HERC cannot recall the first time he heard the song "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)" but he remembers the day in junior high when fellow student Roy J. performed it in front of Mrs. White's music class, complete with robot dance moves - it was breathtaking. By comparison, HERC's performance that day was hitting a woodblock in time to Styx's "Renegade". This was in early 1979 and school had just resumed after a snowy Christmas Break. On the first Friday night of February 1979, The Jacksons were the hosts of The Midnight Special and they opened the show with "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)" and Michael Jackson was doing the moves HERC had witnessed that day in class!
The five brothers (Tito, Marlon, Jackie, Michael and Randy) returned later in the show to perform "Things I Do For You" and then were joined onstage by brother Jermaine to perform the beautiful title track (below) from their 1978 album, Destiny.
Later in the show, a music video of "Blame It On The Boogie" was shown (above) and The Jacksons closed the episode out with an all hands on deck, reprise performance of "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)".
The following morning, after watching American Bandstand (HERC looked it up and the musical guests were Melissa Manchester and Elton John's drummer, Nigel Olsson, that week) HERC rode his trusty JC Penny orange 10 speed bike (above) down to the BX and bought Destiny. Had HERC stayed home that day he later found out, he would have been able to see The Jacksons yet again, this time on Soul Train (below) which celebrated the group's first decade as performers by devoting the entire show to them.
After a forgettable Midnight Special on February 9th, HERC was hoping the next day's American Bandstand would feature some interesting acts. Unfortunately, the episode only featured just one group instead of the usual two but that group was... The Jacksons! Just as Don Cornelius had done, Dick Clark dedicated the entire episode to their music, reminiscing about meeting the Jackson 5 for the first time, their earlier appearances on the show and playing all of their hits. When he introduced them for their first performance, he held up the Destiny album and opened it to show the group photo gatefold inside before pointing out each member by name, closing the album and introducing The Jacksons.
Their first song was "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)" and they wore those matching blue jumpsuits, with Titio sporting his guitar and Randy wearing a low slung keytar. As dancers joined the group onstage near the song's finale, a police officer appeared and lamely attempted to disburse the growing crowd before breaking out in dance himself. When Clark joined them after the song, he admitted he was unaware of the gag. Later, Michael performed Destiny's "Push Me Away" solo and then joined his brothers for "Things I Do For You".
All the appearances pushed the album all the way up to #11 on the Top 200 album chart. Three singles were released form the album: "Blame It On The Boogie" (#54 Pop, #3 R&B), "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)" (#7 Pop, #3 R&B) and the UK only "Destiny" (below). The first two singles were given disco remixes by John Luongo and paired on a US 12" single that went Top 20 on the Disco chart.
The Destiny album was re-released on compact disc in 2009 with the two disco mixes as bonus tracks. Almost 35 years after it's original release in December 1978, HERC still listens to the original album's eight tracks quite often.
The "other" Michael Jackson and his original "Blame It On The Boogie"...