Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall”

Released: August 10, 1979

Genre: Disco ・funk ・pop ・R&B

Label: Epic ・CBS

Producer: Quincy Jones


In loving memory of my aunt, Louisrene Hatchet.

By 1979, Michael Jackson was 21 years old and already an icon in his own right, being the lead singer of the legendary group The Jackson 5 (later The Jacksons after the group left Motown Records). Although his solo career began while at Motown, Michael also ventured into acting.

Off The Wall is the title of Michael’s fifth solo album. A huge departure from Michael’s previous work from his four solo albums and from the group period, Michael aimed to create an album that he wanted creative freedom and that was different from the sound that we were used to from the group, and achieved just that.

Off The Wall is considered to be Michael’s breakthrough album from his solo career, and one of the landmark disco albums among Donna Summer’s Bad Girls & Bee Gees’ Saturday Night Fever. The album contains elements of not only disco, but funk, pop, jazz, soul, and soft rock.

With themes that include escapism, liberation, loneliness, hedonism and romance, Off The Wall was the first Michael solo album where I felt he felt extremely independent from his family. Like his baby sister Janet would do years later with her breakthrough album Control, Off The Wall showcased that he can have a successful career on his own, and it totally solidified his stature as the King of Pop.

Off The Wall was released August 10, 1979, a few weeks before Michael’s 21st birthday. Produced by Quincy Jones & Michael, Off The Wall peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 & number one on the Billboard R&B charts (staying at number one for 16 weeks). The album was also a huge commercial success, being the third best-selling album of 1980. Off The Wall was certified 9x platinum by the RIAA and sold over 20 million copies worldwide. Iconic.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall.

Side one

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

Written by Michael Jackson

The albums start off with the disco influenced record Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. You want to start your album off with a HIT! From a lyrical perspective, the song is about never giving up on your dreams or quitting.

A lot of people perceived the song as being sexual, but I disagree. I like to think the lyrics is in regards to Michael’s solo career and his desire to success on his own without the backing up of the group that made him a household name.

The song became Michael’s second number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1972’s Ben & his first solo number one on the Billboard R&B charts. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough was sampled by Mase.

Rock with You

Written by Rod Temperton

I feel like one of Michael’s quintessential records is Rock with You. Rock with You is just one of those songs you can vibe to over and over again. Just a pure classic. Rock With You is a disco & funk influenced record, which was written by the keyboardist and songwriter for the 70s band Heatwave, Rod Temperton. This collaboration sparkled a successful relationship between Michael, Quincy Jones & Temperton.

Released as the second single from the album, Rock With You became Michael’s third number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and second number one on the Billboard R&B charts respectively. The single has been certified 2x platinum by the RIAA, and is considered to be the last big hit of the Disco era. The song was sampled by artists like Alicia Keys, Ashanti, Angie Stone & Deborah Cox.

Working Day and Night

Written by Michael Jackson

One of the highlights of the album is the self penned Working Day & Night. Another disco influenced record, Working Day and Night is one of those songs that will have you dancing your life away on the dance floor. While not released as a single, the song is one of Michael’s most popular songs…being very popular on the radio and in films. The song was sampled by artists like Will Smith, Janet Jackson, George Duke and even Michael himself.

Get on the Floor

Written by Michael Jackson ・Louis Johnson

Get on the Floor is a BOP okay!! From a lyrical perspective, the song has Michael trying his best to woo someone at the club to dance with him.

Side two

Off the Wall

Written by Rod Temperton

Side two to the Off The Wall album kicks off to the title track. Off The Wall is a song about getting over your troubles and having no cares in the world and enjoy your life on the edge. It is definitely a feel good record. Off The Wall peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100, and number five on the Billboard R&B charts respectively.

The song contains a sample of Boogie Nights by Heatwave, and has been sampled & interpolated by TLC, Mariah Carey, Rapsody and many more.


Written by Paul McCartney

A cover of the Wings w/ Paul McCartney classic, Girlfriend is a song about a man telling his lover that they’re going to have to announce their love affair to the girl’s boyfriend!! Whew chile lol.

She’s Out of My Life

Written by Tom Bahler

One of my favorite ballads from Michael has to be She’s Out of My Life. It is absolutely a masterpiece. The soft rock influenced record speaks of taking someone for granted and the singer learns & realizes that it is too little and too late to make things right. The song became the fourth song to reach the top ten on the charts, making Michael the first artist to receive four top ten records on one album. The song was covered by Ginuwine.

I Can’t Help It

Written by Stevie Wonder • Susaye Greene

I Can’t Help It is a SONGGGGGGG. If it’s not in your top five Michael Jackson songs, you can’t be trusted. Written by the legendary Stevie Wonder & Susaye Greene, I Can’t Help It is truly one of Michael’s best vocal performances of all time. While it was not released as a single, the song is truly a great quiet storm record and has been covered and sampled/interpolated by so many amazing artists like Mary J. Blige, Donell Jones, Portrait, Grover Washington Jr & Stokley.

It’s the Falling in Love featuring Patti Austin

Written by Carole Bayer Sager • David Foster

It’s the Falling in Love is A DUET!! Michael & Patti Austin sound so great on this record. The song was covered by Dionne Warwick as well.

Burn This Disco Out

Written by Rod Temperton

The album closes with Burn This Disco Out. Y’all know this album was truly for the dance floor cause this was a whole jam. whew!

Off The Wall was proof that Michael was destined for the solo success he truly deserved, and after the release of the record..he went on to be the king of pop. Off The Wall was one of the last great albums during the disco era, and had a hand in making the kind of records people WANTED to hear. -MW.

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