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Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)"

The Jacksons - Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) (1978)

I don't understand why the editors of this book chose this song instead of Blame It on the Boogie.

The first album in the history of The Jackson 5 where the artists had creative control. After nine studio albums at Motown the group left and started performing as The Jacksons. This is off of their third studio album at Epic. That's 12 studio albums in less than 10 years, plus live albums, a Christmas album, and Michael had done at least four solo albums at Motown. This was the last album as a group before Michael's huge solo album Off the Wall. That album was heralded as Michael breaking loose from his Motown past and embracing the more modern sounds of Funk and Disco on hits like Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough and Rock With You. But this track, and others off of The Jacksons Destiny are obviously crafted from the same fabric.

This is an eight minute side, with a lot of repetitive sections made for dancing. There are some instrument solos going on, but mostly it's a lot of straight ahead Disco drumming (accent on all four beats with high hat accent), walking electric bass, and a electric guitar riff you may not get out of your head for a week. The song was released in a under four minute radio edit, but the full length song was played in clubs. It was so popular a Disco Remix was released, with an even stronger rhythm section. It's not all electric and synth, there are live horns playing. But honestly they could have played two or three different sections and then dubbed them over and over again. Also a sign of the times, there is a string section leading into the verse around two minutes in as well as elsewhere on the track. By 6:30 the song has become a chance for the bass and synthesizer to show off a little. The guitar and drums hold a robotically steady beat, while the bass and keyboards play little runs back and forth.

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