Friday, May 23, 2008

Jacksons Final Victory Over The Charts

By the time The Jacksons - Tito, Randy, Marlon, Jackie, Jermaine & Michael - released the album ‘Victory’ in 1984, they had nothing left to prove to critics or record buyers. ‘Victory’ was the 13th album (not including live and compilation efforts) released by arguably the most famous family in pop music history. And it came at an interesting time in the career of The Jacksons, both as a group and individually.

It had been four years since the release of their last studio album with 1980’s ‘Triumph’ which had yielded the US#12 hit ‘Lovely One’ and the UK#6 hit ‘Can You Feel It’ which was backed by one of the most innovative music videos of the era. In the intervening period the youngest of the Jackson brood Michael released a quaint little album entitled ‘Thriller’. In point of fact ‘Thriller’ not only redefined Michael Jackson as the new ‘king of pop’ but arguably reset the bar for every major pop act to follow - it was more than just an album, it was a watershed in pop music. And where as The Jacksons still retained a higher collective profile than Michael when ‘Triumph’ was released after Michael’s ‘Off The Wall’ (1979), 1984’s ‘Victory’ was doomed to a degree to labour under the shadow of ‘Thriller’.

That said the album as a stand alone recording was still a fine piece of work. Following on from a successful reunion appearance on the Motown 25 television special, a full scale U.S. tour unfolded to accompany the release of the ‘Victory’ album. The album reached #4 in the U.S. and generated two hit singles, ‘State Of Shock’ with Mick Jagger (US#3, UK#14, OZ#10) and ‘Torture’ (US#17, UK#26, OZ#32). ‘Torture’ is one of my favourite Jacksons tracks, second only to ‘Can You Feel It’. It was accompanied by an appropriately expensive promo clip featuring all of the Jacksons save Michael, who by that time had effectively split to resume focus on his solo empire (or maybe his hair was on ice following that Pepsi commercial mishap).

The following is an rare 12 inch vinyl extended remix of the song ‘Torture’, the swansong to The Jacksons epic career:

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