement.

What is Michael Jackson’s greatest album? The answer helps establish whether you were introduced to Jackson via Thriller, the crown jewel of his commercial legacy, or whether you were riding with him long before he donned the sequined glove—since Off the Wall, the classic album released 35 years ago this week, that represents Jackson at his most brilliant musically, and that may be the most perfect pop recording of the late 20th century.

Off the Wall is remembered as the first in a series of collaborations between Jackson and producer-arranger Quincy Jones that would redefine pop. Yet when Jackson and Jones first began to work together, on the set of The Wiz, Jones was actually focused on another young black male vocalist, Luther Vandross, who had contributed “Brand New Day” to The Wiz soundtrack and who was featured on Jones’ 1978 recording Sounds … and Stuff Like That.

That Jackson’s youthful professionalism impressed Jones—himself a veteran of the same chitlin circuit that produced Jackson and his brothers, in the form of the Jackson 5—is no surprise, but Jones also detected a certain something that Jackson possessed—charisma, genius, brashness—that would allow them to push music forward. And “You Can’t Win,” from The Wiz, was the first fruit of their partnership.

Off the Wall, Jackson’s first solo album since his days at Motown, was also the first project he worked on without Berry Gordy, his brothers, superproducers like Gamble and Huff, and, to some extent, his overbearing father. It was a true career reboot—an attempt to grow him up in the face of a public that remembered him as a cherub-faced little boy who had aged out of his cuteness. Though the Jacksons had released their most successful post-Motown album, Destiny—which featured hits like “Blame It on the Boogie” and “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)”—the year before, Michael Jackson was adamant that he didn’t want his new solo album to sound like Destiny 2.0.

Jackson’s label, Epic Records, balked at the choice of Jones, best known for working with jazz and blues artists like Count Basie, Dinah Washington and Frank Sinatra, but Jones was crafting a unique sound that borrowed from the full range of American popular music, most evident in his multi-Grammy winning album The Dude (1981). As Joseph Vogel writes in Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson, “Off the Wall did for R&B what the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds did for rock,” in reference to an earlier sonic revolution.

Indeed, Jackson’s decision to work with Jones was a product of his own growing independence. Off the Wall was released only weeks before Jackson’s 21st birthday. At the time, he was living in New York City under the watchful eye of Diana Ross and was hanging out in all the late-night dance spots, including Studio 54. Jackson got the chance to see the disco movement up front, but Jones helped give his sound a sophisticated sheen.

With Jones came a slew of collaborators, who would work intimately with Jackson for more than a decade, including keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, who also served as Jackson’s musical director on tour; and songwriter Rod Temperton, known for his work with the band Heatwave, especially their blue-light-in-the-basement classic “Always and Forever.”

From the opening track and lead single, the Jackson-penned “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” (with that precoital purr in the beginning), Off the Wall was a timeless endeavor in pure pop pleasure. Drawing references to Star Wars (“the force”) with a pulsating rhythm that can still move an ass—or a thousand—35 years later, “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” was the ideal reintroduction for Jackson, finding a spot on both the pop charts and the dance floor. The song earned Jackson his first Grammy Award as a solo artist for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

“Rock With You” also topped the pop charts—notable at a time when the slick type of R&B production of Off the Wall was having difficulty finding an audience on pop radio amid thinly veiled racist and homophobic notions that “Disco sucks.” There’s an argument to be made that “Rock With You” and the title track (also a top-10 pop hit), both written by Temperton, are the templates for the black crossover sound of the early 1980s. Indeed, that Temperton magic gave George Benson a top-five pop hit the next year with “Give Me the Night.”

Even without those hit singles, Off the Wall is a seamless listen. “Workin’ Day and Night”—a metaphor for Jackson’s work ethnic—was as “smelly jelly” as anything Jackson ever recorded. Stevie Wonder contributed the mature stepper “I Can’t Help It” to the project. The song was likely initially drawn from an earlier aborted session that Wonder did with the Jackson 5 that also produced “Buttercup.”

That Wonder, who was at the peak of his creative powers, contributed a song to Jackson’s album speaks volumes about the gravitas Jackson held, as was also the case when Paul McCartney provided the sweet little ballad “Girlfriend.” The song was a precursor to “The Girl Is Mine,” the lead single from Thriller that featured McCartney on vocals. And “Girlfriend” wasn’t even the best ballad on the album; “She’s Out of My Life” remains one of Jackson’s most mature and affecting vocal performances.

Mark Anthony Neal is a professor of African and African-American studies at Duke University and a fellow at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. He is the author of several books, including Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities. Follow him on Twitter.

Read more at The Root


Rock Hall Anniversary: Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall

Source: The Examiner – By Ryan Davis | All Things Michael


Before the phenomenon that was Thriller, there was Michael Jackson’s first masterpiece album Off the Wall.

Released in August 1979, the album was his first solo album for Epic Records (and fifth overall). Produced by Quincy Jones, Off the Wall was blended with funk, R&B, pop and disco, gaining huge acclaim from critics. Commercially, it was huge hit. Off the Wall peaked at number three on the charts, and went on to sell over eight million copies in the U.S. alone and twenty million worldwide. It would also be the first album to yield four singles in the top ten; “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” “Rock With You” (both number ones), the title track and “She’s Out of My Life” (both number ten).

Jackson and Jones first met following work on the film The Wiz, and began recording “Off the Wall” in December 1978. Jackson wrote and co-produced two songs (“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Working Day and Night”), and co-writes “Get on the Floor” (which he also co-produced) with bassist Louis Johnson of the Brothers Johnson. The other seven tracks came from other songwriters, most notably Heatwave keyboardist Rod Temperton, who wrote three tracks on the album (“Rock With You”, “Burn This Disco Out” and the title track”). Other songwriters included Paul McCartney (“Girlfriend”), Tom Bahler (“She’s Out of My Life”) and Stevie Wonder (co-writer of “I Can’t Help It”).

One of the things that made Off the Wall successful, was the use of the music video (a rarity at the time prior to the founding of MTV). Jackson made videos for the album for songs “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, “Rock With You” and “She’s Out of My Life”. All of these videos are now regarded as classics even to this day. The album’s success continued with three wins at the American Music Awards and a Grammy award.

However as the story goes, the success of Off the Wall was bittersweet for Jackson, especially when the album was only recognized for one Grammy (Best Male R&B Vocal Performance), and not for the big three catergories (Album, Record and Song of the Year). Of course, he would top that success with Thriller a few years later. Still, Off the Wallis regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time, as well as the one to kick-start the phenomenon of Michael Jackson.

Read more at The Examiner


Off the Wall Special Edition Release Cover




Eddie Van Halen And Michael Jackson On Stage

Source: 103. 7 The Loon | All Things Michael

Guitarist Van Halen Joins Pop Star Jackson To Perform 'Beat It'

We’ve all heard Eddie Van Halen‘s solo on Michael Jackson‘s ‘Beat It‘ more times than we can count. Only a select few, however, have heard it performed live.

In fact, it was only due to a lucky fluke of scheduling that Van Halen happened to be in town when Jackson — on the ‘Victory’ tour with his siblings as the Jacksons — arrived in Dallas for the group’s July 14, 1984 concert. It was a huge year for Jackson as well as Van Halen, with both acts riding high on the success of career-defining LPs; naturally, given that Eddie’s distinctive cameo had helped ‘Beat It’ hit No. 1 earlier in the spring, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to recreate the magic in front of an audience.

You can watch it all go down in the video embedded above, starting with Jackson shouting “You got it, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!” in the moments leading into Van Halen’s time in the spotlight. Of course, it’s just one of many outstanding solos in the legendary guitarist’s career, but his contribution to ‘Beat It’ remains a personal highlight for Eddie; as he revealed in a 2011 interview, it’s actually his favorite collaboration. “When I got there it took me 15 minutes to rearrange the song, and I played two solos and told them they could pick the one they liked best,” he recalled. “Then Michael walked in and said, ‘Wow! I really like that high, fast stuff you do.’ It was a lot of fun to do. It’s crazy that something could take such a short amount of time and can grow into something beyond anything you could ever imagine.”

Van Halen got a taste of its eventual impact while standing in line at a record store when ‘Beat It’ started playing. “The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, ‘Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen.’ I tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘That is me!’ That was hilarious,” he laughed in a separate interview. “I have a lot of respect for Michael. He’s going to be sorely missed. I’d be curious as to what he’d be doing right now.”

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Source: Ultimate Classic Rock – By Ken Kelly | All Things Michael


The late Michael Jackson will forever be known as the King of Pop. Throughout his record-breaking music career however, Jackson very generously dabbled in rock and roll, collaborating with some of the genre’s musical elite in the process. Let’s take a look at some of those legends that were fortunate enough to work with Jackson before his untimely passing on June 25, 2009.

Kenny Loggins – ‘Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong’ (1979)

In hindsight, it seems strange that a song featuring Michael Jackson wouldn’t be released as a single. But that’s what happened with ‘Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong,’ a deep cut from Kenny Loggins’ ‘Keep the Fire,’ on which Jackson’s background vocals are distinctly heard in the chorus. The album’s big hit was ‘This Is It,’ which features background vocals from another star, five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald.

Paul McCartney = ‘Girlfriend’ (1979), ‘The Girl is Mine’ (1983), ‘Say Say Say’ (1983)

One of the few people whose fame arguably eclipsed Jackson’s was Paul McCartney. The former Beatle penned ‘Girlfriend’ for 1979’s ‘Off The Wall,’ marking the beginning of what was once a good friendship between the superstars. McCartney later appeared on the ‘Thriller’ track, ‘The Girl Is Mine,’ while Jackson reciprocated the favor, duetting on ‘Say Say Say,’ from the latter’s 1983 album ‘Pipes of Peace.’

‘The Girl Is Mine’ climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983, but ‘Say Say Say’ topped the chart. Perhaps most surprisingly about ‘Say Say Say’ is that it ranks as Michael Jackson’s biggest hit on the Billboard charts.

The friendship between Jackson and McCartney would suffer irreparable damage when, a year later, Jackson outbid McCartney for ownership of the publishing rights to more than 250 Beatles songs. Jackson drew further ire from McCartney in 1987 when he licensed the Beatles song ‘Revolution’ to be used in a commercial for Nike.

After Jackson unexpectedly passed away in June 2009, McCartney was gracious and forgiving, described his former song partner as a “massively talented boy-man with a gentle soul. I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael,” he said.

Dave Mason -‘Save Me’ (1980)

Best known for his 1977 hit, ‘We Just Disagree,’ as well as his time in Traffic and guitarist-for-hire, Dave Mason duetted with Jackson on 1980’s ‘Save Me.’ The funky track, which appeared on Mason’s album ‘Old Crest on a New Wave,’ only got as high as No. 71 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Eddie Van Halen -‘Beat It’ (1982)

Michael Jackson’s rock collaborations didn’t stop with Paul McCartney. Van Halen‘s Eddie Van Halen agreed to record a free and uncredited guitar solo on the song ‘Beat It’ as a favor for ‘Thriller’ producer Quincy Jones. Van Halen reportedly cut his 20-second solo in less than a half hour.

In an interview with CNN, Van Halen marvelled at the fact he believed that his bandmates would be none the wiser to his appearance on ‘Thriller.’ “I said to myself, ‘Who is going to know that I played on this kid’s record, right? Nobody’s going to find out.’

But according to the Van Halen News Desk, Van Halen says that the collaboration did not go over well with the other members of the band. “Certain people in the band at that time didn’t like me doing things outside the group. But [singer David Lee] Roth happened to be in the Amazon or somewhere, and Mike [Anthony, bassist] was at Disneyland and Al [Van Halen, drummer] was up in Canada or something, and I was home alone. So I thought, well, they’ll never know.”

After having suggested an alternate arrangement for ‘Beat It,’ Van Halen didn’t quite know how Jackson would react to the changes he made to the song.

“I was just finishing the second solo when Michael walked in,” he recalled. “And you know artists are kind of crazy people. We’re all a little bit strange. I didn’t know how he would react to what I was doing. So I warned him before he listened. I said, ‘Look, I changed the middle section of your song,’ Now in my mind, he’s either going to have his bodyguards kick me out for butchering his song, or he’s going to like it. And so he gave it a listen, and he turned to me and went, ‘Wow, thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and blaze a solo, but to actually care about the song, and make it better.’

As a side note, the guitar riff that underpins ‘Beat it’ was played by Steve Lukather of Toto.

Freddie Mercury – ‘There Must Be More to Life Than This,’ ‘State of Shock’ and ‘Victory’ (1983)

In 1983, Freddie Mercury spent six hours in Jackson’s home studio, laying down vocals on three songs, ‘There Must Be More to Life than This,’ ‘State of Shock’ and ‘Victory.’ Both parties eventually deemed the songs unsuitable for official consumption and have been frequently bootlegged, although the first two were released in other forms (see below). In 2013, Queen guitarist Brian May said that he was building upon the outtakes for a forthcoming album.

Mick Jagger – ‘State of Shock’ (1984)

‘Thriller’ was still high on the charts in 1984 when Michael Jackson’s next association with rock royalty came to pass. He had reunited with his brothers for the Jacksons’ ‘Victory’ album and subsequently recorded the No. 3 hit single ‘State of Shock‘ with none other than the Rolling Stones‘ Mick Jagger.

Bruce Swedien, the recording engineer for the Jacksons ‘Victory’ album recalled that Jackson instructed Jagger to warm up his vocals in preparation for the session. And while it may seem ludicrous to some that Michael Jackson would be giving pointers to the Rolling Stones frontman, Swedien said that Jagger happily complied. This undoubtedly helped show how much respect Jagger had for Jackson.

“Mick didn’t hesitate. By then, everyone knew how good Michael was,” Swedien said. “If Michael Jackson says warm up, you warm up – even if you are Mick Jagger.”

Various Artists – ‘We Are the World’ (1985)

In order to raise money for African famine relief, Jackson and Lionel Richie co-wrote ‘We Are the World.’ The two, with Quincy Jones producing, gathered together an incredible array of some of the era’s most popular musicians under the name USA for Africa. Among the rockers who contributed to the track were Bruce SpringsteenBob DylanBilly Joel and Paul Simon. ‘We Are the World’ was No. 1 for a month and raised a reported $63 million.

Steve Stevens – ‘Dirty Diana’ (1987)

When it came time to record the follow-up to ‘Thriller,’ Quincy Jones reportedly called producer Ted Templeman to ask who he could recommend to perform a guitar solo on the song ‘Dirty Diana,’ which would become another No. 1 hit for Jackson. Not wanting to repeat themselves by bringing Eddie Van Halen back into the studio, Templeman recommended Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens.

When Jones made the initial call to Stevens, the guitarist didn’t believe the person on the other end of the phone line. “I was living in New York at the time and I got a phone call from Quincy Jones,” he said. “The phone rang and I thought someone was f—ing with me. I hung up the phone but then the phone rings again and he goes, ‘Don’t hang up, because this is the real deal.'”

Stating that the original version of ‘Dirty Diana’ that he performed on was over seven minutes in length, Stevens didn’t expect the song to be as dark and heavy as it was.

“Michael was very musical,” he continued. “The things he requested and asked for were all really cool ideas. He understood what I was about and was trying to get the best out of my performance. It was a great session.”

Slash – ‘Give in to Me’ (1991)

Jackson’s desire to seek unconventional collaborations continued with 1991’s ‘Dangerous.’ The pop star selected Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash to play on the track ‘Give in to Me,’ although many mistakenly believe the legendary guitarist played on Jackson’s single ‘Black or White.’

Slash set the record straight in a 2010 interview, saying, “I did not play on [that song]. The sound of the guitar [on that song] is very happy. It just doesn’t sound like me, anyone would know that. It’s not the guitar sound you would expect from me, but somehow I got pigeonholed as the guy who played on that song.”

Of course, that didn’t stop Slash and Jackson from eventually performing ‘Black & White’ together live.

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30 Years Ago Michael Jackson Releases ‘State of Shock’ With Mick Jagger

Source: Ultimate Classic Rock – By Tony Rettman | All Things Michael


Nonetheless, he returned for a final family recording with his siblings, helping complete the Jacksons’ ‘Victory’ in the summer of 1984. The album — which was followed by a stadium tour — would become the group’s last Platinum effort, and its highest-selling non-Motown recording. Michael and company, then known as the Jackson 5, had begun their career in 1969 on that iconic R&B label, selling 13 million copies over their initial three 1969-70 album releases alone. That ‘Victory’ ultimately emerged as a half-baked effort, made up of tracks worked out by the Jackson brothers in solo settings, meant little to a fan base hungry for any new product from Michael.

As such, it’s of little surprise that the best-known track from ‘Victory’ remains ‘State of Shock,’ one that Michael Jackson penned with Jacksons guitarist Randy Hansen. He upped the ante, however, by inviting a famous rock star along for the sessions. Initially, the duet was scheduled with Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury but, when that recording couldn’t be completed, Jackson called on the Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger to step in.

Jagger certainly had nothing to prove as a member of the Stones, having remained relevant into a new decade via massive tours and the great critical reception for 1981′s ‘Tattoo You.’ But with the future of the Stones in doubt by this time, Jagger was looking to establish himself as a solo artist — he was working on ‘She’s the Boss’ when ‘State of Shock’ came out — and hitching a ride on Jackson’s rocket-like trajectory was a perfect place for him to start.

The plan worked as well as expected when ‘State of Shock’ was released in June 1984. Critics may have panned it for being a manufactured event, simply noteworthy for the duo singing on it, but the public saw things differently. The song reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, his highest-ever charting Billboard Hot 100 song. For the Jacksons, it became their final single to be certified Gold.

Incidentally, demos of Jackson’s original, aborted collaboration with Mercury still exist. Queen stalwart Brian May announced last year that he plans to release those recordings soon.

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