The Other Michael Jackson Review: Boogie Blame
THE OTHER MICHAEL JACKSON: Friday 26th February, Channel 4, 7.35pm ALERT ME
Warning: if you’re not a fan of the song, ‘Blame it on the boogie’, look away now. Seriously.
For everyone else, you’ll want to get off your sofas and dance as soon as this documentary starts with The Jackson Five bursting onto the screen like musical happy pills.
That is until a man called Sam Peter Jackson appears, ending the party. But wait. He has a message. “In 1978 my dad wrote one of all-time classic disco anthems. My dad is Michael Jackson.”
No need to drop fork-onto-plate. For this is the true story of two men of the same name, releasing the same song in the same week, a.k.a, ‘The Battle of the Boogie’.
Contrary to popular/my opinion Michael and Jermaine Jackson weren’t getting their afros trimmed when they were suddenly inspired, grabbing the scissors for a makeshift mic. It was actually Yorkshire-born Michael and his brother Dave who co-wrote the hit.
“I changed ‘bad boogie’ to ‘blame it on the bad boogie’ to, ‘blame it on the boogie”, Dave recalls. We also hear the original demo. But record producer Sylvester Levay wasn’t impressed, that is, until the line, ‘I just can’t control my feet’ was stuck in. As it turned out, nor could Levay.
What is noticeable is how many times they break into a BIOTB sing-a-long. It seems they just can’t get enough of it. Granted, you don’t really mind – each rendition is like audio prozac.
No self-respecting documentary about the past goes without black and white re-enactment footage. As the older Michael recalls meeting the young Michael in a London hotel, you can only imagine the dodgy (and rather pointless) footage that it accompanies. Which is almost as dodgy as the anecdote itself.
We also learn how the Jackson Five got hold of the song. Sam Jackson declares, ‘Without my father they might not have got famous’, owing all their success to his father. Which is a little presumptuous (has he not heard, ‘I Want You Back’ ?)
Anyway, the great ‘Battle Of The Boogie’ commenced and needless to say, The Jackson 5 version was just that little bit more catchy. Tony Blackburn isn’t hesitant to say, “It was one of the best things I’ve ever heard.”
By the end of the doc we see the ‘other’ Michael Jackson performing Blame alone into a mic that doesn’t seem on, like a not-quite-right karaoke stint from a man who missed his chance at the big time.
But he only had himself to blame, chimes Pete Waterman. “The song was so good it killed him as an artist.” Sadly, for the MJ we all know and love, one could almost say the same.