Who Really Wrote Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and "Beat It"?



It began with a proclamation by a friend that when Michael Jackson died, we not only lost a great performer, but a great songwriter as well.

To the former, I begrudgingly conceded, but I could not have disagreed more with the assertion that Jackson one of the Great American Songwriters.  In fact, I object to the very idea that Jackson was any sort of songwriter at all, much less a great one.

"But aren't you forgetting that Michael Jackson single-handedly wrote 'Billie Jean' and 'Beat It'?"

Good question, and, no, I am not forgetting anything.  The participation of Jackson in the writing process isn't being disputed, but, rather, the fact that he took SOLE songwriting credit for those songs.

Mind you, if we're playing by the "Avril Lavigne Rules Of Songwriting", simply being in the room while the song is being written by others constitutes co-writing a song, which is exactly how Lavigne "wrote" most of her first album, including the mega-hits "Complicated" and "I'm With You".  Unlike Jackson, who took full writing credit for hits such as "Billie Jean" and "Beat It", Avril at least gave her co-writers (The Matrix...remember them?) proper credit.

It is impossible to begrudge the quality of songwriting displayed on Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad albums.  That is not what's being argued here.  I'm merely arguing the point that somebody wrote those tunes WITH Jackson and it would merely be nice to give credit where credit is due.

Quite frankly, if we're going to continue to toss the word "genius" around like a set of lawn darts, the very least we can do is get the bleeping credits right.

Trivia Time: Which of the following Top 5 hits from Thriller did Michael Jackson NOT write?

a) Beat It
b) Thriller
c) Billie Jean
d) Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

While some of you may be wondering how I managed to resist adding  "e) all of the above", don't think that it didn't cross my mind, but ultimately I chose to take the high road for once.

The correct answer is "b) Thriller", which was written by Rod Temperton.

MJ circa 1979
Okay, so just who is Rod Temperton, you ask?  Good question!  He was actually a member of the seminal funk group Heatwave, who are best known for the hits:"Boogie Nights" and "Always & Forever", both of which he wrote.

On the advice of engineer Bruce Swedien, Quincy Jones hired Temperton to write songs for Jackson's first Epic Records album, Off The Wall.  Temperton responded by penning three songs, including the #1 hit "Rock With You".

For Jackson's next album, Temperton wrote three more songs, including the above-mentioned "Thriller".

Jackson, meanwhile, had not written a single original song for ANY of his previous solo albums for Motown, yet the very first song he writes after switching to Epic Records and befriending world-class music arranger/producer Quincy Jones turns out to be "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" from Off The Wall.  

Prior to Jones' arrival, the material Jackson had been working with was forgettable fluff at best.  Suddenly, the minute Jones shows up on the scene, Michael Jackson is writing full-fledged mega-hits all by his lonesome?  No way, Jose.

A clue as to what was really going on is revealed in the writing credits for another song from Off The Wall called "Get On The Floor".  The song is credited to Jackson and Louis Johnson.  Hmm, who is this Louis Johnson, you ask?

He's the bass-playing half of A&M funk legends The Brothers Johnson (best known for the classic funk hits "Strawberry Letter 23", "Get The Funk Out Ma Face", and "I'll Be Good To You").  The song got its start from a bass riff idea that Jackson hummed to Johnson, who then shaped it into the familiar riff we all know and love.  Jackson then sang jibberish for the vocal melody until it was time to actually record final vocals for the song.

The same method was employed for the writing of "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" during sessions for Jackson's next album, Thriller, yet Johnson received no songwriting credit.  Now, regardless of how well anyone is able to hum a musical idea to someone capable of playing an instrument, the end result is always going to be different when interpreted by a musician.  Especially if said musician is, himself, a gifted songwriter like Johnson or Temperton.

MJ circa "Invincible", 2001
Here's where it gets a little fuzzy, though: Jackson takes FULL writing credit for 9 out of 11 songs on the Quincy Jones-produced Bad, including the hits "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Dirty Diana", Smooth Criminal" and "Man In The Mirror".  

Four years later, Jackson releases Dangerous, opting to work with producers Teddy Riley and Bill Bottrell instead of the legendary Quincy Jones.  While Jackson writes eleven of the album's 14 tracks, this time, he doles out co-writing credits like Pez candy, to the point that engineer Bruce Swedien gets a co-write on the album's opening track "Jam".

The only problem is that none of these songs come within an acre of the quality of the material Jackson was supposedly writing all by himself.  Is it merely a coincidence that the moment he stops working with Jones, his songwriting suddenly turns to crap?

Perhaps that's because Jackson was more reliant upon others for the crafting of his songs than he was letting on.  Let's face it, even at the top of his game, Teddy Riley was no Quincy Jones and he'd probably be the first to admit this.  So much for the staying power of New Jack Swing.

By the time Jackson releases Invincible in 2001, there's barely enough room on the CD booklet to list the myriad of co-writers taking part in the co-writing of Jackson's material at this point.  In fact, it took seven writers and four producers, including Jackson, to craft the dreadful "Heaven Can Wait".

This has all the looks of a singer incapable of writing, much less performing his own material, and being propped up by a team of producers and song doctors.

So how did Jackson single-handedly write such timeless classics as "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" when he doesn't even touch the piano in the above interview when asked how he writes a song, even though he's sitting right in front of one, yet he immediately gets up and demonstrates his dancing skills when asked. 

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

84 comments:

  1. WOW I can't believe your trying to relegate MJ songwriting ability to piss poor or even a lil bit bad. You seem to lack a lot of info on jackson. The way MJ wrote song was he would dictates sounds into a recorder making the whole song with his voice and than he goes though it with a musician telling him exactly how the song should sound. And believe me he gets it the way he wants it to sound (watch this is it). And if you don't believe me go look at Michael jackson deposition tapes and it like 2 hours of him explaining how he writes songs. Also otw thriller and bad is not the only thing he did I hate when critics write his music off after bad it just so wrong his most poignant and moving work was on history and dangerous songs like stranger in moscow, who is it and earth song are some examples. Also he just didn't start writing songs on his first album. He left Motown and was with his brothers for a while and they put out multiple albums thats where you can see the development of his songwriting abilities, from the first song he wrote that was published blues away to songs like heartbreak hotel which is a masterful song. He also co shake your body to the ground and can you feel it with his brothers( he probably wrote most of it). But if your gonna criticize him as a songwriter do your research buddy instead of talking out your ass and regurgitating bias music critic opinions. Actually listen to the music and make a judgement.

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    1. Now that's telling that idiotic miscreant,who knows absolutely nothing about the greatest individual talent to ever grace the landscape of the music scene.

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    2. there is agreement among all that his songwriting dropped of when he left Quincy; that is not a coincidence. His dancing could be called masterful, but that too was heavily borrowed from Bob Fosse moves. He was amazing no doubt, but let the truth be heard. Like many legends, he had a LOT of help and influence along the way.https://youtu.be/335zYVdW3zo

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    3. Actually there is agreement and disagreement. It is a matter of opinion that his music was bad after Jones. To a lot of people his music was as great as the Thriller album music but it was still great. But to others, it was bad after that. Yes, he may have had, as you say, a lot of help. But if you look at the parts that he did do to many they are great. I don't feel that genius only applies to those who do all the work themselves with little or no help. To me, genius is, if the song is amazing and you played an important part in making it amazing then you deserve credit fornthe genius of it. This is what I see it be it being for Jackson. People see Jackson as just having sat there and let others write stuff for him and then just came in to sing it. When you look at the work he put into it, he had help but that doesn't finish his work or the effort he put. If you don't like what he did that that's fine but there are those who did.

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    4. MJ was a great black musician and i never bought even one of his songs orxalbums . His,career speaks for itself ,but lets not call him a masterful song writer.he performed well , one of the best on the world . But song writing came from Tolbert and Jones influence on the man ,obviously.for you to say oh he took a full two hours on every song is just some rificulous bs.cant takd anything away from the black man's hero but ill never need to own anything he has done and i wouldnt go out of my way to listen to it either. Sorry maybe he could change his,face and molest more young kids and thst would have made him a better song writer . He was a great performer but too wierd for my taste.

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    5. Too weird?? Mabe if you read interviews from people who knew him best, you'd find that not one of them said he was weird, but all said he was a normal and humble man. Kathy Hilton and numerous others called him "honorable." All of your knowledge of Micheal Jackson comes straight from the tabloids and media outlets whom never even met the man. If I'm going to believe anyone, it's definitely going to be someone who knew him personally and not people who are reporting falsehood for the sake of a story. So how can one make a truthful, honest opinion on one's character if you've never met them, not even seen them in person!!?? Would you appreciate it if someone hated you based on what someone else told them?? And the someone never even met you...

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  2. I think Paul Anka should see this blog entry. Jackson and his estate seem more than willing to take credit for anything MJ was anywhere near when it was written.

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    1. Paul Anka's This is it tune is cheesy and dated while Mj's tune is fresh and melodic. Just listen the version where you can hear both it's clear who had the better sense of melody

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  3. Paul Anka got paid for (this is it) and (love never felt so good) two songs that were cowritten with him and MJ please take what this blogger says with a grain of salt he obviously doesn't like MJ and trys to downplay him as an artist refusing to acknowledge his skill and talent as a song writer. If you want factual information on MJ music check out Joe Vogel Man in the Music don't be an ignorant fool like this blogger.

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    1. Thanks for the reference. I do agree with what the blogger says about people not giving credit where credit is due but I also have to say it is obvious the blogger doesn't care for Jackson music. And that fuels his criticism. Many artist who we're called geniuses and had very little help with their work all say that it is common to take from those who influenced you. So to question Jackson because he had help from others to write his music, is toquestion if all artists who borrowed from those who influenced them and created their style with the help of the many they studied have a right to take any credit at all. As a musician, I feel that some people believe that those who can't play an instrument can only be so great but then the hard work of the instrumentalist is more important.

      I've known for years that Jackson was working with a lot of artists on his albums with songs that they wrote for him or songs they helped him write. But this never changed my stance. I don't go calling Avril a genius or Beyonce a genius because I am aware that much of their work is just sitting and waiting for the end product and then performing. Bit I don't see Jackson as that, difference is he actually put I his fair share work, expect for songs that other people wrote for him. Those he did the singing and that's great but I do t credit him for writing them. The ones where he spent late nights in the studio writing along with Teddy and others I credit him and Teddy there.

      My stance is help or no help the man earned the right to be called a musical genius based on the fact that he put a lot of work into honing the songs he would mumble into a tape recorder into the finish product he would release. TO many people those sings were amzing. To this blogger, he said himself they were crap. This helps to make sense of why he feels as he does. If bekieved that someone work became crap after two great pieces, it will make you questuon their ability. But if you feel thwir work was amazing even after the two great pieces, then your feeling with be different. One person said that the reason most of his songs sounded like remixes(the song Jam was used as an examole)was because when MJ would come up with one thing, he challenge it and push to make it better than that and he did the same with those who worked with him. He held everyone to the standard he held himself and that was why some people said that he would work really hard. Which made them frustrated but then when they would see the response of the people they would understand why he pushed himself and them as well.

      Sometimes music snobs can be anal about things, I know because I can be one as well. I'm picky about some stuff. But here, genius was not misused on Jackson or some other greats like I've heard people question the beatles and if they were even geniuses. Bit I do not use the word any Of the newer generation artists. Personally I don't feel they have earned it.

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    2. I enjoyed reading the article because it takes a critical stance. I am not a MJ fanatic, I like the music a lot though. Anyway, I wanted to make some remarks with regard to your comments, since to me it seems symtpomatic for the debate:

      "I do agree with what the blogger says about people not giving credit where credit is due but I also have to say it is obvious the blogger doesn't care for Jackson music. And that fuels his criticism."

      If someone doesn´t care that is actual the best condition to write a critic. To me it is obvious that a lot of people here care a lot for MJ and that is particularly what fuels their criticism (of the article). Asides: Being involved doesn´t devaluate any sort of argumentation, reasoniong or judgement. The inability of men to give birth to a child causes a very different stance to abortion than it does to those who can. Does that mean that men´s opinion on abortion is irrelevant? No, it´s just one more (biased) stance in the discourse.

      "So to question Jackson because he had help from others to write his music, is toquestion if all artists who borrowed from those who influenced them and created their style with the help of the many they studied have a right to take any credit at all. "

      I think you´re right, it definitely gets down to this question. It´s the same question that concerns blaming or hyping political leaders for historical events when they are mostly a figure of identification and not the master brain. Anyway, you apparently don´t see that there is a difference between MJ and {random artist}, that is his fame. Alas, people still call him uniquely king of pop. So if you´d like to write about the hypocrisy of hyping single individuals as geniuses in this business, then MJ is a very good point to start. Some might say: the best.

      "As a musician, I feel that some people believe that those who can't play an instrument can only be so great but then the hard work of the instrumentalist is more important. "

      I don´t read the article as if that´s what it´s all about. The main point is the fact that people go uncredited (legally and discoursively). In some cases it´s not even the fault of the artist: fans usually project their engagement onto single entities/individuals, not on processes. It´s not really about playing an instrument or not.

      "My stance is help or no help the man earned the right to be called a musical genius based on the fact that he put a lot of work into honing the songs he would mumble into a tape recorder into the finish product he would release."

      In retrospect it is quite tough to prove who did what work since most of it is not documented publicly. What we see is the tip of the iceberg. Why would it matter that MJ is a genius? I tend to believe that it really doesn´t matter - it´s a mere debate of taste. What matter to me is the music and how we talk about it (that is also what we don´t say about it, i.e. that it is produced by the work of many people who knew how to do s***).

      "Sometimes music snobs can be anal about things, I know because I can be one as well. "

      I think everyone can be an ass about everything and reading your post certainly gets me the feeling of a bias. In the end the question whether MJ was a genius cannot be answered generally. To me the value of the article is not about being critical on MJ, but being critical about the identification of products with performers.

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    3. I disagree with you on many points.
      1) If someone doesn't care that is actual the best condition to write a critic. With this I disagree. I am not saying a person should care(but really what I meant by not caring was that I believe the critic dislikes Jackson's music in general, not simply looking at OTW or Thriller but his over all work) the idea is to be as objective as possible(in other words express you critic without letting your dislike get the best of you) There are artists I don't care for but will step forward and state my stance on them from an objective point. And not, just throw darn near everything I have at them. Let's look at these's statements for I feel they show greatly that he has strong dislike for Jackson.

      a)"Is it merely a coincidence that the moment he stops working with Jones, his songwriting suddenly turns to crap?" Crap? MJ's music after Thriller, to many, was not crap. To this critic, it is. This is what I was talking about when I said it's obvious that he doesn't like MJ's music. For Example, I don't really care for Justin Bieber's music and I do feel that the word genius does not apply to him. However, I can admit that he can sing and with his earlier stuff I understand why some many people like him. Do I feel his stuff now is crap, yes. But to those who like his music, it's not. Yet, I do not let my dislike for his new material to keep me from acknowledging that when he first came out I noticed he was a decent guitar player. However, because some people hate his music they say he can't sing or play just because they don't like his music. I disagree with this. He can sing and play decent, he's just not turning out music we feel is any good. I feel this is a more objective stance to take. I feel that just because you don't like Jackson's later stuff doesn't it wasn't good. Nor does it mean that the music was crap song writing.

      b)"Perhaps that's because Jackson was more reliant upon others for the crafting of his songs than he was letting on."
      To me someone staying in the studio long hours watching the process and telling people what he is hearing and making sure the people are getting it down the way he wants it, and then letting them step in and do what he hired them for(to maybe tweak somethings to their flavour), is not relying to much on others to craft his music. And Jackson was not secretive about letting others step in do things that needed to be done. So how was Jackson not letting on about the help he was getting? And this right here shows that the critic is holding Jackson responsible for the credits on his albums. Which shows that the critic is criticising MJ.

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    4. c)"This has all the looks of a singer incapable of writing, much less performing his own material, and being propped up by a team of producers and song doctors."

      These are all the statements I disagree with. I do not believe Jackson relied more on others to write his stuff for him and while I acknowledge he sang songs that other people wrote, HE GAVE CREDIT. Especially for the song Butterflies on the Invincible album. He said himself that Floetry wrote it and he just added his twist. I believe that Jackson had put just as much effort into the song writing as the list people who were credited. Oh an Man in the Mirror MJ has clearly given credit to Siedah Garrett for that song. So he did give credit, as far as the writing credits I don't know what's going on with that if she was not credited then I question if that was someone else's error outside of Jackson because Jackson has credited her for that song and even asked her to write another one for him(but the song didn't really get much success).

      2) "So if you´d like to write about the hypocrisy of hyping single individuals as geniuses in this business, then MJ is a very good point to start. Some might say: the best." I disagree with this statement because as I have already said I do not agree that just because someone had help that diminishes their value in relation to their work. While I believe the people involved should be credited. MJ is rightfully famed for it. These people helped. If MJ came up with the overall point of the song and directed the musicians to get the sound and notes he was hearing. I don't see it as him being hyped up. He was rightfully given the most credit or called a genius and then those who helped him acknowledged for helping. I feel this way about any other artist. So in a nutshell, He had help but that doesn't diminish his value as a genius or as a songwriter because others contributed. This was my point and is in regard to your statement about Jackson being an example of hyping individuals up to that of geniuses. While I agree with this for some artists. There are others I do not agree. By this logic no one is really a musical genius in the business if they had help coming up or with producing the product. I believe all geniuses have help getting to the ideas or products they produce. But not everyone is a genius.

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    5. 3)"Now, regardless of how well anyone is able to hum a musical idea to someone capable of playing an instrument, the end result is always going to be different when interpreted by a musician. Especially if said musician is, himself, a gifted songwriter like Johnson or Temperton." This statement is why I expressed that I feel the critic was expressing he felt the musician was more important. While, I acknowledge the words 'more important' wasn't the best way to say what I meant. I feel that it doesn't matter if the artist had to hum it and the musician has to play it. The musician didn't come up with the riff or the bass line or whatever. The artist did, so the musician should be credited for playing but no more than that. Now if the musician came up with the idea then that is fine, they should be credited for the part they came up with or the whole song if that's what they came up with. Let's look at this statement. "So how did Jackson single-handedly write such timeless classics as "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" when he doesn't even touch the piano in the above interview when asked how he writes a song..." This here comes across to me as the critic has generalised that everyone who calls MJ a genius or a great songwriter is assuming he did it on his own. I knew for years that MJ didn't play piano professionally(little do people know that MJ did play piano decently, just not thoroughly). But so what if he didn't, that doesn't mean he didn't write the songs. HE HAD HELP.

      3)"What matter to me is the music and how we talk about it (that is also what we don´t say about it, i.e. that it is produced by the work of many people who knew how to do s***) This again is where my opinion differs a bit. If Jackson came up the lyrics, the melody, and the beat or in others words the foundation of the song and then turned it over to people to put it together or how you say it "Who can do s***" This doesn't lower the value of Jackson as a great songwriter. He still wrote the song, he just needed people to help him get it down and recorded. So if the song is amazing then he should be acknowledged as a great songwriter. And those who helped him get it down should be acknowledged for helping. Here I'm sure you see I am repeating myself. So I will sum up this part and that is I do feel there are artists who are credited with music they didn't really do. Like for example the Crystals. For years, people believed the hits the Crystals came out with were their voices. But this is not true, other artists sang the songs and the Crystals went up on stage and sang the song making people believe it was them. It wasn't. Yet, they were credited. As far as MJ I don't see him being an example of hype, since he put the hard work into the product right along with those who helped. He was the one who can up the the things that many people loved or was hyped about in his later stuff.

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    6. Now the next part I will address is the bias.

      1)"Why would it matter that MJ is a genius? I tend to believe that it really doesn´t matter - it´s a mere debate of taste." Interesting that you direct this statement to me, the only reason I addressed it was because the critic made a statement I didn't agree with about the word Genius being thrown around in regard to Jackson. If he had not made the statement I wouldn't have said anything about my opinion of whether or not I feel the word genius is being used correctly in Jackson's case. But because he did I just expressed where I stood on that. He is free to feel that Jackson isn't a genius. That's fine, but as I said it makes since that he would feel that way considering his strong criticism of Jackson's later work and him blaming Jackson for why people were not credited. So according to you if it doesn't matter if Jackson or any artist is a genius, then it doesn't matter if the word is thrown around or not. Yet, you didn't include his stance on it in your argument. Like you said it's a matter of taste. So just as someone would argue he is a genius, there are those who argue he isn't. If it doesn't matter then it goes both ways.

      "I think everyone can be an ass about everything and reading your post certainly gets me the feeling of a bias." This statement really wasn't my point. I was simply that sometimes we put restrictions on things because sometimes people have their standards. But I don't see that as being an ass. I disagree with you there, nor was I calling him an ass. I was saying that sometimes when you are picky about things, you hold people to a level that is not really necessary, hence the use of the word anal. I acknowledge that I tend to do this as well and often have to think to myself that, it's fine to have standards but not so much that you cannot give people their props(Example, I acknowledge he is right in a way but in others I don’t feel he is). This is what I was saying. It makes sense that you would feel bias in my post because I have expressed that I disagreed with the critic on multiple things, mainly because of research I’ve done on MJ and stories people have accounted. But I don't see this as being biased. I agreed with him that credit needs to be given when necessary. I just don't agree with certain statements he made and I expressed why. If this makes me look biased because I didn't completely agree with him on what he said then so be it, I'm biased. But I disagree, for legitimate reasons. Some fans would disagree because they want to believe that Michael did everything on his own. I disagree because I don’t see him having gotten help as a reason question his level of fame.

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    7. But I don't agree when you said, "To me the value of the article is not about being critical on MJ..."

      "This has all the looks of a singer incapable of writing, much less performing his own material, and being propped up by a team of producers and song doctors." I feel this statement is downplaying his ability. I don't believe MJ was incapable of writing or performing his own material. Nor do I believe he was being propped up in anyway. I do not see the fact that the credits being long, is evidence he was incapable of anything. While I can see how people may get that idea. MJ was still writing his own material and there were great songs on the album that were obviously his, like the song You are My Life. Which is a beautiful song. And might I also express that Sony tampered with the album. Michael put together a list of songs he wanted on the album but because Sony didn't like what he picked they told him to remove certain songs and put other in their place and that is the product he released. For all we know the other songs Michael wanted to release before Sony could been better than the ones he had. I recently came across information expressing that it's been a practice for record companies to edit and lie about credits in the albums. In other words, or years people have been given credit for things they didn't do or not given credits for things they did do. But I don't see that as the Artists issue but the companies.

      To conclude this long argument, I agree with the critic that people are being hyped, people are not getting the credit they deserve. But I don't agree with a number of statements he made in regards to Jackson. If you see it as biased then yea, after all I have done research and learned about the processes that Jackson used in producing his work(not just from him but from those who worked with him)as well as other artists. And I believe that he has earned most of the hype(meaning I don't agree with fans who believe the man was perfection or God), but artistically His work has touch many people's lives and with the contributions he made and late nights he deserves the hype he gets. But in the case of artists like the Crystals. I don't agree that whatever success they gained was completely earned. Just singing over someone else's vocals is not work to me. Or if someone else writes all the songs in their entirety and you just sing them then no, you shouldn't get the credit for it. But if you worked on it just as hard as the other contributors, and the music is great, then you deserve the hype. Just make sure you credit people for their work, which I believe MJ did, Like for example Thriller, he acknowledged in a 1999 interview that Temperton wrote it in fact the song was formerly called something like Starlight Night but was changed to Thriller. As far as Billie Jean based on research MJ has in fact credited Hall N' Oats for being the inspiration of that song in terms of the bass line.
      Also, Beat it according to Quincy Jones was written by Michael, due to Quincy encouraging him to write some stuff. So if MJ didn't write the song, then Quincy and many others are crediting Him for reasons we do not know. And we won’t know why until they come forward, and explain, or someone exposes why he was credited.

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    8. "I disagree with you on many points."

      I can see that - I see you disagreeing with basically everyone who takes a critical stance. Your presence on this thread clearly shows emotional engagement - not the best condition for any sort of discussions. I won´t get into it since my time is not worth spending in a discussion that has already ended.

      STRG+F finds 10 instances of "I believe" in your comments and I think you´re doing good to do that, since most of your points are based on belief. As I have pointed out already neither you, nor me, nor anyone else than the persons who were present during the whole production process will be capable to judge who was involved in what way inthe creation of the music sung by Michael Jackson. It´s a mere historical debate with nothing more than traces and indication. The author of this article points to some of them, other point to others. In the end, anyone will be proven right or wrong - that´s why it´s so irrelevant to claim being objective or "more objective".

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    9. The reason I disagree is because of the information given by individuals who have worked with him. Just as the person who wrote this blog said he was relying what was said by one person who worked with him but then when you look at the things that multiple people said about what his process was like even in detail. I disgaree with people saying he wasn't a song writer or a good one. This based on information.

      Are there songs my MJ that aren't my favourite or that I don't feel are strong? yes. But I can see that he was a great song writer for what he did do. Even with the little piano he did play, he did great because the songs became hits and one of one of them a classic to many.

      There are artist today for example, Neo, he is a good song writer when you pay attention to it. But I'm not really a fan of his work. So while I may not like what he does or may not feel it's any good quality wise. I can tell that he has some strengths in song writing.

      You say I'm coming from emotion but the reason I commented was to express disagreement with different parts of stances, which is no different from when people counter multiple peoples stances in any other threads or blogs that doesn't mean it's emotional but that you find an aspect the comment that you disagree with. In fact I always read through peoples comments, and certain ones I agree or disagree with I express it. That doesn't mean the topic is emotional but that I like to read through express how I see things in certain parts. People will post one comment and go, which is fine. However, I don't approach discussions that way. I like to read all comments and some I'll express agreement or disagreement. So with that said, whenever I see someone posting multiple comments on something or even in disagreement I don't really assume that emotion is the reason. I pay attention to the detail of the stance. The reason it appears that the author was really personal was because they expressed their stance in a bit of a harsh way. I am aware that there are people who don't like MJs music which is fine but then when people bash it a little harshly, you can tell that there is more of a personal feeling there than it simply not being their taste. But then I can acknolwedge that maybe the author is an intense person. Sometimes intense people express their opinions in intense ways that are rather harsh. So I can see that.

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    10. As far as a discussion, since the point of a discussion is not to force anyone to believe as you do but simply express your opinion, even objectivity can be useful in a discussion situation. So I believe that it is relevant. I find that with me being more objective(chances are not entirely) on things I can see other peoples points even if I don't agree with the over all position. In this case I can see the author has some good points but in context to other artists I disagree with the over all position. In this case there are points I don't agree with and as I said more than once there are points I did. It is appearing to me that you are judging my stance purely based on what I disgareee with and ignoring the fact that I expressed the author had a good point in a couple parts. And even expressed that I to tend to see things from the authors perspective which is why I said I believe the author could use a little objectivity.

      I Believe no matter how you see the persons music, taking a more objective look can help you to see into it differently. Even those, the author may acknowledge as great song writers had some songs that weren't very good and to some people are probably horrible. But I find that those who bash artists in aspects are more so coming from the fact that they don't like what the artist turned out so they say it was bad, when truthfully it really isn't bad. From experience this is very easy to do.

      I've learned that when you look passed your dislike for it, you can see the good or even the great in it even though it may not change how you feel over all. With MJ, despite whether his later stuff was any good to people. If people try to look passed that, I believe they can see the good or great in it even if they still feel it's bad. This is what I meant when I expressed that the author was not really being objective enough on it. They have a right to believe as they do, that I am not trying to take away, I was really trying say that if they looked past their dislike I believe the author can come to understand and see why people see his later work as great or genius based on those ho worked with him. So your mentioning at no one is going to change how they feel on this, I believe is irrelevant, since that's not the point here as far as I'm concerned. I am just simply expressing my opinion on parts I don't agree with based on information I have gathers about MJ and other artists, if anyone approaches a discussion as to try to make others change their beliefs then they are fighting a losing battle and would argue is really what is bad for discussion.

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    11. JRC guitarist, Good analysis and truthfully told. I don't know where the author or this luga person are getting there information. If you don't like Michael, that's fine. Just say it. But to attempt to take away from the man what is rightfully his and what he's earned is just wrong!! How was credit never given when Michael has spoken openly about the writers of his music. This was never ever kept in secrecy by Michael Jackson. It's clear that there are personal feelings involved, and also the fact that you two have totally allowed your personal feelings to impede you from being honest!!

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    12. Well I agree MJ has given credit to those who worked for him and wrote songs for him. A lot people are holding him to standards that truthfully not all musical geniuses go according to either. MJ had a writing style that was simplistic which was intentional on his part. Due to him telling Brad Buxer(his music arranger) to keep melodies simple almost child like because they are more memorable. That shows a level of mastery on his part in understanding how certain song parts impact people. But people's mindsets are, the more complex the song the more genius. I disagree. There is genius in even the simplistic as much as there is genius in the complex. Every song doesn't have to have 13 to 20 chords, key changes with different time signatures to be clever works of art. But because MJs songs didn't have these things, people say he wasn't a good songwriter. This is not true, he had a great sense of melody and amazing rhythm that was simple and memorable compared to some complex songs that a lot people probably don't remember today. He wasn't the most amazing song writer, but he was a great song writer especially for his approach to melody(think Heal the world, Will you be there, etc..). His melodies were beautiful, and he deserves his props for someone with limited musical instrumentation abilities. Even the song Black or White which is listed as a one of the top 100 classic rock riffs, yet he came up with it by simply humming it, while experienced musicians like myself struggle to come up riffs that will even capture someone's attention. Look at how many guitarist cover that song. His personal life and the help he had aside, the man was great at song writing, and I wish he had kept working at it especially instrumentation wise. With his rhythm and sense of melody he would have been a monster.

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  4. Or, there's a third option here: Producer Quincy Jones knew how to bring out the best in Michael Jackson's creative-but-rudimentary songwriting.

    A similar example: The Beatles. No one ever, ever doubts that Lennon/McCartney wrote their own songs. Yet they were brought to life by the classically-trained George Martin, in a manner that came to define their sound. He also had a massive hand in arranging (and even writing some of) their material.

    The piano solo in "In My Life" came from Lennon telling Martin, "Play it like Bach."

    Martin scored the string section (i.e., all the instrumentation besides the vocals) in "Eleanor Rigby"

    Lennon hummed what he wanted the strings to play for "I Am the Walrus"; McCartney did the same for the piccolo trumpet solo in "Penny Lane". Both worked with him for the orchestral wind-up in "A Day in the Life".

    I think the same thing happened with Jackson and Jones. They had excellent chemistry, and Jones (being a talented songwriter himself) could bring Jackson's songwriting to life magnificently. And that's likely why Jackson began doling out songwriting credits post-Bad, once he stopped working with Jones. With Quincy, he didn't need additional songwriters to flesh out his ideas; he could lay down the basics of what he wanted, Quincy could understand it immediately and intimately, and manifest it exactly as Jackson intended.

    If you think this is overstating Quincy's influence, again, look at The Beatles; their weakest album (Let It Be) was the only one to not feature George Martin, and both Lennon and McCartney's songwriting quality and consistency dropped significantly once they split and began employing other producers.

    The real question, then, is why Quincy and Michael stopped working with each other, after producing three albums that shine as the pinnacle of pop craftsmanship.

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    1. I disagree with that Mj writing went down if anything his songwriting became more sophisticated after bad, with songs like (stranger in moscow, who is it, Jam, childhood, they don't care about us. What happen was this part of his career wasn't as commercial as earlier in his career therefore critics love to write him off for that artistically and various other reasons. I agree of course quincy jones played a part in MJ music but all you have to do is listen to Michael demos of songs he's written than listen to the final product the song is basically done. Your logic if this than that is not a good way to explain Mj songwriting because there two different scenarios with Mj and the Beatles. And before MJ met Quincy jones Mj was writing great songs like shake your body, can you feel it, this place hotel etc. of course this part of his career is also glossed over like its not important like he didn't do anything of merit. People act like Quincy made MJ they forget MJ had been in the business for ten years learning from people like marvin gaye and stevie wonder and james brown.

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    2. One thing I can tell you is that, those who worked with Jackson during the time of Thriller said that Jackson loved working with Quincy because Quincy felt that Michael had a lot of good ideas and gave him the freedom to do and put what he wanted. So I see Thriller as an album created by musical geniuses. I don't feel people should down play either of them. I've heard people refer to Michael and Quincy as a power duo. Or monster collaborators because when they worked together a lot magic happened. Many say that Quincy complimented MJs ideas and style. This I believe is true. So I agree that the third option is closer to the truth than people saying Michael did it alone which I always knew he didn't but I also know it wasn't only Quincy and the other people either. MJ made some great contributions to the songs outside of singing and so if you acknowledge Quincy then it makes sense to acknowledge MJ too.

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  5. Lenny Kravitz wrote Billie Jean.

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  6. brilliant. i ve always had that same feeling. First of all, to write the riff of billie jean you must be a really good bass player. period.
    but you can go further. it seems that all the artist that are sold to us are always a complex marketing product, which includes the 'genius'... but we must face the truth: the product is a compound of several artists, and a beautyful dancing face on top of it.

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    1. While I agree that there are artists who, as you say, are beautiful dancing faces on top of a product that is a compound of several artists. I disagree that Jackson couldn't have written the bass riff of Billie Jean. Jackson had actually a good beatboxer himself, and I don't feel that you have to be an instrumentalist to be able to come up with some things. It might be hard to understand how but it is not impossible and I believe a lot of artists do that. Jackson may have had other people working with him but that does really mean he wasn't a genius for what he did come up with himself. But then, some people feel genius is a matter of opinion. To me Jackson was A genius for what he contributed along with those who helped him. I'm particularly picky about music and don't generally call anyone a genius but those I feel made a good contribution even if they did work with others.

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    3. You are dead wrong. MJ composed songs in his head including the bass riff and yes MJ came up with it on his own and noone had anything to do with writing that song but MJ. Same is true to Beat it. Listen to the demos and how MJ sang the various instruments. In fact MJ's genius was that he heard fully formed songs in his head and then was capable of singing the tracks one by one.

      Read this: The Incredible Way Michael Jackson Wrote Music

      http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/the-incredible-way-michael-jackson-wrote-music

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    4. Thank you! I've been reading this discussion and I posted that very link once already but I'm not finished. It's worth more than all the words people painstakingly write here. So thanks again. Peace!

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  7. quincy jones has repeatedly said that he initially did not like the song billie jean and michael had to convince him to put it on the album. i think it's pretty obvious michael wrote it, especially since michael has a theme of writing songs about groupies (like in dirty diana), and michael also has a reoccurring theme of writings songs that contain paranoia.

    whoever wrote this blogpost is clearly an idiot

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    1. so because Michael fought to get Billie Jean on the album means he wrote it? And you call me an idiot?

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    2. No, but it was found that Quincy hated the bass riff of the sound and also the theme and didn't want it on the album. This shows that while Quincy may be a genius in what he contributed he wasn't always right in his judgement. It was also Quincy's judgement not to release the album. Good thing MJ could recognise genius to know that it was great. Had someone not told Me to trust HIS instincts, Thriller would probably be in a vault today being released single at a time.

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    3. Yep. I think Quincy talks about it on the remastered Thriller release . It was something like...Q: "Michael had this really long bass line at the beginning (he said something like "you could shave on it") and I said, Smelly you got to cut that down. And he said but that's what makes me want to dance! So when Michael Jackson tells you that's what makes him want to dance you got to shut up!" (Paraphrased of course.) A simple listen is all it takes...

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  8. Just making stuff up and without looking up the credits of the songs yourself, only proves your ignorance. Lol. I have the booklet which came with the double cassette History album. Rod Temperton is infact credited as 'written and composed by Rod Temperton'. MJ wrote and composed 4 songs on Thriller. Beat It, Billie Jean, The Girl is Mine and Wanna be Startin' Somethin'. The thing is, MJ did made most of the hits by himself. He had the full composition in his head. That is why he is the sole credited composer on those hits. How about you first look up the credits yourself and educate yourself on the song writing and recording process. Bruce Swedien, Rod Temperton, Tedd Riley, R. Kelly are credited for the songs which they actually wrote and composed or co-wrote and co-composed. How about you ask some musicians in the music industry. MJ was a genius. People who have worked with him, for example the instrumentalists who were called for the song producing process have said it themselves. I can quote them. Your article will go down the toilet. He had the full thing in his head, the songs which he did my himself alone.

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    1. The info in the article was taken directly from album credits and an interview with Louis Johnson.

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    2. Louis Johnson had absolutely nothing to do with Billie Jean or Beat it and if he tries to take credit for those songs now he is lying. The demos of those songs can be found on YouTube Johnson was nowhere around when they were made. Don't believe everything people say about MJ they have lied more about that guy than any other public figure. There are a lot of people who after MJ became huge tried to take credit for his work and exaggerate their importance. Unless Johnson can show a tape where he played any part of Billie Jean or Beat it before MJ came up with them you have nothing.

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  9. A little sloppiness on my part while writing. Just to make it clear.
    Rod Temperton is infact credited as 'written and composed by Rod Temperton' for the song Thriller from the Thriller album.

    MJ in childhood used to sit and observe in recording sessions of Stevie Wonder. Used to ask and stuff also.

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    1. As I mentioned in the article (the answer to the trivia question) Thriller was written by Temperton.

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    2. YEA, a lot people knew Temperton wrote it that was not secret actually. But I do agree that you are being biased toward Jackson and have lead more by personal opinion. But then this is a blog. Which is what people people do.

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  10. I know the man who actually wrote Billie Jean, wasn't Michael Jackson!!

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    1. I'm really interested to know who that person was. According to research Billie Jean was influenced by Hall N' Oats and that MJ asked them for permission to use the what he had since it was a varition of a song they did. Which I why the song sounds so much like one of their songs. If that person did write Billie Jean then I may question if that person asked Hall N' Oats for permission to use it.

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    3. From Wikipedia:
      According to Daryl Hall, during the recording of “We Are the World”, Michael Jackson approached him and admitted to lifting the bass line for "Billie Jean" from a Hall and Oates song, apparently referring to "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." Hall says that he told Jackson that he had lifted the bass line from another song himself, and that it was "something we all do."

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  11. I have to say I do have some problems with your blog and that is. First, it is heavily biased. You said that it was not a coincidence that MJs music turned to crap after Jones. This I disagree. This is your opinion of his music, but to many people his music over the years was not crap but great. It was not as good as Thriller but it was still great. A lot of people claim he lost it after Thriller, but I say that he was still great he just no longer had Quincy there to add his flavour. It is also your opinion that Jackson wasn't a great song writers. But for songs like Stranger in Moscow the lyrics really mean something to a lot of people and is a great song.

    As for the part about Jackson's work being the tape recorder. This shows Jackson composed the songs. While yes someone else had to use their talent to put it down, it was in Jackson's head not the instrumentalist. So to me the instrumentalist should be acknowledge for having played what Jackson was hearing but Jackson was rightfully called the composer.

    Now, to address whether or not Quincy should be credited for his work with Michael. Yes, he should and he has been credited many times over the years. What I don't like is people not giving props where props are dues and while I agree those who worked to help Jackson make his music, I feel you are discrediting himself yourself. I believe both have shown themselves to be great songwriters however, I do agree the songs we're best when the two were working together.

    You are free to feel that the word genius should be restricted to only certain situations. Bit as far as the Avril comparison. I don't feel that is the case with Jackson. Yes Jackson did songs that other people wrote and yes, other people worked with him on songs he was writing. But I don't believe that all Jackson did was simply sit back and let other people write stuff for him. And then he just perform it. This is an exaggeration.

    Some parts I agree with you but others I agree that you are not giving Jackson his props for being great and are simply down playing him.

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    1. Err, no. The person who transcribed it from his recording is the 'arranger and that it was they would have got credit for in the sleeve notes, not songwriting credit. Nor does Quincy Jones ''deserve'' writing credit. He's already got producing credit as that's all he did. He wasn't actually there when the songs were being written, so he is in no way the songwriter or co-writer.

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  13. Thriller album credits The most critically acclaimed songs on the album was indeed written by MJ Billie jean, beat it and wanna be starting something he also wrote the girl is mine all these song were solely written by MJ. Rod tempeton wrote baby be mine, thriller and the lady in my life Human nature was written by john bettis and steve porcero pyt was written by james ingram and quincy jones. Mj was a great songwriter you are being incrediblely dense and ignorant by casting him as a sham of an artist he wrote great songs before meeting quincy jones i.e. Heartbreak hotel, Shake your body to the ground, Thats what you get for being polite etc and great songs after Quincy jones Jam, They don't care about us, Stranger in moscow, Will you be there etc. It may not be your cup of tea but these are indeed great songs.

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    1. Yes, Will you be there is also amazing. And yes, it was MJ who was said to have helped get the Jacksons group, along with Randy Jackson with the song shake your body down to the ground, back into the spot light. After they left Motown they got off to a slow start and people made fun of them sayi g the were has beens but Michael and Randy stepped in. Randy was said to have done the some of the music on the piano and Michael did the lyrics. That song is a freakin' classic. Much of MJs earliest songs are ignored which isn't uncommon for some artists. People only see the albums that did the most success but completely ignore the greats music done before those. I've even heard some people say that Off the wall was the most perfect album he did. And that Thriller had some bad songs and some good ones. If you say that in some circles, you would have to duck.

      Just like Def leopard, I'm a huge def leopard fan(and led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and others.) But some many hate the songs they became really famous for because they said the band was sissified and that their older stiff was better than the stuff they are best known for. To me the old and the really famous ones were just great. But some people only like the the most famous stuff. This is the same with Jackson. Off the wall and Thriller are acknowledged by some but the stuff before and after are ignored. That doesn't mean they weren't good. They were just overshadowed by the albums that were I agree better but the older and newer one deserve credit too.

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    2. But I can't say that MJ was solely responsible for those songs. He didn't really know how to play any instrument thoroughly and had a lot of help getting it down but I do believe the general idea of the song was him and then he allowed others to step in and put something of themselves. MJ seemed to be a fan of doing that a lot, and that is let people step forward and do them. One person I think of is Jennifer Batten.

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    3. As far as people only liking the most popular songs, it's because they only hear the most popular songs and can't be bothered with anything more. Which is peachy if you're not gonna go writing a blog post acting like you know what you're talking about. This blogger doesn't even mention The Jacksons. I don't understand how people go pushing their opinions (and THEIR facts lol) without the confidence of knowledge through research. And without the flexibility of realizing they could be wrong on some points. Personally I wouldn't want to put myself in the position of trying to defend my credibility after saying something as obviously misinformed as "Michael Jackson is credited for Man in the Mirror." (Late to the party, but just my 2 cents.) Also in case you actually see this, here's a helpful link about MJ'S songwriting process.

      http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/the-incredible-way-michael-jackson-wrote-music-16799

      Maybe you've already seen it. It's a great text saver. :)

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    4. As far as people only liking the most popular songs, it's because they only hear the most popular songs and can't be bothered with anything more. Which is peachy if you're not gonna go writing a blog post acting like you know what you're talking about. This blogger doesn't even mention The Jacksons. I don't understand how people go pushing their opinions (and THEIR facts lol) without the confidence of knowledge through research. And without the flexibility of realizing they could be wrong on some points. Personally I wouldn't want to put myself in the position of trying to defend my credibility after saying something as obviously misinformed as "Michael Jackson is credited for Man in the Mirror." (Late to the party, but just my 2 cents.) Also in case you actually see this, here's a helpful link about MJ'S songwriting process.

      http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/the-incredible-way-michael-jackson-wrote-music-16799

      Maybe you've already seen it. It's a great text saver. :)

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  14. This whole articles is hogwash. MJ was 17 and 18 when he was recording Off the Wall. Despite the fact that he was a 10-year music veteran by that time, he was still a child whose with an overbearing father and an overbearing record label controlling him before he went solo and teamed with Quincy Jones. It was only then that he was "allowed" to do his own stuff.

    There are dozens of recordings easily googled of the demos Michael made of songs before they were recorded with Quincy or any other producer. These demos show Michael humming out every instrument on the record.

    The author makes the argument that the ability to play an instrument makes you a songwriter. If this were the case, George Harrison and Ringo Star would be cowriters of every Beatles song. It's just not how songwriting occurs.

    Songwriting 101 - A song is comprised of the melody and the lyrics. That's it. The music, no matter how clever or unique, is part of the arrangement around the melody. (Of course, an instrument can play the melody.) If you hum a melody into a recorder and write lyrics to that melody, at that point, it is a finished copyrightable song. Well before it is ever "produced."

    Quite simply, the writer of this article is ill-informed and at least I wasted less of my time contradicted his points that he spent concocted this nonsense.

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  15. If I am a bass player working for MJ and he hums me a bass line and I suggest a few mods, that does not make me a co writer by any means. Period. If I contribute the main idea for the bass line, then I am a co writer of the song.

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  16. Also, I personally consider MJ's later work on Dangerous and HIStory to be deeper and better and more interesting than his earlier stuff, which I just enjoy for dancing mostly. Commercial success is not the same thing as quality. I think his later stuff appeals to more mature and thoughtful audience.

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  17. Quincy Jones was great but the real producer on Thriller was in fact MJ. Quincy had the album 'finished', MJ heard it and demanded to remix every song to higher standards. It was expensive and time consuming and MJ had to fight for his perfection every step of the way. Quincy was ready to let 'good enough' stand and be happy with a few million sales.

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  18. I can't believe people are saying that to write a good bass riff you have to be a good player. Really the ignorance is amazing. With that logic Johan Sebastian Bach needed to play every instrument he wrote for. NO all you need to do is be able to create the riff in your head. Most good players can't do that at all. They memorize a riff someone else has created and perhaps they innovate within that riff structure a bit.

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  19. The biz just worked differently then. By today's standards, cowriting credits for Beat It would be Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro and Jeff Porcaro -- and Q himself, for that matter. I'm not including other pieces like the intro keys and the solo, (neither of which were written by MJ) because they aren't "melody". But back then, Q did what all producers did with "big" artists. Sign everyone to "work for hire" contracts, and they get paid for their time. Writing credits weren't about ego -- they were about MONEY. Especially on songs that were going to have LOTS of writing royalties over time. Not saying that's good or bad, but that's how it worked in LA. And Steve Porcaro did get a cowrite for his song Human Nature -- you can read that on Wikipedia so I won't explain.

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  20. Wow...this is interesting. It really puts the business in perspective. I will have to do more in depth research on it. Thanks for sharing that.

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    1. As much as more obvious bullshit about MJ can be interesting.
      that Mj didn't write Billie Jean and Beat it and most songs on Bad is pure fiction and there is not a shred of evidence this author can show that Johnson or anyone else had anything to do with writing and composing those songs. Just because someone says something it won't be automatically true. Especially not if it's about MJ.
      Listen to the Billie Jean and Beat it demos, or the We are the world or Don't stop till you get enough demos for that matter. MJ did them without any professional musician. Now that Randy and Janet played on the demo should they get songwriting credit? Ridiculous.
      As you can hear there isn't even a bass player around during the recording of the Billie Jean home demo. Every sound was produced by a synthesizer.

      Don't stop home demo:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-Z3_TMdv2M

      Billie Jean home demo:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEhkfCXOfe8

      Beat it acapella demo:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZeYw1bm53Y

      We are the world demo:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0jgkb5mgw8

      No wonder that Bruce Swedien said that an MJ demo would have been good for most other artist.

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  21. 1. MJ's post-Quincy work is much deeper and sophisticated than anything on Bad, Thriller or Off the Wall. How can you compared PYT to Morphine or They don't care about us? those songs were written and produced by MJ and they are as good as any song can be.
    Is is Scary, Little Susie, Earth Song, Stranger In Moscow, Will you be there are all better songs than most songs on Bad.

    2. Quincy never wrote a single song for any MJ album except he co-wrote PYT. That's it. How can you credit him for the good songs on those albums when he didn't write and compose them is beyond me.

    3. You are wrong that MJ didn't write good songs before Don't stop till you get enough (which again had nothing to do with Quincy and MJ did the demo with Randy and Janet and you can hear even there how brilliant the song was. Quincy was listening to that demo first then agreed to put it on the album.)
    Can you feel it, Blues away, This place hotel are great songs written by MJ before Off the Wall, when he was not even 18!

    4. Yes MJ wrote most songs on Bad there is absolutely no evidence otherwise, just because you don't want to admit it won't make it untrue. You are dead wrong, MJ never took credit for Man in the Mirror by the way.
    But he did wrote and compose Librarian Girl, The way you make me feel, I just can't stop loving you, Leave me alone, Bad, Smooth Criminal, Dirty Diana, Speed Demon,
    and Another part of me.

    5. If you listen to the song Cheater or Centipede or Muscles you can see what a great producer MJ was and he had a keen sense to what sound to use for each song to convene a unique atmosphere. Cheater's production is as brilliant as anything Prince ever produced.

    6. Listen to Beautiful Girl and that stunning melody and tell me how MJ was not a a genius. He had an incredible sense of melody, and it's obvious from songs like Heal the World, We are the world, Childhood, Speechless, I like the way you love me, Loving you, Much too soon, What More Can I Give, Elizabeth I love you, You were there, Who is it, Price of fame, all of which was written and composed by MJ alone.

    7. He is also an underrated lyricist. There is no way any other maintream artist would write songs like Song Groove, Do you know where you children are, Morphine, They don't care about us, Earth Song or Stranger of Moscow. MJ repeatedly managed to write lyrics which are very memorable but not banal. Even his repeatitive lyrics are brilliant
    because, who else could say so many times Annie are you OK? and still not sound stupid? If you look at the bridge of Cheater or Morphine or the verses of Dirty Diana
    or Black or white (which is not a kumbaya song at all) or the whole lyrics of Is it Scary or Little Susie they are unlike anything you can find in other pop songs.

    8. You are wrong. MJ never took sole credit for any song which he didn't write alone. That's why you can see so many people being given credit on Invincible, basically if someone changed one word or even the title he got credit. MJ sometimes gave credit even if he wrote a song alone, like for the song Dangerous. He testified under oath that noone helped him write the song and you can hear
    the demo tape during his testimony but Bill Bottrell, Teddy Riley were still given credit on the album.

    This is what Bruce Swedien said about MJ and trust me he knows MJ much better, particularly what he did in the studio, that you do:

    "He was an all-around gifted musician, he was a fantastic composer."

    Michael was so different he was so gifted. HIs sense of pitch his sense of lyrics his sense of melody and so on...
    those songs that he wrote...Earth Song. Phenomenal piece of music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIx2tg6bKnk

    Here's another engineer talking about how MJ wrote songs, including Billie Jean. That he heard every part in his head:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5b0m-ZlWs8

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    1. They don't care about us was crap. The worst song he ever wrote and it's not in the same league as any of the other classics from Bad.

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  22. You can also turn the tables around and say that Quincy has not had a hit as big as Thriller. Something about the chemistry of the two that made good music.

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    1. You are kidding right? He went on to produce "The Color Purple" was an incredible movie, huge hit...massive. The Fresh Prince of Belair, and published the magazines Spin and Vibe. He had previously worked with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and the list goes on.

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    2. You are kidding right? He went on to produce "The Color Purple" was an incredible movie, huge hit...massive. The Fresh Prince of Belair, and published the magazines Spin and Vibe. He had previously worked with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and the list goes on.

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    3. LOL he needed 27 arrangers and co-producers to help finish the score for 'The Color Purple'. Genius my ass.

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  23. Too weird?? Mabe if you read interviews from people who knew him best, you'd find that not one of them said he was weird, but all said he was a normal and humble man. Kathy Hilton and numerous others called him "honorable." All of your knowledge of Micheal Jackson comes straight from the tabloids and media outlets whom never even met the man. If I'm going to believe anyone, it's definitely going to be someone who knew him personally and not people who are reporting falsehood for the sake of a story. So how can one make a truthful, honest opinion on one's character if you've never met them, not even seen them in person!!?? Would you appreciate it if someone hated you based on what someone else told them?? And the someone never even met you...

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  24. I really enjoyed your article, because it does speak the truth, much of which your average music listener knows nothing of, and unfortunately take it personally. As you say Michael was not a songwriter, he had been performing songs that were written by the greats of songwriters as he was growing up and there is no doubt that Michael was phenomenal in his own right, however a songwriter that does not make. The art of songwriting is in fact an art form. One is born to do it. Michael was an entertainer and the very best of the best, but in the world of music it is not enough to keep you sustained. As Paul McCartney gave knowledge to the young Michael in regards to music publishing...it is where the money is, only to have his own publishing rights to all the Beatles songs to be sold among many other money making hits to Michael Jackson.
    I worked with Rose Stone who had been working with Michael Jackson in the 1990's...she said no one was allowed to look him in the eye, she got the courage up to enquire about Sly's songs asking if he would be willing to give them back to Sly, he refused to respond.
    First of all, the publishing was sold, unfortunate for Sly but that's the business. I am married to a world class songwriter and my ex was another. He was responsible for one of the top records in the history of Rock n Roll...the songs were all attributed by the "stars" management to the Star, never to my husband. In fact only just recently did the "Star" recognize that my husband was a co-writer of one of the more notable songs and after 40 years is now going to receive the credit.
    After the real money has been had. The song was the B side of the more notable.
    My ex who was almost as famous back in the seventies ripped off many other songwriters adding his name and not mentioning the other writers. Eventually, he wrote himself out of having any kind of fame. I often hear people say so and so wrote that song and I have to correct them.
    The world of songwriting is so disturbing, because of the fortune involved that peoples lives are ruined over it.
    Many so called stars..like Avril Lavigne can get away with outrageous claims because the machine is behind them and what is the little peon to do? sue? They know that there is no way that will happen, because you will be crushed and probably blackballed, which is exactly what happened to my husband because he would not play the game so to speak.
    After a while these people believe that they are songwriters, because every lackey that comes along is telling them how great they are and they start to believe it in every way.
    In the business we are all aware of where the real money is, in the publishing.
    Thank you for telling it like it is. People get so caught up in the image and they have no idea what it is like behind the scenes and who is doing the work to make the Star really shine. Quincy Jones is one such person, everything he touches turns to gold, he is the genius the business. The true genius, and while there are others that can get the job done, there is one real genius that makes it all happen so effortlessly, as in Quincy Jones.
    Michael is surprisingly credited with songs I know he did not write, such as Man in The Mirror ( Siedah Garrett wrote the song and was MJ background singer).
    It is ashame as I mentioned that people are likely to take your article as a personal dig agains MJ. It is a fact that so many stars have stolen songs from writers...Elvis Presley was a prime example, and the man who wrote the songs died in utter poverty. The list is very long and not likely to diminish any time soon.
    Thank you.

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    1. ''Michael is surprisingly credited with songs I know he did not write, such as Man in The Mirror ( Siedah Garrett wrote the song and was MJ background singer''

      Are you seriously that stupid? MJ didnt take any writing credit for Man In The Mirror. If you look on the booklet of MJ Bad album, it clearly states that Man in the Mirror was written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard. A simple Google search could have provided you with that answer. Next when trying to discredit someone at least get your sources right.

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    2. This blogger is a retard. He can't even argue without making himself look incredibly stupid.

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    3. Well I see somebody already corrected you on the Man in the Mirror issue, but I just thought I'd share this link FYI:

      http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/the-incredible-way-michael-jackson-wrote-music-16799

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  25. Wait a min. If there is any artist I know it is jackson. I know all of jacksons music.... I knew temperton co-wrote thriller. Off the wall was completely responsible for his first solo.... from production to mix. But jackson is the writer. In 82 when thriller came jones began to take on a smaller role as jackson wanted more freedom of his projects. Quincy jones at a time actually had doubted jackson on his sophomore album. Which of course was bigger than off the wall. On jacksons third LP BAD. He cut loose of quincy for full control. Which on songs I just can't stop loving you and Man in the mirror and just good friends. The first two I mentioned were co-wrote by 2 females that I can't think of off the top. While Stevie wonder helped with just good friends. To say jackson is taken credit for other work is ludicrous. If jackson wasn't a good writer than he would have never accomplished what he did. It would have came out that he was a phony. MJ would not have left the Jackson 5 let alone leave quincy jones if the talent wasn't there. Do you know what gives you confidence to leave jones and is own brothers jackson 5... Talent! So... this article is full of shit.

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  26. Wait a min. If there is any artist I know it is jackson. I know all of jacksons music.... I knew temperton co-wrote thriller. Off the wall was completely responsible for his first solo.... from production to mix. But jackson is the writer. In 82 when thriller came jones began to take on a smaller role as jackson wanted more freedom of his projects. Quincy jones at a time actually had doubted jackson on his sophomore album. Which of course was bigger than off the wall. On jacksons third LP BAD. He cut loose of quincy for full control. Which on songs I just can't stop loving you and Man in the mirror and just good friends. The first two I mentioned were co-wrote by 2 females that I can't think of off the top. While Stevie wonder helped with just good friends. To say jackson is taken credit for other work is ludicrous. If jackson wasn't a good writer than he would have never accomplished what he did. It would have came out that he was a phony. MJ would not have left the Jackson 5 let alone leave quincy jones if the talent wasn't there. Do you know what gives you confidence to leave jones and is own brothers jackson 5... Talent! So... this article is full of shit.

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  27. I have this article and I have to say, its full of bullshit. The facts you represent are either already public knowledge or lies. You should have done a much better research than this, certainly if you are trying to discredit a Songwriter's Hall of Fame Inductee such as Michael Jackson.
    You state i.e. that MJ has not written a single original song for Motown. If you had done a proper research, you would have discovered that MJ and his brothers weren’t allowed to write their own songs. That was the whole point of them leaving Motown.
    You claim that the first song MJ wrote before releasing his first solo album as an adult is ‘’ Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, which is not true. Like I wrote in the previous paragraph, the Jackson 5 weren’t allowed to write their own songs so they left and joined Epic Records. The first songs that MJ wrote that were actually released with their first album under Epic Records called The Jacksons. The song he wrote were Blues Away and Style of Life (he co-wrote this song with brother Tito). The next songs that MJ wrote were for the Jackson’s third album under Epic Records called Destiny. The song were Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)", "All Night Dancin'" and "That's What You Get (For Being Polite)". All co-written with his brother Randy. All these song without mention the songs he wrote for the Triumph album. These songs where all written before he started recording Off The Wall so why would it be difficult to believe that MJ is capable of writing Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.
    You then go on to suggest that his songwriting is crap after working with QJ? That is YOUR opinion and not a fact. In fact, one could argue that his songwriting skill got better after leaving OJ. Songs such as Who Is It and Will You Be There to name a few.

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  28. Dangerous was done without Quincy Jones and it did every well, close if not better than Bad. I think the fuss with Michael's personal life and the increased focus on singles in lieu of entire albums brought down sales afterwards.

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  29. This blog is full of signs you need to do more homework.

    Michael was not allowed to add songs he wrote into Motown albums. That is a reason why he left. It is not that he could not write songs. He wrote hits for albums like Destiny and Triumph without Quincy. He also wrote songs for others like Diana Ross, Kenny Login, Kenny G; again without Quincy Jones. He wrote hits on Dangerous and HIStory; again, without Quincy. Johnson probably did not get writing credit because he just played instruments off of beatbox and grunts Michael himself provided. They were not jibberish, but chord, strings and hooks vocalized. You can clearly hear how this translate to nice sound in "Stranger in Moscow". That has been Michael Jackson's style for decades. If you listen to demos of beat it, Randy and Janet provide the opening sounds vocally. Again, that how Michael Jackson worked. You cannot fault that 800 million albums later. If you think this is bad, why don't you fault others like Lionel Richie; who too rarely if every play instruments on albums. I think the credit-changed when it came time to HIStory and Invicible. I do not think it was Michael being overly dependent on others. He was open-minded; but also competent and accomplished in his own right, to write songs. Style changes and he changed with the time in some ways and defined time in others.

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  30. No one questions if Prince or John Lennon "really wrote" their own songs, especially Prince, since the quality of his albums declined after the 1980s. I don't understand why people always try to discredit Michael.

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    1. The idiot who created this thread only thinks that because he didn't play an instrument, which means nothing as he could beatbox. He would hum the tune, the bass and the other instruments down vocally and an arranger would then get people in to play them live. That is 100% a songwriter and doesn't compare to any of todays' crappy pop ''stars''. Michael Jackson was a genius and he deserves every ounce of his success.

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  31. Because they can't stand the fact that Michael was so effin amazing!! He's bigger than life, his music and his talent have always been bigger than life, and his death was bigger than life! No other artist in the WORLD, black nor white have reached his heights...and that's what gets to them. Jealousy is one of the worst sins!!!

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  32. You're full of shit!! Quincy Jones did NOTHING at all to make Billie Jean sound great - and I know that for a fact.....as I've heard the original demo, and there is next to no difference apart from the fact that it is better mixed and he added a brief violin riff. That's all. Michael Jackson did everything else and deserves 100% of all the writing credit for these songs. And he didn't take any credit for 'Man in the mirror' actually and that was written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett, who are the only writers credited in that song.

    You're quite clearly just some jealous shit head, who knows nothing at all about how Jackson worked and never saw him in the studio to realize how hands on he actually was and never let anyone take over. He was a total control freak when working on songs.

    Oh his songwriting 'turned to shit' in the 90s did it? What about all those 'great' writers that you credit for propping him up in the 80s? Where the fuck were those has-been's in the 90s? They'd all fucking faded into oblivion cause they wrote out of date music that had no place on commercial radio!!!

    Dangerous is easily as good as Bad. It sold over 22 million copies and that is proof of the fact. Who gives a shit what you think anyway, when those songs made million$ of others (like myself) very happy indeed.

    There was a wealth of great songs after Bad that he wrote and I could list them.

    'Will you be there', 'Heal the world', 'Earth Song', 'Stranger in Moscow', 'Give in to Me', 'Blood on the dance floor', 'Scream', 'Childhood', 'Is it scary', 'This time around'.

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  33. Of all the inaccuracies in your article, the most blatant and easily verifiable one is that Michael claimed to have written Man in the Mirror. Which speaks to your credibility (or lack thereof). And if you do a little bit of research, you'll learn that Michael never denied credit to anyone who deserved it.
    As far as songwriting, I'll just leave this:

    http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/the-incredible-way-michael-jackson-wrote-music-16799

    You can also find a list of songs he's written or co-written on his Songwriters Hall of Fame page.
    Unlike your article, the above link one is complete with audio evidence of Michael's songwriting involvement and method, and input from people who worked with Michael.
    Enjoy!

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