Michael Jackson: Got To Be There
As one of the biggest-selling music artists of all time, Michael Jackson helped to set the template for contemporary cover art. This is the cover of his first solo EP, as he made the fateful decision to pursue a career away from The Jackson 5.
While the art direction and design have dated, what makes the cover so appealing is Michael’s sheer charisma and charm. He’s the very embodiment of youth – full of exuberance and casual optimism; his wide smile and cockiness all the more adorable because he appears to be wearing his big brother’s clothes.
Wikipedia defines tragedy as ‘a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure’. The cover of Got To Be There is most resonant today as a poignant ‘before photo’, given what a tragedy the artist’s life eventually became. He scaled a pedestal shared by only a handful of other entertainers, an achievement that only served to make his self-destruction more compelling.
Jackson album covers are no doubt being dusted off in households around the world, as people make an effort to remember him at his peak.