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Live ‘Off the Wall’ next week with a classic’s re-issue

Sam Shirk
A&E Editor
sxs1090@lhup.edu
29vh_DocumentaryPoster

Photo via bestclassicbands.com

No one is more iconic than the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. His albums are so memorable that even now they’re being re-issued with stories to tell at over 90 minutes each. We saw it when the legendary “Bad 25” (2012) anniversary edition hit, and it’s happening again with 1979’s “Off the Wall.”

On Feb. 26, “Off the Wall” is being re-issued with a bonus this time, a new documentary directed by Spike Lee, titled “Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off the Wall.” Lee directed the last highly anticipated Michael Jackson documentary, “Bad 25,” so this one is sure to be just as amazing.

The documentary landed a spot at the Sundance Festival on Jan. 24 where it premiered for the first time. It then went on to premiere on Showtime last Friday and now, for everyone else to see, it’s coming to CD/Blu-ray and CD/DVD. Both versions are currently available on Amazon for pre-order.

“Off the Wall” was a turning point in a 20-year-old Jackson’s life. It was meant to establish him as an adult superstar and it was the very beginning of a journey to separate himself from his brothers and to become the solo artist he longed to be. In the late ‘70s, Jackson was at risk, like so many others, of becoming what is known as a ‘has-been’ child star. To prevent that from happening, Jackson felt it was time to reinvent himself in sound and personality.

Jackson sought out the help of a well established Quincy Jones, who had worked with him previously on 1978’s “The Wiz.” When Jones accepted his offer, the two took the first steps to a long-standing and successful working relationship.

michael-jackson-photo

Photo via mypassportradio.com

The two worked tirelessly on the album and, once it hit store shelves, it launched a powerful debut to Jackson’s adult career. Featuring a mixture of disco, pop, R&B and soft rock, it ushered in what is now known as the modern era of pop music.

The legendary album produced two No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and became the first album from a solo artist to put four songs in the top 10 of the Hot 100.

It seems fitting that 35 years later we’re honoring an album of such a high magnitude by exploring the inner workings of the process behind the scenes. To explore the various creative depths of this gem, archival footage of Jackson will be provided as well as contemporary interviews with his family, Lee Daniels, The Weeknd, Pharrell, John Legend, Questlove and tons of other musicians. It’s shaping up to be an unforgettable experience. (But then, what Michael Jackson project isn’t?)

Couldn’t make it to the Sundance Festival? Missed it on Showtime? Then be sure to snag a copy from stores or online because MJ fans all over won’t be disappointed by this tribute. We can only wonder what Jackson would say or how he’d feel if he could see the overwhelming love his work is receiving today.

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