A Place with No Name

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"A Place with No Name"
"A Place With No Name" promotional cover.jpg
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Xscape
B-side"Slave to the Rhythm (Audien Remix Radio Edit)"
ReleasedAugust 12, 2014 (2014-08-12)
FormatDigital download
CD single
Recorded2013–2014 (reworked)
Length5:35 (album version)
3:58 (single version)
4:55 (original version)
Songwriter(s)Michael Jackson
Lee Martin Bunnell
Elliot Straite
  • Michael Jackson
  • Dr. Freeze
  • StarGate (album version)
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Love Never Felt So Good"
"A Place with No Name"
"Versace On The Floor"
Music video
"A Place with No Name" on YouTube
Audio sample

"A Place with No Name" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson. A 24-second snippet of the full song was released posthumously by website TMZ.com on July 16, 2009, three weeks after Jackson'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]

On June 25, 2009, musician Michael Jackson died following a cardiac arrest.[5][6] Three weeks after Jackson's death on July 16, 2009, celebrity news website TMZ.com—who were the first media outlet to report the death—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 when the track was recorded, although it has been reported that Jackson 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.[17] 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. Also featured are rare clips from Jackson's "In the Closet" video shoot. The music video was directed by Samuel Bayer.[17]

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]

Joe Levy from Billboard called the song the "centerpiece" of the album.[18] 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."[19]

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.[20]

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.[21]

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
1."A Place with No Name" (Single Version)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
1."A Place with No Name"5:35

See also[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. Archived from the original on July 5, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  4. ^ "Urban/UAC Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  5. ^ "Michael Jackson dead at 50 after cardiac arrest". cnn.com. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  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. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  9. ^ "Michael Jackson homage to America". news.com.au. July 18, 2009. Archived from the original on December 30, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  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. Archived from the original on January 14, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  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. ^ a b "Michael Jackson "A Place With No Name" (Samuel Bayer, director)". VideoStatic. August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  18. ^ Levy, Joe. "Michael Jackson's 'Xscape': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  19. ^ Moody, Nekesa Mumbi. "Review: 'Xscape' is a mixed bag for Jackson fans". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  20. ^ Berger, John (August 7, 2009). "America rides in on 'horse with no name'". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  21. ^ McIntyre, Hugh (August 13, 2014). "Tonight, Michael Jackson Will Premiere His New Music Video on Twitter". Forbes. Retrieved 26 August 2014.