Michael Jackson / Off The Wall reissued with Spike Lee doc


Michael Jackson‘s 1979 album Off The Wall will be reissued as a CD+Blu-ray (or CD+DVD) edition next month, featuring the album in its original form with Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, a new documentary directed by Spike Lee.

Recorded when Jackson was just 20 years old, Off The Wall would become an enormous commercial success, with the self-penned Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough hitting the top spot in America (and bagging MJ his first GRAMMY), and further 45s Rock With You, Off the Wall and She’s Out of My Life all peaking inside the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

jackson_michael_dont_stop_til_you_get_enough_singleThe long-player also features Girlfriend –  written for Jackson by Paul McCartney. Not one to let a good song go, Macca recorded a version too, for Wings’ London Town album. Michael would grow from grateful recipient to songwriting partner when he worked with McCartney a few years later on a number of tracks, notably Say Say Say.

There is no bonus audio at all (an expanded deluxe with demos and remixes was rumoured – see this video) but at least for now, Sony have decided to keep things simple. The original artwork has been restored, although there is no word at the moment as to which mastering this new edition will use, or whether the selection reverts back to the very original mix of the album.

In Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall director Spike Lee assembles a wealth of archival footage, including material from Michael’s personal archive, and interviews with contemporary talents (Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson;  Joe Jackson etc.) and family members, and depicts the star’s early rise to fame through the release of the album. Spike Lee also created a documentary for Bad 25, although that wasn’t featured as part of the content of that reissue.

Apparently, these combo sets will come packaged as a deluxe ‘softpak’ which includes a 16-page booklet containing a new essay and photography plus a piece of chalk (!) and inside panels with a chalkboard finish.

Off The Wall will be reissued on 26 February 2016.


Picture: Michael Jackson / Off The Wall / CD+Blu-ray reissue




1. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
2. Rock With You
3. Workin’ Day And Night
4. Get On The Floor
5. Off The Wall
6. Girlfriend
7. She’s Out Of My Life
8. I Can’t Help It
9. It’s The Falling In Love
10. Burn This Disco Out

Document de Spike Lee: Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall

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I bought the remastered 2016 & 2001 editions of “Off The Wall” on CD.
Both have remastering credited to Bernie Grundman.
They sound different from each other, but not drastically so.
The 2016 is slightly less brighter than the 2001 CD. Not that the latter was overly bright. It actually sounded just right.
The 2001, to the ear, appears to have more ‘air’ across the mix – giving it a more ‘open’ or ‘live’ sounding experience – as opposed to the needle leaning towards ‘dead’ (or even ‘flat’!).
The bottom end feels slightly less punchy than the 2001 too.
Because of these differences, it might be perceived that the 2016 sounds less ‘WOW’ than the 2001 .
Though, this is probably due to the 2016 being “less” compressed than the 2001.
i.e. The 2016 sounds less ‘full’ fat or more semi-skimmed.
Remember, compression can alter the effect of the EQ – for better or worse. In the safe hands of Bernie Grundman this will be done carefully.

The 2016 is also not quite as loud – peaking comfortably at around -1dB.
The 2001 is a smidgen louder – peaking (though not constantly) at 0dB.
Purists may say the original (1979) vinyl &/or (1983) CD pressings sound better.
The early pressings had different mixes of “Rock With You” & “Get On The Floor”.
MJ was dissatisfied with them. These were subsequently replaced (on later pressings) with Bruce Swedien’s 1979 (overdubbed & much tighter) ‘re-mixes’ created for the radio/single release.

To my ears, it sounds (and looks) like the 2016 edition is almost identical to the recent HDTracks 24bit 96kHz release. At least, this maybe the original source; truncated down to 16bit 44.1kHz CD format. Sadly, the HDTracks edition is not a magical listening experience, despite reaching highs of 22kHz and sloping down to 44kHz.
The 2016 edition isn’t awful by any means. I’d say, stick with the 2001 Special Edition – as Bernie Grundman did a nice job on the remastering. Compression, yes. But, not ridiculous ‘brick wall’ style, a la Red Chili Peppers etc.
For what it’s worth… MJ, Bruce & Quincy all approved of BG’s 2001 remaster too.

One last addition…
There was 4-Track Stereo Reel-To-Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 4-Track Stereo (Epic Records ‎- 1R 7277) released in the U.S. I’d love to hear it, out of curiosity!


well….where’s the 5.1 dts version of the album?…
…so many percussion overdubs,so few channels O:-)


Any news on the audio quality yet?

Ken C.

I would be so on board with this if the DVD/Blu-Ray included an audio Hi-Rez version of the album.

Rob Maurer

The only good thing about this reissue is that we won’t have to suffer through crap EDM or Rap-infused remixes as bonus fodder.

Otherwise, a definite let down.

Andrew Mogford

Is there anyone who knows what COULD have been included here if it was done properly? Anyone know if there are any B sides or remixes or extended versions done at the time? I’m not really interested in demos or unreleased tracks. IMHO they’re usually unreleased for a reason!

[…] Read more about the Off The Wall reissue here. […]


What a waste of a blu-ray, there’s at least 20GB going begging there. Having heard the 96/24 download, they could easily put that on there as a hi-res version of the album. It sounds brilliant to my ears, I know one poster above me disagrees but at least it would be something.


No demos? No bonus tracks? No extended cuts? No remastering of the ORIGINAL pressing? No Triumph Tour? A piece of Chalk? No thanks! The 2001 Special Edition or the original Vinyl is better than this. Madness and a lack of respect for Jacksons legacy. Nothing new there either. I’m out!

Carlton Fisher

At least there was some actual bonus audio content for the She’s so Unusual release. This is just a rehash of the same thing that was already remastered not all that long ago. I’d rather see the Bad25 documentary get a physical release since Off the Wall was too long before I was really paying attention to music for it to actually resonate with me.


Surely one of their more treasured artists, an iconic album and this is the sorry lacklustre affair we are offered? “It’s a Sony”


When they announce the Super Deluxe Edition including a mix to build your own bricks!

Andrew Mogford

Paul, forgive me if this isn’t the place but you ever considered a forum for this site? Would be awesome addition I think. Either way, keep up the good work!


YES!!! A forum please…
Also disappointed there is no bonus content like demos, extended versions like the awesome REENO mix for Rock With You done a couple years ago or similar stuff using the original tracks. So many demos/outtakes I’ve read about.. seems they’ve set this up to sell poorly so maybe they can blame poor sales to kill further projects or something…


What a total disappointment for such an iconic album ! Think I’ll save my money for the Sade re-issues, with interest I should have a grand by then lol


The chalk thing is insane. Why on earth would anyone think up such lunacy? This is aimed at adults, not 1D fans. Even they would find that childish. PF’s marbles seem almost adult in comparison.


If you reissue an album, you have to put extra SONGS on it, not some bs documentary. Give us remixes, demo’s and some live material (not too much, eh Phil Collins). If there aren’t enough period remixes, then make some (Dimitri From Paris does an outstanding job remixing 70’s and 80’s songs!!) or check with the older remix services like Razormaid, Disconet, Art of Mix, Ultimix, DMC, etc, they will have em, guaranteed!!
I won’t be buying this loser.

adam shaw

Paul ,
I didnt think Girlfriend was written for Jackson .
I can remember buying OTW about a year after London Town came out and Macca didnt say he wrote for him at that time .

adam shaw

The story I heard ( and yes Macca does change his mind) was that Quincy Jones heard it and thought it might suit MJs voice.
History seems to change as these old men of rock get older .

David Hayes

The doc is being shown on Showtime in the US (?26 Feb) and in other countries plus the web after that. Hopefully BBC4 will pick it up like they did with Spike’s 25th anniversary Bad documentary. Will rely on that and my original vinyl.


This is sad if this is what Sony will offer for us who still buy CDs.
(and not to mention the forthcoming Phil Collins re-releases by Warner)


Oh great, a re-release of an album without any bonus audio. You’re better off buying the special edition from 1998 – which at the moment is just 5 quid on Amazon too. Sounds to me that Universal is dropping the ball on Michael Jackson yet again. When he died they promised – I think – NINE albums of unreleased demos etc., and all we’ve had since then is a handful of bonus content on Bad25 and the two posthumous albums. I’m always happy to buy new Michael Jackson songs but let’s be honest, no-one is waiting for a dvd with a boring documentary that you’ll only ever watch one time – if even that.

Friso Pas

No blu-ray audio? Hmm….I think I’m gonna seek out the original vinyl then.

Andrew Mogford

At least re-release it on 180g vinyl. I’d have bought that.


Is the chalk so you change Michael from black to white?


it’s funny trying to guess what’s on the minds of these executives when they plan a release like this…. :) I suppose I should buy the fourth copy of OTW just for the Spike Lee bluray…. no way :)

Friso Pas

I’m definitely interested in the documentary. It would be nice if the album was to be included in hires lossless audio, with, hopefully, good mastering and dynamic range, not like the recent HD tracks version and the special edition cd’s with compression.

Paul Edwards

no need to buy this then at all. I often think extra video content these days is overrated (not that i am doubting spike lee’s talent) even including concerts etc – i rarely watch them more than once


Seems odd to not have ANY bonus audio.

Did Sony not learn from the awful Cyndi Lauper reissue that quirky packaging is just pointless… chalk, really?

I doubt that I’ll purchase this one.

Andrew Mogford

You’re kidding me! That’s it? After all the promises from the video?

Count me out then.