Written by Rod Temperton
Produced by Quincy Jones for Quincy Jones Productions
From the album Off the Wall, released August 10, 1979
Released as a single November 3, 1979
THE SHORT FILM
Director: Bruce Gowers
Primary Production Location: Los Angeles, California
Although all of Michael Jackson’s music videos are referred to as short films, the short films for Off the Wall, Michael’s first solo album for Epic Records, are more classic “music videos,” as they are performance clips rather than scripted stories. Michael’s short film for “Rock With You” was the second of the three short films produced for recordings from that album. The single reached No. 1 in the United States in 1980, topping Billboard’s Hot 100 and Hot R&B Singles charts and reaching No. 4 on Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100 chart that same year.
“Rock With You” was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on February 14, 1980, and Platinum on February 14, 1989. The song was ranked No. 82 on Rolling Stone and MTV’s list of the 100 Greatest Pop Songs in 2000. In his 1988 memoir Moonwalk, Michael called “Rock With You,” written by Rod Temperton, “the sort of thing I was aiming for” in creating an album to his vision.
The short film featured Michael performing the song on a plain stage in a sequined jumpsuit and matching boots, a set of shimmering lasers illuminating his outfit from behind. Director Bruce Gowers praised Michael as “an absolute professional” in an interview with Rolling Stone. In 2014, the magazine would rank “Rock With You” No. 6 on a list of Michael Jackson’s 20 Greatest Videos.