The Jacksons

Destiny

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The brothers' third post-Motown album as the Jacksons was their most successful release, both commercially and creatively, since 1974's Dancing Machine. Their first two Epic albums, where they aligned with Gamble, Huff, and other Philly soul stalwarts, had some strong singles but were very uneven and somewhat awkward in stretches, and this time out, they wrote and produced on their own. Backed by an arsenal of up-and-coming and veteran L.A. session musicians -- including guitarists Michael Sembello and Paul Jackson, Jr., drummer Rick Marotta, arranger Thomas "Tom Tom 84" Washington, and keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, the last of whom played on just about everything involving a Jackson family member through the early '90s -- Destiny did much more than set the stage for Michael's Off the Wall. The sunny "Blame It on the Boogie" and the dazzling Off the Wall prelude "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" were the album's only singles, upbeat numbers that peaked at number three on the Black Singles chart, but the mature Michael showcase ballad "Push Me Away" (pointing toward "I Can't Help It" and "Human Nature") and the alternately somber and uplifting "Bless His Soul," containing a startling confession from Michael ("There is no life for me at all/'Cause I give myself at beck and call") added an impressive level of depth to the Jacksons' discography.

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