Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jackson’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #59– Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” b/w “Lily” – Atlantic 45-2971 (S6/T6)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #59– Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” b/w “Lily” – Atlantic 45-2971 (S6/T6)

Hailing from Cameroon, Africa, Manu Dibango established himself as an in-demand saxophone player working with acts as diverse as Fela Kuti, Don Cherry, The Fania All-Stars and Sly and Robbie.

“Soul Makossa,” Dibango’s signature disco smash, was originally released as the flip side to the 1972 single “Mouvement Ewondo” (a song about the Cameroon national football team) on the French independent Fiesta record label. The song probably would have sunk without a trace if it had not been for Manhattan socialite David Mancuso.

Mancuso was known for throwing exclusive invitation-only loft parties in New York City that served as a precursor to the city’s thriving Disco scene of the 1970s. Mancuso found a copy of the record and gave it a spin at one of his parties where it was heard by DJ Frankie Crocker, who in turn played it on WBLS, New York City’s highest rated urban radio station at the time.

The song became very popular, but the single was so rare that nine cover versions sprung up to fill the demand for the record before Atlantic Records could rush-release Dibango’s original recording in 1973. As a result of the cover versions, Dibango’s recording only climbed up to #35 on the Billboard singles chart; however the chart position didn’t realistically reflect the enormous popularity of the track.

Later, the song’s “ma-ma so, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako-sa” refrain was featured prominently in Michael Jackson’s single “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” the lead track from his Thriller album which went on to be the biggest selling album of all time. It was used without Dibango’s permission and he later settled handsomely with Jackson for use of the lyric.

Dibango released an updated version of the track in 1994, and then again in 2011 under the title “Soul Makossa 2.0.” The flip of today’s jukebox classic is “Lily,” another soul groover written by Dibango that is also from the Soul Makossa album.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: July 29th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Dancing Machine” by The Jackson 5

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Dancing Machine” by The Jackson 5

They were growing up…but the world liked their Jacksons young.

By 1973, The Jackson 5 were becoming somewhat of a spent force around Motown. It had been a few years since the group scored a bona-fide top ten hit, and there was plenty of dissatisfaction to go around.

Brother Michael was no longer the pint-sized dynamo that he once was. He was now a pimply 15 years old geek with a much deeper voice. Motown had been grooming him as a solo star much to the detriment of his singing brothers, and between 1971 and 1973 he scored several substantial solo hits including the top five smash “Got To Be There,” “Ben” which was a chart topping hit about a rat from the movie Willard, a cover of the Bobby Day hit “Rockin’ Robin” which climbed to the #2 position on the charts and “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” which went to #16 on the pop charts and #2 on the rhythm and blues charts.

Meanwhile, some of the other brothers were also branching out. Jermaine released a solo record in 1972 that included a cover of the Shep & The Limelites’ hit “Daddy’s Home” which rose up to the top ten of the charts, and Jackie also released solo record the following year. All of this activity was beginning to play on the dynamic within the group in negative ways.

What the group collectively craved most was more control over what they recorded, and more involvement in the making of their records. While they were writing, producing and playing songs in their home studio, Motown wouldn’t let them play on their own records insisting that they use the Motown house band, The Funk Brothers, or The Wrecking Crew (for West Coast sessions). Not only that, they were only allowed to record songs that were chosen for them by “The Corporation.”

Changes needed to be made, and it was within this atmosphere of disillusion that the group’s father and manager, Joe Jackson began to look for a new record deal for his charges.

The group’s 1973 album, GIT: Get It Together, was the first Jackson 5 album to feature lead vocals by each brother. The album also found the group dipping their collective toes into disco waters by segueing all the songs together in order to provide a non-stop mix of music for dancing.

By far, the best song of the album is today’s Song of the Day by Eric Berman, “Dancing Machine.” The song was an “automatic, systematic” call to the dance floor featuring syncopated funky rhythms and terrific vocal interplay between Michael and the rest of the group who traded off lead vocal lines and sang backup on the track. It was also one of the first songs that Michael employed the vocal hiccup that would end up being one of his lasting trademarks.

Like “Billy Jean” and the moonwalk, “Dancing Machine” also benefitted by an accompanying dance move which helped propel it up the charts. When the group appeared on Soul Train to promote the album, Michael Jackson was seen doing the robot dance resulting in a spectacle that left fans wanting more.

The song was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, but lost out to Rufus’s hit “Tell Me Something Good.” While the other seven tracks on the record were less commercial, the title track was a moderate hit that charted at #28 on the singles charts, and “Hum Along and Dance” became a popular favorite in the group’s live act.

Shortly after the release of the album, the group found themselves riding high in the charts again as background vocalists on Stevie Wonder’s 1974 single “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” from his Fulfillingness’ First Finale album.

The group signed with CBS/Epic Records in 1975 and had to change their name to The Jacksons, since Motown owned the rights to the Jackson 5 name. Jermaine chose to stay on at Motown since he was married to Berry Gordy’s daughter, and was replaced by the youngest Jackson brother, Randy.

While the group’s commercial prospects at CBS weren’t much better, Michael eventually scored a huge hit with the 1979 album Off the Wall, and then came Thriller and The Victory Tour, and Jackson mania swept the world again…

Edited: December 11th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #59– Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” b/w “Lily” – Atlantic 45-2971 (S6/T6)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #59– Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” b/w “Lily” – Atlantic 45-2971 (S6/T6)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Hailing from Cameroon, Africa, Manu Dibango established himself as an in-demand saxophone player working with acts as diverse as Fela Kuti, Don Cherry, The Fania All-Stars and Sly and Robbie.

“Soul Makossa,” Dibango’s signature disco smash, was originally released as the flip side to the 1972 single “Mouvement Ewondo” (a song about the Cameroon national football team) on the French independent Fiesta record label. The song probably would have sunk without a trace if it had not been for Manhattan socialite David Mancuso.

Mancuso was known for throwing exclusive invitation-only loft parties in New York City that served as a precursor to the city’s thriving Disco scene of the 1970s. Mancuso found a copy of the record and gave it a spin at one of his parties where it was heard by DJ Frankie Crocker, who in turn played it on WBLS, New York City’s highest rated urban radio station at the time.

The song became very popular, but the single was so rare that nine cover versions sprung up to fill the demand for the record before Atlantic Records could rush-release Dibango’s original recording in 1973. As a result of the cover versions, Dibango’s recording only climbed up to #35 on the Billboard singles chart; however the chart position didn’t realistically reflect the enormous popularity of the single.

Later, the song’s “ma-ma so, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako-sa” refrain was featured prominently in Michael Jackson’s single “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” the lead track from his Thriller album which went on to be the biggest selling album of all time.  It was used without Dibango’s permission and he later settled handsomely with Jackson for use of the lyric.

Dibango released an updated version of the track in 1994, and then again in 2011 under the title “Soul Makossa 2.0.” The flip of today’s jukebox classic is “Lily,” another soul groover written by Dibango that is also from the Soul Makossa album.

Edited: January 15th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 10-4-13 – “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango

Hailing from Cameroon, Africa, Manu Dibango established himself as an in-demand saxophone player working with acts as diverse as Fela Kuti, Don Cherry, The Fania All-Stars and Sly and Robbie.

“Soul Makossa,” Dibango’s signature disco smash, was originally released as the flip side to the 1972 single “Mouvement Ewondo” on the French independent Fiesta record label. The song probably would have sunk without a trace if it had not been for Manhattan socialite David Mancuso.

Mancuso was known for throwing exclusive invitation-only loft parties in New York City that served as a precursor to the city’s thriving Disco scene of the 1970s. Mancuso found a copy of the record and gave it a spin at one of his parties where it was heard by DJ Frankie Crocker, who in turn played it on WBLS, New York City’s highest rated urban radio station.

The song became very popular, but the single was so rare that nine cover versions sprung up to fill the demand for the record, before Atlantic Records could rush-release Dibango’s original recording in 1973. As a result of the cover versions, Dibango’s recording only climbed up to #35 on the Billboard singles chart; however the chart position didn’t realistically reflect the enormous popularity of the single.

Later, the song’s “ma-ma so, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako-sa” refrain was featured prominently in Michael Jackson’s single “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” the lead track from his Thriller album which went on to be the biggest selling album of all time.  It was used without Dibango’s permission and he later settled handsomely with Jackson for use of the lyric.

Dibango released an updated version of the track in 1994, and then again in 2011 under the title “Soul Makossa 2.0.”

Edited: October 3rd, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/30/13

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Dancing Machine” by The Jackson 5

They were growing up…and the world liked their Jacksons young.

By 1973, The Jackson 5 were becoming somewhat of a spent force around Motown. It had been a few years since the group scored a bona-fide top ten hit, and there was plenty of dissatisfaction to go around.

Brother Michael was no longer the pint-sized dynamo that he once was. He was now a pimply 15 years old geek with a much deeper voice. Motown had been grooming him as a solo star much to the detriment of his singing brothers, and between 1971 and 1973 he scored several substantial solo hits including the top five smash “Got To Be There,” “Ben” which was a chart topping hit about a rat from the movie Willard, a cover of the Bobby Day hit “Rockin’ Robin” which climbed to the #2 position on the charts and “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” which went to #16 on the pop charts and #2 on the rhythm and blues charts.

Meanwhile, some of the other brothers were also branching out. Jermaine released a solo record in 1972 that included a cover of the Shep & The Limelites’ hit “Daddy’s Home” which rose up to the top ten of the charts, and Jackie also released solo record the following year. All of this activity was beginning to play on the dynamic within the group in negative ways.

What the group collectively craved most was more control over what they recorded, and more involvement in the making of their records. While they were writing, producing and playing songs in their home studio, Motown wouldn’t let them play on their own records insisting that they use the Motown house band, The Funk Brothers, or The Wrecking Crew (for West Coast sessions). Not only that, they were only allowed to record songs that were chosen for them by “The Corporation.”

Changes needed to be made, and it was within this atmosphere of disillusion that the group’s father and manager, Joe Jackson began to look for a new record deal for his charges.

The group’s 1973 album, GIT: Get It Together, was the first Jackson 5 album to feature lead vocals by each brother.  The album also found the group dipping their collective toes into disco waters by segueing all the songs together in order to provide a non-stop mix of music for dancing.

By far, the best song of the album is today’s Song Of The Day, “Dancing Machine.” The song was an “automatic, systematic” call to the dance floor featuring syncopated funky rhythms and terrific vocal interplay between Michael and the rest of the group who traded off lead vocal lines and sang backup on the track. It was also one of the first songs that Michael employed the vocal hiccup that would end up being one of his lasting trademarks.

Like “Billy Jean” and the moonwalk, “Dancing Machine” also benefitted by an accompanying dance move which helped propel it up the charts.  When the group appeared on Soul Train to promote the album, Michael Jackson was seen doing the robot dance resulting in a spectacle that left fans wanting more.

The song was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, but lost out to Rufus’s hit “Tell Me Something Good.” While the other seven tracks on the record were less commercial, the title track was a moderate hit that charted at #28 on the singles charts, and “Hum Along and Dance” became a popular favorite in the group’s live act.

Shortly after the release of the album, the group found themselves riding high in the charts again as background vocalists on Stevie Wonder’s 1974 single “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” from his album Fulfillingness’ First Finale.

The group signed with CBS/Epic Records in 1975 and had to change their name to The Jacksons, since Motown owned the rights to the Jackson 5 name. Jermaine chose to stay on at Motown since he was married to Berry Gordy’s daughter, and was replaced by the youngest Jackson brother, Randy.

While the group’s commercial prospects at CBS weren’t much better, Michael eventually scored a huge hit with the 1979 album Off the Wall, and then came Thriller and The Victory Tour, and Jackson mania swept the world again…

Edited: May 29th, 2013

Michael Jackson – Two Years On…

Michael Jackson – Two years later and one horrible posthumous release in the form of last year’s turgid “Michael” album.  Let’s remember him for his greatness like “I Can’t Let Her Get Away” from his “Dangerous” album.

Edited: June 25th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 5/11/12

Song Of The Day – “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango

Hailing from Cameroon, Africa, Manu Dibango established himself as an in-demand saxophone player working with acts as diverse as Fela Kuti, Don Cherry, The Fania All-Stars and Sly and Robbie. He hit paydirt with this international hit in 1973 whose imprint can be heard all over Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

Edited: May 11th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 4/8/11

Song Of The Day – “Man In The Mirror” by Jacob Lusk

American Idol has found the real deal this season in the form of singer Jacob Lusk. With a voice like Antony of Antony And The Johnsons but with a lot more range, Lusk can sing anything and make it sound good…and being on Idol means he’s singing all kinds of songs ill-suited to his immense talents. He probably won’t win the contest…but he’ll win in the form of a long career ahead.

Edited: April 8th, 2011