Michael Jackson – Thriller (Epic 2017 #124)

The Epic 2017 Project #124: 170504

Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)

Thriller is the sixth studio album by American singer Michael Jackson, released on November 30, 1982 in the United States by Epic Records and internationally by CBS Records.

The follow-up to Jackson’s successful previous studio album, Off the Wall (1979), Thriller explores genres similar to those of its predecessor, including pop, post-disco, rock and funk. Recording sessions for the album took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, with a production budget of $750,000. Quincy Jones produced the album, while Jackson wrote four of its nine songs.

In just over a year, Thriller became—and currently remains—the world’s best-selling album, with estimated sales of 65 million copies.

Stevie Wonder – Ordinary Pain (Leaping Ahead #315)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #315: 161110

[A song from an artiste’s name beginning with W]

We had the pleasure and privilege of seeing Stevie Wonder perform the whole of the ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ album live in London’s Hyde Park back in the summer. It was a subliminal gig in every way. But if there was one moment that completely floated my boat, it was this one. Ordinary Pain live was something else and on absolutely every level.

Freda Payne – Band of Gold (Leaping Ahead #261)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #261: 160917

[No.1 on 17 September 1970]

The legendary songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland used the name Edythe Wayne in partnership with Ron Dunbar, a producer for Invictus Records (owned by HDH) because of a lawsuit they had with Motown. When they first offered the song to Freda Payne, she balked at the idea of recording it, finding the material more appropriate for a teenager or very young woman. Payne reluctantly gave in after much persuasion by Dunbar.Almost immediately following its release, the Payne record became an instant pop smash, reaching number three in the US and number one on the UK singles chart and remaining there for six weeks in September 1970, giving Payne her first gold record.

Marvin Gaye’s “I heard it through the grapevine” (Leaping ahead #10)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #10; 160110

[A favourite male vocal song]

Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966 and brought to worldwide fame by the 1968 Marvin Gaye release, ‘I heard it through the grapevine’ made it into Rolling Stones’ ‘500 Greatest songs of all time’ in 2004 and has since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for historical, artistic and significant value.

The lyrics tell the story in a first person narrative of the betrayal of the singer’s romantic partner, how he heard about it indirectly via gossip from other people (through the “grapevine”), and the emotional pain and disbelief he is suffering.

And though there have been countless covers of the song over the years, it’s the original Marvin Gaye to which I’ll always return. Classic.