If you haven't already, I'd encourage you to check out the previous two installments-The J5 Years and the Off The Wall Years. Now, I will be looking into The Thriller Years!
The Dude-It would be one year before Michael Jackson's zenith was reached when Legendary producer Quincy Jones assigned Mr. Jackson a choral spot on the background of his 1981 titled album track The Dude. You can even tell where the sessions from the early demo of PYT originated.
Goin' Back To Alabama-Both Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson harmonized back-ups for this track on Kenny Rogers 1981 album "Share Your Love".
A few more years and MTV would abolish Jim Crow's social Darwinism. Thanks to The One In That sparkling Glove. Could it be. Just maybe, Jackson was tuning his anti-racial fork? Warming-up with that country ode "Goin' Back To Alabama"?
Just Friends-In 1981, a long time friend of Michael's asks to feature on her new album "Sometimes Late At Night". The result was a touching love song mingled with innocence.
Don't Let A Women Make A Fool Out Of Me-While working up the Thriller sessions in studio 55, Joe King asked Michael if he would like to help fill-in the back-ups for a recording. He was coincidentally working that same day in the same studio as Mr. Jackson. What resulted was a splendid tropical Reggie track included on the Synapse Gap album.
So Shy and Papa Was A Rolling Stone-Around this time, Michael Jackson filled in the gaps for Bill Wolfer on these two tracks for his 1982 album "Call Me". Bill Wolfer is also the programming synthesizer behind Billie Jean.
State of Independence-In 1983 Quincy Jones invited Michael Jackson, James Ingram, Stevie Wonder to join the chorus of Donna Summer's hit single "State of Independence". Later, this song would serve as an inspiration for "We Are The World" just two years down the road.
Muscles-Just before Thriller shock the world, Michael wrote and produced a song for Diana Ross's 1982 album "Silky Electric". Some questioned Jackson's sexuality. However, Michael originally penned it for his pet snake Muscles. But she wanted more of a sexual overtone. Yet MJ still pitched in as a back-up. As a matter of fact, I believe this is where he got inspiration for Streetwalker.
"Say Say Say" and "The Man"-Just after dueting with Michael on "The Girl Is Mine, Mecca invites this Gloved One to return the favor on two album tracks for his 1983 album "Pipes Of Peace". Find more interesting tidbits on my sister post "Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney".
Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin'-As Michael's elder brother Jermaine kindly asks if he could record a duet for his upcoming album "Dynamite". Mr. Jackson agreed and another hit is what came to fruition.
Somebody's Watching Me-Enjoying Thriller tremendously, Rockwell Gordy(Berry Gordy's son) invited Mr. Jackson to duet on a Thriller of his Own-The now famous "Somebodies Watching Me". Michael immediately identified himself with the lyrics.
He often feels like a fish in a bowl - always being watched by people wanting a piece of him.
Centipede-In 1985, Michael Jackson had written and composed a track for Rebbie Jackson's debut album also by that same name. As her younger brother, Michael supported her with background vocals.
Stay tuned for more!
[Note: Part 4 is now up]