Before the scandals, the surgeries, the seclusion and the skin-lightening, he was simply talented Michael. #blackhistorymonth
In a few short weeks, a truly unflattering documentary will air on HBO about Michael Jackson. In it, two men will detail sexual abuse suffered at the hands of Jackson while they were young boys. The Jackson family has called the film, which has already premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, a “public lynching”. It is because of this and other allegations that I had held off on during a full program on Michael Jackson, the 8th youngest of the eventual 10 Jackson siblings, who grew up in the Midwestern industrial town of Gary, Indiana before relocating to Los Angeles at age 10.
This isn’t the first time I have featured artists whose private lives make you wonder why we ever supported them in the first place. However, I remind myself that this is an audio anthology program: showcasing the good, the bad, the ugly and the sometimes just plain weird and amazing recorded audio of artists you might actually want to run over with your car if you had the opportunity, nor will it be the last.
I chose the 1970’s to showcase Michael’s talent for one very important reason: by the time of the first Jackson 5 single on Motown in 1969, the group had already been performing for five years, which would make them seasoned veterans in the boy-band climate of the era and in the years that followed. They not only had the talent and the energy, they also did something few other teen idols ever do: grow into megastar adult musicians. Jackson has also been one of my five most-requested artists in the last 12 months.
Before the scandals, the surgeries, the seclusion and the skin-lightening, Michael Jackson went from being a cute part of the Motown money machine and into an adult who could not just perform, but write and produce with the best of them. These are the early triumphs of one of history’s eventual greatest tragedies.
Michael Jackson The 1970’s Mixtape
- Dancing Machine (original full-length album version), 1973, The Jackson 5
- Life of the Party, 1974, The Jackson 5
- Rock With You, 1979, Michael Jackson
- Just a Little Bit of You, 1975, Michael Jackson
- Enjoy Yourself, 1976, The Jacksons
- The Love You Save, 1970, The Jackson 5
- I’ll Be There (mono single mix), 1970, The Jackson 5
- Whatever You Got, I Want, 1974, The Jacksons
- Ease On Down The Road (from The Wiz), 1977, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson
- Off The Wall, 1979, Michael Jackson
- I Wanna Be Where You Are, 1971, Michael Jackson
- Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) (special Disco mix), 1978, The Jacksons
- Blame It On The Boogie (John Luongo Disco mix), 1978, The Jacksons
- ABC, 1970, The Jackson 5
- I Am Love (Parts 1 & 2), 1974, The Jackson 5
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
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