SITE PRE-SALE DATE: 6/12/09
SITE SHIP DATE: 7/03/09
As we mourn the passing of Michael Jackson, we celebrate the great music he left us.
Lovingly compiled and completed well before MJ’s shocking death on June 25, Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection is a lavish 3-CD set that features every Michael solo recording released from 1971 to 1975, plus the Motown-era songs that were released after he left the company. Hello World now pays tribute to the first solo recordings of one of pop music’s greatest entertainers.
“Michael Jackson could make you forget he was so young,” writes Suzee Ikeda, a Motown artist who was a creative confidante of a teenage Michael, in her introductory essay to Hello World. Michael was ablaze with talent and creativity and, at age 13, during the height of Jackson 5 mania, he became a hit solo artist with “Got To Be There,” which featured a stunning, declamatory phrase that provided the name of this collection.
The LP Got To Be There, released in January 1972, also included the hits “Rockin’ Robin” and “I Wanna Be Where You Are.” It was followed by Ben, after the hit title song from a film about a trained rat—a song that became an unlikely No. 1 smash for Michael. Music & Me was next, an experiment in softening Michael’s sound, followed by Forever, Michael. That LP had a harder dance age, and included the now-classic singles “We’re Almost There” and “Just A Little Bit Of You.”
Those four albums might have been the end of the story for Michael and Motown, as the J5 left in 1975 to go to Epic Records. In the aftermath of the huge success of MJ’s solo smash Off The Wall, however, came the compilation One Day In Your Life, whose title song—lifted from Forever, Michael—turned into a No. 1 hit in the U.K. and top 40 AC in the U.S. Following the crazy ride of Thriller, Motown released Farewell My Summer Love, a batch of songs from the vault with contemporary overdubs; the title song went top 10 R&B.
There’s more: in 1986 Motown issued Looking Back To Yesterday, a collection of more vault masters that contained further unexpected gems.
All of those albums are included on Hello World, plus the bonus tracks: all nine songs from Farewell My Summer Love in their original, undubbed mixes, plus the original unreleased mix of “Twenty-Five Miles,” Michael’s cover of the Edwin Starr hit. It’s all contained in a beautifully designed, 48-page hard-backed 8”x 5.5” package that comes with Ms. Ikeda’s preface, a main essay by Mark Anthony Neal, pages of annotations, rare photos and reproductions of the LP jackets, including the rare original “rat” cover of Ben.
Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection is pure Michael Jackson, an historical document that’s important and wonderfully entertaining.