Quincy Jones Says Michael Jackson Collaboration Was An Accident
Posted by Joseph Lee on 03.15.2013
How did it happen?
In an interview with Billboard, music legend Quincy Jones spoke about his collaboration with Michael Jackson, which he said was an accident.
On working with Michael Jackson: "That was an accident. We were doing "The Wiz" and he asked if I could help him find a producer. I said, "Michael, look, you don't even [have] a song in the picture yet. I don't want to think about that. Let's get you a song." He was only on "Ease on Down the Road"; that's all we had. He sang a bit of "A Brand New Day" but he didn't have a featured song on the picture. So we finally got him "You Can't Win." Then I started to watch him. He was so curious, inquisitive. He knew everybody's dialogue."
On what he learned from him: "We came from two totally different schools. But between the two of us we had everything. Mine was big band and amazing singers, jazz and all that stuff. And I remember when Berry Gordy first started Motown in Detroit. When I was with Lionel Hampton, Leo Fender brought the Fender bass to us, one of the first ones. And nobody knew what the hell it was. But it started the electric rhythm section. If there hadn't been a Fender bass, there would be no rock'n'roll and no Motown. In those days, [you had to] stay right on the path of the true jazz thing. But rock'n'roll kind of blew the big bands out, and folk and doo-wop. So Herbie [Hancock] wrote "Watermelon Man." Cannonball [Adderley] did "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." I did Walking in Space and Miles [Davis] did Bitches Brew with the electric rhythm section. So I didn't have to listen to anybody to learn how to do Michael. But I was looking to see what he could do that hadn't been done before. I was thinking about the range of his voice. That's the stuff you do, the architecture of your production. Michael was so smart and intuitive. He just hooked onto everything and watched everybody. Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis Jr., James Brown. We put our backgrounds together and we did it."
On what he is teaching new acts: "Everything I can think of about the things I was happy to learn. No. 1: humility with your creativity and grace with your success. I'm tired of attitude; I can't handle it anymore. I've seen it all my life: El Divos and La Divas. I remember a major artist telling me, "Man, I've got everything I ever needed. I got me a Rolls Royce and da da da." You can't think like that. You have to make it bigger so you can hold onto your sense of humility. That's important. We didn't think about money or fame when we started. Not ever. It was to just be a good musician."