The day Michael Jackson’s death was reported, Yours Truly wrote a brief note:
What can you say about the American tragedy and grim parable that the Michael Jackson story represents? I’m stumped for comment. There’s just one pointless phrase that keeps repeating and repeating in my head: “Blame it on the boogie.” It was a good tune.
And it was. It can be heard and watched via YouTube below, but beware: the special effects in this video are mind-blowing, and have never been either explained or duplicated.
That song is from the Jacksons (aka Jackson 5) 1978 album Destiny. To my mind, it serves as the marker for the beginning of Michael Jackson’s golden years. His 1979 solo album, Off The Wall, continued the upward trend, and it peaked with 1982’s Thriller. Then, his music entered a steep decline, which was apparently mirrored in his personal life. The golden years were short, but strong enough to establish him in many people’s minds as a talent of historic proportions. It’s hardly necessary to point out that Michael Jackson seems to be tremendously overrated by some, and yet on the other hand he is sometimes too quickly dismissed by others. For a few years there he had a great thing going. He embodied a mercurial synthesis of pop, soul and disco, augmented by really great songwriting and smart, tasteful production. It’s just amazing how quickly something so good can fall apart.
Here’s a slightly more somber but still enjoyable take on “Blame It On The Boogie,” from friends The Higher Animals.