Friday, September 18, 2009

Michael + Quincy = Magic

Quincy Jones found the experience working on "The Wiz" difficult, because he didn't feel the public would accept a black version of "The Wizard of Oz." But,"Out of that mess came my association with Michael Jackson."
Michael and Quincy's relationship jelled from the beginning because Quincy gave the artists only the best songs and musicians to work with, and then let them do as they please. Michael was so happy to work in this capacity because he always felt held back from creating the kind of music he envisioned. Quincy admitted that he wasn't sure if Michael could deliver because he found Michael to be "very, very introverted, shy, and unassertive. He wasn't at all sure that he could make a name for himself on his own. Neither was I."
However, before long, Quincy found Michael to be quite versatile. "He can come to a session and put down two lead vocals and three background parts in one day," he said at the time. "He does his homework, rehearses and works hard at home. Most singers want to do everything in the studio- write words and music, figure out harmonies, try different approaches to a song.That makes me crazy. All I can see is dollar signs going up. Studio time is enormously expensive, and that's why someone like Michael Jackson is a producer's dream artist.He walks in prepared, We accomplish so much in a single session, it stuns me. In my opinion, Michael Jackson is going to be the star of the eighties and nineties."
Their relationship extended outside the studio. In Quincy, Michael would confide in Quincy the way he should have with his father, and also take direction willingly.Michael also learned about the quality of a song. Quincy always was looking for the best songs, and if he found some that were better, he would use those instead. Though Michael submitted his own songs and some were dismissed, the end result justified the frustration of losing songs in the project.
The final product was the album Off the Wall, which was released in August 1979. The public and critics were amazed at the craftsmanship and care to deliver the finest performance that Michael could give. Engineer Bruce Swedien mixed Quincy's tracks with Michael "new" adult voice in a way that fans could fully appreciate the album's sophisticated style.
The album was successful, with "Rock With You" reaching number one, and both "Off the Wall" and "She's Out of My Life" reaching number ten. The album itself sold a mind-blowing six million copies, impressive even today for a first album.
However, Michael was disappointed, especially after winning only one Grammy Award. "It bothered me. I cried a lot." he said. "My family thought I was going crazy, because I was weeping so much about it."
But, he vowed, "You watch. The next album I do, you watch...I'll show them."

Thank you, J.Randy Taraborrelli, Michael Jackson - The Magic and the Madness" pages 230-233.

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