Saturday Night Video: The Jacksons

“ABC” on American Bandstand

Michael Jackson died two years ago today.

His solo work is so saturated into the culture that there’s little point in representing it here. However, the work with The Jackson 5, even though it’s enjoyed classic status for decades, can still startle with its freshness. If this isn’t Motown at its best, it’s close. I don’t know if it’s possible to hear “ABC” and not feel joy — it’s involuntary, like a heart beat. If you’ve seen how the song is featured in Kevin Smith’s Clerks 2 — here you know just how exuberantly that joy can be rendered. (Thanks also to Rosario Dawson who reminds us what it’s like to fall in love during the course of a single song.)

More after the jump.

“I Want You Back,” American Bandstand

“I’ll Be There,” Diana Ross Special

Okay, a concession to the solo career, the vertiginous “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” from the first solo album in 1979, Off the Wall, which provided a bridge from the disco of the ’70s to the reconstituted R&B of the ’80s


Maybe one more concession: the introduction of the moonwalk at the Motown 25th anniversary concert in 1983

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