Blame it on the Boogie original

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Two Michael Jacksons and the Blame It on the Boogie original

Michael Jackson sang the “Blame It on the Boogie” original. Not Michael Jackson of the Jacksons, but Michael (Mick) Jackson of Yorkshire. He wrote the song with his brother, David, and Elmar Krohn. Mick Jackson originally wrote “Blame It on the Boogie” for Stevie Wonder, but Global Records Munich asked him to record a version of his own. He recorded the “Blame It on the Boogie” original in 1977 and released it in 1978, just weeks before the Jacksons’ version.

Mick Jackson’s breakthrough

Mick Jackson had previously enjoyed some minor chart success, but the “Blame It on the Boogie” original, produced by composer Sylvester Levay, was going to be his breakthrough.

In 1978, the “Blame It on the Boogie” original was showcased at Cannes music industry trade show, Miden. There, a member of the Jacksons entourage, who was searching for tracks for the struggling group, heard the song. He secretly taped “Blame It on the Boogie” and played it to the Jacksons back in the US. Mick Jackson’s publisher then sold the rights to the song to the group without the singer’s knowledge.

Battle of the Boogie

Mick Jackson hadn’t even released the “Blame It on the Boogie” original when the Jacksons began recording their own version. Atlantic Records released Mick Jackson’s version in the US in August 1978. Due to a pressing delay, the UK release was delayed until September, just days before the release of the Jacksons version. The UK music press declared a “Battle of the Boogie”.

Mick Jackson thought that the publicity for both acts was great.

There was an equal balance of interest from the media about both releases – A good example is that my version came out first on Top of the Pops… The Jacksons had the second week… Radio One played the Jacksons version and Capital Radio only played mine – It was fair.”

Mick Jackson

Whatever happened to the other Michael Jackson?

Mick Jackson’s “Blame It on the Boogie” original reached number 61 in the US and 15 in the UK. He got caught up in litigation with his publisher and subsequently never received royalties from the song.

Mick Jackson released three albums – Weekend (which featured in “Blame It on the Boogie”) in 1978, Step Inside My Rainbow in 1980 and Square Deal in 1982. He worked with several artists, including David Knopfler, Eric Burdon, Lisa Stansfield and Barry Manilow. In 2010, filmmaker Patrick Nation made a documentary called The Other Michael Jackson: Battle of the Boogie about Mick Jackson. Today he’s still writing songs, which are mostly “big in Russia, China and Japan”.

Which version is better?

The “Blame It on the Boogie” original is slower than the Jacksons’ uptempo version. NME said it was “far superior” and many found it a more soulful tune. I think there’s something missing from Mick Jackson’s version though – maybe it’s Tito Jackson’s guitar riff or maybe it’s simply the Jacksons’ magic. I still think the “Blame It on the Boogie” original is a great disco song and it’s certainly a pity Mick Jackson didn’t receive his royalties.

The Jacksons in need of some boogie

Prior to “Blame It on the Boogie”, the Jacksons had released five flop singles. Jermaine had left the band and been replaced with Randy. Little Michael was now 20. And CBS executives were ready to ditch the Jacksons from their label Epic Records. “Blame It on the Boogie” arrived just in time.

It was an uptempo, finger-poppin’-time type song that was a good vehicle for the band approach we wanted to cultivate. I had fun slurring the chorus: [the lyric] ‘Blame It on the Boogie’ could be sung in one breath without putting my lips together.”

Michael Jackson

In September 1978, Epic released the Jacksons’ “Blame It on the Boogie” as the advance single from their 13th studio album, Destiny.

The lyrics to ‘Blame It on the Boogie’ were happy and strange — ‘Sunshine! Moonlight! Good times! Boogie!’ went the chorus, oblivious to the fact that those four things were not quite related — but the song had enough lighthearted funk to reintroduce the Jacksons to disco dancers.”

Steve Knopper

The accompanying video clip featured the Jacksons dancing in front of a black background with electronic trail effects created by computer equipment. The technology and effect was cutting edge for the late 70s.

That Jackons magic

“Blame It on the Boogie” returned the Jacksons to the US Hot 100, although it only peaked at number 54. It reached number three on the R&B charts and number eight in the UK.

In 2003, Mick Jackson said that the “Blame It on the Boogie” original had:

100% of our heart and soul in it but the Jacksons’ version had the magic extra 2% that made it incredible.”

Mick Jackson

The Jacksons’ “Blame It on the Boogie” is a joyful song. It looks like the brothers really had fun making it. This might be because producer Bobby Colomby tried to keep their father Joe Jackson away while they were recording.

In “Blame It on the Boogie” you can see Michael Jackson starting to establish his independence and develop some of his signature moves. I think this song, more than any other that the Jacksons released in the 70s, indicates what Michael was about to do for the music industry in the next decade.

Other versions

Several other artists released versions of “Blame It on the Boogie”, including:

  • Marie Rottrová (1980). This Czech version, “Muž č. 1” (Man No. 1) features Rottrová singing from a boat making its way down the Vltava river in Prague.
  • Big Fun (1989). This Stock Aitken Waterman creation made it to number 4 in the UK, but I just think it’s another example of Stock Aitken Waterman ruining a great song.
  • Luis Miguel (1990). This Spanish version, “Será Que No Me Amas“, is slightly better than Big Fun’s song.
  • Clock (1998). This version went to number 16 in the UK. My favourite thing about this song is the 90s clothes the dance act wears.
  • Will Young (2001).
  • German eurodance act Captain Jack (2004).
  • Susan Wong (2009). This smooth jazz version by the Hong Kong singer is super cool!
  • Jermaine Jackson (2012). Ironically Jermaine was the Jackson brother who didn’t record “Blame It on the Boogie” back in 1978.

Following Michael Jackson’s death in June 2009, “Blame It on the Boogie” re-entered the charts in Australia and New Zealand.

Check out more 1970s songs and their unknown originals here.

References - Blame It on the Boogie
Blame It on the Boogie: Michael Jackson’s Early Creative Process
Mick Jackson or Michael Jackson? Just Blame It On The Boogie
Songfacts - Blame It on the Boogie
Wikipedia - Blame It on the Boogie
Wikipedia - Mick Jackson
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