It’s been five years since the passing of Michael Jackson, who would’ve been 56 years old today. To honor his life, we’re looking back to a recent VH1 exclusive interview with his close friend and collaborator, legendary producer Quincy Jones.
Jones recalls first meeting 12-year-old Jackson during his family band days, but the two crossed paths again years later on the set of Sidney Lumet’s film, The Wiz. It was there that Jackson first approached Jones looking for someone to produce his next album. Preoccupied with his own work on the soundtrack for the film, Jones dismissed Jackson’s request. But it wasn’t long before Jones was won over by Jackson’s stellar talent and uncompromising work ethic on the movie set.
Jones signed on to work with Jackson to create Off The Wall, released in 1979. Three years later, they teamed up again for Thriller, and the rest is zillion-selling history.
The pair went through a whopping 800 songs to get down to nine that would be used for Thriller. And the tenacity didn’t stop there. “You look at the nine you have and very honestly say, ‘What are the four weakest songs in the company of these nine?’ And you take those out and try to make those your four strongest on the album.”
The effort certainly paid off. With Thriller, Jones and Jackson defined an era of music and set a high standard that artists still strive toward today. For Jones, working with Jackson on Thriller left him with memories to last a lifetime. “With Michael, it was an amazing love…and trust,” shared Jones.
VH1 salutes the musical genius of Michael Jackson and celebrates his birthday with not only these heartfelt reflections from Quincy Jones, but also with exclusive images from the Hard Rock International archives of rare MJ memorabilia. Head up to the gallery above for a peek inside the vault!
[Photo: Getty Images]
*Special thanks to Memorabilia Design Manager Giovanni Taliaferro and Hard Rock International Inc. for opening up their archives and allowing us to photograph this rare Michael Jackson memorabilia.