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Michael Jackson’s Favorite Music

SONGS

MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

1812 Overture – Tchaikovsky


LL Cool J, Essence, September 30, 2009

He told me once that “Around the Way Girl” was one of his favorite songs because he like that ‘you got me shook up, shook down, shook out all your lovin’…’ , [which is from the Mary Janes Girls' "All Night Long,"] you know.


Michael Jackson, Rolling Stone, Feb 17, 1983

Freddie invited Michael. He has been calling all week, mainly about the possibility of their working together. They’ve decided to try it on the Jacksons’ upcoming album. Though they are hardly alike — Freddie celebrated a recent birthday by hanging naked from a chandelier — the two have been friendly since Michael listened to the material Queen had recorded for The Game and insisted that the single had to be “Another One Bites the Dust.”

“Now, he listens to me, right Freddie?”

“Righto, little brother.”

Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor:

“Michael came to several shows, I think at The Forum, in LA. And he loved Freddie and he kept saying, ‘You guys you gotta put that song out’. I said, ‘No, you’re kidding, that’s never a single’.


LL Cool J, Essence, September 30, 2009

He told me once that “Around the Way Girl” was one of his favorite songs because he like that ‘you got me shook up, shook down, shook out all your lovin’…’ , [which is from the Mary Janes Girls' "All Night Long,"] you know.



MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Baby Love – Diana Ross and The Supremes





Russrags on Gearslutz:

1st off the song I always heard Michael singing around the Studio was “Black Dog” by Led Zep truly amazing to witness 1st hand.

Michael loved singing “Black Dog” and it was great hearing him sing it, but no recordings .. dang it !!!


MJ, Jet, 6th February 1984

“That’s why I love Stevie Wonder’s album called Songs in The Key of Life… He had a song called Black Man and I just jumped up screaming when I heard that record because he’s showing the world what the Black man has done and what other races have done… He named it Black Man and all these people who have got the album sing it. And that’s the best way to bring about the truth.”


Toni Braxton, Pulse, 22 February 2010

I remember when I first met him; he came over to me which was a really big deal. We were at a charity ball and he came over to me and said, ‘Toni Braxton oh my God I love you, your voice is so incredible, so androgynous – it’s so unique. Breathe Again is my favourite song, let’s take a picture together.’


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel


Song that he first performed as a child in school, which lead to him pursuing singing.

MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


P.Diddy on a TV Special For Michael:

“I was throwing this party for the MTV movie awards. You know, I was starting to plan to really do my entree on the scene as an actor.

I invited everybody, everyone was there, the Beckhams was there, I remember Beyonce was there, Jamie Foxx, Ashton, Cameron Diaz, Will Smith, Chris Rock. Everyone that was moving and shaking in Hollywood. So the party’s going on, the party’s off the chain, party’s already a success.

I remember Beyonce had just dropped Crazy In Love. I remember that was what was just killing the dance floor and she was there and I remember the DJ he ain’t played it yet, and the dancefloor was warmed up, and everyone was saying, “we want to hear the new Beyonce joint,” that’s how hot it was.

Security comes to get me and says, “You have a guest here, who wasn’t on the list.” I’m like who, he’s like “Michael Jackson.” I’m thinking they joking around with me, I’m thinking like you know they trying to maybe Punk me. This is like – I think Punk’d, Punk’d was out during this time, I’m not knowing what’s going on.

So then I go towards the back, back where like the catering was and it’s Michael. I’m like, “Michael, what’s up, what’re you doing?”

And he’s like, you know, “I’m here with Brett Ratner, you know we came to the party, is that cool, can we come?”

I was always impressed about how down to Earth he was. But this is actually down to Earth, he’s asking if it’s alright to come to this party. He said, like, “This party’s really hot. You gotta invite me to more of your parties.” And then he leans over to me and he’s like, we’re taking some pictures and he’s like, “Where’s Beyonce?” I’m like, I’m like I didn’t think I heard him correctly. He’s like, “You know, I heard she’s here, where’s Beyonce?”

And I’m like, “Okay, well hold on, let me go find out where she’s at.”

So I round up on B, B’s on the dancefloor and I’m like, “B, um, you know, Michael’s here, he wants to meet you.” So I get Mike, you know bring him over, he’s like, “I love the record,” whatever, whatever.

He goes to tell the DJ to play the record. DJ plays the record.

And um, I recall them dancing, I don’t want to be quoted for that, that could’ve been in my imagination, but I do recall them dancing or something but even if they never danced that’s the way it is in my mind, but I’m pretty sure that they did dance.

But the whole recollection of that is that – it was so real that Mike recognized the greatness in Beyonce early. He had no ego about it and was ready to meet her and give her hers and he was also ready to go for his as a man. I think we all as men at the time wanted to dance with Beyonce. Michael had the courage enough to come to a party, ask for Beyonce and even dance with her.


Frank Cascio

Brilliant, Michael Loved this song, would always play this song while he would get ready in the morning…




Frank Cascio “My Friend Michael”

I remember him putting on a group called Bread. I didn’t pay too much attention to the music – I was too busy making fun of the name, But when I settled down for a minute and really listened instead of making sarcastic remarks, they became one of my favorite groups. I wanted to know everything there was to know about Bread. Yes, Bread was my jam.



Russrags on Gearslutz:

Once I was out at Michael’s Studio on Havenhurt in Encino, and I was going through a stack of vinyl records sitting by the console. One of the records I came across was Grace Jones “Nightclubbing” I picked it up to look at it front and back and Michael got kind of excited about it too. He took the record from me and asked if I’d like to hear a song that was very influential to him, and I thought are you kidding, YES please. He put on a song called “Feel Up” from that record and I about fell over !!! All the little inflections Michael creates with his voice on his records, are present on this Grace Jones track from 1981. Please check this song out, anyone reading this thread will be glad they did.


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Get On Up – James Brown


Michael Jackson: For The Record by Chris Cadman:

The line “Go on, girl!” [in the song "The Way You Make Me Feel"] was inspired by Stevie Wonder’s song, Go Home, revealed by Michael as he and Stevie were in an elevator, trading lines from The Way You Make Me Feel. Stevie said knowing he’d inspired Michael made him feel pretty good.


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye


Frank Cascio’s book “My Friend Michael”

Michael played DJ back at the chalet, saying, “You have to listen to this song. Now you have to hear this group.” We listened to Stevie Wonder and all of the Motown stars. He had us listen to the James Brown song “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” – all fourteen minutes of it. We listened to How Deep Is Your Love? (I still believe that it’s one of the greatest songs of all time).





Jim Peterik, co-writer of the song “Eye of The Tiger”


Also, what do you think of Weird Al’s “Rye & The Kaiser”?

Haha. I am big fan of his parody of Eye of the Tiger. Especially like the line “Stay away from the tuna, it smells fishy today.” Almost did not grant a license to Al for this song but I am glad that Michael Jackson changed my mind.

I knew Michael through Bruce Swedien – who was Michael’s long-time engineer. When Michael heard my song – “Gift of Song” – he said to Bruce “He is writing about me.”

When Michael gave Weird Al permission to “Beat It” as the template for “Eat It” – he convinced me that this was a cool thing to do. Never regretted it for a minute.


Michael seen dancing to this song in the back of Brett Ratner’s car in 2002 in his “Private Home Movies”:




Barry Gibb, 1st September 2009

“[Our] songs like Love You Inside and Out in particular struck him as him and saying that’s what he wanted to do.”



Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs




MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Love Me Do – The Beatles


Russrags on Gearslutz:

Once I was out at Michael’s Studio on Havenhurt in Encino, and I was going through a stack of vinyl records sitting by the console. One of the records I came across was Grace Jones “Nightclubbing” I picked it up to look at it front and back and Michael got kind of excited about it too. He took the record from me and asked if I’d like to hear a song that was very influential to him, and I thought are you kidding, YES please. He put on a song called “Feel Up” from that record and I about fell over !!! All the little inflections Michael creates with his voice on his records, are present on this Grace Jones track from 1981. Please check this song out, anyone reading this thread will be glad they did.


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Nutcracker Suite – Tchaikovsky



Sampled by Michael in D.S in HIStory.

Robmix on Gearsltuz:

It was amazing how he’d come in with some song he liked and want to capture something about it – the energy, the tone, the mood.

He was really into “Owner of a Lonely Heart” too. So when Yes came to town, I made sure everyone knew it, and we got Trevor Rabin to come down and play some stuff on “They Don’t Care About Us”.

That is the orchestra hit from “Owner of a lonely heart” [on D.S]. . . . .

Nephew Taj Jackson on twitter, 3rd of January 2011:

tajjackson3Taj Jackson Every time I hear “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, I think of my uncle. It was one of his favorite songs. I can still picture him doing air guitar.


Frank Cascio’s book “My Friend Michael”

Michael played DJ back at the chalet, saying, “You have to listen to this song. Now you have to hear this group.” We listened to Stevie Wonder and all of the Motown stars. He had us listen to the James Brown song “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” – all fourteen minutes of it.


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

Frank Cascio “My Friend Michael”

He introduced me to all types of music – country, folk, classical, funk, rock. He even turned me on to Barbra Streisand. I fell in love with her song “People.”


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Peter and the Wolf – Prokofiev






MJ, 1980

”I have all kinds of tapes and music people would probably never think were mine . I love Some Girls [by the Rolling Stones].”


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs



Michael shopping in an old record store sometime in the early 2000s

At one point when we had taken him down to the basement to look through all of the junk, he turned and asked me, “Do you like Diana Ross and the Supremes’ music?” I said that I did and I asked him what his favorite song was by them. He said “Stop In the Name of Love”, I think. I told him that mine was “I Hear A Symphony”, and he said that he loved that one, too. He said he thought it was a shame that their reunion tour that was supposed to happen didn’t because they couldn’t get along.


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Yesterday – The Beatles

ALBUMS

Pet Sounds – Beach Boys
Spirits Having Flown – Bee Gees
To Kill a Mockingbird – Elmer Bernstein Soundtrack


Biography, “You Are Not Alone,” by Jermaine Jackson:

When What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye was released, Michael considered it ‘a true masterpiece’ and placed the album sleeve on a shelf at Hayvenhurst: an ornament to be admired; an example to follow. It is still there, propped up where he left it, to this day.


Robmix on Gearslutz:

He was a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral . . . .

MJ never revealed if he wanted to work with NIN. He just liked the sounds. . .


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder
Talking Book – Stevie Wonder
West Side Story – Soundtrack
Nutcracker Suite – Tchaikovsky

MUSICIANS

Frank Cascio “My Friend Michael”

Michael went on about Aaron Copland, whom he considered the greatest composer of the twentieth century.


Aretha Franklin
BeeGees
Bob Marley
Boys II Men

Frank Cascio “My Friend Michael”

I remember him putting on a group called Bread. I didn’t pay too much attention to the music – I was too busy making fun of the name, But when I settled down for a minute and really listened instead of making sarcastic remarks, they became one of my favorite groups. I wanted to know everything there was to know about Bread. Yes, Bread was my jam.


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs


Burt Bacharach
Chicago House Music
Debussy
Diana Ross and the Supremes
Doobie Brothers
Eagles
ELO

David Gest, Observer, December 2009

One night, when he was in his late teens, we went to The Roxy on the Sunset Strip to see the Four Tops.

We went backstage with Stevie Wonder, and Michael says to the lead singer of the Four Tops, Levi Stubbs Jr, “I learned everything from you Levi, everything.” Stevie picked Michael up, threw him against the wall and went, “Who did you learn everything from? Who’s the greatest?” and Michael said, “You, Stevie! Stop! You!” It was so funny.


Glen Campell
Guns ‘N’ Roses
Herman’s Hermits
Jackie Wilson
James Brown

David Gest, Observer, December 2009

He also loved anything Motown as well as real, heartfelt soul. To both of us, James Brown was a god and Jimi Hendrix was his brilliant pupil.


Johnny Mathis
Kenny Loggins

Interview with Jerry Greenberg, Aug 9 2010

What was Michael like as a person?

Wonderful. He was an incredible human being. The kindest, nicest, most wonderful guy I’ve ever met. He was really a God gifted entertainer.

I heard that he was brilliant in that regard.

He was a perfectionist. He had perfect pitch, which the only other person I know who had that was Roberta Flack. He would record a vocal track ten times to make sure it was absolutely correct. He had such a good sense about music. I wasn’t with the company for more than two weeks and he called me up in the middle of the night and said, “Jerry did you see Sister Act 2?” I said, “No”. He said, “There’s a girl in the movie that you have to see.” It was the lead singer of the Fugees, Lauryn Hill. He said, “I want to sign her.” I knew who managed the group so I called him and said, “Michael, I found out she is in a group called The Fugees, but I spoke to their manager and if the first record doesn’t happen I think she would love to do a solo record with us.” Obviously, the first record happened and we never got her, but it shows you that Michael can spot talent and what his gut instinct was. She turned out to be a big star. I had a great time working with Michael and when I look back at my career and I think about all the artists that I worked with at Atlantic and then Michael for ten years. That was a treat. I’d wake up and say, “You’re really paying me to do this?


Maceo Parker

“Trapped” by Dave Marsh

At the opening show of the Victory tour in Kansas City last June, a number of writers were struck by a couple of bits of gospel phrasing that you used. They’d never shown up before, and there was no real reason they should turn up now: You weren’t raised in Pentecostal church and Motown was shaped by gospel only in its rhythmic accents, not in its singing styles. After asking around, it turned out that you’d come across a videotape of Mahalia Jackson from the mid fifties.

“Michael apparently sits up all night and watches that tape over and over,” a friend told me. “Just sits there and watches it and cries.”


Mamas and Papas
Marvin Gaye
Nile Rogers
Otis Redding

MJ, Blues and Soul, May 6, 1980

Michael, we know you don’t like doing interviews and that you have a valid reason for feeling that way. For the benefit of your fans, would you like to tell us about it?

MJ: This is the honest to God truth. What a person says means so much to me. It can change a person’s whole opinion of another person. I’ve seen that happen so many times – Charlie Chaplin, Paul Robeson, Jane Fonda. All of whom are people who spoke out and the world opinion started to change on them. My biggest fear is of being misquoted. One word can be cut into a statement and change the complete meaning and coloring of what was meant.

A lot of geniuses in different endeavors have been hurt this way. Like Charlie Chaplin being called a Communist. Or the way that Paul Robeson was treated. So, if I can’t be quoted properly then I’d rather not be quoted at all.

Wikipedia:

Paul Leroy Robeson was an American concert singer (bass-baritone), recording artist, athlete and actor who became noted for his political radicalism and activism in the civil rights movement.[3] Robeson was the first major concert star to popularize the performance of Negro spirituals. He was the first black actor to portray Shakespeare’s Othello in a production with an otherwise all-white cast, in 1930.[4] Ira Aldridge had also played Othello, but his production had an all-black cast, as African-Americans and whites were not allowed to appear together onstage in the nineteenth century.


Peter Paul and Mary
Prince
Queen
Rachmaninoff
Ray Charles
Richard and Robert
Sammy Davis Jnr
Sherman Brothers
Sly And The Family Stone
Smokey Robinson
Stevie Wonder
Tchaikovsky
Temptations
The Beatles
The Carpenters

David Gest, Observer, December 2009

One day she was sick and Michael asked me if I could take him to a memorabilia show in Glendale. I said, “What’s memorabilia?” and he said, “You’ve got to get into it, David, you’ll love it.” So I drove him to a show where they were selling lots of old rock and soul posters, gold records, Beatles items and signed items by Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and the Doors. Michael loved the Doors and their music.


Three Dog Night
Tupac

MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”


Whitney Houston Added To Second NY Concert, August 16 2001

Whitney Houston has confirmed performances for both Friday, September 7, 2001 and Monday, September 10, 2001 at the all-star tribute in honor of Michael Jackson at Madison Square Garden. Producer David Gest said in a press release:

“Whitney is one of my closest friends and I am delighted she will share this special occasion with Michael, who happens to be her favorite artist. They will perform a duet together.”

Michael expressed his delight about Whitney joining him on both nights by stating:

“I feel Whitney is one of the greatest voices in the world. She could sing the yellow pages and I would buy it. I absolutely adore her and am her greatest fan.”


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Feel free to let me know about any that I’ve missed and for any sources that I should include.

Rhythm Of The Tide

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13 Responses to Michael Jackson’s Favorite Music

  1. nrt January 14, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    Awesome list!

    What about Snow Patrol? Oooh and that song by the Game…urgh sorry for being vague! I can’t remember off the top if my head!

    Oh and the Whisper Song! ;b

    • lacienega January 14, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      When did MJ say he liked Snow Patrol? There’s a lot of songs I need to add, when MJ would talk to other musicians he almost always knew their entire musical back catalog. Sometimes I think he was just being nice about some things though, heh.

  2. aditya November 16, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    Even Ne-Yo’s Go On Girl. Source:http://popcrush.com/ne-yo-talks-meeting-michael-jackson-on-vh1s-behind-the-music/

  3. thankyoufortheparty July 20, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Great list! What’s the source on Little Red Corvette?

  4. Aiko July 16, 2012 at 4:48 am #

    How did you find out that Tupac was one of his favorite artist? It would really be interesting to know. Thanks

    • lacienega July 16, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

      Omer Bhatti mentioned it a Norwegian interview.

      • Aiko July 17, 2012 at 3:33 am #

        Thanx! and what interview might that be? Would i be able to find it on youtube?

        • lacienega July 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

          It was a Norwegian interview, it was on youtube but I don’t remember a link.

  5. kat July 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Hello there. I did not see a source for Tears for fears, just the video. Thanks for posting.

    • lacienega July 4, 2012 at 1:19 am #

      That was one of those things I saved on my internet travels and then couldn’t remember a source for it. I knew I’d seen it said though, so I kept it in, but if I can’t find the source again I can always take it down.

  6. janulla March 18, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    said that Kenny Ortega

  7. janulla March 8, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    Prince – Purple Rain
    The Beatles – Come Together
    Shaggy – It Wasn’t Me

    • lacienega March 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      Where did you hear that MJ liked Purple Rain?

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