Off the Wall — the subject of a new Spike Lee documentary — introduced Michael Jackson, at this point signed to Epic, as a creatively autonomous artist whose charisma could attract wide audiences. With the war between rock and disco still raging, dance-friendly classics Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough and Rock With You reached No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100.
Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to ‘Off the Wall,’ set to premiere Sunday at Sundance Film Festival and Feb. 5 on Showtime, marks the second time Lee has turned his attention to the making of a Jackson album. With 2012’s Bad 25, Lee commemorated the silver anniversary of the follow-up to Jackson’s blockbuster Thriller.
In Lee’s new documentary — also available in CD/DVD/Blu-ray packages with the reissued album, out Feb. 26 — latter-day stars and innovators such as Pharrell Williams, The Weeknd, Questlove, John Legend and ballet dancer Misty Copeland testify to Jackson’s multifaceted performance skills and enduring influence. The archival footage includes admirers such as Gene Kelly and Sammy Davis Jr.
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