Revisit Michael Jackson's Pop Star Breakthrough, 'Off The Wall' | For The Record
In 1978, a 20-year-old Michael Jackson, alongside Diana Ross, comedian Richard Pryor and other major Black stars, starred in Universal/Motown's feature film The Wiz. It was there he would first connect with super-producer Quincy Jones, who led the GRAMMY-winning music for the cult classic. Together, they would craft three legendary albums (Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad) that broke records, won multiple GRAMMYs and earned Jackson King of Pop status.
Their pop dominance began with Off the Wall, released Aug. 10, 1979. It was Jackson's fifth solo album and the first after leaving Motown (where he and brothers found fame as the Jackson 5) for Epic.
The 10-track dancefloor-ready, disco-tinged album was produced by Jones, with Jackson co-producing three tracks, including the smash-hit opening track and lead single, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," which the singer/dancer wrote himself. It also features songwriting from Stevie Wonder (on "I Can't Help It"), Paul McCartney (on "Girlfriend) and British songwriter Rod Temperton (on "Rock with You," "Off the Wall and "Burn This Disco Out"), the latter two who return on Thriller.
The LP made history by becoming the first album by a solo artist to spawn four Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," earned Jackson his first GRAMMY win—for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 22nd GRAMMY Awards.
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was also nominated for Best Disco Recording—an award that unfortunately only lasted one year, and was won by Gloria Gaynor and her eternal disco gem, "I Will Survive."
His following album, 1982's Thriller, would see Jackson sweeping the 26th GRAMMY Awards with eight total wins, including Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year. Jones shared four of these wins for his stellar production on it.
Off the Wall and Thriller were both inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2008. Jackson also received the GRAMMY Legend Award in 1993 and, posthumously, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Jones also earned the GRAMMY Legend Award (in 1991), as well as the Trustees Awards in 1989, which is the equivalent of the Lifetime Achievement Award for producers and other technical roles in music.