"We Owned the '80s" -- Quincy Jones on "Remembering Michael Jackson"

As a baked in the gene music freak and one who grew up embracing an era music of all genre evolved and had been basically the same in terms of studio time sessions when crossovers could play in any band, regardless, which brought about the best generation, ever, and with Michael, according to the original studio rat, Quincy Jones, "we owned the '80s" from Michael changing all that musical divide and establishing a kind of music that gave us a sense of belonging, throwing his craft for all.

The studio rat, Jones, is absolutely right, penning his piece "Remembering Michael Jackson," last week, for the Los Angeles Times' Calendar Section. Who else could have said it better other than Mr. Jones, the studio rat who had worked from the 50s with the likes of Frank Sinatra to our present day Generation "Z?"

On the legendary King of Pop, the studio rat had this to say in his delight article: "Michael Jackson was a different kind of entertainer. A man-child in many ways, he was beyond professional and dedicated. Evoking Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis Jr. and James Brown all at once, he'd work for hours, perfecting every kick, gesture, movement so that they came together precisely the way they were intended to...Together we shared the 80s, achieving heights that I can humbly say may never be reached again and reshaped the music forever."

Yes, that height may never be reached again. I am still trying to figure out or fathom which album could beat "Thriller" from the jams of the day when the business was chaotic and tense and every performer serious about the takes on what did change show business forever, neverminding the commercial success. For this purpose, how Michael did it is still puzzling to some for the fact they couldn't get around the brains behind "Thriller."

I, for one, was a freak when "Thriller" invaded the record shops around my neck of the woods freaking out all that wanted a follow-up to "Off the Wall," in which both albums would eventually be Michael's most becoming and successful projects until his untimely death June 25.

I have been going through the "Thriller" album and reading all the lines, and the superb talents put together by the studio rat, Jones, involving each in a way of a magnificent work that would become the biggest selling album in history, surpassing and breaking the record held by the Beatles. It perhaps happened because, after "Off the Wall," the studio rat, Jones, kept the key members from Michael's debut fully as a soloist, to start on a new project that would produce "Thriller."

Sound engineer Bruce Swedien, British-born songwriter of Heatwave (wrote and arranged the ryhthm track "Thriller"), Jerry Hey, Greg Phillinganes, Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro of Toto, Eddie Van Halen, John Bettis, drummer Leon N'dugu Chanceler, percussionist Paulinho Da Costa, Louis Johnson of the Brothers Johnson and John Robinson were among the casts the studio rat had pieced together. The rest would then be history.

Before "Thriller" and while "Off the Wall" was still jamming all around at the beginning of the '80s, there were many bands and groups that hopped on to the scene making the '80s the funkiest of all generations when the fusing of the musical divide came into being with "Thriller" that was composed of all casts scientifically and methodically carved by the studio rat, Mr. Jones.

The opening cast of the horns arrangement by Hey producing a dance tune ending with that popular makossa man, Manu Di Bango's recitation line Michael's sisters Janet and Latoya had spiced was the touch and couldn't be beaten; I mean, the vibes' piercing feel was what made the hit extraordinarily different from the compositions of the day coupled with Michael's enormous talents.

Watching the video and listening to the track "Billy Jean," shows how prepared the studio rat was willing to make the album, best of all time, setting Michael up as the King of Pop. "Billy Jean," composed by Michael with the heavy funk appeal topping Louis Johnson on guitar (bass) along with Leon Ndugu Chanceler on drums made the groove a masterpiece conducted by the studio rat during the jam sessions at Epic. Thrilermania will never end when one takes a closer look to the entire album --the string charts, the horns arrangements, the ballad, the synthesizers and the guitar chords of Johnson, and the rock song by Lukather's guitar on "Beat It" which actually was written by Michael was what had made this exceptional album a class of its own.

The studio rat recalls MTV breakthrough with the explosion of "Beat It" and "Thriller," courtesy and "thanks" to Michael's brilliant debut performance of the moonwalk on that hell get loose day during Motown's 25th Anniversary at a time MTV wasn't playing any black artist. And the studio rat notes in that regard:

"Michael, the music and MTV all went to the mountaintop. It was the perfect convergence of forces. In the music business, every decade you have a phenomenon...In the '80s you had Michael Jackson. He was the biggest entertainer on the planet. Followed up with 'Bad' and the collective on 'We Are The World,' we all made history together. We owned the '80s and our souls would be connected forever."

The studio rat, Jones, goes on: "There will be a lot written about what came next in Michael's life, but for all of that is just noise. I promise you in 50, 75, 100 years, what will be remembered is the music. It's no accident that almost three decades later, no matter where I go in the world, in every club and karaoke bar, like clockwork, you hear "Billy Jean," "Beat It," "Wanna Be Starting Something," "Rock with You" and "Thriller."

Of course, we all owned the '80s -- the listener, the record buyer, the ballroom dancer, the chereographer, the event organizer, the party animal, the pubcrawler, the market square entertainer, all that brought the fun that came along with the '80s contributed in making the '80s the best generation.

And I was part of that generation. A generation that came with style. The black loafers or the bally's. The rhinestone brooches. The military fatigues. The black boots. The costumes and those flashy gears. We all wore them and that's the uniqueness of the '80s of which we all were part of. "The year the '80s died" would be when we will be saying adios to Michael.

And Michael's legacy is his music; and the music lives.

Photos: Bottom from Left (Pianist Greg Phillinganes, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Jackson and Qunicy Jones at the 26th Annual Academy Awards where Michael collected a record eight Grammys, Emmanuel Lewis, Michael and Brook Shields at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, Percussionist Paulinho Da Costa, Songwriter Rod Temperton and drummer Leon N'dugu Chanceler)


Unknown said…
You are right about that...80s was something else.
Jenny said…
Michael, we miss you so much.
Ardis said…
Congratulations to the ticket holders the lucky ones for MJ Memorial at the Staple Center in Los Angeles tomorrow. MJ we love u.
Anonymous said…
Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson and Usher performs at Michael Jackson's memorial at Staples Center.
Brandon said…
Go MJ and the 80s.
Unknown said…
I feel for Michael Jackson's grieving family and what they are going through right now.
Sage said…
Fed up with all this shit and am no longer watching. The networks have overblown everything.
Steve said…
PATHETIC!! How low will we sink as a society? It's documented fact that Jackson settled out of court with several individuals for 10s, if not hundreds of millions of dollars to avoid criminal prosecution for child molestation and to protect his reputation. He was a child predator of the worst sort. And media mongers Jesse and Al hanging on for dear life to every soundbyte. It's hard to find anything more disgusting. I do have compassion for his family and hope they can be at peace. I don't know if his victims will ever be...Bury him and let God have mercy on his soul.
Matrix said…
Yes, you can think it is excessive, but you should not. Instead you should take the time to appreciate the genius, and join the world in mourning.

Complaining about the media coverage at this time is quite unseemly, and reveals the complainer to be a nay sayer and a curmudgeon.

Get over your bad self and have some respect for the dead.
Unknown said…
MJ coverage is excessive and like Sage I'm fed up.
Su Papra said…
Yes I agree that the coverage has been excessive but I expected it to be and am not surprised.

Nothing annoys me more than people being critical about the amount of coverage someone receives (MJ, the Gosselins, Susan Boyle, Twilight) when they are also part of the problem.
Sam said…
This is insane, we got to move on.
Nicole said…
I love Micheal but I am done with the coverage. I think they have blown it all.

After today, let the man Rest in peace.
Big G said…
Michael is the greatest and the best. He is the King of Pop and LA rocks!