Born Michael George Jackson, singer, songwriter and music producer Mick Jackson grew up in Yorkshire before moving to Germany with the armed forces at the age of 18. He had developed a passion for music early in life, singing in various soul bands and decided to pursue music as a career when he left the army. With his brothers Peter and David he formed the band ‘JACKO’ and began writing songs and establishing himself in the German music industry.
In 1977 he became part of the booming Munich Disco scene and released “You Turn Me On”, his first single as a solo artist. The song opened lots of doors for Mick as a performer and songwriter in Europe.
Around the same time Mick and his brother David wrote a song called “Blame it on the Boogie” with their drummer Elmar Krohn, which (after being rejected by 22 record labels) clinched the deal for Mick’s first album release as a recording artist, produced by Grammy Award winning arranger/producer Sylvester Levay.
Unbeknownst to Mick, his publisher also offered “Blame it on the Boogie” to American supergroup The Jacksons who after leaving Motown were convinced that this would be the song that would lead them into the next stage of their career. Mick’s version was released first in the US, but due to delays and various confusions the two versions - both sung by men called Michael Jackson – came out within days of each other in the UK.
Branded ‘The Battle Of The Boogie’ by the British press, radio stations and the music press began to take sides: Radio One and Melody Maker backing The Jacksons’ version and Captial Radio and NME backing Mick. The public was equally divided, which meant that sales were split and neither record reached the top of the chart. Mick peaked at 15 and the Jacksons peaked at 8, which now seems odd considering the song’s timeless popularity.
When Mick’s second single ‘Weekend’ entered the charts and proved itself to be a worthy follow-up to ‘Blame it on the Boogie’, he was invited to perform on the same edition of Top of the Pops as The Jacksons (in those days TOTP had an average of 20 million viewers) and the two Michael Jacksons from different continents finally met in a lift at the Montcalm Hotel in London, where chaos broke out as they received each other’s phone calls and deliveries by the confused hotel staff.
In his autobiography “Moonwalker” Michael Jackson mentions Mick and the ‘Battle of the Boogie’ and speaks about his love for the song.
The third single from Mick’s debut album was ‘The World is Full of Married Men’, which was the title track from the film of the same name, based on a Jackie Collins novel and directed by Robert Young. Mick also appeared as a nightclub singer in the film.
After the great international success of his first album Mick became involved in an extensive 2-year legal battle with his publisher over unpaid royalties. He released two more albums, ‘Step Inside My Rainbow’ (1980) and ‘Square Deal’ (1982), as well as the singles ‘You don’t light my fire’ (1980), ‘This is the real thing’ (1982), ‘Rock the world’ (1984) and ‘Eveready’ (1989), but by the time he was released from his publishing contract, his recording career had lost its momentum and he was unable to regain his earlier success as a solo artist.
As a result he decided to concentrate more on his strengths behind the scenes of the music industry with great success that earned him awards in silver, gold and platinum.
As a songwriter, producer and arranger he has worked with international artists such as
Barry Manilow, Lisa Stansfield, Bette Midler, Eric Burdon, Patrick Gammon, Bonnie Tyler, Five Star, Patrick Bergin, Peter Green, No Mercy, Johnny Wakelin, Mireille Mathieu, Dan Rowe, Wet Willie, Forrest, Johnny Logan, Victory, David Knopfler and David Arnold.
Furthermore he has collaborated with high-profile German artists such as Heinz-Rudolf Kunze, Joy Fleming, Wolfgang Petri, Udo Jürgens, Herbert Grönemeyer, Modern Talking, Nicole da Silva, Isabel Varell, Gary Lux, Erste Allgemeine Verunsicherung, Hape Kerkeling and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.
He has also written music for commercials, film and television and has worked on projects that vary as widely as composing dressage music for Italian Olympic rider Daria Fantoni to penning Austria’s highest Eurovision Song Contest entry.
“Blame it on the Boogie” still remains one of the most successful disco songs of all time. Over the years it has been covered by artists like Big Fun, Kylie Minogue, Luis Miguel, Westlife, Boyzone, Tina Charles, Jay Kid, Geri Halliwell, Fat Boy Slim, Clock, Jools Holland and even served as Will Young’s audition song for Pop Idol. Most recently it was featured in a worldwide LG advertising campaign and in the final season of “ER”.
After the American Michael Jackson’s tragic death in 2009 the Jacksons’ version re-entered the UK and Australian singles chart and the album The Essential Michael Jackson, which includes the song, went to number one in numerous countries worldwide.
Mick Jackson recently remarried at the age of 62 and still lives in Germany where he has fulfilled his childhood dream of living on a farm in the countryside with his horses, chickens, sheep and several Jack Russell terriers.
He has a son, Sam Peter Jackson, from his first marriage, who is a playwright and actor living in London. Mick and Sam recently collaborated on the documentary “The Other Michael Jackson: Battle of the Boogie” for Channel 4, which Sam presented and co-wrote with the film’s director Patrick Nation.
Mick Jackson is still very passionate about songwriting and occasionally cannot resist performing live, for worthy causes.