Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thriller Over-Session With Vincent Price

 Here is a brief article I've found on an in depth discussion of how Vincent Price was chosen for the rap over-session to wrap-up the finishing touches on Thriller!

 I've included a recording(and the written word) of the rap over-session in acappella with the extra verse included!

On Vincent Price's Thriller Over-Session

 When I begin reminiscing about recording the song “Thriller”, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Vincent Price Rap. Quincy’s wife, Peggy Lipton, knew Vincent Price. So Quincy and Peggy Jones got it together and called him. Vincent said he would love to do it.

 I remember Rod’s idea, at first was that Vincent would just talk some horror talk from the type of lines he would deliver in some of his famous roles.

 Well, the night before the session with Vincent Price, I remember Quincy and Rod on the phone, talking excitedly about something to do with Vincent’s part in “Thriller”. I was getting the track ready for Vincent to overdub on for “Thriller”, so I only overheard bits and pieces of Quincy and Rod’s conversation...

 The next day at about 12:00 noon, Quincy shows up at the studio, looking like the "Cat That Swallowed The Canary!" Q looked at me and said, "'Svensk'(Quincy’s nickname for me...It means-“Swedish Man”, in Swedish.), Vincent Price is going to be here at 2:00 pm! Rod is writing Vincent’s Rap lyrics in the taxicab on the way here to the studio!”

 Quincy told me, “I don’t think that Vincent has ever been on a pop record before. This should be interesting...” I get chills just thinking about it!

 The next thing I knew, Rod came roaring into the control room with several sheets of paper in one hand, and a Marlboro cigarette with a two-inch ash ready to fall over the floor, in his mouth...Out-of-breath, Roddy said to me...“Bruce, quick...He’s here! I saw a car pull up, and it was Vincent Price! He’s on his way in!” He thrust the papers in my hand and said, “Give these to the secretary-Have her photo-copy these quick!”!!!

 This was done, we put the Rap lyrics on the music stand...Vincent walked in, sat down on his chair, off he went, and it was all done in about two hours.

 Vincent Price had never used earphones in his work before. He reluctantly put them on, and when the music track for “Thriller” started, he jumped up from his stool with a very startled look on his face. I know he had never heard anything like that before. He asked Rod Temperton to come out in the studio with him and help him by cuing him where to come in and speak his verses.

 Rod actually wrote three verses for “Thriller”, for Vincent to do. We recorded all three but only used two. I have that unused verse in my tapes somewhere.
Vincent experienced a huge resurgence in his career commensurate with the incredible success of “Thriller”.

 About six months after the release of “Thriller”, Vincent appeared on the “Johnny Carson, Tonight” show. He told about being in Paris and walking down the street and having a group of young people recognize him and chase him down the street to get his autograph.

 To me, the miraculous thing about the Vincent Price ‘Rap” on “Thriller”, is that Rod Temperton wrote a brilliant...Edger Allan Poe style spiel...In the Taxi-cab on the way to the session! When the chips are down, that’s when you find out what true genius is all about!

 Of course, speaking of unquestionable genius...Vincent’s performance was remarkable! Obviously, Vincent Price was in his element on “Thriller”...Timing, inflection...And he did it in two takes! Michael’s vocals’ are more than wonderful as well...What an experience!

This piece was taken from Gear Sluts. A studio recording forum of which he(and a few other Michael Jackson sessionists are a part of.



Darkness falls across the land
The mid-night hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize your neighborhood
And who's whoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
You must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpses shell

The demons squeal in sheer delight
Its you they spy so plump so right
For though the groove is hard to beat,
Yet still you stand with frozen feet
You try to run, you try to scream
But no more sun you'll ever see
For evil reaches from the crypt
To crush you with its icy grip

The foul stench is in the air
The funk of forty-thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the Thriller

Can you diggit'
(Evil laughter)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thriller 1982 Def Mix

 In the early 90's, David Morales teamed up with Frankie Knuckles in releasing a New Jack Swing remix of Michael Jackson's top signature hit "Thriller"! All part of The Pepsi Maxi Promo launched during The Dangerous Tour.
The single included an outtake during The Dangerous Sessions-"Someone Put Your Hand Out".

1982 Def Remix Review

 I found the introduction gave you the aura of a Funky graveyard-On a spiced-up exposition without robbing from the original mix. Indeed, most of the track has a hint of Techno, R&B, and Soul blended with distinct playbacks from the one we love(most notably the bridge)!

 However, I was a bit disappointed towards the final part. As I was expecting a grand ending to close-off such a wonderful reinterpretation to a Halloween classic!
But overall, I give these two DJ's a 4 out of 5!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Beat It-Guitar Track Mix Take 6!

 While in the studio with Quincy Jones during The Thriller Sessions, Michael Jackson recorded a bunch of takes on each track intended to be on the set(i.e. "Billie Jean" a total of 91 mixes).
Tonight we will be focusing on one of those alternative takes-Specifically "Beat It".

Guitar Track Mix

 Although not fully completed, this mix featured a rift I was dieing to hear as the prominent tune! It just gives the song a whole new dimension and feel! I seriously thought the bridge was gonna break out on an "I Of The Tiger" rift(lol)!

 I with he left some his ab libs(you know, beat it!!! beat it!! beat it!) off. That's the only complaint I can find. Otherwise, enjoy the demo mix and Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beat It-Moby's Sub Mix

 Included in a maxi single around the early 90's was a few Thriller remixes by a couple of then renown DJ's. Tonight, we will be reviewing a Trance-Electric interpretation of Beat It-A Moby Sub Remix also included on the Zoolander Soundtrack(released Sep. 25th, 2001).

Moby's Sub Mix Review

 The intro starts off on that famous juicy-rift by Eddie Van Helen we've all come to love. Then takes off into a little bit of Trance and Electro with further bridges of Michael Jackson at his finest. As will most club mixes, Moby infuses a bit of repetitive vocal replays.

 The only problem(I could find) was overusing Mj's ab-libs a bit(he almost sounds like Daffy Duck getting in excitement). But I'll give him credit for keeping it down to a minimum.

 As you already know, I'm not much for club music. But Moby has done a fairly outstanding reinterpretation! I give him a B+!

The Zoolander Soundtrack

 I couldn't find an MP3 download of Beat It-Moby's Sub Mix(there are free downloads. However, your not guaranteed top notch quality).

 As was mentioned up-post, The Zoolander Soundtrack features this remix along with many of your favorites-Both past and present(up to 2001). There's even a few hits from the 80's! Most of the tunes you've heard in this comedy are neatly tucked away within this movie soundtrack!

 For your benefit, I've listened to the samples(of each song) and am confident you will enjoy this soundtrack as much as I did! If you order before 6:24 P.M EST, it will be delivered before Christmas Eve! Click HereClick here to order The Zoolander Soundtrack! to order a copy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Jackson 5 Ultimate Christmas Collection

The Ultimate Christmas Collection comes packaged with never before heard goodies

 Just recently, The Estate authorized a re-release of The Jackson 5 Christmas Album with six bonus tracks plus four specials messages from Jermaine, Jackie, Tito, and Michael Jackson himself!

 These 6 stocking stuffers include:
  • Little Christmas Tree(A very fine Michael Jackson outtake)
  • A DJ Spinnare-Edit of "Up On The Housetop"
  • Stripped mixes of their interpretations of "Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Someday At Christmas".
  • An outstanding acappella studio performance of "Give Love On Christmas Day"!
  • And a wonderful J5 Christmas Medley to wrap it all up!


  I really still the stripped mixes with a never before heard J5 Medley to spice-up the albums resolution. I was ecstatic to hear a group acappella version of "Give Love On Christmas Day". A Season's Greeting is invoked inbetween eack bonus track(to add a personal touch)!

 The only track I thought unnecessary was DJ Spinna's Re-Edit of "Up On The Housetop"(you really can't tell the original from this edition apart). "Little Christmas Tree" and messages from Mick, Jermaine, Tito, and Jackie are nice. But these have already been leaked onto the internet(well before Michael Jackson died). I wished they also added more unreleased masters(if they do exist).

 But unlike Thriller 25, you will not find any bad interpretations that beg the question why?! To wrap it all up, The Jackson 5 Ultimate Christmas Collection is a wonderful gift to give during the holiday and an addition to your collectors items!

 I offer these songs for free on my blog. However, if you want hear them in top quality(and in the comfort of your own living-room), then I strongly suggest you get yourself a copy over Here!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thriller Instrumental

 As promised, here is the instrumental version to Thriller! Used for the Sobe Life Commercial. Complete with Michael Jackson's background vocals(including ab libs) and the famous reprice from Vincent Price.

 Without the main vocals, you can get a more in-depth look on the structure of this classic and how it was engineered-piece by piece. You can even tell the strings are reminiscent of tunes from the Off The Wall album.

 I wish there was a version without the back-ups-Just a plain old instrumental. If any of you know, give me a holler!:)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Give Me Some Starlight

 In 1981, Rod Temperton came in the studio with a song candidate he wrote for Michael Jackson's then upcoming album-What would eventually become Thriller.
The song was inspired by The Jackson's hit "This Place Hotel.

 As with most artists who write for others, all Temperton had was a loop for them to play with. So Greg Philinganes, Quincy Jones, Rob, and Mick all bunched-up in his Enrico Mansion and worked for hours tweaking and arranging the sound on the mixer. In preparation for the live gigs.

 However, Michael wanted a darker, more scarier groove. Something unprecedented-That has never been done before. So Michael went back in(with Quincy) and rewrote the lyrics. He also modified a few things especially the bridge and resolution(to which Vincent Price was invited to perform a rap segment).
The song from then on became known as Thriller(click to learn more on the evolution of this Halloween Blockbuster)!

 Originally, the song was meant to be titled as either "Starlight", "Starlight Sun", or "Give Me Some Starlight". Lucky for you, I've found a demo in almost superb quality! Hopefully The Estate will release some unplugged versions to "Thriller" and many other songs we come to love(now that would be dynamite)!


There's indication that someone else is standing on the ground
Across the nation there's always people trying to pull you down
Now is the time for us to spend the scene here close together
Deep in the night we're holding on to someone else's dream
Girl can't you see

We need some starlight starlight sun
There ain't no second chance we got to make it while we can
You need the starlight some starlight sun
I need you by my side you give me starlight starlight starlight

They're out to get you there ain't no ... you're acting like a fool
Love can possess you and make you see that ...
High in the night this magic's gonna keep us close together
We'll start to fly cause this is the beginning of your life
This is the night

Give me some starlight starlight sun
This is the only chance we've got to make it while we can
You need the starlight starlight sun
I need you by my side so give me starlight starlight starlight

Light up the world let the love start take charge of this masquerade
Take your delivery and show me that this is your light
Give me your starlight tonight

There's indication that someone else is standing on the ground
Across the nation there's always people trying to pull you down
Now is the time for us to spend the scene here close together
Deep in the night we're holding on to someone else's dream
Girl can't you see

We need some starlight starlight sun
There ain't no second chance we got to make it while we can
You need some starlight starlight sun
I need you by my side you give me starlight starlight
Give me starlight starlight sun
There ain't no second chance we got to make it while we can
You give me starlight starlight sun
I need you by my side so give me starlight starlight
Give me starlight starlight sun
There ain't no second chance we got to make it while we can
We need the Starlight starlight sun
I need you by my side so give me starlight starlight starlight

Gimme gimme that sun

Next, we'll look at the instrumental to "Thriller"!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Two Off The Wall Home Demos

 :Today, let me focus your attention on two candid home demos done by Michael Jackson in his original Enrico Mansion. Two rough scratches intended for The "Off The Wall" Sessions.

Don't Stop Til' You Get Enough Demo

 Michael records the child-pangs of what would become "Off The Wall's" very first track-"Don't Stop Til' You Get Enough".

 Yes, the demo is no where's near complete as the recording is a scratch tape(studio jargon for dumb take or rough draft). The candid delivery does offer a unique spin on Mr. Jackson's musical and vocal techniques.

 Although his mother frowned upon the lyrics(thinking they were about sex), Michael reassured her the interpretation was vague and had nothing to do with promiscuity(In my opinion, I'd say it was puppy love).

Working Day and Night Demo

 Janet, Randy, and Michael Jackson fart around in The Enrico Studios. Then get serious as MJ sings a rough scratch of "Working Day and Night".

How do you take these scratch tapes? Do they give more depth to his arrangements? Or do you prefer completely mastered outtakes from his vault("This Is It" is any indication, I'll bet the majority of you will vote for the latter)?

Stay tuned for some Thriller Remixes(the eponymous titled track)!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

They Don't Care About Us-Dallas Main Mix

 Dallas Austin partially produced and did his own interpretations to such MJ tracks as "They Don't Care About Us" and "This Time Around".

Dallas Austin Main Mix

 I appreciate who this does not deviate to much from the original mix. Yet at the same token is not a rehash of the album version. I especially like the tail end bit where a gospel choir vehemently chants "they don't care about us"! Not sure if that's an outtake from the track or something Austin just slipped in.

 I'm assuming it's the former since they sound very much like The Andrea Crouch Singers. Could that be the reason "Really" was dropped from the title of the song?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Girl Is Mine Demo

 Our focus will shift to the exhilarating demo tapes of The Girl Is Mine. A song originally written and thought-out by Michael Jackson one night. Tweaked and manicured unto perfection in the following weeks!

Demo Take 1

 Our first draft takes us into the recording studio with Paul McCartney and Mr. Jackson(I've touched a little on their wonderful collaborations over Here).

 As you can tell, Michael is teaching Mecca a thing or two about the symphony playing inside his head. Notice how The Gloved One shares with the former Beatle how inspiration nudges his mind.

 It appears Michael is singing a somewhat different arrangement-Especially towards the end of the tape. I have a feeling we'll hear it in the years to come(assuming they laid it down).

The Girl Is Mine Take 2

 About a year prier, Michael records a solo complete with more ab-libs and extra verses. This edition opens up with a distinct subway screech. On a scratched recording.

The Girl Is Mine Demo Take 3

 The third tape was probably laid down a few months later. Notice the recording is a lot more clearer and in much better quality. With only subtle differences from that of the second demo(e.g. a less distinct opening).

Well, that about wraps it up. Stay tuned for a few Home Demos!

Michael Jackson's Father Passes Away at 89!

 On June 27th, 2018 Michael Jackson's dad passed on from a bout of cancer. Although he was very rough with his children and yes abused t...