- - -
: OTW re-release + documentary Feb.26
& > >
Off The Wall, .

''Two big names just recorded their holdings to the highly anticipated documentary "Off The Wall" : Stevie Wonder and Berry Gordy (Motown founder). The documentary recordings are in full swing ! Just yesterday , as we reported, it was the turn of Tom Bahler (music writer "She's Out Of My Life") be interviewed. The production, which has no set title, is directed by Spike Lee - director of videos for "They Do not Care About Us" in addition to the acclaimed documentary "BAD 25".

My interview for Spike's OFF THE WALL doc brought back memories of performing those songs on tour with MJ.



What's next for you?

We were working overtime [on Chi-raq]. On the side, I'm finishing a documentary on the making of Michael Jackson's Off the Wall album, for the Michael Jackson estate and Sony Records. I already did Bad 25, and hopefully the estate will ask me to come back and do Thriller, and then I'll complete the trilogy.
Hello MJFAM:

We know that for months, you have been waiting patiently for official news about the new documentary about Michael Jackson directed by Spike Lee.

The announcement that you have been waiting for is coming today but you are the first to know! Were happy to share with you that on February 26, the Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Legacy Recordings will release a special CD/DVD and CD/Blu-ray edition of Off The Wall. The package will include Michaels revolutionary album in its original form and the new documentary Michael Jacksons Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, directed by Spike Lee. Furthermore, the documentary will make its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016, and its world television premiere on SHOWTIME on Friday, February 5th at 9 P.M. ET/PT on-air, on demand and over the internet. Following its premiere on SHOWTIME, it will be broadcast in other territories around the world and those air-dates will be announced by the local broadcaster in each market.

For all of you who were hoping for a television broadcast of the documentary - the Estate heard you. For those of you ecstatic to introduce Off The Wall to a new generation of fans, the Estate heard you.

We would like to re-interate that the album included in the package is a re-issue of the original album there is no additional music or remixes on the CD or any bonus material with the documentary. We are sure some will be disappointed that there is not extra material, but as everyone knows, this album was early in Michaels career. He did not write or record the number of songs for this album as he did for later releases nor did he do any filming using his own camera crews of the making of his short films or other events. Without a wealth of material in the archives, the Estate and Sony decided to take a different approach with this release strip it down and keep it simple and allow everyone to celebrate the album that started it all with a fun, specially designed, collectible package that holds both the album as originally released along with this special documentary and gives fans a chance to get creative with Michaels original concept for the album artwork. (Youll see when you get it!)

The Official Online Team of The Michael Jackson Estate

Jackson's 'Off the Wall' to be rereleased with Spike Lee doc | AP News
Off The Wall: Michael Jackson's Original Album And The Documentary 'Michael... -- NEW YORK, Jan. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --



NEW YORK, Jan. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- On February 26, during Black History Month, the Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Legacy Recordings will release exclusive CD/DVD and CD/Blu Ray editions of Michael Jackson's revolutionary 1979 recording, Off The Wall. The package will include the original version of the album bundled with the new documentary Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, directed by Spike Lee. The documentary will make its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016, and its world television premiere on SHOWTIME on Friday, February 5th at 9 P.M. ET/PT on-air, on demand and over the internet. After its premiere on SHOWTIME, it will be broadcast in territories around the world.

THE ALBUM The importance of Michael Jackson's Off the Wall cannot be overstated. Recorded when he was just 20 years old, the album heralded Michael's stunning emancipation as a singular musical force and creative visionary. It smashed the ceiling on record sales for black artists, ushering in an exciting new era of R&B-to-pop crossover airplay, chart, marketing and sales trends not seen before in modern pop music. It's the record that "invented modern pop as we know it," wrote Rolling Stone. For fellow black artists of the day, Michael served as an illuminating inspiration.

To Black America, Off The Wall transcended music and entertainment altogether. The success of the album marked a level of national and international achievement that conjured pride in a culture that as late as the end of the 1970s was still fighting for the kind of social acceptance that Michael's album received. Because of Off the Wall's indelible influence, 21st century artists as disparate as Beyonce, Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd all have a blueprint they turned to for creating their superstardom.

Written by Michael Jackson, the first single from Off The Wall, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", was Michael's first Grammy and first single to hit #1 in the U.S. and internationally as a solo artist. With the singles "Rock With You", "Off the Wall" and "She's Out of My Life" Jackson became the first solo artist in history to have four singles from the same album peak inside the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. The album was an enormous commercial success; as of 2014 it is certified eight times platinum in the United States and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.

The Music: "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"; "Rock With You", "Workin' Day and Night"; "Get on the Floor"; "Off the Wall"; "Girlfriend"; "She's Out of My Life"; "I Can't Help It"; " It's the Falling in Love"; "Burn This Disco Out".

Produced by Spike Lee, John Branca and John McClain. For Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, director Spike Lee assembles a wealth of archival footage, including material from Michael's personal archive, interviews with contemporary talents and family members, and Michael's own words and image to create this insightful chronicle from the star's early rise to fame through the release of this seminal album. A look at a chapter of his career that is rarely examined, Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall allows audiences to travel with Michael as he gets his start at Motown, strikes a new path with CBS Records, and forges a relationship with legendary producer Quincy Jones. An illuminated portrait emerges of how an earnest, passionate, hard-working boy would become the "King of Pop."

Partial list of interviews: Lee Daniels; The Weeknd; Pharrell Williams; Misty Copeland, Kobe Bryant; Mark Ronson; John Legend; Questlove; Katherine Jackson; Joe Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Jackie Jackie L.A. Reid and more.

For future Michael Jackson and Off the Wall news, including upcoming pre-order information:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter

Photo - http://photos.prnews...20160106/319909
Logo - http://photos.prnews...0130/LEGACYLOGO

SOURCE Legacy Recordings

Kevin Hughes ‏@Popprince Jan 7
The deluxe soft pack of MJ's #OffTheWall has 16 page booklet feat new essay, photos & a piece of chalk & chalkboard panels.. Out Feb 26th.


Triumph tour icon_mj2.jpg ohh.jpg

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Spike Lee on His Revealing New Michael Jackson Documentary and Donald Trump | Billboard

Your new documentary, Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown to Off the Wall, is a lot of fun to watch. It was the simplest period of his life, wasn't it, before all the tabloid headlines and abuse accusations?
Back in 1979, there was no big pressure on Michael for Off the Wall. There were no expectations. It all turned after Thriller -- things get complicated when you sell the most records ever. People got swept up in Thriller, but Off the Wall's my favorite of the three records he did with Quincy Jones. Many people say that in the documentary, too.

His mom, Katherine, says Michael was very hurt when he won only one Grammy Award for Off the Wall in 1980. How much did that motivate him?
Michael Jordan's a good friend of mine. Any negative thing someone says to him, he uses that as fuel. When Michael didn't win the Grammys he thought he should have won, it's like, "Alright, motherf--ers. I got somethin' for yo' ass." And that was Thriller.

Michael never seemed like an "alright, motherf--ers" kind of guy.

No, he was. Let's not get it twisted: Michael was competitive. Any record he did, he wanted the thing to be No. 1. He was hurt, and he came back with a vengeance.

Did you like Michael?
Yeah. Mike came to my house in Brooklyn. I put on the CD -- this was [1995's] HIStory -- and he said, "Pick any song you want to direct." So I picked "Stranger in Moscow." He said, "No, that's not the one you want! You want to do 'They Don't Care About Us.' " (Laughs.) Michael was slick.

When Michael was making Off the Wall, a lot of people thought his career was over, didn't they?
There were doubts. But Michael never doubted himself. He just knew he had been given the freedom to do his thing. And to do that, he and his brothers first had to get out of a Motown contract. And then he had to step away from his brothers, too. Family is a cross to bear.

In the movie, you don't address Michael's accusation that his dad, Joe, was physically abusive. Why not?
Here's the thing, and I appreciate your question: So many people focus on the other stuff. We wanted to focus on the music. People might say that's a cop-out. I don't care. Personally, I'm not going to say Joe Jackson was a bad guy. Have you ever been to the Jacksons' house in Gary, Indiana? There were nine kids sleeping on top of each other. He saw talent in his kids, and he made it work. Nowadays, if you hit your kid, you're going to jail. Back then, if you messed around -- I'm just talking for black folks -- you got hit. I don't think children should be beat, but sometimes, upside the head? (Shrugs.) Maybe I'm old-fashioned. And that house in Gary? That should be a national landmark. Alright, President Obama. You've got one year left. (Laughs.)

It seems like Joe was simultaneously the best artist manager of all time and the worst.

Joe's OK in my book. Of course, he wasn't my father! (Laughs.)

Michael's brothers Jackie and Marlon, who have good relationships with John Branca and John McClain, the executors of Jackson's estate, are in the film. But Janet, Jermaine and Randy, who have denounced the executors, are not in it. Why?
They didn't want to be a part of it. It's no secret that there's tension between [parts of] the family and the estate. Any time money's involved, there's going to be static.

There's one thing about your documentary that isn't great: the title. Why such a cumbersome title?
Wasn't me.

Was the title dictated to you by the estate?
It wasn't me. (Laughs.) Man, I should be running for office right now. That was a true politician's answer, wasn't it? Give me Iowa!


This is your second Jackson documentary -- the first was Bad 25. Do you want to do another one?
I'd really like to do a documentary about Thriller. I've let the estate know, but I've not been given the job yet.

Do you think the success of Thriller was bad for Michael's music? After that, he was obsessed with topping it.

Thriller became a monster on his back. Every record after that, he was trying to sell more records. I think there's a cost for that.

This story originally appeared in the Jan. 23 issue of Billboard.

Sundance: Why Michael Jackson's Legacy Was Entrusted to Spike Lee - Hollywood Reporter

A decade after helming the King of Pop's 1996 music video for "They Don't Care About Us," the filmmaker is bringing his doc 'Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown to Off the Wall' to the festival.

A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

John Branca had been Michael Jackson's longtime legal adviser and friend since the 1980s and, as the co-executor of the Michael Jackson estate (along with music executive John McClain), has continued to keep the iconic singer's legacy alive since his death in 2009. After Michael Jackson's This Is It the 2009 concert documentary that followed Jackson as he prepared for his concert tour became the top-grossing concert doc of all time ($261.2 million worldwide), the estate decided to make another documentary.

But who should helm it? Spike Lee, who had directed Jackson's 1996 music videos for "They Don't Care About Us," was an obvious choice. "Spike is a great director and a good friend, but he's also a huge Michael Jackson fan," says Branca, who hired Lee to direct 2012's Bad 25, a retrospective on the making of Jackson's 1987 album.

Lee, who hosts an annual tribute to the late singer in Brooklyn, heads to Sundance this year with Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown to Off the Wall, which follows Jackson from his days in the Jackson 5 to his launch as a solo artist with 1979's Off the Wall. "This is a coming-of-age story," says Branca, who serves as a producer on the film, which features Lee's interviews with such stars as John Legend, Questlove, Pharrell Williams, Lee Daniels and Kobe Bryant. "He starts out as a child star who supported his entire family. And then, through a crisis in his career leaving Motown re-emerges as a solo artist. It's a compelling story."

Branca says they wanted to work with Lee again because of the shorthand that's developed between them. "There's never any tension. I have a lot of ideas when it comes to these things there's always a great give-and-take," he says.

Branca is most involved in the outlining stage, and then comes in again to help with the edit after Lee has done the interviews. For Off the Wall, Branca helped cut it down from 120 minutes to 90. "We wanted to keep the pace and the tempo moving," he says.

And there's more Michael on the horizon. Lee hopes to make a trilogy of Michael Jackson docs, and has already said he'd love to finish it off with a film about the 1982 album Thriller.

"We definitely want to do a third one," adds Branca. "Thriller would be a logical choice because it's the biggest-selling album in history, but I've always felt that Michael's History album was his most unappreciated. When you really listen to that album, start to finish, you can't help but be blown away at the quality of the music."
Vinnie Malhotra ‏@vinniemalhotra
Spike Lee introducing his new film, Off the Wall. "Love for Michael Jackson" @sundancefest @Showtime

Liz Hernandez ‏@LizHernandez
Just had a chance to watch Spike Lee's Michael Jackson documentary... UNREAL!!! #OffTheWall #Sundance2016

Angela Watercutter ‏@WaterSlicer
So far Spike Lee's Michael Jackson doc is the only time this weekend I've felt a whole theater tap its feet in unison. #Sundance2016

Jason Hirschhorn ‏@JasonHirschhorn
Spike Lee's doc, Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, is phenomenal positive look. @sundancefest

Trajan King ‏@trajanking
#Sundance @SpikeLee's new MJ movie is incredible

AnnetteAndersenCaton ‏@AnnetteACaton Park City, UT
Q&A with Mr. Spike Lee. Mad respect. @SpikeLee #Sundance

Lisa Kennedy ‏@bylisakennedy
First thing to do after this doc: play "Off the Wall." Here Spike, executor John Branca, @questlove #sundance

Tiffany Vazquez ‏@filmiliarface
#MJOTW2016: I honestly thought the whole theater was about to get up and dance. A celebration of one of the greatest albums ever. #Sundance

Lo Green ‏@smoothlogreen
Park City, UT You know it's gonna be a good day when you walk into the theater and @questlove greets you. Excited for this film. @SpikeLee #Sundance2016

So Spizike lemme peep 5 mins of #TheRoadToOffTheWall before the official preview at #Sundance & man....there are many era's of #MJfans but imo the most loyal (lol watch me start a war) were the post #MovingViolation pre #Thriller fans of 76-81. The footage and interviews they've unearthed for this doc is nothing short of awesome. Wow man. #MichaelJackson @michaeljackson

Spike Lee's Michael Jackson doc a tribute to his music | AP News

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- As a young artist, Michael Jackson knew he wanted to be legendary.

"I will be magic," he wrote as a teenager, outlining his plans for his career. "I will be better than every great actor roped in one."

Jackson's drive to succeed and his striking talent as a singer, dancer and songwriter are the focus of Spike Lee's new documentary, "Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to 'Off the Wall,'" which made its world premiere Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival.

"This film is all about love toward Michael Joseph Jackson," Lee said as he introduced the film, which is dedicated to Jackson's children Prince, Paris and "Biji" (formerly Blanket), along with family matriarch Katherine Jackson.

Beginning with the Jackson 5's earliest songs with Motown Records - featuring a charismatic 9-year-old Michael on lead vocals - the film explores Jackson's growth as an artist and the perfectionist nature that fueled his work ethic.

Archival footage of the Jacksons' performances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," ''American Bandstand" and their "Destiny" tour is interspersed with interviews with music industry talents from then and now. Sammy Davis Jr., Gene Kelly, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones and Questlove, along with contemporary music producers Mark Ronson and Rodney Jerkins, are among dozens of voices in the film. Jackson's brothers Marlon and Jackie also appear on screen, but sisters Janet and LaToya do not.

"Everyone was invited to participate, but we used those who wanted to participate," said Jackson's longtime attorney John Branca, now executor of Jackson's estate and a producer of the film. "Certain (members) of the Jackson family are not quite big fans of (fellow attorney) John and I, but that's fine. We're trying to do right by Michael."

This film makes viewers miss Jackson's dynamic dancing and mellifluous voice while deepening their appreciation of his talents and endless efforts to hone them.
"I do believe deeply in perfection," Jackson says in a 1976 interview.

It captures Jackson's evolution from a breakout child star to a multifaceted adult entertainer determined to transcend barriers of race and genre. Even as a teenager, he dreamed of being able to "translate my music to different countries: Japan, Sweden... even Australia."

"He took black music to a place where it became human music," Pharrell Williams says in the film. "My music would not be here if it wasn't for his music."

Lee goes beyond music, however: Ballerina Misty Copeland credits Jackson for inspiring her love of dance. L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant says Jackson's approach to his art "impacted everything for me."

The late Sidney Lumet, who directed Jackson in the 1978 film "The Wiz," said: "Michael may be the purest talent I've ever seen."

The film follows Jackson's career until the release of his groundbreaking 1979 album "Off the Wall," which paved the way for 1982's "Thriller," the best-selling album in history.

It doesn't get into Jackson's personal life or any of the legal troubles that would plague him later in life. It's simply a portrait of a man and his music.

"Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to 'Off the Wall'" is set to premiere Feb. 5 on Showtime.

'Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall': Sundance Review | Billboard

Spike Lee contextualizes the landmark 1979 album that cemented Jackson's status as a superstar solo artist and propelled him on to an even bigger breakthrough with 'Thriller.'

The first bars of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" are among the most iconic sounds in 20th century pop that teasing entry beat, those half-whispered Stars Wars-esque opening lyrics ("The force, it's got a lot of power") and that signature falsetto "Woooh!" that uncorks a whole mess of infectious funk from the horns and percussion. Spike Lee takes us back to the first time we heard that classic in Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown to Off the Wall, which continues the director's admirable bid to reclaim the legacy of an innovative artist whose genius was often unfairly overshadowed in his later years by tabloid attention.

Following its Sundance premiere, the documentary begins airing Feb. 5 on Showtime, and no doubt will be devoured by fans who grew up on Motown, and on the decade of artistic apotheosis that followed Jackson's departure to CBS Records. It's also an equally entertaining companion piece to Bad 25, Lee's 2012 film that marked the quarter-century anniversary of Jackson's album of that name.

Lee's interest in Jackson goes beyond an appreciation of his music to acknowledge what an important figure the performer remains in black culture, bridging the divide that continued to separate many black artists from mainstream acceptance. It's startling to be reminded that the music business was still tacitly segregated at that time, and despite Off the Wall selling six million copies in its first year alone, Jackson's awards recognition was confined to the black R&B categories.

The director's access is impressive. He talks to fellow artists, producers, songwriters, engineers and arrangers, as well as select Jackson family members (both parents, two brothers) and Motown godfather Berry Gordy. Throughout, there are illuminating insights into how a great pop song is built. There's notably incisive commentary from Questlove, Mark Ronson and Philadelphia hitmakers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, while a number of contemporary artists acknowledge their deep debt to Jackson. Pharrell Williams says, "My music would not be here without that record," while The Weeknd confesses, "I found my falsetto because of Off the Wall."

Others weigh in strictly on a personal level, about indelible memories of Jackson's music as the soundtrack to their youth, though some of this rhapsodizing becomes a touch repetitive. (A little of Lee Daniels' preening goes a long way, for instance.)

The main body of the doc is a track-by-track analysis of each song on the album, skimming over minor entries like the drippy Paul McCartney cover, "Girlfriend," to spend more time on the many standouts. Those include the three tracks written by Jackson "Dont Stop," "Working Day and Night" and "Get on the Floor" and Rod Temperton's contributions, "Rock With You" and the title song. Those up-tempo hits prompt Ronson to describe the record as "a DJ's dream."

As for the slower grooves, Stevie Wonder discusses Jackson's move into the quiet storm "boudoir demographic" with his song "I Can't Help It." And songwriter Tom Bahler applauds the sincere emotion Jackson poured into "She's Out of My Life," which segues hilariously into Eddie Murphy's classic riff on Michael's sensitivity: "Tito, get me some tissues."

But what makes all this so absorbing is Lee's meticulous attention to context. Starting with a vintage interview in which Jackson shares how the brothers began singing together just to goof off when the TV broke down, he recaps the early years with some fabulous archive material. (Those outfits!) It's strangely touching to see Jackson with his natural skin color and pre-surgery features, a poignant reminder of the deteriorating grip on reality that defined his later years.

Lee declines to dig into the more controversial aspects of his subject's upbringing, ignoring questions surrounding the extent to which Joe Jackson pushed his children to succeed professionally. Instead, he focuses on Michael's singular drive and ambition, declaring early on that he was not going to be poor. Gordy and others talk about the adolescent Jackson's tireless curiosity, watching and learning about every aspect of the craft from senior artists in the Motown family. By his own definition and that of others, Jackson became a perfectionist.

Perhaps the closest Lee gets to family friction is in allowing Jackson to speak for himself in a 1980 interview, excerpted near the end of the film, where he says he feels no guilt about leaving his brothers behind when he went solo. He makes no apologies for the fact that his creative hunger compelled him to move forward alone, and certainly no one can dispute that his artistry and talent far eclipsed that of the group.

The film pinpoints Jackson's performance of "Ben" on the 1973 Oscars telecast as the first time he stepped out on his own. The exit from Motown to CBS subsidiary Epic Records in 1975 is depicted as a wrenching but necessary separation, with Walter Yetnikoff admitting that he was just three weeks into the job as president at the time and wanted to pass on the deal, until the A&R guys twisted his arm.

The Jacksons, as they then became known when Gordy refused to let go of the 'Jackson 5' name, were still struggling to shake off the cutesy image of their cartoon series. But Gamble and Huff produced two transitional albums that helped them hone a more adult sound. That shift is superbly illustrated in a stupendous American Bandstand clip of the Jacksons doing "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)," wearing powder-blue satin jumpsuits.

That clip also shows the development of Michael's distinctive dance language, elements of which Lee traces to the Nicholas Brothers, James Brown, Jackie Wilson and Fred Astaire. Archival interviews with Sammy Davis Jr. and Gene Kelly reveal that they were flattered to observe traces of their dance styles in Jackson's moves. Misty Copeland speaks about his amazing footwork, while Kobe Bryant admits that watching Jackson dance influenced his court moves.

A key stepping stone to Off the Wall was Jackson's appearance in Sidney Lumet's 1978 film of The Wiz, which despite its critical hammering, was a huge event for black America. (Who remembered that the very white Joel Schumacher back then was Hollywood's go-to guy for black screenplays, writing Sparkle, Car Wash and The Wiz? Even he still seems surprised.) Appearing alongside an uncomfortably miscast Diana Ross, Jackson's unique energy and spring-loaded physicality made his numbers bright spots in a very patchy movie.

More important, the film connected Jackson with his most essential collaborator, Quincy Jones. While the jazz maestro was an unconventional choice to produce a disco/funk/R&B album, his rhythmic sophistication helped Jackson shape his defining legacy, with the one-two-three smash succession of Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad, released over an eight-year period. Having surveyed the first and last of those albums, maybe Lee will next give us a comprehensive salute to the 1982 monster centerpiece? Here's hoping.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival (Documentary Premieres)
Production company: Optimum Productions
Director: Spike Lee
Producers: Spike Lee, John Branca, John McClain
Director of photography: Kerwin DeVonish
Editors: Ryan Denmark, Barry Alexander Brown
Sales: ShowtimeNo rating, 93 minutes

This article originally appeared on THR.com.

Sundance 2016 Michael Jacksons Journey from Motown to Off the Wall |

Michael Jackson, in my opinion, is the greatest showman ever to grace a stage. He could sing like no one before or after him, his dance moves were effortlessly complex, and he knew how to put on a show. In director Spike Lees documentary Michael Jacksons Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, we get to see how brilliant Jackson was and a track by track look at one of his best albums.

This isnt a normal Michael Jackson documentary. Lee focuses on the time in Jacksons life when he and his fellow Jackson 5 brothers were ruling at the world at Motown records and then their transition to Epic Records, where Jackson would eventually break away from the group and make his first solo album, Off the Wall.

We then here a slew of celebrities and producers talk track by track about the album, much like Lees last Jackson documentary, Bad 25 (2012). Each song is broken down from how it was made, to its importance, which gives us a true idea of what Jackson was thinking while making the album.

Using a combination of found concert footage and interviews with Jackson and current celebrities, Lee paints a crisp picture of Jackson as an artist and the state of music in that era. We also get an understanding of what Jackson and Off the Wall meant to black culture and the black community. He gave them a voice and a face in the predominantly white music scene in the 70s.

The concert footage Lee got is incredible. Most of the footage, and the best footage, comes from his Triumph Tour in 1981. This concert was incredible and Lee gives us a front row seat. Seeing Jackson rock a bedazzled shirt, dance his heart out, and sing classics like Dont Stop Til You Get Enough is something to behold. His performance of Shes Out of My Life gave me goosebumps.

Most people want to focus on the negative aspects of Jacksons life rather than his artistry. That is the best thing that Lee did with this film. He doesnt focus on any of the drama in his life and we dont need it. We are here to see the artist, the legend that is Jackson and we see him at his best. It is a testament to his brilliance and proves without a shadow of a doubt why he will forever be The King of Pop.

Review: Spike Lee's Sundance 2016 Michael Jackson Documentary Makes You Want to Dance and Shout | Indiewire

Spike Lee's latest documentary examines the iconic muscian's professional life from his time as the Jackson 5 frontman until he broke out with "Off the Wall" in 1979.

What is Lee Daniels doing here?In a 93-minute feature film packed with everyone from Michael Jackson's relatives to recording engineers who worked on only one of his albums, the co-creator of "Empire" is the only talking head unable to justify his time on screen. And considering the likes of Kobe Bryant, Stevie Wonder, Joel Schumacher and even Spike Lee (unable to stay behind the camera in his own film) make memorable appearances, his inexplicable inclusion speaks to what's really, overall, a focused effort with honed storytelling, dedicated to a very specific time period in Jackson's fascinating life.

Picking up from when and why he was such a magnetic presence in the Jackson 5, "Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown to Off the Wall" builds itself around details meant to not only make audiences remember, but make them appreciate what a true pop star is capable of. Descriptive adjectives are thrown around rapidly, but it's the passion in the speakers' voices that stands out. Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother, pops up a number of times with contextual tidbits relevant to Jackson's motivations, and Lee uses her descriptions (and others') as launching pads into more topical material.

While no Spike Lee joint would be complete without a reminder of America's racial prejudice, the topic is tastefully and appropriately incorporated this time 'round. A few knowledgeable guests make note that the press and fans alike were quick to give Jackson credit for his "natural abilities," while white artists would be worshiped for their talent and effort equally. To hammer home the point, Lee brings in Kobe Bryant who the director chronicled in another solid doc, "Kobe Doin' Work" to parallel Jackson's relentless pursuit of perfection as a dancer, singer and musician with the basketball star's chase to match another MJ Michael Jordan. Bryant's story hammers home the work that Jackson put into making himself the true King of Pop and serves as a stark reminder of why it's important to pay attention to cultural keywords in a racial context.

The film also broaches how the music biz has changed since Jackson helped build it into what it is today, but what's truly striking about the doc is how well it flows not only from point to point, but from speaker to speaker. Lee astutely places supporting statements next to each other, slowly building his case for the relevance of this era in MJ's life, and sometimes he even uses historical footage of a speaker to set up what that same person is saying today. Lee also goes to great lengths to give each speaker the credit they deserve by repeatedly citing their often lengthy list of accolades and accomplishments next to their name, rather than just flashing it once on their first appearance and leaving it at that.

And the careful selection of subjects is truly remarkable. In addition to surviving members of the Jackson family, Lee spoke with or found interviews featuring Sammy Davis Jr., Gene Kelly, John Legend, Stevie Wonder and so, so many producers, engineers and songwriters who have an intimate knowledge and unmatched devotion to the music being discussed. It's not hard to imagine how easy it was for Lee to grab the big names on the above list considering his own stature in the film world (and black community at large), but going the extra mile to dig up some of these unheralded and unknown voices with so much to say truly makes the doc stand out.

And then, of course, there's Michael himself. Sure, there's some gleeful footage of Jackson's remarkable dance moves and quite a few performances that wow, but you can tell Lee isn't just interested in recreating concerts. Rather than being the star of the show, Jackson seems to hover around the perimeter of the picture; a voice popping in to lend credence to an argument or remind audiences of what he was trying to do. It works incredibly well. By allowing so many personalities to speak for him and from gathering up not only a large sample size but one with such fascinating knowledge of the man of the hour, Lee makes the "Journey" so much more than a tribute to Jackson. It's a monument to his significance.

But really, why is Lee Daniels in this doc? His biggest contribution is an "embarrassing" confession that he danced to an old MJ song by himself. Who hasn't? Why does that matter? We'll never know, but "Journey From Motown to Off the Wall" makes sure we'll never ask the same question about MJ himself.
Grade: B+

Michael Jacksons Journey From Motown to Off The Wall, review: Spike Lee dances to his hero's thrilling tunes | The Independent

This is mainly a documentary of talking heads, but when they have faces like these its spellbinding

Rating 4/5

Lets give it all up for Michael, yall calls Spike Lee, minutes before his latest documentary, Michael Jacksons Journey From Motown to Off The Wall, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. With Lee taking up so much headline space over the Oscars diversity row, the stage needed to be cleared, even for a giant like Jackson.

Lee is doing more than any other filmmaker to document his heros legacy; two years ago Bad 25 was his exploration, track by track, of Jacksons third solo album. From Motown to Off The Wall is part documentary, part tracklisting of each song from Off The Wall, which, released in August 1979, marked the last days of disco as well as Jacksons long walk to becoming the most famous man in the world, which he achieved with the release of his next work, Thriller.

This is mainly a doc of talking heads, but when they have the faces of Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, producers Mark Ronson and Rodney Jerkins, film director Lee Daniels and Michael Jacksons own mother, its spellbinding. The journey of how the Jacksons went from a singing troupe with Motown to the disco beat of 1978s "Shake Your Body" is peppered with record label anecdotes, made dynamic by the archive including Jackson singing Ben at the Oscars in 1973.

What is clear is that Michael Jackson was no family stooge, but the driving force behind the Jacksons journey to superstardom. Each interviewee tells of his drive, even as a teenager, of his dedication to learning his craft, and his focus. "I will no longer be Michael Jackson, but MJ" a letter to himself reads in 1979. "I will dig in and dig in and dig in ..I will be a perfectionist.

This overriding trait of Jackson, which possibly contributed to his later misfortune, is hammered home, but so his is sheer talent. His producer in 1978 recalls him bolting from the studio during a track and finding him dancing in a corridor. I cant keep still, the teenager apologised.

Most touching of all is Jacksons youth, his beauty, his delicacy. Lee has unearthed footage of Jackson in Studio 54 in New York, when he had an apartment during filming of 1978 film The Wiz. MJ happily tells of how much he loves dancing there. Such was his innocence you can believe thats all he got up to, but its striking: who knew Jackson ever got to go out and have a good time?

Someone calls the Off The Wall record sleeve Jacksons prom picture; hes a 20 year old in a tux, ready to make his next record, Thriller, the biggest album on the planet. Dont let anyone fool you, Lee suggests, thats not what he planned all along.

In 1980, MJs Grammy for Best RnB performance was presented off screen, during a commercial break. Off The Walls legacy was that labels and radio stations accepted the biggest star on the planet could be black. According to Pharrell Williams, the album was even more important than that: He took black music and made it human music, he says. He didnt see black or white.

What Spike Lee Learned From Michael Jackson | Vanity Fair

The director of a new documentary about Jackson says he was a fan before working with the pop star.

When asked his thoughts about Michael Jacksons private struggles, Spike Lee answers diplomatically, Its not something I would say publicly. But Leess thoughts on Jacksons remarkable career? Thats now the stuff of two documentaries, starting with Bad 25 and now Michael Jacksons Journey From Motown to Off the Wall, which is exactly the wide-ranging story it sounds like.

Lees connection to Jackson started as that of a fan, having been born just a year before the pop star. We still experienced the civil rights movement, we were still the right age not to be drafted for Vietnam, Lee remembers. We just saw the whole evolution of the world taking place. It was a dream for me that I actually got to work with him before he left us in a physical sense. (Lee directed the video for 1997s They Dont Care About Us.)

Lee learned lessons from Jackson just in the process of making his film, seeing a legal pad with Jacksons handwriting on it, reading, To be great, study the greats. But it was advice from his parents, Lee told Vanity Fairs executive west coast editor Krista Smith, that shaped his life the most. I got support from my family when I came up with this crazy idea that I wanted to be a filmmaker, he said. Parents kill more dreams than anybody. And thank God my parents didnt say youre crazy, there are no black people directing films, what are you doing? No, they said, were with you, we support you.


Mark Ronson ‏@MarkRonson 4h4 hours ago
.@SpikeLee's MJ doc on Off The Wall is a 10/10. MJ + Quincy (+ the brilliant musicians, writers & engineers) = the best made pop album ever

17 iTunes USA.
Triumph Tour:

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OTW #10 , Thriller #40, Essential #60


MJ Off The Wall:

GRAMMY Awards: Miguel To Perform a Michael Jackson Song

Miguel will translate his smooth moves into an homage to the King of Pop at the GRAMMY Awards this year, with a performance of an Off the Wall highlight at next week's ceremony.

According to Billboard, the R&B star will perform "She's Out of My Life" to commemorate the upcoming reissue of Off the Wall, as well as Spike Lee's new documentary about the 1979 classic album. Greg Phillinganes, the original keyboardist on the song, will back Miguel during the performance.

The MJ tribute joins several other tribute performances at the GRAMMYs this year, including Lady Gaga's ode to David Bowie, a Lemmy tribute and a Glenn Frey tribute featuring members of the Eagles. Lionel Richie will also get saluted by an all-star cast of performers.


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. . . J5 OTW. . ! tumbsupm.jpg tumbsupm.jpg tumbsupm.jpg


CNN Entertainment ‏@CNNent

"She's Out of My Life" sung by @Miguel making us miss Michael Jackson all over again #GRAMMYs

Good Morning America @GMA

Music would never have been the same without Michael. So true. #GRAMMYs

billboard ‏@billboard

We miss you, Michael. #GRAMMYs


36 nominations.
13 #GRAMMYs .
And one EPIC SB Halftime performance.

@michaeljackson changed halftime shows forever.. http://snpy.tv/1U4gtji
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(nik @ Feb 16 2016, 06:59 PM) *
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. Triumph!
Off the Wall . !
, Bad Thriller.
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