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Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
A generic label with the iconic "Epic" logo on the top of the label and "QUINCY JONES PRODUCTIONS" on the upper right. The rest on the label contains credits and factual information about the product itself.
A-side label of U.S. vinyl single
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Off the Wall
B-side"I Can't Help It"
ReleasedJuly 28, 1979[1][self-published source]
RecordedDecember 1978 – June 1979,
Allen Zentz Recording Studios, Westlake Recording Studios and Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles[1]
Length6:06 (album version)
5:53 (US 12" single version)
4:13 (video version)
3:58 (European single version)
Songwriter(s)Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"A Brand New Day"
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
"Rock with You"
Music video
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" on YouTube

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is a single written and recorded by American singer Michael Jackson. Released under Epic Records on July 28, 1979, the song is the first track on Jackson's fifth studio album Off the Wall (1979). It was the first solo recording over which Jackson had creative control.

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was Jackson's first single to hit #1 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart in seven years, and his first solo #1 on the Soul singles chart.[2] It remained at #1 for six weeks on Billboard's Soul chart. The song was a worldwide success. Within a few months of release, the song was certified Gold, and eventually earned a Platinum certification for sales in excess of one million physical US copies and three-time Platinum of digital sales in August 2018.[3]

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was well received by contemporary music critics. An accompanying music video for the song was released in October 1979. The video shows Jackson dancing, as well as being shown in a triplicate, in different color backgrounds. The song also won Jackson his first solo Grammy and American Music Awards. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is considered to be the first song to showcase Jackson's talent as a solo artist, both as a singer and songwriter.

Background and production

In 1978, Jackson starred as the Scarecrow in The Wiz, an urbanized retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. After the filming, Jackson, who was still a member of The Jacksons, approached the film's musical director, Quincy Jones, to ask if he knew of any producers to help with Jackson's future solo endeavors.[4] Jones suggested himself, and the two began work on Off the Wall.[4] After listening to hundreds of demos, the two decided upon the ones to record. These included "Workin' Day and Night", "Get on the Floor" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough".[5] The song was recorded in Los Angeles.[6] Jackson claimed that when the melody of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" came to him, he couldn't shake it off. He found himself humming and singing it while walking through the Jacksons' Encino home. As Michael was not a keyboardist, although certainly capable of playing piano, he had his brother Randy performed the melody on a piano in the family's recording studio.[5] When Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, a devout Jehovah's Witness, heard the song, she was shocked by the lyrical content, and felt that the title could be misconstrued as pertaining to sexual activity.[7] Jackson reassured her that the song was not a reference to sex, but could mean whatever people wanted it to.[7] Upon playing the recording to Jones, it was agreed that the song would be featured on Off the Wall.[5]

In a speech at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, Greg Phillinganes alleged that Jackson played him an early demo of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and said "it needs another part," after which Phillinganes suggested the bridge, and the two agreed to rate his contribution at 10% of the song. Soon thereafter, however, he was informed that his contribution would be considered merely an arrangement. Nevertheless, many pressings of the single list both Jackson and Phillinganes as composers.[8]

Quincy Jones has backed Phillinganes' allegation.[9]


"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is the first solo song written by Michael Jackson, although "Blues Away" had been released in 1976.

Musically, it is credited as a disco-funk song. The song's full length on Off The Wall is just over six minutes. The song introduced Jackson's falsetto voice and vocal hiccups, which would become one of Jackson's signature techniques. Along with Jackson's vocal hiccups, Jackson's voice in the song was described as having vocal tics—from the hiccups, a "grunt", and "the 'oho!'".[4] "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is played in the key of B Mixolydian and in common time signature and Jackson's voice range is from G#3 to B5. Instruments used are a six-piece horn section (two trumpets, alto sax, tenor sax, trombone, and baritone sax), string section (arranged by Ben Wright), and two guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion. The song's tempo is upbeat at 120 beats per minute. The song begins with a spoken word section by Jackson, before he bursts into singing.[10]

Release and reception

"Don’t Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was released on August 10, 1979, under Epic Records; Jackson's first solo single away from Motown Records.[5] It was well received by contemporary critics. Stephen Holden, of Rolling Stone, described the song as "one of a handful of recent disco releases that works both as a dance track and as an aural extravaganza comparable to Earth, Wind and Fire's 'Boogie Wonderland'".[11] The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 on October 13, and within three months of its release, it had been certified gold.[5][12][13] It was Jackson's first solo number one single since "Ben", seven years prior.[12] It remained atop of the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. It also reached the top of the charts in Australia, New Zealand, Norway and South Africa, and peaked at number three in the United Kingdom.[7] "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was awarded platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1989.[12]

In 2006, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" reached number 17 in the United Kingdom, following the Visionary campaign, whereby 20 of Jackson's hit singles were reissued in several European countries.[7] Following Jackson's death in June 2009, his music saw an increase in popularity.[14] "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" peaked at number seven on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs Chart, peaking at number nine on the charts[15] issue date July 11, 2009. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" charted within the top ten, placing at number nine, in France,[16] and charted within the top 20 in Portugal and Switzerland, placing at number 18 and 20.[17][18] The song also charted at number 21 in Australia, 38 in the United Kingdom,[19] and 50 in Sweden, respectively.[20] "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"s least successful country was Japan, peaking at number 77.[21] "Don’t Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was certified gold in Australia by Australian Recording Industry Association in 2009 for the shipments of 35,000 units.[22]

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" earned Jackson his first solo Grammy Award, winning Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 1980 Grammy Awards. It was also nominated for Best Disco Recording. The song also received Favorite Soul/R&B Single at the 1980 American Music Awards.[6][23]

Music video

A adult African American male with short black hair. He is pointing forward with his right hand and is making a facial expression and he is wearing a black bow tie with a black and white tuxedo. Behind him, there is a pink background.
Jackson in the music video for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"

The music video for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was directed and produced by Nick Saxton and made its world premiere in October 1979.[7] It was Jackson's first music video as a solo artist. The music video shows a smiling Jackson in a black and white tuxedo with a black bow tie (resembling the Off The Wall album cover photo) dancing and singing the song while appearing chroma keyed over a background of abstract geometric figures. At one stage, Jackson is seen dancing in triplicate, which was considered innovative at the time.[5]

The music video was included on the video albums: Video Greatest Hits - HIStory, Number Ones and Michael Jackson's Vision.

Live performances

Michael Jackson performed this song on The Jacksons' Destiny Tour on the second leg, as well as the Triumph Tour. It was also performed on Jackson's 96-97 HIStory World Tour as part of the "Off The Wall Medley".Jackson also would have performed it for the This Is It concert series, but the shows were canceled, due to his sudden death.[24]


James Montgomery of MTV noted that "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", along with Off the Wall's other three singles, "showcased (or, more specifically, unleashed) Jackson's talents as a [sic] entertainer, a vocalist, a writer and, most importantly, as a leading man."[6] After Jackson's death, AOL's Radio Blog released a list, entitled "10 Best Michael Jackson Songs", which placed "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" at number ten on the list.[25]

William Ruhlmann, author of The All-Music Guide to Rock, praised "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" as an "irresistible dance track".[26] John Lewis, author of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, noted that the "jittery, frenetic opening track" is the centerpiece of Off the Wall.[26] He concluded that "Jackson's falsetto hollers and frisky yelps serve as an obbligato to the lead line, punctuating Ben Wright's thrilling string arrangement and Jerry Hey's tight horn charts".[26] Jason Elias, a writer for Allmusic, noted that "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" presents a "new Michael Jackson" that was "sexual, [an] adult, and aggressive.[4] Elias commented that "Like the best of Jones' late-'70s, early-'80s work, this [song] wasn't quite disco, couldn't be hardcore funk - it was an amalgam of styles with the all-important pop accessibility."[4]

Jackson's biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli described Jackson's vocal styling as a "sexy, playful falsetto" that "no one had ever heard from him before".[5] Nelson George stated that the argument for Jackson's greatness began with the arrangements of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". He noted that the percussion and backing vocals were "artfully choreographed" to "create drama and ecstasy on the dance floor". He concluded, "It's one thing to make a dance record — it is another to instill that track with an epic, celebratory quality as Michael does here".[27] James Montgomery of MTV noted that Off The Wall contained a "masterful mixture of fiery disco tracks", specifying "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Workin' Day and Night".[6]

Track listing



Weekly charts

Year-end charts

Chart (1979) Rank
Australia (Kent Music Report)[57] 50
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[58] 27
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[59] 32
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[60] 31
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[61] 50
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[62] 13
UK Singles (Music Week)[63] 23
US Billboard Hot 100[64] 91
US Cash Box Top 100[65] 17
Chart (1980) Rank
Australia (Kent Music Report)[66] 12
South Africa [67] 4


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[68] Gold 35,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[69] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[70] Gold 812,000[71]
United States (RIAA)[72] Platinum 1,000,000^
United States (RIAA)[72] 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


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Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 12 January 2019, at 22:25
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