P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
|"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"|
U.S. 7" vinyl
|Single by Michael Jackson|
|from the album Thriller|
|B-side||"This Place Hotel" (UK) / "Workin' Day and Night"|
|Released||September 19, 1983|
|Format||7" / 12"|
|Genre||R&B, post-disco, funk|
|Michael Jackson singles chronology|
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It is the sixth single from Jackson's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). The original demo version of the song was written by Jackson and Greg Phillinganes. Quincy Jones passed on the song itself but liked the title and, with James Ingram, fashioned a totally new song with that title. The demo version is featured on The Ultimate Collection.
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was released on September 19, 1983, as the penultimate single from Thriller. The single charted at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 46 on the R&B singles chart, becoming the sixth Top 10 hit from the album. In the UK, the song reached a peak position of 11. The single was most successful in Belgium, charting within the Top 10 at number 6. "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" has been covered and sampled by numerous artists, including Monica, Justin Guarini and Kanye West. The original demo was also remixed by The Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am for Thriller 25.
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was never performed live by Jackson. In a rehearsal for the Dangerous World Tour, however, Jackson sang a small part of the demo version, describing it as "something I wrote that I haven't recorded yet."
James Ingram later described working with Jackson and Jones as being in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. "It's almost like I got the chance to go to Oz and Quincy was the Wizard of Oz and Michael Jackson was who he was dealing with in his world. Their work ethic is unbelievable." He noted how Jones would fall asleep on the board, waking up to answer a question. "He works in the Alpha state a lot", Ingram added. Two of Jackson's sisters, Janet and La Toya, provided backing vocals in the guise of the P.Y.T.s. The two sisters sang "na na na" back at their brother towards the end of the song. The song has a tempo of 126 beats per minute, making it one of Jackson's fastest songs.
Release and reception
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was released on September 19, 1983, as the penultimate single from Thriller. The single charted at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 46 on the R&B singles chart, becoming the sixth Top 10 hit from Thriller. In the United Kingdom, the song reached a peak position of 11. The song was most successful in Belgium, charting within the Top 10 at number 6. The single was placed at number 14 in the Netherlands. "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" charted at number 24 in Canada and peaked at number 51 in Germany.
Response to the song was mixed. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic enjoyed the song, and thought that the song was "frizzy funk." However, Rolling Stone reviewer Christopher Connelly, while discussing the album in a review, stated that the song "isn't up to the spunky character of the other tracks." Connelly mentioned that one of Jackson's weaknesses was "a tendency to go for the glitz," and cited the song as one example of this. Davitt Sigerson, from the same magazine, also agreed with Connelly, calling the song one of Thriller's "forgettables". Jon Pareles of The New York Times called the song "fluff", and believed that the other songs from the album were what made Thriller such a hit. Tal Rosenberg of Stylus Magazine believed that the song was a "jazzy R&B number", and Eric Henderson of the same magazine believed that the song was a "lush disco paradise."
Cover versions and references to the song
- 2002: American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini sang "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" on the first season of the show.
- 2003: Lene Nystrom lead singer of Aqua released "Pretty Young Thing" as the second single in 2004 from her debut solo album, Play with Me (album). It proved to be far less successful that the lead single It's Your Duty was.
- 2007: A part of the lyrics to Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." refer to Jackson's song, and are said to be in homage to the singer.
- 2008: Similar to "D.A.N.C.E", the song "New Classic", featured in Warner Brothers' film Another Cinderella Story, refers to the Jackson song (creating the backronym "paid, young, and taking on the world from the driver's seat/trying everything just to reach your dreams").
- 2010: San Franciscan pop band Snowblink covered the song for their 3/12/2010 Daytrotter session.
- 2010: R&B singers T-Pain and Robin Thicke covered the song for Quincy Jones' album, Q: Soul Bossa Nostra.
- 2011: The song is performed in the twelfth episode, "Silly Love Songs", of musical television series Glee, by character Artie Abrams (played by Kevin McHale).
- 2012: The Wood Brothers performed a version of the song for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.
- 2002: Jackson's demo version of "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was sampled on Monica's single "All Eyez on Me". "We used vocals from the song that didn't make the Thriller album", stated producer Rodney Jerkins. "He [Jackson] had more vocals and ad-libs that were never heard, and we used the ones that were not heard." Jackson hand delivered his original masters to Monica, who, as a longtime Jackson fan, was touched by the move.
- 2003: The chorus of "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was sampled by rapper Memphis Bleek on "I Wanna Love U". The song, sung by Donnell Jones, featured on Bleek's M.A.D.E. album.
- 2005: The song has been interpolated by Johntá Austin on rapper Bow Wow's song "Is That You (P.Y.T.)" from his album Wanted.
- 2007: "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was also sampled on rapper Kanye West's "Good Life", the third single from his Graduation album.
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008
|"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008"|
|Song by Michael Jackson featuring will.i.am from the album Thriller 25|
|Released||February 8, 2008|
|Format||CD, digital download|
|Genre||Hip hop, R&B|
|Thriller 25 track listing|
For Thriller 25, The Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am remixed the demo version of "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)". The singer commented on Jackson and the project, "You always just dream of meeting him, let alone working with him. I wouldn't have believed it. I grew up in the projects in East Los Angeles and Thriller was filmed about two blocks from my house, but my mother was really strict and she wouldn't let me go to the factories—she didn't care who was filming a video there; but I'm on the 25th anniversary, 25 years later—that's pretty awesome." Entitled "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008", the remix was well received by Rolling Stone. The publication described the track, along with "The Girl Is Mine 2008", as being one of the best songs on the album. They noted that will.i.am "updates the songs' original sound to make them dancefloor-worthy twenty-five years after their release".
- Written, composed and arranged by James Ingram and Quincy Jones
- Produced by Quincy Jones
- Greg Phillinganes: Synthesizer, synthesizer programming
- Michael Boddicker: Vocoder, emulator
- James Ingram: Portasound Keyboard
- Paul Jackson: Guitars
- Louis Johnson: Electric bass
- N'dugu Chancler: Drums
- Michael Jackson, Louis Johnson, Greg Phillinganes, James Ingram, Steven Ray: Handclaps
- Additional background vocals:
- James Ingram
- Howard Hewett
The song is written in the key of B minor. Meter is 4/4 at ~126 beats per minute.
- P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing) - 3:58
- Workin' Day and Night (Live-Jacksons) - 4:26
- P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing) - 3:58
- This Place Hotel - 4:41
- Thriller (Instrumental) - 5:56
- Album Version - 3:58
- Demo Version - 3:47
- 2008 Remix with will.i.am - 4:21
- Instrumental Version (Unreleased) - 3:58
- "Thriller > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 May 2009. "the frizzy funk of "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).""
- Bennett, Joy (December 24, 2007). "Thrills to come: King of Pop teams up with Kanye, Akon, will.i.am. for remix of world's' best-selling album: is new CD coming next?". Jet. Retrieved May 3, 2009.[dead link]
- Halstead (2003), p. 42
- Halstead (2007), p. 256
- Lyle, Peter (December 5, 2007). "Michael Jackson's monster smash". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- The Complete Michael Jackson, International Music Publications Ltd, 1997, ISBN 1859094473, p69
- Yeany, Ron (February 10, 1984). "MJ breaks record with record and makes 25 million sales". The Daily Collegian. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Connelly, Christopher (28 January 1983). "Michael Jackson: Thriller : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- Sigerson, Davitt (27 October 1987). "Michael Jackson: Bad : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- Pareles, Jon (3 September 1987). "Critic's Notebook; How Good Is Jackson's 'Bad'?". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- Rosenberg, Tal (19 June 2007). "The Diamond: Michael Jackson - Thriller". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- Henderson, Eric (18 October 2003). "Michael Jackson: Thriller". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- Blay, Ryan (September 2, 2002). "Two compete on 'American Idol' for a record deal with RCA". Michigan Daily. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Gamboa, Glenn (February 12, 2008). "Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' turns 25". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- O'Neil, Luke (July 31, 2007). "If it fits in the mix, it works". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- "Quincy Jones feat. Robin Thicke and T-Pain's P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) cover of Michael Jackson's P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)". WhoSampled.com. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "The Wood Brothers cover Michael Jackson". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Moss, Corey (July 3, 2002). "Monica's Next Album Showcases Her Newfound Potty Mouth". MTV. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Saraceno, Christina (December 11, 2002). "Monica Eyes the Spotlight". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Reid, Shaheem (May 8, 2002). "Monica Brings New Perspective To Third Album". MTV. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Reid, Shaheem (May 5, 2003). "Memphis Bleek Gets Past Bleak Period, Now Has It M.A.D.E.". MTV. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Pattison, Louis (September 13, 2007). "Graduation review". NME. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- "Kanye West, Akon, will.i.am for 'Thriller' reissue". NME. November 30, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Kreps, Daniel (December 20, 2007). "The Thriller Remixes: Kanye, Akon, Will.i.am and Fergie Try to Top the Chipmunks' Beat It". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 3, 2009.[dead link]
- Kent, David (2003). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Ultratop.be – Michael Jackson – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
- "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) in Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2013. cf. last week peak position
- "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "Michael Jackson - P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)". Charts.de. Media Control.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Michael Jackson search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Michael Jackson – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100.
- "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 11 June 2013. Only one result when searching "P.Y.T."
- "1984 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive - 7th April 1984". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- "Thriller awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "Michael Jackson – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
- "UK Singles Chart". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 6 July 2009.[dead link]
- Rashbaum, Alyssa (September 9, 2004). "Michael Jackson's Ultimate Box Set Has Demos, Hits, Live DVD". MTV. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- "CDs". The Washington Post. December 10, 2004. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Halstead, Craig (2003). Michael Jackson the Solo Years. Authors On Line. ISBN 0-7552-0091-8.
- Halstead, Craig (2007). Michael Jackson: For the Record. Authors On Line. ISBN 978-0-7552-0267-6.
- Taraborrelli, J. Randy (2004). The Magic and the Madness. Terra Alta, WV: Headline. ISBN 0-330-42005-4.