Rivalry with Prince, Bubbles and Muscles as told by Quincy Jones

Whitty Hutton

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https://www.gq.com/story/quincy-jones-has-a-story

"I forgive everybody. Forgiveness is what it's all about. Forgive us our trespasses and forgive those who trespass against us. It's imperative. It was no problems after that. And I know his mother, Afeni, who was a pain in the ass. She's dead now. They want us to take over the estate now, my son and I. Three or four estates they want us to take over. In fact the Jacksons are coming to us now, even after the court thing we had. (18) Jermaine was here last week with his 21-year-old son, and I want to do a Broadway show with him on Michael. Julie Taymor to direct—that's my baby, biggest in history, Lion King. And use Jermaine's son, who sings and dances just like Michael."

You first met Michael when he was 12, right?

"Yeah. Aretha, 12. Michael and Stevie [too]. That's heavy, isn't it? It means if you've got it at 12, you know you're going all the way."

What do you think Michael's greatness was?

19. A famous Hollywood singing coach.

"He had a perspective on details that was unmatched. His idols are Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, James Brown, all of that. And he paid attention, and that's what you're supposed to do. That's the only way you can be great, you know, is pay attention to the best guys who ever did it. Amazing process of producing those albums, man. You know at Motown they sing high all the time, and I had to send him to Seth Riggs (19) to give me another fourth range on top and a fourth on bottom because I need a little more range. I said, 'Michael, I need you to just murmur and beg, and [use] soft falsetto voice low, so you get a contrast to the dee do da da day do do. I needed him to beg, and I went through the whole nine yards. It's like a film director, man. But, you know, here's the bottom line: If the cover's ****ed-up, if it's the wrong studio, wrong engineer, wrong background groups, wrong tempos for the songs, and all that stuff—if that's ****ed-up, it's all the producer's fault. If it's a hit, the artist wants credit for everything. That ain't never gonna change. Prince, all of them. Please—I worked with everybody in the ****ing world in music."

Prince appeared in the studio, right, back when you and Michael were recording 'Off the Wall'?


"Yeah, he showed up in the back of a car with a brother who was managing him, and he was like a deer in the headlights. He didn't have a top on. Did you ever see that thing with James Brown?"

Oh yeah.

Jones is referring to the legendary evening—August 20, 1983—when both Michael Jackson and Prince attended a James Brown show at the Beverly Theater in Los Angeles.

"That's heavy. He made a damn fool out of himself, didn't he?" says Jones, and the star he is referring to is Prince. Jackson had film of what happened that night. "Prince told Michael he'd kill him if he showed it to anybody," Jones explains, but one way or another, time-coded raw footage of what took place that night eventually surfaced. First Brown invites Jackson to the stage. Jackson sings a few phrases, spins, moonwalks, then embraces Brown and can be seen whispering to him. Brown then calls for Prince. After a delay, Prince gets onstage, takes a guitar, jams a little, then strips off his shirt. He does some mic-stand tomfoolery, dances a little more, then nearly tumbles into the audience trying to pull down an oversize streetlamp prop. It was a superstar face-off that has often been seen as a triumph for Michael Jackson, and a rare humiliation for Prince.

He spoke to Michael after the show?

"Oh yeah, he spoke to him. He waited in the limousine to try and run over him and La Toya and his mother."

How do you know Prince was trying to run him over?

"He knew. Michael knows shit. He was there. He said that was his intention."

Michael told you that?

"Yeah."

What did he think of what Prince had done onstage that night?

"It was just very obvious what the hell happened—made a damn fool out of himself. Michael went up there, in 40 seconds, sang I love you I love you. Then they went up-tempo and he did a little dance and did the moonwalk and whispered in [James Brown's] ear, 'Call Prince up—I dare him to follow me.' "

A further landmark in their uneasy rivalry came when Jones suggested to Jackson that Prince duet with him on the title track of his Bad album. "So we invited [Prince] over to Michael's house at Hayvenhurst. He came in and he had an overcoat on, and he had a big white box labeled camille. He called Michael 'Camille.' " Prince, it seems, had brought a gift for his host. "The box had all kinds of stuff—some cuff links with Tootsie Rolls on them. Michael was scared to death—he thought there was some voodoo in there. I wanted to take it, because I knew Michael was gonna throw it away."

What happened to it?

"He threw it away. In the garbage."

How did the conversation about doing the song together go?

20. Smelly was the name Jones used for Michael Jackson; he took it from Jackson’s habit of saying “smelly jelly” instead of “funky.”

"Well, we sat at a table that held 24 people, at his house, family table, I said, 'Michael…Smelly, (20) you sit over there so he doesn't feel like we're ganging up on him.' It started off funny. Michael said, 'I never been to Minnenapolis.' [Prince] said"—snapping angrily—" 'It's Minneapolis!' Oh God…man, this is not going too well. Then Janet went by. [Prince] said, 'Relax your lips, girl.' And it was not going well, that's for sure. Then we went upstairs, and he saw the chimpanzee and the snake, he said, 'Now, that's interesting.' And then he says to me, 'He doesn't need me on this—it's going to be a hit anyway.' Which is true."

You were around in the era when the animals started appearing, weren't you?


"Yeah. Muscles"—Jackson's boa constrictor—"and Bubbles." The chimp. "Muscles used to come and wrap around me, my leg, around the chair, and crawl across the console. That was a big mother****er, man."

What did you think?

"Oh, it scared me to death, man. I ain't gonna lie. And the chimpanzee, whatever the **** it was, he was a pain in the ass. He bit Rashida. My poor baby."

If that was my daughter, I'd be kind of angry.

"Yeah, I was angry."

What did you say?

"Well, what do you say? Shit. After it's already happened, what the **** can you do? I remember one day we were out there working at Hayvenhurst, and we couldn't find Muscles, and we went downstairs—they were refurbishing this room down there—and here this cat, man, is hanging out of the parrot cage. His mouth is inside, but he just ate the parrot so he couldn't get out of the cage. So he's just hanging there till he digests it."

This is Michael's parrot he's eaten?

"Michael's parrot. The snake didn't want to hear that shit."

Would you ever say to Michael, "This stuff is strange"?

"No, man, you don't do that. Come on. I don't get into that kind of judgment. I really don't. I just think that's who they are, you know. Just see what you can put up with, what you can't."
 

barbee0715

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GQ always likes to be edgy and I'm sure they were goading Quincy on. Poor thing-the more times he tells these stories, the more outlandish they become. And wasn't Camille Prince's alter-ego, not a nickname for Michael.
One thing that he holds fast to is getting Michael hooked up with Seth Riggs-which I think was a great thing-to increase his range and help Michael realize his dreams of what his voice could do.

This article has all sorts of fantastical things from Quincy-talking about his 21 girlfriends on every port, talking about Picasso and Ray Charles and their drug use, and so much of it sounds exaggerated now.

And what's this new story about Jermaine wanting Quincy to do a Broadway play about Michael starring Jaffar. Hmm-I have my doubts on that one-but I guess you never know.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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GQ always likes to be edgy and I'm sure they were goading Quincy on. Poor thing-the more times he tells these stories, the more outlandish they become. And wasn't Camille Prince's alter-ego, not a nickname for Michael.
One thing that he holds fast to is getting Michael hooked up with Seth Riggs-which I think was a great thing-to increase his range and help Michael realize his dreams of what his voice could do.
.
Yeah I think so too. His voice got so expressive and expansive just comparing it from Destiny To Off The Wall. That's my favorite period, vocally, when it comes to Mike. 78 -82

I always love reading about the Prince and Michael "Rivalry". Thanks for sharing this OP
 

terrell

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I wont be surprise if Prince did this and I wont be surprise if that was some witchcraft nonsense. Ironic after that, MJ's life was never the same.
 

Whitty Hutton

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I wont be surprise if Prince did this and I wont be surprise if that was some witchcraft nonsense. Ironic after that, MJ's life was never the same.

I would think it had more to do with this also being the time he removed himself from Jehovah's Witnesses. It seems he took more of the attitude that can't nobody tell him what to do, which led him to a lot of bad decision making and company. Somebody familiar with him once said Mike was a different person when he was humble enough to put on a disguise and go to people's houses to talk about the Bible

On the flip side Prince said how he was more at peace and a better person once he became a JW later on
 
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KOPV

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I am one to believe that his religious beliefs (if he stayed as a Jehovah witness) would have only gave him too much headache and held his artistic reach too much (considering Thriller and Smooth Criminal etc.)...

Of course this all could be touchy for some because everyone has different religious or non religious beliefs, but I think his choice of separating himself from the church was not a 'bad' move on his part..

Regarding his life 'never being the same' and issues that came with it around Bad and beyond is more so due to being larger than any white artist, being the KING of Pop, being eccentric, vitiligo, private, and the PR image he created that worked for him.. and against him! ..

No witchcraft, not any religious or lack of religious fault.. It was the nature of the beast that was created by his super-stardom!
 

Themidwestcowboy

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I am one to believe that his religious beliefs (if he stayed as a Jehovah witness) would have only gave him too much headache and held his artistic reach too much (considering Thriller and Smooth Criminal etc.)...

Of course this all could be touchy for some because everyone has different religious or non religious beliefs, but I think his choice of separating himself from the church was not a 'bad' move on his part..

Regarding his life 'never being the same' and issues that came with it around Bad and beyond is more so due to being larger than any white artist, being the KING of Pop, being eccentric, vitiligo, private, and the PR image he created that worked for him.. and against him! ..

No witchcraft, not any religious or lack of religious fault.. It was the nature of the beast that was created by his super-stardom!

yeah I dont think anyone seriously believe in that witchcraft theory, or atleast i hope so lol, but it is rather interesting to see how the two coincided
 

123

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This is a really good story of Michael. But it could've been better if he was alive still.
 

83magic

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Michael whipped the crowd into a frenzy within seconds! using only his voice and dance. he gave one of his longest and fastest spins! I think I counted 3 rotations. landed upright in one peace too! have to watch in slow motion to see what he actually did! definitely a highlight of what was already an amazing year. James Brown was so proud!

anything else in that article is irrelevant..
 
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