A Place with No Name
|"A Place with No Name"|
|Single by Michael Jackson|
|from the album Xscape|
|B-side||"Slave to the Rhythm (Audien Remix Radio Edit)"|
|Released||August 12, 2014|
|Length||5:35 (album version)|
3:58 (single version)
4:55 (original version)
Lee Martin Bunnell
|Michael Jackson singles chronology|
"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. 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. 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.
Background and leak
On June 25, 2009, musician Michael Jackson died following a cardiac arrest. 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. 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. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch stated that the two songs were "just about identical". 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. 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.
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. 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.
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".
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. Also featured are rare clips from Jackson's "In the Closet" video shoot. The music video was directed by Samuel Bayer.
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.
Joe Levy from Billboard called the song the "centerpiece" of the album. 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."
Response from America
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:
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.
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.
Appearances in popular culture
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.
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".
|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|
|1.||"A Place with No Name"||5:35|
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