Four years after Spike Lee’s illuminating Bad 25 documentary, another Michael Jackson doc is coming our way. Focusing on his career-changing 1979 LP Off the Wall, the documentary will premiere at Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 24, air on Showtime Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. ET, and receive CD/DVD and CD/Blu-ray releases on Feb. 26.
Produced by Spike Lee, John Branca and John McClain, Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off the Wall will document the album that established MJ as an adult superstar and — along with Donna Summer’s Bad Girls released that same year — ushered in the modern era of pop music. The documentary will feature archival footage of Jackson in addition to contemporary interviews with his family, Lee Daniels, The Weeknd, Pharrell, John Legend, Questlove and others.
It’s hard to imagine now, but before the King of Pop was crowned as such, he was at a career crossroads in the late ’70s. At risk of becoming a has-been child star, the 20-year-old Motown vet needed to reinvent his sound and personality to forge a successful solo career.
With the help of Quincy Jones (who worked with Michael on The Wiz), Jackson crafted the album that served as the debut of his adult career. A mixture of disco, pop, R&B and soft rock that produced two No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 (his first solo chart-toppers since “Ben” in 1972), Off the Wall was the first album from a solo artist to put four songs in the top 10 of the Hot 100.