The Jacksons era was a really important era for Michael. It was when he first started writing and producing his own music, had more creative jurisdiction over what was being released, and when his adult voice began to develop and become the voice that we've all come to know and appreciate.
These are songs that are some of my very favorite tracks and ones that I'd encourage all fans who are just starting to listen to Jacksons music, to check out!
1. Blame It On The Boogie
Why not start the list off with a truly, feel-good song? This is one of my favorites because it is one of the songs that you can listen to and imagine Michael bouncing around happily while he's singing. Need proof? Check out the music video. Not to mention, the lyrics themselves are about dancing and letting the music take over for a while. To be honest, whenever this song comes on, I am super uplifted and ready to dance dance DANCE!
2. Can You Feel It
One of my favorite things about M, is his ability to sing songs that are not only catchy and fun to listen to but, also have a deeper inspirational meaning. This is certainly one of those songs that you could pull out your glowsticks and party to but, it's also one with lyrics that you can sit down and reflect upon. Also worth noting, both his brother Randy and M are on lead vocals here and it's a guilty pleasure of mine to hear someone sing a verse and then here comes M, totally blowing them out of the water. (Not that Randy is an awful singer (love you Randy! but, if you listen to the live version here, you'll understand what I mean about M's first solo vocals on this song.)
3. This Place Hotel (a/k/a Heartbreak Hotel)
What can I say? This song was written and composed by Michael, produced by the Jacksons, and even features a scream from LaToya in the background. The second biggest hit off of the Trimuph album (after Can You Feel It), this is one of those classic, suspenseful, yet kind of crazy story that you can visualize songs. It's easy to say that this was the building block for songs like "Billie Jean" and "Smooth Criminal," but, its just too good to not be recognized on its own. M performed this song live on 3 tours (Triumph, Victory, and Bad) and the live performance on Bad (Yokohama) is one of my personal faves. Check it out on YouTube.
4. Lovely One (Live)
To be honest, I never liked this song until I heard the live version. Yes, you heard correctly. If you are like me and are a huge fan of the Jacksons Live album, you know how painfully slow the original Lovely One sounds when you listen to the Triumph album. It's all of the adlibs and chanting on the live version that make it one of my faves.
5. Different Kind Of Lady
Although the Goin' Places album was not much of a success for the Jacksons, this song was the first song produced by the group themselves. It's a fun and original song, M sounds great on it, and if you are browsing through the tracklist for the Goin' Places album and nothing seems to tickle your fancy, give this song a shot.
6. Show You The Way To Go
Written by Gamble and Huff, this song appears on the Jacksons album, the very first release after the Jackson 5 left Motown for Epic records. Maybe my intepretation is a bit off but, I think that this is an insanely romantic song. Romantic in that M is talking about a better life, where we can work and live together "and think like one"... in harmony... underneath the sun. SOLD.
With M on lead vocals, he is really able to let loose for the first time and showcase his voice on this song. The selling point is the break-down, where Michael really shows us what he's got. Ad-libs are perfection as usual.
7. Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) (Live)
To wrap up the list, we have in my opinion, the best Jacksons song. This double-platinum disco-hit was written by Michael and Randy, with M on lead. The horns and the synthesizer pretty much make this song the beast that is. The original song is great but, the live version is even better. If you've ever seen the Bad tour, you know how "long and drawn out" this song can get but, with this song, the longer the better. Everything about it is pure magic and I would recommend you check out the live performances of it on the Victory Tour, Bad Tour, The 30th Anniversary concert, and if you haven't already, check out the American Bandstand performance from '79. You''ll love it. Bittersweet Fact: This was the last song that Michael performed live in concert with his brothers before his untimely death.
What are your favorite Jacksons songs?
What are your Top 7 Jacksons songs to pay attention to?