Until I Find My Destiny

Joie:  Hey Willa, do you ever just look over Michael’s very impressive body of work and think, ‘Wow!’ I do that quite often and I always marvel at the fact that he was in the business for so long. And I like to go back and listen to some of that early work; I think it’s fascinating to listen to the progression from cute little child star with the Jackson Five to adult superstar as the King of Pop. But I have to say that I really enjoy the sort of in-between stage – the work he did with his brothers as The Jacksons.

Michael made six albums with his brothers as The Jacksons. One of them was the incredible Live album (in 1981) and one was the Victory album (in 1984), which doesn’t really count, in my opinion because Michael wasn’t all that involved in the whole project.

Willa:  Oh, but Joie. It has one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs …

Joie:  What song is that?

Willa:  “Always / Please, be not always / And if always / Bow our heads in blame / ‘Cause time has made promises …”  Oh, man! I love that song.

Joie:  Really? That is one song that I can honestly say I don’t love.

But, getting back to the other four albums – The Jacksons (in 1976), Goin’ Places (in 1977), Destiny (in 1978) and Triumph (in 1980) – are what I want to concentrate on. More specifically, I want to zero in on Destiny for a while, if we can.

The Destiny album was very unique because it was the first album they had ever recorded where they were responsible for most of the creative content. They wrote nearly the entire album, with the exception of the song, “Blame It on the Boogie.” It is seen as the album that re-established the brothers as a top-selling group and it became their first certified platinum album. This is significant, I think, because for years they had tried to persuade the powers that be to let them record their own music. In fact, wanting more creative freedom was a major issue  for them and one of the reasons that they left the Motown label when they did.

Willa:  You’re right, Joie. Destiny was a huge album for them creatively. It proved to the record industry, the critics, the public, and most importantly themselves, that they could write and produce their own work. And you can hear it. I don’t know musical genres very well, and I don’t know how to describe what I’m hearing very well, but the Jackson 5 songs sound like Motown to me. I love them, and they’re obviously the Jackson brothers singing, of course, but they have that Motown sound. And then The Jacksons and Goin’ Places have the Philly sound.

But Destiny sounds like the Jacksons. I feel like I’m not explaining this very well, and I’m overstating things to make a point – the transition isn’t as abrupt as I’m making it out to be, and you can still hear a lot of different musical influences in Destiny. But it really sounds to me like they’ve come into their own, in some way.

Joie:  You’re explaining yourself great, Willa. And you’re absolutely right! The Jackson 5 did have that very distinctive Motown sound; it was infused into each and every song they recorded. But when the group left Motown for CBS, they left that “bubble gum pop” sound behind. They had no choice. And really, I don’t think they wanted to hang onto it any longer anyway. They weren’t those chubby-cheeked, adolescent boys anymore, they were growing up. They were all young men by then and they wanted their music to reflect that. However, when I listen to their first two albums with CBS, I sort of get the feeling that the creative team there wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them or which direction they wanted to take them in. You know, it’s almost like the first two albums attempt to straddle the fence between that sweet, bubble gum pop sound and an older, slightly more sophisticated sound.

Willa:  I see what you’re saying, Joie, but you know, in some ways it feels just the opposite to me. A lot of their songs at Motown seem too old for them. It’s like the Motown management liked the irony of kids singing adult songs, so you have a 10-year-old Michael Jackson singing “Who’s Loving You,” and Jermaine singing “I’m Losing You” (“Ah, woman, your touch has gone cold … I can feel the presence of another man”). And the Motown sound was developed for adult vocalists – groups like The Supremes and The Temptations and The Four Tops. I don’t mean to sound critical – I love the early Jackson 5 at Motown. But as a kid just a couple years younger than Michael Jackson, my favorite songs were the ones that were more age appropriate, where they didn’t sound like kids pretending to be grown-ups – songs like “Ben” and “ABC” and “Rockin’ Robin.”

So one of the things I like about Destiny is that, in some ways, they sound younger to me. Or rather, they sound like who they are – a group of very talented young men having a good time and finding their own sound.

Joie:  Well, you’re right, a lot of the Motown stuff was way too old for them at the time. But to me, it still had that saccharinely sweet, bubble gum quality to it. Whether the songs were age appropriate or not. In fact, sometimes I think the fact that the song isn’t age appropriate only makes it sound sweeter and more schmaltzy because of the play on age (like the spoken intro of the live version of “Who’s Lovin’ You” when Michael exclaims ‘I gave her my cookies!’ – meaning that little exchange was the physical proof of his love, as if he had given her a diamond ring).

And with those first two CBS albums, sometimes it feels as if they are sort of stuck in the middle to me. Take the first album, The Jacksons, for example. With the first three songs on that album, you’ve got “Enjoy Yourself” – a fun, easy dance tune about young people out at a party, and he’s trying to persuade a girl to dance with him. Track three is “Good Times” – a really soft, sweet song about a young man thinking back over a love affair that’s ended. Both of those songs sound very age appropriate, and grown up to me. But sandwiched in between them is “Think Happy” – a song that, to me, sounds as if it could have been left over from some of those Motown recording sessions. It sounds very much like it could have been recorded by those fresh-faced adolescents who burst onto the scene with “ABC” and “I Want You Back.”

It’s like The Jacksons and Goin’ Places are both suffering from a little bit of an identity crisis. But then, once the brothers are allowed the creative freedom that they’ve been craving for so long, they are finally able to come into their own and introduce their own sound to the world. With Destiny, they finally have a distinct, cohesive identity. It’s like the brothers were saying, ‘Ok, let’s show ’em what we can really do.’ At least, that’s how it feels to me.

Willa:  Well, that’s interesting, Joie, because I definitely agree that Destiny is more “their own sound,” but I’m not so sure about the “cohesive identity” part. What I mean is, they didn’t create a distinctive sound by sticking with one formula or one style or even one genre. There’s a lot of experimentation on Destiny.

For example, the title track has a strong country flavor, I think – or at least it starts off country. It’s much funkier by the end. And country music is not what you’d expect from a Jacksons album, though apparently they came by that naturally. They mentioned in several interviews that the first songs they ever sang together were country songs. Their mother liked country music and liked to sing along with it on the radio, and they started joining in. But “Destiny” is one of the few songs where you really hear that influence.

Joie:  I see what you’re saying, Willa, about the use of more than one style and genre – something Michael would continue to do as a solo artist – but I’m not really talking about the “sound.” What I said was that they finally had a distinct, cohesive identity. I’m talking about … the attitude, I guess. Maybe I’m explaining myself really badly but, what I’m getting at is that, with the Destiny album, the brothers finally graduated from a cute little kid act to adult music stars. Gone were the sweet, bubble gum, playing-it-safe songs like “Think Happy,” and “Living Together,” and “Music’s Takin’ Over,” and “Jump for Joy” that populated those first two CBS albums. The “safe,” adolescent stuff was finally replaced by songs with a much funkier edge to them, songs that really made you want to move to the music. Songs that made you think about life and love. Songs that the brothers were incredibly proud of because they had written and produced them themselves. They were adults now and their music was finally reflecting that.

They had been telling everyone at Motown for years that they could do it and begging for just a chance, but no one would listen. And they were promised that chance at CBS, but it was slow in coming. Everyone knew that these boys were immensely talented singers and dancers, but nobody wanted to hand over the reins of writing and producing to them. They were untried in that area and it was a risky prospect. But the brothers kept insisting that they could do it; that they were ready. And they were proven right when Destiny peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and number three on the Billboard Black Albums chart. It eventually went on the sell over four million copies worldwide and became their first RIAA certified platinum album. That had to be very rewarding for them.

Willa:  Oh, I agree. And speaking of charts, here’s some interesting trivia – as you mentioned, Joie, the Jackson brothers wrote every song on Destiny except one, “Blame It on the Boogie,” and that song was written by … Michael Jackson. Not Michael Joseph Jackson but Michael George Jackson. He’s listed as Mick Jackson on the credits and that made me curious. Was he a cousin? So I looked into it and found out he’s no relation – he’s British but was born and raised in Germany and still lives there.

And here’s the interesting part: he recorded his own version of “Blame It on the Boogie” before the Jacksons picked it up, but his version had a delayed release for some reason, so both his version and the Jacksons’ version were released in England at basically the same time, and they both did very well. The Jacksons’ version reached #8 on the charts, and his version reached #15. Apparently Britons really liked the idea that there were two “Blame It on the Boogie”s by two different Michael Jacksons on the charts at the same time, so it set off a competition called the “Battle of the Boogie.” Mick Jackson’s son, Sam Peter Jackson, made a documentary about it a few years ago. Here’s a interview where father and son talk about the two releases and the “battle” between them:

And here’s Mick Jackson’s version:

Joie:  Yes, I’ve heard the Mick Jackson version before. Wild to hear the differences between the two, isn’t it? But I wasn’t aware of the ‘Battle of the Boogie’ that ensued because if it. That’s a fun fact. And that’s an interesting clip about the documentary; thanks for sharing them, Willa.

Willa:  It is interesting, isn’t it? And you’re right, it’s interesting to compare the two versions also. I mean, the Mick Jackson version is a well-sung, well-received pop song – it was #15 on the charts, after all. But then I listen to the Jacksons’ version, and wow!  To me, it’s so much more compelling and dramatic. And I think a lot of that drama is simply Michael Jackson’s skill as a vocalist. In fact, I wonder if that’s one of the big differences between Destiny and the earlier albums – simply Michael Jackson’s growth as a vocalist, and the freedom he now had to explore what all he could do and convey with his voice.

I’ve been listening quite a bit lately to those first two albums you wanted to talk about, Joie – The Jacksons and Goin’ Places – and one thing that strikes me is that you don’t hear nearly as many of Michael Jackson’s non-verbal vocalizations that we’ve mentioned a couple of times in the past – his yips and yelps and the high-pitched “woo!” and “whoa!” and “ow!” (I love that high playful “ow!” that he does sometimes.) You also don’t hear his voice changing textures nearly so much, from rough low growls to crystalline falsettos. And those textures and vocalizations add so much to the character and drama of his songs.

Then along comes Destiny, which kicks off with “Blame It on the Boogie,” and the very first thing we hear him sing is “hee-hee-hee-hee,” starting high and falling like water. Those vocalizations are so expressive, and they let us know from the very beginning that this is a very different sound than we’ve heard from them before.

Joie:  You’re right, Willa. And the fact that we don’t really hear all of those non-verbal ticks that we all love so much until the Destiny album is actually very interesting and also very telling, in my opinion. To me, that more than anything else, shows the creative oppression that he and his brothers must have felt before they were given the creative freedom to write and record what they wanted to instead of always having to do things “the established” way. Now that they finally had control of the reins, they felt free to let some of their real personality shine through in their music. And we can really feel that on the Destiny album in each and every song.

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About Dancing with the Elephant contributors

Joie Collins is a founding member of the Michael Jackson Fan Club (MJFC). She has written extensively for MJFC, helping to create the original website back in 1999 and overseeing both the News and History sections of the website. Over the years she conducted numerous interviews on behalf of MJFC and also directed correspondence for the club. She also had the great fortune to be a guest at Neverland. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was three years old. Lisha McDuff is a classically trained professional musician who for 30 years made her living as a flutist, performing in orchestras and for major theatrical touring productions. Her passion for popular musicology led her to temporarily leave the orchestra pit and in June 2013 she received a Master’s degree in Popular Music Studies from the University of Liverpool. She’s continuing her studies at McMaster University, where she is working on a major research project about Michael Jackson, with Susan Fast as her director. Willa Stillwater is the author of M Poetica: Michael Jackson's Art of Connection and Defiance and "Rereading Michael Jackson," an article that summarizes some of the central ideas of M Poetica. She has a Ph.D. in English literature, and her doctoral research focused on the ways in which cultural narratives (such as racism) are made real for us by being "written" on our bodies. She sees this concept as an important element of Michael Jackson's work, part of what he called social conditioning. She has been a Michael Jackson fan since she was nine years old.

Posted on April 3, 2013, in Michael Jackson and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. Michael Jackson and his artistic contributions are like a fine wine. You take it in and revel in it, then you test an inferior product, it only makes you appreciate him all the more.

  2. It’s interesting what you say about Michael’s development and skill as a vocalist, and the comparing between the Blame It On The Boogie versions.

    I was thinking about this the other night, because I went to see the London Westend “Thriller Live” show. I’ve seen it a couple of times before, I think it’s been around since 2007 or something. But this time I’d brought my mom, who’s not a Michael Jackson fan, and only knows the biggest hits. But even she could hear that there was something seriously missing in the music. The show had a couple of pretty good vocalists, but there was just a tension missing in the music.

    To me, when I listen to a Michael Jackson song, it feels like there is a playful game going on between his voice and the music, it almost becomes visible and physical for me sometimes: the voice chasing and teasing the music. And the texture of his voice creates a special kind of tension that draws your attention to it immediately. You can’t ignore the voice and just listen to the track (as if you’d ever want to!) and it never drowns in the music, it’s always center stage.

    But it was just so interesting to be explaining this to my mom, as I’d never really put it into words before. And now I’ll go an email my mom links to the two Blame It On The Boogie videos, they’re really good examples.

    • “To me, when I listen to a Michael Jackson song, it feels like there is a playful game going on between his voice and the music, it almost becomes visible and physical for me sometimes: the voice chasing and teasing the music. And the texture of his voice creates a special kind of tension that draws your attention to it immediately.”

      AP, I love that metaphor of his songs as “a playful game going on between his voice and his music.” And I agree – “his voice creates a special kind of tension” for me also, though it’s hard to define or describe that “special kind of tension” in words, or figure out where it comes from. All I know is that it’s not there for me in the other version of “Blame It on the Boogie” (though I don’t mean to criticize) and it’s wonderfully, magically there in the Jacksons’ version. And it’s not the instrumentation or production values – it’s Michael Jackson’s voice. His voice is incredibly expressive, and to me, that’s what makes the Jacksons’ version so joyful and exciting.

  3. Thanks for (yet!) another interesting post. I agree wholeheartedly with Willa that ”Be Not Always” is a wonderful song.

    Also fun hearing BIOTB by the other Michael Jackson!

    I remember I was once surprised to learn that Michael Jackson had written a lot of books about beer! Not what I’d expect of him!
    But, of course, it quickly turned out to be another MJ: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jackson_(writer)

  4. Destiny! What a wonderful song.

  5. Thanks for writing this post on Destiny; it is an album that I really like and that I think is much overlooked by most fans, despite of great songs like Shake Your Body. One I really like is Bless His Soul.

    Bless His Soul
    I try to do what’s right for me
    But no one sees the way I see
    And then I try to please them so
    But how far can this pleasing go

    Somethings soon to come over you
    You just can’t please the world and yourself
    You gotta start doing whats right for you
    Cause life is being happy yourself

    Then you should bless his soul
    It’s hard to find
    A person like you
    You’re one of a kind
    If I were you, I’d change my mind
    And start living for me in these changing times

    Sometimes I cry cause I’m confused
    Is this a fact of being used
    There is no life for me at all
    Cause I give myself at beck and call

    Somethings soon to come over you
    You just can’t please the world and yourself
    You gotta start doing what’s right for you
    Cause life is being happy yourself

    Then you should bless his soul
    It’s hard to find
    A person like you
    You’re one of a kind
    If I were you, I’d change my mind
    And start living for me in these changing times

    The life you’re leading is so dangerous
    It’s so dangerous, dangerous all
    The life you’re leading is so dangerous
    Doggone dangerous, dangerous, dangerous

    Somethings soon to come over you
    You just can’t please the world and yourself
    You gotta start doing what’s right for you
    ‘Cause life is being happy yourself

    Then you should bless his soul
    It’s hard to find
    A person like you
    You’re one of a kind
    People will cry
    If rain or sun
    Try to please all
    And you’ve pleased none

    These lyrics are very true, especially to Michael.

  6. I’m so glad you give a little attention to the Jacksons material! It’s often an overlooked era of Michael’s career. Even Joe Vogel’s book did not cover it in his book, which is a shame since that era has so many gems.

    My favorite Jacksons album is Triumph – actually it’s my favorite album right now that I listen to on repeat. Heartbreak Hotel is, in my opinion, among Michael’s Top 10 best songs ever. That’s simply a genius’ composition! It’s such a trademark Michael song too. I see it as a prelude to Billie Jean and then the great saga continues with Who Is It. I don’t know but I see these three songs as sequels – in a way and musically related. And they are my three favorite songs too.

    The Jacksons Live! album is fantastic too.

    This material (and this whole Jacksons era) is so-so underrated – and actually unknown – by the general public, so when I saw an interview with Quentin Tarantino where they asked him about his favourite music that he had on his iPod and he started to talk about the Jacksons Live! album and how great it was, I was so happy to hear that.

    I actually prefer the Jacksons to the Jackson 5. Yes, Michael was a boy wonder and everything, but their music did become better when they started to write their own material, in my opinion. And I also prefer Michael’s adult voice and vocals to his child voice and vocals. It’s smooth, unique, warm. He’s one of the few child stars who sounds better as an adult than as a child in my opinion. And that’s a big thing because he was a phenomenal child singer! Child stars – child singers – often have the problem that their voice loses its shine growing up. Michael was lucky that it didn’t happen to him – actually his voice became more smooth, more recognizable, more unique. Though it wasn’t just luck – he also trained his voice a lot and he made conscious choices in how to shape his vocals.

    Oh and I LOVE Be Not Always! Michael’s voice is just otherwordly in it.

    • Joseph Vogel had to chose to no put The Jackson’s album in his book because it would be very very large, I guess. Several song to add. He had to cut the part talking about his childhood and the years at Motown.

      I love Heartbreake Hotel too.

      “I see it as a prelude to Billie Jean and then the great saga continues with Who Is It. I don’t know but I see these three songs as sequels – in a way and musically related. And they are my three favorite songs too.”

      I agree with you. The idea of some his music as sequels was adressed several times, and I think there are no doubts about it.

    • Hi Jacksonaktak. I agree – “Heartbreak Hotel” is fascinating on so many levels. It really is “a genius composition” and “a trademark Michael song,” in part because it sets up so many of the themes he’ll explore throughout his work. And I see it as a forerunner of “Billie Jean” also, but hadn’t thought about them with “Who Is It” as a trilogy. That’s interesting.

    • It’s really interesting that you put Who Is It in that context, I never thought of that either!
      I always had a trilogy that said Heartbreak Hotel ==> Billie Jean ==> Dirty Diana.
      Very interesting!

  7. I am a little out of my depth with this blog, because unlike many of you who started with Michael and grew up with him, I started at the end, and rather like Benjamin Button, am growing young with him, in many senses of the word!! I therefore know little about the Jacksons as a group. I have been unable to get hold of copies of Triumph or Destiny here, but have found a double cd package on Amazon, but unfortunately it will arrive too late for this blog. Have found it very interesting though, and want to learn more.

    Often wondered who Michael Jackson-Clark was on credits for Blame It On The Boogie, so you have solved that mystery – cosmic choreography definitely at work there!! What a hoot.

    However, I am interested in Willa’s comment about their music being age appropriate, because I think Michael’s talent was so great that it could NEVER have been age appropriate – he was always ahead of that curve. One only have to listen to his renditions of Who’s Loving You and Ain’t No Sunshine compared to Smokey Robinson and Bill Withers to hear that, in terms of depth and emotion, he is already way way ahead of them. Also, of course, there is Ben and Michael winning a Golden Globe and being the youngest performer ever to have been nominated for an Oscar at just age 15. For me, Michaels talent is ‘ageless’.

    I know you wanted to zero in on Destiny, but I do have The Jacksons, and I don’t know who is singing what, and I would like to. It is obvious which songs Michael is lead singer for, but can anyone please fill in the lead singer from the list below (written out so you can cut and paste your answer if possible).
    2300 Jackson Street
    One more chance
    Walk right now
    Private Affair
    Nothing (that compares 2 U)
    Dreamer
    Torture
    Show me the way to go

    • “I think Michael’s talent was so great that it could NEVER have been age appropriate – he was always ahead of that curve …”

      Hi Caro. I see what you’re saying! Just wanted to clarify that when I said I preferred songs that were more age appropriate, I meant that – as a 9, 10, 11 year old – the songs about a love affair gone wrong weren’t as meaningful to me, as a child, as “Ben” for example. “Ben” was about friendship and loyalty and being able to see someone’s true nature despite the labels others put on them, and that was really important and meaningful to me, as a child.

      But you’re absolutely right – Michael Jackson sang “Who’s Loving You,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and other songs like that with tremendous “depth and emotion,” as you say. I think that’s one reason Smokey Robinson and others called him an “old soul” in a child’s body – because he seemed to have emotional knowledge way beyond his years.

    • Caro

      2300 Jackson Street is from the same titled album that was released in 1989. By then Michael left the group but joined for a short “cameo” in this song. The song was written by Jermaine, Jackie, Tito, Randy and Gene Griffin.
      It think it’s the best to watch the video to see who sings what:

      One More Chance (Victory album, 1984) – written by Randy. Lead vocals by Randy.

      Walk Right Now (Triumph album, 1980) – written by Michael, Jackie and Randy. Lead vocals by Michael.

      Private Affair (2300 Jackson Street album, 1989) – written by Diane Warren. I don’t have this album, but looked up on YT and it sounds like Jermaine.

      Nothing (that compares 2 U) (2300 Jackson Street, 1989) – written by Babyface and L.A. Reid. It has a video, so again you can see who sings what:

      Dreamer (The Jacksons album, 1976) – written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Lead vocals by Michael.

      Torture (Victory, 1984) – written by Jackie and Kathy Wakefield. Lead vocals by Jermaine and Michael.

      Show you the way to go (The Jacksons album, 1976) – written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Lead vocals by Michael.

      —-

      By the way even if the brothers did not have as much creative control on the Jacksons album and the Goin’ Places album as later, they still managed to get some songs on those albums those were written by them. On the 1976 Jacksons album there is the song Blues Away which was written by Michael. If I remember well, he wrote it at the age of 15. It was the first Michael-penned song that was released:

      • Hi Jacksonaktak

        thank you so much for the information and for the youtube links to the songs – now that is really service from you. I look forward to watching them all, just wanted to say thanks first.

    • The song Torture also has a video, but it’s odd because none of the lead singers (Jermaine and Michael) appear in it. Don’t be deceived by the life-sized Michael doll. LOL.

  8. to continue

    Listening to The Jacksons right now, and can hear that Walk Right Now is obviously Michael, so please cross that one off the list!!

    I suppose listening mostly to a mature Michael has coloured my perceptions of him, but I agree with Jacksonaktak that his voice got better as he got older, and IMO his material also. I just love the songs on Invincible and think that is some of his best work, but then Goin’ Places is rapidly becoming one of my favorites also. You see, ageless.

  9. Back to the Destiny album. This song has written Michael all over it, too. It was written by Michael and Randy. It’s one of my favorites. Prophetic song. “Jack” is definitely Michael.

    Lyrics:

    Jack still cries day and night
    Jack’s not happy with his life
    He want to do this, he want to do that
    You want to be kind, but ends up flat for love
    For love

    He tries so hard to give a lot
    He wants to be what he is not
    Love’s not harsh and love’s not bad
    And what’s he doing for love is so bad
    (He wants to be so bad)
    (He wants to be so bad) All the time getting in
    Things he can’t get out
    Something deep inside of him
    Eating up the pride of him
    That makes him buy things for the girls
    (That’s what you get for being polite)
    (For being polite)

    Jack still sits all alone
    He lives the world that is his own
    He’s lost in thought of who to be
    I wish to God that he would see just love
    Give him love

    He tries so hard to give a lot
    He wants to be what he is not
    Love’s not harsh and love’s not bad
    And what’s he doing for love is so sad
    (He wants to be so bad)
    (He wants to be so bad) All the time getting in
    Things he can’t get out
    Something deep inside of him
    Eating up the pride of him
    That makes him buy things for the girls
    (That’s what you get for being polite)
    (For being polite)

    (Jack still) Tryin’ to make you happy, but…
    (Jack still) Tryin’ to make you happy, but…
    (Jack still) Tryin’ to make you happy, but he’s not, but he’s not

    (Jack still) Tryin’ to make you, but don’t you know he cries
    (Jack still) Don’t you know he’s scared
    (Jack still) It’s often for his love, it’s for his love
    Don’t you know he often cries about you
    He cries about me
    He cries about you (You) and me (And me)
    And every little thing that’s in his way
    He cries about me
    He cries about you (You) and me (And me)
    Know that he deserves to cry

    (Jack still) Don’t you know he cries
    (Jack still) Don’t you know he’s scared
    (Jack still) It’s often for his love, yeah, yeah
    Don’t you know, don’t you know, don’t you know, don’t you know
    Don’t you know, don’t you know, don’t you know, don’t you know
    He cries, he cries because there is a lack of love

  10. Rare studio footage for Jump for Joy!

    • I love what Tarantino said – that this song reminded of him of a song from a movie, maybe something with Bill Cosby like Uptown Saturday Night.

  11. Oops sorry, wrong link. This is the right one for Jump for Joy:

  12. Hi Willa and Joie,

    Thanks for yet again expanding my Michael Jackson horizons. Like Caro, I am much more familiar with his later work.

    And thanks to jacksonaktak for all the wonderful videos — I was up way past my bedtime watching them.

    It is so fascinating to be able to observe MJ at various stages of his artistic development — and in different settings.

    • “thanks to jacksonaktak for all the wonderful videos … It is so fascinating to be able to observe MJ at various stages of his artistic development — and in different settings.”

      I second that! Thanks so much, Jacksonaktak. I especially enjoyed the “Jump for Joy” one in the studio. It was fun seeing them all so earnest but clowning around too – like when Michael gives Marlon that funny glaring face about 1:09 in and cracks him up. And did you notice they all keep jumping? It’s like they’re enacting the lyrics – “jump for joy.” I love it….

      • I third that!! thanks agan Jacksonaktak, because having watched these videos, I went on to find some more that I have never seen including a live performance of Never Can Say Goodbye, and another live performance of Rocking Robin – just love it when Michael says “You got it Tito” as Tito does his guitar solo. It is clear that Michael ‘got it’ even at age 14!! and long before that I feel.

  13. I’m loving this back to the past. I’m fan since I was a child, and I really like the earlier works, and most, I love see Mike as a young man; his development as a singer, dancer, and composer. I was born in 1982, but my father was a fan and Michael (the Jacksons) always were in my home, so, this songs always were presents.

  14. Some thoughs about Destiny, the album:

    I would group the songs on Destiny into two categories: feel-good dance songs and songs which are about much deeper subjects. Subjects which were the recurring themes of Michael’s whole oeuvre and life: loneliness, alienation, yearning to be loved and accepted, confusion, fear, being misunderstood, being used and abused. It’s pretty revealing and heartbreaking at the same time that Michael had those feelings even at such a young age.

    Out of the eight songs of the album I put the following songs into the feel-good category: Blame It On The Boogie, Things I Do For You, Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) and All Night Dancin.

    Written by Michael and Randy, Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) was the biggest hit single of the album reaching #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #4 in the UK. Michael continued to perform it until his Bad Tour in 1987/88 and today the song is considered a classic. It was sampled and performed by numerous artists in concerts, such as Prince or more recently Justin Timberlake.

    Blame It on the Boogie was the the album’s other hit single – and the only song on the album that was not written by the Jackson brothers. It’s also the only song of the album that has a video.

    Things I Do For You is another song that Michael continued to play in concerts until the 1987 leg of his Bad Tour. It’s a fun song as well as All Night Dancin.

    As much as I love the dance songs on the album, to me the more intriguing material on Destiny are the other four songs: Push Me Away, Destiny, Bless His Soul and That’s What You Get (For Being Polite).

    That’s What You Get (For Being Polite) is credited to Michael and Randy and I’m willing to bet the lyrics were written by Michael and that Jack is actually him. The song seems to echo Michael’s eternal yearning for love and acceptance.

    Bless His Soul is a precious gem. It starts with the verse:

    I try to do what’s right for me
    But no one sees the way I see
    And then I try to please them so
    But how far can this pleasing go

    Then later in the song:

    Sometimes I cry ’cause I’m confused
    Is this a fact of being used
    There is no life for me at all
    ‘Cause I give myself at back and call

    The song is credited to The Jacksons, but once again the lyrics seem to describe Michael so well. On this song Michael shares the lead vocal with Jackie and they complement each other wonderfully. The highlight is when the bridge kicks in with Michael’s awesome vocals:

    The life you’re leading is dangerous
    It’s so dangerous, dangerous all
    The life you’re leading is dangerous
    Doggone dangerous, dangerous, dangerous

    The title track, Destiny is about yearning for a simple but happy life and about finding who you are. Also about escapism – which is another recurring theme in Michael’s songs and vocabulary.

    “I want Destiny
    It’s the place for me
    Give me the simple life
    I’m getting away from here
    Let me be free, let me be me”

    Push Me Away is a love song, but when it comes to Michael romance isn’t something light-hearted and uncomplicated either. As you can guess from the title of the song, the lover turns him down – pushes him away. Once again he feels rejected.

    In my opinion, this album is an R&B classic. And it becomes even more intriguing in the hindsight, knowing about Michael’s struggles in life. I don’t know if people at the time of the original release of the album realized how deeply personal these lyrics were, especially to Michael, but in the hindsight it’s not difficult to realize.

    • “In my opinion, this album is an R&B classic. And it becomes even more intriguing in the hindsight, knowing about Michael’s struggles in life. …”

      Hi Jacksonaktak. I have very similar feelings listening to Destiny – that it’s both “revealing and heartbreaking” to realize that Michael Jackson dealt with some of these issues over the course of his entire career. As you pointed out, even on an early album like Destiny, he’s already grappling with subjects that would become “recurring themes of Michael’s whole oeuvre and life: loneliness, alienation, yearning to be loved and accepted, confusion, fear, being misunderstood, being used and abused. It’s pretty revealing and heartbreaking at the same time that Michael had those feelings even at such a young age.”

      You know, I’ve thought about this a lot, especially in light of everything that happened in 1993 and 2005 and the intense media and public reaction that followed, and I know that public notoriety had to be very painful for him – extremely painful. But the adulation in the 1970s and 80s seems to have been pretty uncomfortable for him also. He just had a difficult life all the way around, even before 1993. But at the same time, I believe he experienced moments of ecstasy – creative ecstasy – that few of us can even imagine.

      btw, thanks again for all the great video links. I especially enjoyed the full Destiny concert. I hadn’t seen that before – what a treat!

  15. A great medley from the late 70s (Michael was such a great vocalist. I sometimes feel his vocals are underrated, because he was a phenomenal dancer. But he was also a wonderful vocalist. This video showcases it. )

    The Jacksons performing Destiny live

    A full Destiny tour concert (unfortunately not the best quality, but the concert is great)

  16. I’ve been so busy the last few weeks that I haven’t had a chance to respond in depth like I would like to. Destiny is one of my favorites. I’m not old enough to have experienced the Motown era live, or even the Philly Sound, although it should be noted that Michael learned much from his two albums with Gamble & Huff which he incorporated into his songs. But Destiny holds a special place in my heart. When I think of the OTW era for Michael, I would also include Destiny and Triumph (along with The Jacksons Variety Show and he WIz). All of this happened in such a short period of time.

    Destiny also is one of the first albums I ever purchased. I can remember going to the Tower Records on Sunset Blvd with my father and actually making the conscious decision to get it. I think I still have the actual lp in a box in the basement.

    As for the tour footage, thanks jacksonaktak. New Orleans was part of the second leg of that tour in October 1979. Interesting to see the glove has already made its debut. And how polished Michael is even at 20. I’m amazed everytime I see this old stuff!

    Here is some better quality footage from the London shows in February of that year. (this is just part one, but the others follow on YT).

    • Wow, Destiny, what a high-energy concert! It’s an aerobic workout just listening to it. I played Parts I and 2 while cleaning up last night, and had the dinner dishes washed and the kitchen wiped down in no time … It’s so vigorous, it’s contagious. And I really got a kick out of seeing Michael Jackson play air guitar during “Destiny” (at the end of Part 2). Thanks so much for sharing.

      I agree with you about the Destiny album – it has some wonderful gems, and Joie and I barely scratched the surface on that. For example, there’s something about “Shake Your Body Down to the Ground” that I just love, and I don’t know why exactly. It’s just one of those songs that pulls you in and takes over – you can’t listen to it and not feel the urge to move. I love his voice on it, love the instrumentation, love the growl-y synthesizer, love the funky bass line, love the layering of sounds – just love it period.

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