45 years after their first recordings were released by Epic and Philadelphia International Records, Sony's Legacy Recordings is turning its attention to The Jacksons. On February 12, the labels will issue digital-only expanded editions of The Jacksons (1976), Goin' Places (1977), and Destiny (1978) while on March 26, a 2-LP vinyl version of The Jacksons Live! (1981) will be released.
After seven years at Motown, four-fifths of The Jackson 5 - Michael, Tito, Marlon, and Jackie - made the move to the CBS family of labels. As Jermaine opted to stay with Motown, youngest brother Randy entered the musical fold for this new phase. The reinvented Jacksons were first introduced to audiences on an eponymous CBS-TV variety show in which they performed their hits and greeted such guests as Betty White, Sonny Bono, Lynda Carter, Mackenzie Phillips, Joey Bishop, Redd Foxx, Tim Conway, and Michael's mentors, The Nicholas Brothers. The summer replacement show continued into the next season, running for 12 episodes total through March 1977.
On records, the group was immediately paired with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International imprint, with the writer-producers overseeing their first two releases. The Jacksons arrived in stores in November 1976. The group was backed by Mk. II of the Philly house band MFSB and the arrangements of Dexter Wansel, Jack Faith, and Bobby Martin. The Jacksons yielded the irresistible Top 10 Pop and R&B hit "Enjoy Yourself" penned by Gamble and Huff with Michael and Jackie on lead vocals as well as "Show You the Way to Go." Led by Michael, it was the Jacksons' only U.K. chart-topper. While the bulk of the album was crafted by the Philly hit factory, The Jacksons also boasted Michael's first published solo composition, "Blues Away," and "Style of Life" which Michael and Tito co-wrote. The album reached No. 6 R&B and No. 36 Pop. The expanded digital version of The Jacksons adds four bonus tracks: "Enjoy Yourself" (7" Extended Version); "Enjoy Yourself" (12" Version); "Show You the Way to Go" (7" Version); and "Living Together" (Dimitri From Paris Disco Re-Edit).
Not long after recording The Jacksons, the group returned to Philly's Sigma Sound Studios with Gamble and Huff for Goin' Places. Their second and final album under the Epic/PIR co-branded umbrella, it was released in October 1977. While it didn't match the success of its predecessor, Goin' Places offered two more group compositions ("Do What You Wanna" and "Different Kind of Lady") as well as strong songs by Gamble and Huff, Dexter Wansel, and PIR labelmates McFadden and Whitehead. While initial numbers were disappointing, Goin' Places nonetheless racked up more than half a million sales internationally, and the album sparked a successful tour from January through May 1978. The digital expanded edition will add three bonus sides: "Goin' Places" (7" Version); "Find Me a Girl" (7" Version); and "Even Though You're Gone" (7" Version).
Destiny, The Jacksons' third studio album, was their first solely under the Epic banner. The band took full creative control under the auspices of executive producer and CBS exec (and former Blood Sweat and Tears member) Bobby Colomby. Destiny proudly bore the designation "Produced and written by The Jacksons," and their creative gamble more than paid off. Ironically, the opening track, "Blame It on the Boogie," was the only one not written by one of the Jacksons - though it was written by a Jackson. The infectious anthem from British singer-songwriter Mick Jackson (no relation) was brought to the group by Colomby. Greg Phillinganes' rhythm arrangement and Jerry Hey's horn charts gave the uptempo dancer the extra zing that graced the Jacksons' spot-on vocals. It stalled at No. 54 on the Hot 100 but made it to No. 3 R&B and No. 20 Disco, also charting internationally. Michael and Randy's jointly-written "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" was another disco floor-filler. With Phillinganes again arranging the rhythm charts and Tom Tom 84 handling the horns and strings, "Shake Your Body" bested "Blame It on the Boogie" with its No. 7 Pop placement. It also tied "Blame It on the Boogie" at No. 3 R&B. While the LP fulfilled the group's destiny on the dance floor, it also included a number of stunning ballads ("Bless His Soul," "Push Me Away," "Destiny") showcasing Michael's maturing voice at its finest. Destiny, released in December 1978, peaked at No. 11 Pop and No. 3 R&B.
The digital expanded edition of Destiny includes six bonus tracks: "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground" (7" Version); "Destiny" (7" Version); "Blame It On the Boogie" (12" Version John Luongo Disco Mix); "Shake Your Body (Down To the Ground)" (12" Version John Luongo Disco Mix); "That's What You Get (For Being Polite) (12" Version); and "That's What You Get (For Being Polite)" (DJ Reverend P Edit). Legacy's 2008 expanded edition CD included just the two John Luongo disco mixes.
Legacy's press release indicates that these releases mark the first wave of a Jacksons reissue project; one presumes the group's remaining three Epic studio albums will come next. (Only 1980's Triumph was previously expanded on CD, with three bonus tracks.) No CD releases have been announced, and no information as to the remastering engineer is currently available.
In the meantime, fans can also look forward to the March 26 reissue of The Jacksons Live on two vinyl LPs. Recorded across various venues on their North American Triumph tour in summer 1981, Live reflected Michael's rising superstardom as it included Motown and Epic tracks alongside solo songs from Michael's Off the Wall. A double album in its original issue, it does not appear to be expanded. The Triumph tour would be The Jacksons' last for three years as Michael concentrated on his solo career. 1984's Victory tour, staged in the wake of Thriller's phenomenal success, reunited the brothers (including a reportedly reluctant Michael but mostly sans an injured Jackie) for a final tour.
Watch this space for more news on Legacy's Jacksons campaign. You'll find pre-order links for the upcoming releases due on February 12 (digital expanded editions) and March 26 (Live vinyl) below.
- Enjoy Yourself
- Think Happy
- Good Times
- Keep on Dancing
- Blues Away
- Show You the Way to Go
- Living Together
- Strength of One Man
- Style of Life
- Enjoy Yourself (7" Extended Version) (included on The Essential Jacksons, Epic/Legacy EK 86455, 2004)
- Enjoy Yourself (12" Version) (Epic (U.K.) 12-inch single EPC 5063, 1976)
- Show You the Way to Go (7" Version) (Epic single 8-50350, 1976)
- Living Together (Dimitri from Paris Disco Re-Edit) (from Get Down with the Philly Sound, BBE 139CCD-1, 2010)
- Music's Takin' Over
- Goin' Places
- Different Kind of Lady
- Even Though You're Gone
- Jump for Joy
- Heaven Knows I Love You, Girl
- Man of War
- Do What You Wanna
- Find Me a Girl
- Goin' Places (7" Version) (Epic single 8-80454, 1977)
- Find Me a Girl (7" Version) (Epic single 8-50496, 1977)
- Even Though You're Gone (7" Version) (Epic (U.K.) single S EPC 5919, 1978)
- Blame It on the Boogie
- Push Me Away
- Things I Do for You
- Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
- Bless His Soul
- All Night Dancin'
- That's What You Get (For Being Polite)
- Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) (7" Version) (Epic single 8-50656, 1978)
- Destiny (7" Version) (Epic (U.K.) single S EPC 6983, 1978)
- Blame It on the Boogie (12" John Luongo Disco Mix) (Epic 12-inch single ASD 523, 1978)
- Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) (12" John Luongo Disco Mix) (Epic 12-inch single 28-50721, 1978)
- That's What You Get (For Being Polite) (12" Version) (Epic 12-inch single 28-50721, 1978)
- That's What You Get (For Being Polite) (DJ Reverend P Edit) (first issued on The Legacy of Funk, Legacy (Europe) 8875143211, 2016)
- Opening/Can You Feel It
- Things I Do for You
- Off the Wall
- Heartbreak Hotel
- She's Out of My Life
- Movie and Rap (including excerpts of I Want You Back/Never Can Say Goodbye/Got to Be There)
- Medley (I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save)
- I'll Be There
- Rock with You
- Lovely One
- Working Day and Night
- Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
- Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)