“Got To Be There” by Michael Jackson (1971)

“Got To Be There” announced the arrival of Michael Jackson, solo artist. While it certainly set a precedent, MJ and J5 records would remain virtually interchangeable for another eight years. So there’s nothing here that portended Michael’s mastery of pop music with one big exception: that voice. Michael hadn’t hit puberty yet, so “Got To… Read More “Got To Be There” by Michael Jackson (1971)

“Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James (1981)

“Give It To Me Baby” is a monster, a classic Rick James party jam. It starts off with a thunderous bass before launching into a whomping funk groove. The King of Punk Funk is in full “I’m Rick James, bitch!” mode here, bellowing “I’ll make you holler you’ve had enough!” However, considering the preceding lyrics… Read More “Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James (1981)

“Everybody” by The Jacksons (1980)/”Everybody” by Madonna (1982)/”Everybody” by Anthony Hamilton (2005)

Three different songs; celebrating community in sort of different ways. The Jacksons’ “Everybody” is buried at the end of side one on Triumph, their first album since Michael exploded with Off The Wall. It’s the song that sounds most like a Michael solo track, specifically Off The Wall’s “Get On The Floor” (which closes side… Read More “Everybody” by The Jacksons (1980)/”Everybody” by Madonna (1982)/”Everybody” by Anthony Hamilton (2005)