« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Michael Jackson 'Thriller' demos unearth lost gems

Mj In the continuing rush by Michael Jackson fans to celebrate his musical legacy, sales of his most popular songs and albums have set records since his unexpected death in June.

But for the more hardcore historians, it’s meant digging deeper to find the most obscure and often unreleased material possible. In the case of the “The Unheard Music” blog, that search has uncovered a trove of studio demos for Jackson’s legendary “Thriller” album produced by Quincy Jones -- the famed recording that won the Grammy for album of the year.

While many longtime fans have been collecting these versions for years, for the rest of us it’s a fascinating and ultimately rewarding glimpse into the inner workings of a classic.

There are songs that didn’t make the final cut, like “Hot Street,” which houses a potentially great chorus amid dated synthesizer sounds, and a solid if relatively pedestrian ballad, “Carousel.” An early take on “Billie Jean” stands out due to a bleating keyboard bass line instead of the cool funk of the final version.

From there it dives into random outtakes and studio detritus, such as a vocal snippet from a song called “Groove of Midnight” that features Jackson and an engineer discussing his hair growth (Jackson shouts out Sebastian hair products). There’s even a clip of “Starlight,” which was the original title of “Thriller” before Jackson decided it needed to be something catchier.

But the real find here . . .

. .  .is “Love Never Felt So Good,”  a fantastic song that features a multi-tracked Jackson singing over just a piano and finger snaps. It’s a classic vocal performance, rich with his trademark emotion and percussive singing style. It’s truly baffling how this song was never developed further or simply released as is.

Altogether, this collection of demos is an intriguing glimpse into the blueprints of the bestselling album of all time.

-- Scott T. Sterling

Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (10)

Even though Michael has left us physically, He is still here. God must have needed him because he is something special. Im going to play his music everyday. Im going to remember him everyday. If your feeling down Michael will make you feel better. All you have to do is smile.An he'll be there

Thanks for this article Scott. I hope this treasure trove sees the light of the day some day.

Michael was simply the best.

where can i listen to these?
i would pay anything to get a copy of these songs!
luv mj so much, he deserved so much more.

I think the best un-published song is "Got The Hots"........I heard it and it is a great classic song.

You're right, none of these songs are new for the diehard fans such as myself. But thanks for posting so that non-fans can perhaps partake in the genius that is Michael.

"Carousel" is an amazing song. The missing "Thriller" track. Michael Sembello has the full unedited MJ version and his ow demo version on his tribute to Michael Jackson at www.michaelsembello.com...Awsesome! This is the track that MJ used to learn the song.

Did Michael play the keyboard for his demos? Did he learn to play any instruments? Does anyone know of a forum to ask questions like these about the Icon and get answers from someone who knew him?

Wanna have these songs? I have Starlight and all the others for sale here ;-) Just let me know. My price is very good. maybe we can talk about the price ;-)


SEND EMAIL TO: mjj.ebay.christophe@gmail.com

We can work this deal out. I have starlight, slapstick and a lot of other songs


Slapstick, Starlight, Hot Street, Baby Be Mine(demo), etc. have all now been leaked to the internet in GREAT quality.
If Sony had released this instead of "This Is I", MJ's fans would have been a LOT happier.


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: