A Place with No Name

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"A Place with No Name"
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Xscape
Released August 12, 2014 (2014-08-12)
Recorded
  • 1998-2008 (original recording)
  • 2013/2014 (reworked)
Genre Pop
Length
  • 5:35 (album version)
  • 3:58 (single edition)
  • 4:55 (original version)
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Michael Jackson
  • Dr. Freeze
  • StarGate (album version)
Michael Jackson singles chronology
  • "A Place with No Name"
  • (2014)
Xscape track listing
"Loving You"
(3)
"A Place with No Name"
(4)
"Slave to the Rhythm"
(5)
file info · help
Music video
"A Place With No Name" on YouTube

"A Place with No Name" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. A 24-second snippet of the full song was released posthumously by website TMZ.com on July 16, 2009, three weeks after the singer's death. The full version leaked online on December 3, 2013.[1] The track resembles "A Horse with No Name", a hit song by rock band America. At the time of the leak, America stated that they were "honored" that Michael Jackson chose to sample their work.

It has been claimed that there are "dozens and dozens" of unreleased Jackson songs that could be issued for several years to come.[2][3] The song was later contemporized by Norwegian producers StarGate for inclusion on Jackson's second posthumous album, Xscape (2014), along with the original version. "A Place with No Name" was released to American urban adult contemporary radio on August 12, 2014.[4]

Background and leak[edit]


Michael Jackson's "A Place with No Name" is said to both musically and lyrically resemble the 1972 hit song "A Horse with No Name" by the rock band America. One publication described the two tracks as being "just about identical."

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On June 25, 2009, musician Michael Jackson died following a cardiac arrest.[5][6] Three weeks after the singer's death on July 16, 2009, celebrity news website TMZ.com—who were the first media outlet to report the passing—obtained a 24-second snippet of a song entitled "A Place with No Name", and released it onto the Internet.[2][7][8] The track is an unreleased Jackson song that has a melody and lyrics which resembles America's "A Horse with No Name", a single that became a number one hit upon its release in 1972 and helped the group's debut album America achieve multi-platinum status.[2][9][10] The St. Louis Post-Dispatch stated that the two songs were "just about identical".[11] Despite the similarities between "A Horse with No Name" and "A Place with No Name", it was revealed that Jackson had been given permission to record the latter composition.[12] To date, it is not known what time period the recording of the track occurred in, although it has been reported that the singer and America shared a manager—believed to be Jim Morey—in the late 1980s and late 1990s.[2][13][14]

Jackson's version of "A Place with No Name" is not the first song by a member of the musical Jackson family to sample the work of America. Janet Jackson's hit "Someone to Call My Lover" — from the 2001 album All for You — samples "Ventura Highway", a song from America's 1972 Homecoming album.[8] According to Dr. Freeze, the version of "A Place with No Name" that leaked is the final version Michael heard and approved in 2008, which is credited as the original version in the deluxe edition of Xscape.[15]

Prior to the leakage of the original version in December 2013, a cover of Jackson's work was posted at YouTube in January 2011, recorded by a mysterious person with a pseudonym "Spino".[16]

Music videos[edit]

On August 13, 2014, "A Place With No Name" marks the first time a music video has ever debuted exclusively on Twitter. Along with its tweet premiere, "A Place With No Name" was also shown on the Sony video screen in Times Square on Wednesday night at 10 p.m. It was uploaded to Michael Jackson's VEVO page the following day. In line with the desert theme featured in the lyrics of America's "A Horse with No Name", the video stars dancers Alvester Martin, who worked with Jackson for ten years, and Danielle Acoff in new dance sequences in a desert. The video also weaves in rare clips from Jackson's "In the Closet" video shoot.

A second music video was released on Michael Jackson's VEVO page on 28 August 2014, with choreographed dances performed by the dancers from Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson: One" world tour. It was filmed at different places in Los Angeles, but most of the video was shot inside the "Michael Jackson: ONE" Boutique inside Mandalay Bay.

Critical reception[edit]

Michael Jackson's "A Place with No Name" has been said to have the same beat and sound as "Leave Me Alone".

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Since its release on Xscape, "A Place with No Name" has received mixed to positive reviews. Joe Levy from Billboard called the song the "centerpiece" of the album.[17] Nekesa Mumbi Moody from Yahoo! said "A Place With No Name" "has the same beat and sound as 'Leave Me Alone' from the 'Bad' era and is lyrically weak: we can tell why Jackson left it on the cutting room floor."[18]

Response from America[edit]

Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley—two members of the three part band—conveyed their gratitude toward Jackson for choosing their song as a musical template for "A Place with No Name". In their statement to MTV, the musicians also expressed regret that the pop singer's fans did not get to hear the finished version of the track while Jackson was still alive:[2][8]

We're honored that Michael Jackson chose to record it and we're impressed with the quality of the track. We're also hoping it will be released soon so that music listeners around the world can hear the whole song and once again experience the incomparable brilliance of Michael Jackson [...] Michael Jackson really did it justice and we truly hope his fans—and our fans—get to hear it in its entirety. It's really poignant.[2][8]

Bunnell further commented that he was "very proud of the fact that [Jackson] recorded it. It's a good version and an interesting derivative of the original that I wrote." The songwriter stated that he and Beckley were "definitely in the dark" regarding the future of Jackson's unreleased material.[19]

Appearances in popular culture[edit]

On August 13, 2014, the day after the song's official release, the Fox reality show So You Think You Can Dance featured it in a routine choreographed by Travis Payne, a former backup dancer and choreographer for Michael Jackson.[20]

Starting in October, 2014, the song was used in a series of Jeep commercials, mainly for the song's line of "My Jeep began to rock".

Track listing[edit]

CD Single
No. Title Length
1. "A Place with No Name" (Single Edit) 3:58
2. "A Place with No Name" (Album Version) 5:35
3. "Slave to the Rhythm" (Audien Remix Radio Edit) 3:15
CD Promo
No. Title Length
1. "A Place with No Name"   5:35

Charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[21] 5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[22] 19
Croatia (Croatian Airplay Radio Chart)[23] 20
France (SNEP)[24] 93
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[25] 9
Hungary (Single Top 20)[26] 22
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[27] 24
Poland (Dance Top 50)[28] 33
South Korea Foreign Digital Chart (Gaon)[29] 8
South Korea Foreign Download Chart (Gaon)[30] 6
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[31] 172
US Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles (Billboard)[32] 1
US Adult R&B Songs (Billboard)[33] 25

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shields, Damien (2013-12-06). "Michael Jackson’s “A Place With No Name” – The story behind the song". Damienshields.com. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Montgomery, James (July 20, 2009). "America 'Honored' By Michael Jackson's 'A Place With No Name' Sample". MTV. Retrieved August 28, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Many unreleased songs". The Straits Times. July 2, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Urban/UAC Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  5. ^ Jackson, Bart (July 25, 2009). "Michael Jackson, 'King of Pop', dead at 50". Calgary Herald. Retrieved October 17, 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ Hessel, Evan (July 25, 2009). "Michael Jackson, King Of Pop, Dies At 50". Forbes. Retrieved October 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ "New Michael Jackson song leaked". news.com.au. July 17, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d Kreps, Daniel (July 20, 2009). "America Respond To Michael Jackson's 'A Place With No Name'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 17, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Michael Jackson homage to America". news.com.au. July 18, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Place with No Name sounds like Horse with No Name". news.com.au. July 17, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  11. ^ "People". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. July 18, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ "New Michael Jackson Song Emerges". CBS. July 16, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Jackson's new song hits the web". The Hindu. July 18, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  14. ^ "New Michael Jackson song: A Place With No Name". news.com.au. July 17, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Michael Jackson’s "A Place With No Name" – The Story Behind The Song". CBS. December 6, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  16. ^ "A place without no name (by Spino) - full version". Youtube.com. January 18, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  17. ^ Levy, Joe. "Michael Jackson's 'Xscape': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  18. ^ Moody, Nekesa Mumbi. "Review: 'Xscape' is a mixed bag for Jackson fans". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  19. ^ Berger, John (August 7, 2009). "America rides in on 'horse with no name'". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved August 28, 2009. 
  20. ^ McIntyre, Hugh (August 13, 2014). "Tonight, Michael Jackson Will Premiere His New Music Video on Twitter". Forbes. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Michael Jackson – A Place With No Name" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Michael Jackson – A Place With No Name" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  23. ^ "Croatian Airplay Radio Chart - 29 rujna 2014 (29 September 2014)". HRT. September 29, 2014. Archived from the original on October 4, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Lescharts.com – Michael Jackson – A Place With No Name" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  25. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  26. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 10 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  27. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Michael Jackson – A Place With No Name" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  28. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Dance Top 50. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  29. ^ "Gaon Foreign Digital Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Gaon Foreign Download Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  31. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "UK Chart Log May 24, 2014". Zobbel.de. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Michael Jackson Album & Song Chart History". Billboard Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles for Michael Jackson. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  33. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/310778/michael-jackson/chart?f=404