In August 1978, Michael George Jackson-Clarke released a song inspired by Stevie Wonder that he wrote with his brother in England, hoping it would be the breakout song for his own solo career:
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Two weeks later, in September of 1978, Michael Joseph Jackson released this song with his brothers that quickly became the breakout song for their stalling career since leaving Motown Records:
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One of these recordings is a jam; the other is profoundly magical. Michael Jackson-Clarke, or Mick Jackson, never saw the other version coming, and had no idea that his publisher had sold the rights of his song to Joe Jackson (father of the Jackson 5, not the British pop star). In the states, almost no one heard the original, yet in England, the “Battle of the Boogie” was joined on the airwaves, giving time to both versions, and each radio station giving its preference in one or the other.
Mick Jackson lost nearly all of his authorship in the song to Michael Jackson due to their similar names. He lost nearly all of his ownership to Joe Jackson thanks to his publisher. Whichever way you see it, Michael Jackson is indeed indebted to Michael Jackson. The only coincidence that could have made this whole thing more bizarre is for Joe Jackson the British Pop star to have been the publisher who sold the rights in the first place.
Two years ago, Mick’s son debuted a documentary on the whole affair called The Other Michael Jackson:
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Should this man be more bitter that he was devastatingly upstaged by the Jacksons? Or that he was completely sold out by his publisher and didn’t receive the royalties of a world-wide smash recording? Amazingly, he seems to be neither. It’s hard to listen to the electrifying, breathed-in recording fueled by the Once and Future King of Pop and still be bitter.