In the history of popular music, there has never been an individual who was the total package like Michael Jackson. He had it all; charisma, style, vocal brilliance, stage presence and an innate ability to improvise creative dance moves out of nowhere. It is why he’s the single, greatest R&B singer of all time.
When the Jackson Five first appeared on the scene in 1969, all eyes were on their charismatic 11 year old frontman, Michael Jackson. Without Michael, the Jackson Five would’ve never existed. Berry Gordy, the CEO of Motown Records, when he first saw the group was taken aback by Michael’s singing and dancing to a James Brown song. All Gordy could see was dollar signs. No child singer before or since had the vocal range that Michael possessed. He was a 30 year old man trapped in an 11 year old body vocally. Whenever the group performed, whether it would be on national television or on tour, Michael’s charisma and stage presence would have all eyes transfixed on him.
The Jackson Five would have incredible success right from the get go. Their first four singles would go to number one on the pop charts: “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” “I Want You Back,” and “I’ll Be There.” “I’ll Be There,” showcased the soulful voice of Michael. An 11 year old never sounded so soulful and mature. Later on two other songs greatly highlight his phenomenal soulful and vocal range; “Wanna Be Where You Are,” and “Never Can Say Goodbye.” While the Jacksons would continue to have great success throughout the 1970’s, it was Michael’s first solo album on CBS that would begin his ascent into immortality; 1979’s seminal album, “Off The Wall.”
“Off The Wall,” was not only Michael’s first solo effort on CBS, it was also the first time he collaborated with legendary jazz musician and producer Quincy Jones. The result was one of the greatest albums ever released. It spawned two number one pop hits, the disco influenced “Rock With You,” and “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.” The title track “Off The Wall,” was a powerful upbeat song. In my opinion, the highlight of the LP was the heartbreak slow jam, “She’s Out Of My Life.” Michael gives a heart wrenching rendition of a man who loses the love of his life. It hits home at the end as he breaks down and cries at the conclusion of the song. Jones masterfully keeps that in, making this heartbreak song even more realistic. Michael would never again release a song so soulful and heart wrenching.
1983 would be the year that cemented the legend of MICHAEL JACKSON. No singer ever had a year as successful before or since. His “Thriller,” album would but him, at the tender age of 25, as the greatest icon in entertainment history. Endless articles and shows have chronicled this album, so there is no need for me to reiterate the songs released from this incredible LP. His performance that year on the “Motown 25,” special introduced the world to the moonwalk, a dance move never before seen on television. His music videos helped jumpstart the music video genre, including a mini horror movie for “Thriller.” This album has sold over 100 million units worldwide and will never be surpassed in terms of record sales.
Michael Jackson would die at the very young age of 50. When he died, children as young as three years old throughout the world cried. Michael’s fame among singers is unprecedented. Only Elvis Presley come close to his worldwide fame. And only Muhammad Ali is on his level as being the most famous figure in the history of the world. Not only is he the greatest R&B singer of all time, he’s the single greatest singer of all time. THE BEST THERE IS, THE BEST THERE WAS, THE BEST THERE EVER WILL BE!!!!!