Bill Bottrell tells the story behind "Monkey Business"

AlwaysThere

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Even if you read this story here, make sure you VISIT THE ORIGINAL PAGE to let Bill know you're all aware of it! Hopefully we get some more behind-the-scenes posts from him and some of MJ's other collaborators :)

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Michael never told me why “Monkey Business” didn’t make the record. It had been in the top four priorities as the album came together. It was an adventurously odd thing, sometimes Beatlesque, other times bluesy and dark, and Michael loved the Beatles, but there was an obscure story here. The music and production were quite far along when Michael finally came to me with his lyrics.

“Billy, you know those people who want something for nothing?” (now he’s singing and snapping fingers)

“Your brother’s got kids with your mother-in-law
I might drop dead about what I saw
(Oh lord!)
I caught your mother she was doing the do
You can’t lie cause I was looking right at you
(oh Lord!)
Stop it
It’s too much!
Monkey Business going down”


And then in the bridge:

“I read the paper
And I can’t believe what’s going round
Somebody’s doing it to
Somebody’s up, somebody’s down
The government won’t pay my taxes
And I’m really mad
My mouth might let it free
So don’t you monkey shine with me!”
[Chorus]


In a few different sessions, we worked on the vocals. I always wondered who had been the lowly sexual grifters in the song, mothers and sons and what have you. It was not my job to ask Michael these things, as a songwriter of his status certainly can tell which stories he wants to tell, if and when he wants to tell them. So I only have his clear statement: “Billy, you know those people who want something for nothing?”

I got Greg Phillinganes in to Westlake studios to lay down a funky wurlitzer, and Jim Horn, the Beatles sax player, to layer some saxes. George Del Barrio’s string arrangement only entered a couple of times, but it evoked the sense of the story with an edgy riff. A lot of love and attention went into that recording. It never occurred to me that it might be left off the Dangerous album.

“Monkey Business” was eventually released without a final mix, on a rarities record, but without Michael to tell his back-story, it has gone unnoticed.
 

wonderouzmj

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“Monkey Business” was eventually released without a final mix, on a rarities record, but without Michael to tell his back-story, it has gone unnoticed.

Thats the saddest part of this story! I really wish I could've interviewed him when martin bashit did. I wouldve asked him so much about the creative process of him doing music & what when on behind the scenes (especially on the victory tour)
 

Fuzball

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Thats the saddest part of this story! I really wish I could've interviewed him when martin bashit did. I wouldve asked him so much about the creative process of him doing music & what when on behind the scenes (especially on the victory tour)

"Working with Michael Jackson":rolleyes:
 

SmoothCriminal1995

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I wish we had more stories about Michael's demos and deep cuts from people who were there. I love finding out something new about these songs
 

travis3000

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Seems to be a common theme for MJ's songwriting process. Someone else creates the music and he writes the lyrics and then adds to the production himself. Although I know some songs he also created the music as well as the lyrics.
 

Lil Ced

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^I didn't take it as Michael didn't produce the song. I just took it as he wrote lyrics very late into the process. I guess it is kind of ambiguous in the way it is written.
 

ChrisC

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^I didn't take it as Michael didn't produce the song. I just took it as he wrote lyrics very late into the process. I guess it is kind of ambiguous in the way it is written.

Exactly. To me it seems like more effort to assume Michael wasn't involved earlier. There's really no reason to assume he wasn't.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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Seems to be a common theme for MJ's songwriting process. Someone else creates the music and he writes the lyrics and then adds to the production himself. Although I know some songs he also created the music as well as the lyrics.

What are you talking about? That was MJ's MO to all the songs he ever worked on, even his own "baby's". He always recorded a rough demo with nonsensical and jumbled lyrics and then kept working, refining the instrumental.

I think you are reading this the wrong way.
 

wendijane

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“Billy, you know those mofos n crows who want something for nothing?” (now he’s singing and snapping fingers)

annnnd Thats how i see that lol
:rollin:
 

FiftyeightTOforever

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Man these medium jokers got that BURNING DA RANCH DOWN bullshit going on there... Didn't want to visit that site man... "United By Neverland" for those iconoclasts Dan Reed and the rest of the tribe... My arse.
 

JEMFTV

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Monkey Business was most likely left off because it sounded to "groovy" imo.
All the other songs on Dangerous had a harder vibe to it than MJ's previous stuff up to that point. So a record that sounded like a Bad-leftover just would've sounded out of place.
 

wonderouzmj

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Monkey Business was most likely left off because it sounded to "groovy" imo.
All the other songs on Dangerous had a harder vibe to it than MJ's previous stuff up to that point. So a record that sounded like a Bad-leftover just would've sounded out of place.
Ive never thought about it like that but your definitely right imo
 

mj_frenzy

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JEMFTV;4270096 said:
Monkey Business was most likely left off because it sounded to "groovy" imo.
All the other songs on Dangerous had a harder vibe to it than MJ's previous stuff up to that point. So a record that sounded like a Bad-leftover just would've sounded out of place.

wonderouzmj;4270116 said:
Ive never thought about it like that but your definitely right imo

But the ‘Dangerous’ album musically contains a little bit of everything (especially, its second half).

So, the theory that ‘Monkey Business’ (which had a mostly funky sound) did not make that album because the song would have sounded out of place on the album does not stand to reason.

Also, it has been strongly suggested by various sources that Michael Jackson continued to rework that song, even after the release of the ‘Dangerous’ album, which means that he was not totally satisfied with that song at the time right before the release of the ‘Dangerous’ album.
 

8701girl

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Ive always wanted to know behind the sences bout this song
 

wonderouzmj

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mj_frenzy;4270134 said:
But the ‘Dangerous’ album musically contains a little bit of everything (especially, its second half).

So, the theory that ‘Monkey Business’ (which had a mostly funky sound) did not make that album because the song would have sounded out of place on the album does not stand to reason.

Also, it has been strongly suggested by various sources that Michael Jackson continued to rework that song, even after the release of the ‘Dangerous’ album, which means that he was not totally satisfied with that song at the time right before the release of the ‘Dangerous’ album.
Noooooooooooo that track was complete & was album ready. More than a few ppl have wondered why it didn't make the cut because he spent so much time on it
 

Hudson112

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wonderouzmj;4270164 said:
Noooooooooooo that track was complete & was album ready. More than a few ppl have wondered why it didn't make the cut because he spent so much time on it
I don’t know. Bill in the article said that it was released on The Ultimate Collection without a final mix.
 
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