"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 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. It has a tempo of 126 beats per minute, making it one of Jackson's fastest songs.
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was released on September 19, 1983, as the sixth single from Thriller. The single charted at no. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and no. 46 on the Hot Black Singles chart, becoming the sixth Top 10 hit from Thriller. In the United Kingdom, the song reached a peak position of 11. It was most successful in Belgium, charting within the Top 10 at no. 6. The single was placed at no. 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 "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was mixed. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic thought that it was "frizzy funk." Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine believed that "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was a "lush disco paradise." 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 it 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.
2003: Lene Nystrøm, lead singer of the group Aqua, released "Pretty Young Thing" as the second single in 2004 from her debut solo album, Play with Me. 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 Bros.' 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.
My first concert ever was the Bad tour. I was absolutely mesmerized. I've always been a fan of Michael's for the simple fact that what he's done no one else will really be able to do. And that's something that makes you legendary.
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.
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".