Saturday, June 25, 2011
"She's Out of My Life" is a song written by musical artist Tom Bahler. Although it has been claimed that Bahler wrote the song about Karen Carpenter, Bahler stated, ""The fact is, I had already written that song by the time Karen and I became romantic. That song was written more about Rhonda Rivera . . . Rhonda and I had been together for two years, and it was after we broke up that I started dating Karen." The song has been recorded by a variety of artists, including: Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Ginuwine, 98°, Jon Lee, Barbara Mandrell, Nina, Willie Nelson, Josh Groban and Karel Gott (Czech Album: I Love You For Sentimental Reasons, performed in English).
A poignant moment in the song occurs near the end when Jackson begins to break down in tears as he sings the word "life". Given the popular response to his emotional rendition, the song remained in Jackson's live set for many years. Although he had attempted to record the song's last few moments with emotional restraint, after numerous tries he continued to end the rendition the same - by breaking down in tears. Producer Quincy Jones subsequently let Jackson's tearful recording stand:
The song became famous as the fourth single to be released by singer Michael Jackson from his successful Off the Wall album in 1979. It was the first time a solo artist had achieved four top ten hits from one album. Unlike the album's previous singles (which were all dance-oriented funk/disco songs), the "She's Out of My Life" song was an emotional ballad. Jackson's vocals on the record were considered by critics to be some of his best.
She's Out of My Life, I'd been carrying around for about three years—you can feel the pain in it, you know. And I held on to it and finally something said 'this is the right moment to give it to Michael'.
And when we recorded it with Michael, I know it was an experience he'd never even thought about to sing in a song, 'cause it's a very mature emotion. And he cried at the end of every take, you know. We recorded about—I don't know—8-11 takes, and every one at the end, he just cried, and I said 'hey - that's supposed to be, leave it on there.'
According to Jackson in Moonwalk, the song is about knowing that barriers separating him from others are seemingly easy to overcome, yet they cause him to miss out on what he really desires. He said that he cried from the sudden effect of the words because "I had been letting so much build up inside me." Particularly it reminded him of his feeling of being "so rich in some experiences while being poor in moments of true joy." He worried about this feeling showing up on the song, but also felt "if it touched people's heartstrings, knowing that would make me feel less lonely." He described making Off the Wall as "one of the most difficult periods of my life...I had very few close friends at the time and felt very isolated." He would walk though his neighborhood, hoping to meet people who didn't know who he was, so he could meet "somebody who would be my friend because they liked me and needed a friend too, not because I was who I am."
The music video for the song features Michael sitting on a stool singing the song. It was directed by Bruce Gowers, who also directed Jackson's video Rock with You, which the video is similar to. "She's Out of My Life" was the final video for the album. The video is one of Jackson's videos that are rarely seen. It is featured on the DVD box set Michael Jackson's Vision.
Jones wanted Jackson to record material with more mature themes and "feel the full range of his voice," so he brought the song to Jackson's attention, whereas he had originally intended to save the song for Frank Sinatra. Subsequently, the song peaked at #10 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was even more successful in the UK and peaked at number 3 on the charts (the equivalent position reached by Off the Wall's debut single "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough"). A music video was also produced to promote the song, which showed Michael in a blue-green shirt, dark pants, and sitting on a barstool with a spotlight shining behind him.