Michael Jackson: King of Pop recorded Billie Jean almost 100 times

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Michael Jackson was a global superstar. Although he was crowned the King of Pop, he was an enormous commercial success as well, breaking music records and selling an unbelievable amount of records. One of his best-selling albums of all time was 1982’s Thriller, which included the 1983 single Billie Jean. Billie Jean not only reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in three weeks, but it also went on to become 6x platinum.

Billie Jean didn’t stop there, however, as it also went on to become Jackson’s best-selling solo single of all time.

What’s more, it is also one of the best-selling singles from any artist of all time, selling over 10 million copies worldwide.

The classic yet simple beat sounds effortless – and Jackson’s vocals are an incredible display of his talent – but he worked very hard on the song.

According to Jackson’s music engineer, the King of Pop recorded 91 versions of the vocals for the final edition of Billie Jean.

Despite doing 91 takes of the vocals for the song, the engineer, Bruce Swedien, revealed the second take Jackson made was used in the final version of the song.

In a tweet from the official Michael Jackson Twitter account, the production of the legendary song was detailed.

The tweet read: “We were doing Billie Jean at Westlake Audio in L.A., and we did 91 vocal takes.

“The final take that went on the album was take two. That gives you an idea of Michael’s abilities – Bruce Swedien, music engineer for Michael Jackson.”

Despite having to record the song’s vocals almost 100 times, he managed to get it almost perfect on the second take.

Although Billie Jean is a legendary track, it was not Jackson’s favourite.

Jackson previously spoke out about the experience he had whilst recording another Thriller track, The Girl Is Mine.

The 1982 single was released as a single from Thriller, and was recorded alongside The Beatles star Paul McCartney.

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Speaking out about the recording process with McCartney, the Earth Song star called the song one of his “favourites” to record.

He said: “One of my favourite songs to record, of all my recordings as a solo artist, is probably The Girl Is Mine.

“Working with Paul McCartney was pretty exciting and we just literally had fun.

“It was like lots of kibitzing and playing, and throwing stuff at each other, and making jokes.”

Jackson added: “We actually recorded the [instrumental] track and the vocals pretty much live at the same time, and we do have footage of it, but it’s never been shown.”

The footage was shown years later at one of Paul McCartney’s live show.

One year prior Jackson worked on some music with McCartney’s fifth album, Pipes of Peace, in which the pair recorded Say Say Say and The Man.


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