Paul McCartney gives a tour around his studio in 1997
Michael Jackson was truly a music prodigy, writing music from a young age with his brothers and sisters. They would make quick recordings and demo tapes in their homes before suddenly their music was being sung by fans all over the world. One of Michael’s most famous songs came from his collaboration with The Beatles star Paul McCartney – but who is The Girl is Mine about?
Michael Jackson wrote The Girl is Mine, and is credited as the writer and composer on his album, Thriller.
The Girl is Mine was produced by Quincy Jones, Michael’s long-term collaborator.
However Michael is also credited as a co-producer and co-arranger along with Quincy.
Sir Paul McCartney, who famously features on the song, is credited only as a vocalist, though given how similar his other songs with Michael are, it may be his style was incorporated into the song.
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Before The Girl is Mine, Michael and Sir Paul had collaborated on Say, Say, Say, which was written by both singers and produced by George Martin, The Beatles producer.
Sir Paul and Michael also co-wrote and co-performed The Man, another song which, along with Say, Say, Say, appeared on Sir Paul’s album Pipes of Peace, released in 1983.
As well as this, Sir Paul had written a song for Michael’s Off the Wall album, Girlfriend, which was also produced by Quincy.
Given their long term collaboration, it could be this song is not based in any fact, and to this day neither performer have suggested their song is based on any actual disagreement or story from their lives.
However, Michael did have to explain his composition style on two occasions, when he was sued for copyright infringement.
Jet magazine, published in December 1984, recorded some of his testimony from the first trial, where he explained the song came to him late at night after he had been asked to write the song.
He said in court: “It started with Quincy Jones asking me to write a song about two guys quarrelling over the same girl and I thought about it and I came up with the song, The Girl is Mine…
“I woke up from my sleep and I had this song, and I went over to the tape recorder and I sang it into the tape recorder and I sang exactly what I hear in my head, starting with the melody and the keyboard and the strings and everything.
“So, I just orally put it all on tape.”
His original recording was played in court, which included him saying words like ‘let the song create itself,’ as he came up with a melody.
He continued, speaking more generally about his way of writing: “Songs are spiritual things.
“They create themselves as if you are not doing it, as it if is there already. It’s very spiritual.”
He also compared the writing to that of L. Frank Baum, whom he said he explained the style of writing as allowing the pen to move “all by itself” with it “just happening” in a way which goes beyond understanding.
The first case saw him against Fred Sanford, who claimed The Girl is Mine was taken from his song Please Love Me Now, which Michael said he had never heard.
The second case saw him come up against Reynaud Jones and Robert Smith, who took issue with The Girl is Mine as well as Thriller, written by Rod Temperton, and We Are the World, written as a charity single by Michael and Lionel Richie.
Michael won both cases, which took place in 1984 and 1993, but he did provide testimony for both trials, with the second being shown via a taped testimony.
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