* Music By Greg Phillinganes & Michael Jackson
Written by Chris Mosdell and Ryuichi Sakomoto, with additional lyrics by Michael.
The original instrumental version, with choral backing, was recorded by the Yellow Magic Orchestra, for their 1979 album, Solid State Survivor. Quincy Jones heard Yellow Magic Orchestra's version during the Thriller sessions, and bought it to Michael's attention.
"I didn't know who Michael Jackson was - I wasn't into the whole soul disco stuff," confessed Chris Mosdell. "When Michael Jackson recorded it, he also added an extra melody line and a few extra lyrics, so they wanted to split royalties - which is quite impossible. You can't take a Beatles song and add a melody line, a few more lyrics, and ask for fifty percent."
Legal battles meant Michael's version didn't make his Thriller album and remains unreleased.
Michael's keyboardist, Greg Phillinganes, did record a version for his album, Pulse, issued in 1985. It was released as a single and achieved no.77 on the R&B singles chart in the US, but failed to make the Hot 100 and wasn't a hit in the UK.
Phillinganes first met Michael and his brothers during the sessions for the Jacksons' Destiny album in 1978, and went on to serve as musical director for Michael's Bad World Tour.
Phillinganes, who also played with his band, brought the song to Eric Clapton's attention. Clapton's cover version, on which Phillinganes played keyboards and sang backing vocals, hit no.15 in the UK in 1987. This version, curiously, failed to credit Michael as one of the song's co-writers - but Chris Mosdell has confirmed Michael does take 50% of the song-writing royalties.
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