14. "Workin' All Day and Night"
Off the Wall, 1979
One of those monster Off the Wall grooves that easily could have been a huge hit – except it never became a single, maybe because the charts were already packed with hits from Off the Wall. "Workin' Day and Night" sits halfway through the unstoppable Side One of the original vinyl LP (the disco side), one of two tracks Jackson wrote solo. (The other was "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough.") The lyrics give an early hint of MJ's combative side, with the standard bluesman's plaint about how hard his woman makes him work. Yet the hyperactive Latin percussion, spiky horns and gulping-for-oxygen vocals all reflect the fanatical work ethic MJ brought to his solo breakthrough. "When he commits to an idea, he goes all the way with it," Jones said. "It's ass power, man. You have to be emotionally ready to put as much energy into it as it takes to make it right." As a deep cut, "Workin' Day and Night" is prized among MJ cognoscenti – thanks to all that ass power.