Michael Jackson’s signature dance move and incomparable vocals made him one of the greatest performers of all time, and director Spike Lee is now pulling back the curtain on the singer with the new documentary “Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to ‘Off the Wall.’”
Next month “Off the Wall” will be re-released as a CD/DVD and CD/Blu-ray featuring the original album and the Lee documentary. The film will include never-before-seen footage from the Jackson archive, such as video of the 1981 performance from the Jacksons’ “Triumph” tour.
The documentary is a celebration of Jackson’s talent as a musician with no reference to any of the controversies that would later plague the King of Pop, which Lee said was intentional.
“Yes, that was intentional,” the director explained on “Good Morning America” today. “We just wanted to focus on what made Mike one of the greatest entertainers of all time. One of the greatest singers, writer, dancer, so it was just about the music. That was intentional.”
The film will premiere on January 24 at the Sundance Film Festival and will debut on Showtime Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. It features interviews with several prominent artists such as The Weeknd, John Legend and Misty Copeland, all of whom discuss how Jackson influenced them.
“I always viewed Michael first and foremost as a vocal inspiration, and ‘Off the Wall’ was definitely the one that made me feel like I could sing,” said The Weeknd. “I found my falsetto because of ‘Off The Wall.’”
“We wanted to show the breadth of Michael’s influence,” Lee said. “And we also wanted to get the people who worked on Michael’s songs. We even interviewed Stevie [Wonder], who wrote that great song on Michael’s album, ‘I Can’t Help It.’ We wanted to get a mixture of the people who worked on it and also the generations he’s influenced after that.”
“Off the Wall” was Jackson’s first solo album as an adult. Containing hits such as “Rock With You,” “She’s Out of My Life” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” the album made the then 20-year-old Jackson the first solo artist to have four top-10 singles from the same album.
Lee said he wants the documentary to “reaffirm how great he was. Because you know, people forget. And people need to be reminded who Michael was.”
“Off the Wall” has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide since it was first released in 1979.