- OFF THE WALL remaster contains previously unreleased demos and commentary by producer Quincy Jones and songwriter Rod Temperton.
- Personnel includes: Michael Jackson (vocals, percussion); Patti Austin (vocals); David Williams, Marlo Henderson, Phil Upchurch, Wah Wah Watson, Marlo Henderson, Larry Carlton (guitar); Larry Williams (flute, alto & tenor saxophones); Kim Hutchcroft (flute, tenor & baritone saxophones); Jerry Hey (trumpet, flugelhorn); Gary Grant (trumpet); William Reichenbach (trombone); Greg Phillinganes (electric piano, synthesizer); David "Hawk" Wolinski (electric piano); Michael Boddiker (synthesizer, programming); George Duke, David Foster (synthesizer); Louis Johnson (bass); John Robinson (drums, percussion); Randy Jackson, Janet Jackson, Richard Heath, Paulinho Da Costa (percussion).
- Producers: Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson.
- Reissue producer: Bruce Swedien.
- Recorded in Los Angeles, California between 1978 & 1979. Originally released on Epic (35745).
- Digitally remastered by Bernie Grundman (Bernie Grundman Mastering, Los Angeles, California).
- Audio Mixer: Bruce Swedien.
- Recording information: Cherokee studios; Westlake Audio.
- Michael Jackson had recorded solo prior to the release of Off the Wall in 1979, but this was his breakthrough, the album that established him as an artist of astonishing talent and a bright star in his own right. This was a visionary album, a record that found a way to break disco wide open into a new world where the beat was undeniable, but not the primary focus -- it was part of a colorful tapestry of lush ballads and strings, smooth soul and pop, soft rock, and alluring funk. Its roots hearken back to the Jacksons' huge mid-'70s hit "Dancing Machine," but this is an enormously fresh record, one that remains vibrant and giddily exciting years after its release. This is certainly due to Jackson's emergence as a blindingly gifted vocalist, equally skilled with overwrought ballads as "She's Out of My Life" as driving dancefloor shakers as "Working Day and Night" and "Get on the Floor," where his asides are as gripping as his delivery on the verses. It's also due to the brilliant songwriting, an intoxicating blend of strong melodies, rhythmic hooks, and indelible construction. Most of all, its success is due to the sound constructed by Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, a dazzling array of disco beats, funk guitars, clean mainstream pop, and unashamed (and therefore affecting) schmaltz that is utterly thrilling in its utter joy. This is highly professional, highly crafted music, and its details are evident, but the overall effect is nothing but pure pleasure. Jackson and Jones expanded this approach on the blockbuster Thriller, often with equally stunning results, but they never bettered it. [Off the Wall was re-released in a CD/DVD set in 2016, adding a documentary, Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, directed by Spike Lee.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone (4/11/02, p.107) - Ranked #31 in Rolling Stone's "50 Coolest Records".
Rolling Stone (2/01/01, p.59) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...Was and remains a perfect album....the rhythm never lets up, and neither does the quality....Never has Michael sounded so self-assured, his talents so right for the pop moment..."
Spin (p.112) - "It's only right that maybe the greatest single-artist disco album was the work of that generation's greatest dancer."
Q (9/99, p.128) - 5 stars (out of 5) - "...one of the greatest albums ever made...all the songs are great, the sound is new and different, and it was a big part of pleasant people's lives at the time....some of the best melodies in the history of pop..."
Q (Magazine) (p.126) - "[Jackson] displayed a thrilling command of pop-dance dynamics, revealing talents only glimpsed on his four Motown solo albums..."
NME (Magazine) (10/2/93, p.29) - Ranked #93 in NME's list of the 'Greatest Albums Of All Time.'
Paste (magazine) - "The album opens on a joyously confident note with 'Don't Stop `Til You Get Enough'....Jackson's skills as a highly emotive singer are also nicely on display."