Michael Jackson’s First-Ever Studio Recording to Get Limited Digital Release: Exclusive


Fans can buy a digital copy of 1967’s “Big Boy (One-derful Version)” during a four day sale starting Thursday (Dec. 7).

Michael Jackson

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Fifty-six years ago, on July 13, 1967, Michael Jackson and his brothers entered Chicago’s One-derful studios for their very first recording session. The session produced a song called “Big Boy,” with the song marking the first time Jackson’s voice was put on tape and the first recording from The Jackson 5.

Now, the song is getting its first-ever digital release. Starting Thursday (Dec. 7), fans can purchase “Big Boy (One-derful Version)” as part of a limited-edition release. This release is being done in collaboration with the song’s owner, Recordpool, and Swedish blockchain-based music and royalty marketplace anotherblock.

Available for $25, the “open edition” package includes the “Big Boy (One-derful Version)”, accessible through anotherblock’s player; images of master tape and agreements; downloadable song stems; and a digital vinyl B-side including “Michael the Lover” and “My Girl” along with their stems.

Available for $100, the “limited edition” includes everything in the open edition, along with newly designed artwork and nine additional songs and stems from the Steeltown sessions in 1967: “Big Boy (Steeltown Version),” “We Don’t Have to Be Over 21 (To Fall in Love),” “You’ve Changed,” “Tracks of My Tears,” “Lonely Heart,” “Saturday Night at the Movies,” “Stormy Monday” and “Under the Boardwalk.”

These packages will be available worldwide for four days, starting Thursday at noon ET via the anotherblock site.

“As a passionate MJ fan myself, I was instantly thrilled about introducing this significant piece of music history to the world and expanding the narrative of Jackson 5’s early days” says anotherblock CEO and co-founder Michel D Traore. “We engaged in numerous lengthy discussions about the recording, its meaning, history, and the optimal way to tell the story. In total, it took us about six months to piece everything together.”

The studio master recording for “Big Boy (One-derful Version)” was discovered in 2009 by journalist Jake Austen. A later version of “Big Boy,” re-recorded in a separate session, was released as The Jackson 5’s first single by Steeltown Records in January 1968. One-derful was a Chicago label in the ‘60s, located on South Michigan Avenue near Chess Records on the city’s Record Row and owned by brothers George and Ernie Leaner. Ernie’s son, Eric Leaner, and the One-derful estate are partners in the release

“For certain songs, and this one in particular, it’s evident that they deserve a special home where they won’t get lost in the mass of hundreds of thousands of songs released on the same day,” Traore continues. “Our digital vinyls are a product for the digital age, providing us with the opportunity to imbue them with a unique story. In addition to telling the story on our platform, we have crafted an in-depth editorial piece for this release that will be available alongside the recording. It presents a deep dive into the early days of The Jackson 5, complete with original photos.”

In partnership with Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, a portion of the sale revenue will go to the Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit serving Lake County, Indiana, where Jackson’s hometown of Gary is located.

“Through Anotherblock’s endeavor, the Jackson family’s initial recordings of our musical heritage find a new rhythm for the digital age,” Katherine Jackson says in a statement. “It is a testament that the Jacksons’ story, just like our music, remains timeless. And the best part is that some proceeds will go to a local foundation to help the families of Gary, Indiana.”

“We keep on experimenting to expand the concept of digital ownership within the music industry,” Traore adds. “This is for sure very different from a ‘normal’ music release, and it’s interesting to try a whole new format and see what the response is. I really hope that we can replicate a part of the feeling of owning a physical vinyl record – that’s our goal with this new format!” 

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