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"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
Michael Jackson
Epic 50742
October 1979
Billboard: #1    Lyrics Icon Videos Icon

Michael Jacksone wasn't all sure that he could make a name for himself on his own. And me, too. I had my doubts," producer Quincy Jones told the French publication Actuel in 1984.

Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
First charting on September 1, 1979, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was the second solo number one (the first being 1972's "Ben") and sixth Top 40 chart solo appearance by Michael Jackson, who beginning in 1983 would be recognized as the most popular pop music artist in the world. It was the lead single from Michael's 1979 LP Off the Wall, which also made its debut on Sept. 1 and would spawn another number one, "Rock With You," and two Top 10 hits ("Off the Wall," "She's Out of My Life"). The album rose to number three on the Billboard Hot 200, remain on the chart for 169 weeks, and was certified 6x platinum by the R.I.A.A. on June 1, 1988.
Jones was referring to Michael's first solo LP in four years, the last being Forever Michael, recorded while he was still an integral part of the Jackson Five and the Motown family. In 1976, the Jackson Five switched to Epic Records and became the Jacksons; Michael had a solo deal with the label as well. By the end of 1978, the brothers had delivered their Destiny album and Michael was ready for a solo flight.

Quincy and Michael had worked together on Sidney Lumet's 1978 film The Wiz, with Michael playing the scarecrow to Diana Ross' Dorothy. Jones and Jackson had met before recording the soundtrack -- Quincy remembers meeting 10-year-old Michael at the house of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Michael recalls first meeting Q at a dinner for Muhammed Ali.

"One day, I called Quincy up to ask if he could suggest some great people who might want to do my album," Michael told Melody Maker in 1980. "It was the first time I fully wrote and produced my songs, and I was looking for somebody who would give me that freedom, plus somebody who's unlimited musically. Quincy calls me 'Smelly,' and said, 'Well, Smelly, why don't you let me do it?' I said, 'That's a great idea!' It sounded phoney, like I was trying to hint to that, but I wasn't. I don't even think of that. But Quincy does jazz, he does movie scores, rock 'n' roll, funk, pop -- he's all colors and that's the kind of people I like to work with. I went over to his house about every other day and we just put it together."

"It" turned out to be Off the Wall, an album that would ultimately sell nine million copies worldwide. The first single pulled from the LP was "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough." Debuting at number 87 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated July 28, 1979, the song began a slow chart ascent, losing its bullet at number 73. But it picked up steam and by its 11th week on the chart it was sitting comfortably on top.

Michael discussed the genesis of the song with Dick Clark on "The National Music Survey." "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough' was written at home. I just came up with the melody. It's about forces and the power of love. Walking around the house, I started singing it and kept singing it. I went into a 24-track studio we have at home. I told (younger brother) Randy what to play on the piano. I did percussion and piano, and when I played it for Quincy, he loved it."

The references to "forces and the power of love" can be traced to Michael's allegiance to Jehovah's Witnesses, his mother's faith. Michael discussed his belief that he has been blessed with musical talents by God in a 1983 Newsweek interview. "The thing that touches me is very special. It's a message I have to tell. I start crying and the pain is wonderful. It's amazing. It's like God."

Michael talked about the divine inspiration in his songwriting in Rolling Stone. "I wake up from dreams and go, 'Wow, put this down on paper.' The whole thing is strange. You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face. And you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry, I just didn't write this. It's there already.' And that's why I hate to take credit for the songs I've written. I feel that somewhere, someplace, it's been done and I'm just a courier bringing it into the world."

- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.

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