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1BULLEY MICHAEL JACKSON'S 1970'S TO 1990'S TRACKS on Sat 9 Jan 2010 - 10:19


Michael Jackson's music: the solo albums

Michael Jackson's ten solo albums map out the evolution of the hottest styles from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Aug 1972: Releases second album 'Ben'. The title track 'Ben' was a million-seller hit single and Jackson's first US 1.

1973: Releases third album 'Music & Me'.

1975: Michael Jackson releases fourth album 'Forever Michael'

1979: Releases 'Off the Wall', produced by Quincy Jones, launches him to superstardom. Sells over nineteen million copies worldwide.

1982: Jackson Releases 'Thriller' album which sells over fifty million copies worldwide and confirms him as the 80's king of pop.

You could argue that the reason Michael Jackson made great pop music was that he loved pop music. When Jackson heard a new sound that excited him, he would try and incorporate it into his own music.
So his ten solo albums are like a pop barometer, mapping out the evolution of the hottest styles and trends from the seventies to the nineties. On those records you'll hear everything from old-school soul to sensitive acoustic ballads, stripped down funk, epic disco, heavy rock, gangsta rap and everything in-between.  

Related Articles

  • Got to Be There: 1972

Key sound: Cute Motown
With first single and breakout hit Got to be There, Motown chief Berry Gordy pushed Jackson's first solo album firmly into the mould of his label's sound: lush, harmonious, optimistic, innocent pop. Songs like cutesy, bubblegum fifties cover Rockin Robbin were no departure from the style of the Jackson 5 there but the now 14-year-old Jackson – despite his still babyish image and voice – imbues cover versions of Bill Withers Aint No Sunshine and the Carole King's You've got a Friend with impressive depth.
Download this: I will be where you are

  • Ben: 1972

Key sound: Serious ballads
Teaming up with soundtrack writer and Andrew Lloyd Webber collaborator Don Black, Jackson proved he wanted to move on from the constraints of the R&B charts into the wider limelight of mainstream pop. Monster hit, Ben, on paper is pure schmaltz but Jackson's wrenching yet delicate delivery transforms it into a genuinely moving moment of Broadway pop. He also tackles, if somewhat timidly, the Marvin Gaye conscious-soul school with People Make the World Go Round, while keeping his bosses placated with some increasingly tired sounding Motown-by-numbers.
Download this: We've got a good thing going.

  • Music and Me: 1973

Key sound: Movie Showtunes
Clutching an acoustic guitar in his tank top and looking glumly introspective, Jackson was clearly seeking a deeper sound than Motown could provide but on this, his most unsuccessful record, not finding it. Going even further down the epic soundtrack route, this album includes his version of Morning Glow from Pippin and Happy from Lady Sings the Blues. While fitting his still exceptionally high voice, Jackson sounds so feminine on some of these show tunes he could almost be Diana Ross.
Download this: Euphoria

  • Forever Michael: 1975

Key sound: Philly funk
Brian Holland and Eddie Holland, who along with Dozier and Lamont were former hit makers for Motown, create a sparser, more adult soul feel for a deeper voiced Jackson. One Day in Your Life benefits from this lower key than Jackson's previous ballads and when it was re-released in 1981, became his first UK number one, holding the position for two weeks that summer until Ghost Town by the Specials knocked it off the top spot.
Download this: We're almost There

  • Off the wall, 1979

Key sound: Sunshine disco
Finally released from Motown, Jackson spent four year cooking up a new sound and after first working with Quincy Jones on the soundtrack to the film The Wiz, found his perfect musical foil. The two created the tougher, more explosive, euphoric disco-tinged sound of Don't Stop Till You Get Enough with Jackson's daring falsetto bouncing off the top of the beat and his vocal peppered with new 'adult' grunts and shrieks. Jackson took disco out of the clubs though by making the vocal harmony more prominent than the beat but the album broke through to the mainstream because of the clever mix of styles, including a cover of the Wing's song Girlfriend and the histrionic ballad She's Out of My Life.
Download this: Don't' Stop Till You Get Enough

  • Thriller, 1982

Key sound: Perfect pop
Emboldened by their initial success, Jones and Jackson pushed their original mix even further. With Jackson taking sole writing credits on nearly half the record, they threw in Edie van Halen guitar rock, paranoid electro-disco, fluffy Paul McCartney duets and in the single Thriller, a faux Horror funk epic with a Vincent Price cackling monologue. The 22-year-old was also expressing his maturity by showing restraint on the ballads, to beautifully sensual effect on Human Nature. So varied was the album, it produced seven hit singles over two years.
Download this: Billie Jean

  • Bad, 1987

Key sound: High drama R&B
While rap and house music were starting to spread in popularity, this was still the year of the full-fat cream mega star, with George Michael, Whitney Houston and U2, and Jackson's direct rival Prince, all enjoying prime-time success. Jackson, having taken his longest break yet from making music, came back with an album that stuck with the musical template of Thriller but with a more, hip-hop, heavy rock attitude. "I'm Bad", he snarled, somewhere between LL Cool J and Axl Rose on a song that was originally meant to be a duet with Prince. Jackson increasingly shunned writing collaborations, creating most of the album himself.
Download this: The Way You Make Me Feel

  • Dangerous, 1991

Key sound: Anxious new-jack swing
Breaking up with Quincy Jones, Jackson turned instead to the tougher street sounds of Terry Riley, pioneer of the new jack swing sound. As a result, the beats were sharper and less bombastic than Bad and Jackson's vocals less bombastic, interspersed with guest rappers. The length of the album – 77 minutes - stretched the limits of the new CD mode and on Heal the World Jackson's subject matter was turning away from paranoid love to a more philanthropic concern for love and peace.
Download this: Remember the time

  • HIStory, 1995

Key sound: Dystopian world rap
Increasingly isolated and embattled, Jackson buries his new album behind a greatest hits compilation and surrounds himself with an army of hip producers including Jam and Lewis, Dallas Austin and R Kelly, and duets with the Notorious BIG and his by now equally successful sister Janet on Scream, accompanied by the most expensive video ever made. Underneath all this, Jackson, at his angriest lyrically, allies himself with world's oppressed and poor on They Don't Really Care About Us and Earth Song.
Download this: This Time Around

  • Invincible, 2001

Key sound: Slinky urban grooves
Coming full circle in his solo career, Jackson tries – and fails – to break back into the now world dominant R&B scene with a comeback album helmed by more hip hit makers including Rodney Jerkins. He also returns to the classic form of some of his prettiest ballads on Butterflies and Break of Dawn.

Last edited by Admin on Sat 28 Aug 2010 - 22:00; edited 3 times in total

2BULLEY RIP MY BEAUTIFUL KING on Sat 9 Jan 2010 - 23:46


I miss you michael


Ive got all of Michael Jackson's

earliest hits

long before he pass away

Sponsored content

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