The Girl Is Mine

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"The Girl Is Mine"
Single by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney
from the album Thriller
B-side "Can't Get Outta the Rain"
Released October 18, 1982
Recorded April 14-16, 1982 at Westlake Studios, Los Angeles
Genre Soft rock[1]
Length 3:42
Label Epic
Writer(s) Michael Jackson
Producer(s) Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Girlfriend"
(1980)
"The Girl Is Mine"
(1982)
"Billie Jean"
(1983)
Paul McCartney singles chronology
"Tug of War"
(1982)
"The Girl Is Mine"
(1982)
"Say Say Say"
(1983)

"The Girl Is Mine" is a song recorded by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. The track was written by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. It was released as the first single for Jackson's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). The song was recorded at Westlake Studios, Los Angeles, from April 14 to 16, 1982. The year before, Jackson and McCartney had recorded "Say Say Say" and "The Man" for the latter's fifth solo album, Pipes of Peace (1983). Although it was released as a single, Jackson never performed the song live.

"The Girl Is Mine" achieved success in the music charts. Aside from topping the R&B singles chart, the single peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number eight in the UK. By 1985, it had sold 1.3 million copies, and was eventually certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of at least one million units.

"The Girl Is Mine" has been the subject of two plagiarism lawsuits, the first in 1984 and the latter in 1993. Both instances required Jackson to testify in court, and each lawsuit found in the favour of the singer and his record label.

In 2008, for the 25th anniversary edition of Thriller, Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am remixed "The Girl Is Mine". The remix received generally unfavourable reviews from music critics.

Recording[edit]

The writing of "The Girl Is Mine" was completed by Jackson as he watched cartoons with Paul McCartney.[2] Producer Quincy Jones had initially told Jackson to write a song about two men fighting over a girl. Inspired, Jackson awoke during the night and sang the song into a tape recorder. He later said, "I sang exactly what I heard in my head, starting with the melody and the keyboard and the strings and everything. So, I just orally put it all on tape." Jones also asked Jackson to add a rap verse.[3] The song was then recorded by Jackson and McCartney at Westlake Studios, Los Angeles, from April 14 to 16, 1982. The year before, the duo had recorded "Say Say Say" and "The Man" for McCartney's fifth solo album, Pipes of Peace (1983).[4]

Jackson said that the recording of "The Girl Is Mine" was one of his most enjoyable moments in the studio. He stated, "One of my favourite songs to record, of all my recordings as a solo artist, is probably "The Girl Is Mine", because working with Paul McCartney was pretty exciting and we just literally had fun. It was like lots of kibitzing and playing, and throwing stuff at each other, and making jokes. We actually recorded the (instrumental) track and the vocals pretty much live at the same time, and we do have footage of it, but it's never been shown." He concluded, "Maybe one day we'll give you a sneak preview of it."[4] The footage of the pair was later shown at The Paul McCartney World Tour.[4]

Music[edit]

The musical structuring of "The Girl Is Mine" uses the AABA form, in which the song's title serves as the main source of needed repetition.[5] When used to the maximum, this structuring, also known as the thirty-two-bar form, has the title repeat itself in the same place, in at least two of the three A verses.[5] Author Sheila Davis' book, The Craft of Lyric Writing, notes that "the repeated title line simultaneously outlines the framework of the design and drives home the main point of the lyric".[5] Jackson's "She's Out of My Life" also uses this musical structuring, as does "Body and Soul", "Oh, Lady Be Good!" and "Try a Little Tenderness".[5] The musical chords in "The Girl Is Mine" are seen in several songs written by Jackson. "That's What You Get for Being Polite", from The Jacksons' Destiny album, and two unreleased songs ("Why Can't I Be" and "Thank You for Life") used the chords before "The Girl Is Mine".[3][6][7]

Release and reception[edit]

The song received a response by R&B singers Brandy & Monica in "The Boy Is Mine".

Despite recording "Say Say Say" and "The Man" a year prior, "The Girl Is Mine" was the first song to gain a release from the duo and the first single from the Thriller album. "The Girl Is Mine" was released as a single on October 18, 1982. The single's cover photograph was taken by McCartney's wife, Linda.[4] Listeners were not impressed by "The Girl Is Mine", and thought that Jackson's Thriller would also be a disappointment. The public felt that Jackson and the producer, Quincy Jones, had created a song for the white pop audience.[2] Despite some of the public's concerns, "The Girl Is Mine" achieved success in the music charts. Topping the R&B singles chart, the single peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 (behind "Maneater" by Hall & Oates and "Down Under" by Men at Work) and the Norwegian Singles Chart.[4][8] "The Girl Is Mine" reached number one on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart.[9] The song charted at number eight in the UK, peaking within the New Zealand Top 20.[4][8] By 1985, the single had sold 1.3 million copies.[3] The single was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of at least one million units.[10]

"The Girl Is Mine" featured Jackson and McCartney debating who had won a girl's affections.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Since its release, "The Girl Is Mine" has received several negative reviews from journalists and music critics. Journalist Robert Christgau described the pairing of McCartney and Jackson as "Michael's worst idea since "Ben"".[11] Rolling Stone stated that the song was a "wimpoid MOR [middle of the road] ballad" and that McCartney was "tame".[12] Stephen Erlewine of Allmusic noted that the song had a "sweet schmaltz".[13] Jackson's breakdown with the "irrepressibly silly Paul McCartney" was "disarmingly goofy", according to Stylus Magazine.[14] Salon.com later described "The Girl Is Mine" as a "sappy duet". They concluded that McCartney had become a "wimpy old fart".[15] The song garnered a favourable review from Jackson's biographer, J. Randy Taraborrelli. The writer stated that the song was "cute" but lacked substance. He added that the track had a "middle-of-the-road calm" and was the antithesis of the "rambunctious" "Beat It".[2][16]

Plagiarism lawsuits[edit]

"The Girl Is Mine" has been the subject of two plagiarism lawsuits. Both instances required Jackson to testify in court, and each lawsuit found in the favour of the singer and his record label. The first legal trial occurred in 1984, with Fred Sanford claiming that Jackson had cut a tape of his song, "Please Love Me Now". Jackson, however, insisted that he composed "The Girl Is Mine". The $5 million copyright suit was closed after the jury of five men and a woman reached a verdict in the favour of Jackson. Their verdict was reached after a three day deliberation. Jackson was not a defendant in the trial but testified to maintain his credibility.[3][17] James Klenk, Jackson's attorney, praised the singer upon the jury's verdict. "The man is a genius. He doesn't need anyone else's songs. His own words were the key."[3] During the court proceedings, Jackson revealed how he composes his songs. "I put them in a tape recorder and I orally sing them into the tape, and that's how it happens."[3] One juror stated, "His presentation indicated that he was well able to develop his own songs."[3][17]

The song's second plagiarism trial was in 1993. Reynaud Jones and Robert Smith alleged that "The Girl Is Mine", along with "Thriller"— written by Rod Temperton— and "We Are the World", resembled their musical works. The pair added that they had been childhood neighbours of the Jackson family when they had resided in Gary, Indiana. Jackson, Lionel Richie—co-writer of "We Are the World"—and Quincy Jones were named as the defendants. The plaintiffs asserted that Joseph Jackson had received a demo tape from them. From the tapes, the defendants were alleged to have stolen the three hit songs. Reynaud Jones also claimed that he had considered suing Jackson over "Billie Jean". Jackson appeared in court via a taped testimony.[18][19] Following the testimony, the nine-member jury found Jackson to be the writer and composer of "The Girl Is Mine" in early 1994. They also ruled that the defendants had not plagiarized "Thriller" or "We Are the World".[18]

The Girl Is Mine 2008[edit]

"The Girl Is Mine 2008"
Single by Michael Jackson featuring will.i.am
from the album Thriller 25
Released January 14, 2008 (Digital download)
January 25, 2008 (Europe CD)
February 4, 2008 (UK CD)
Format CD, digital download, 12", 7" (French release)
Recorded November 2007
Genre Pop, R&B, hip hop
Length 3:11
Label Epic, Legacy Recordings
Writer(s) Michael Jackson
William Adams
Keith Harris
Producer(s) Michael Jackson
will.i.am
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Blood on the Dance Floor"
(Visionary release)
(2006)
"The Girl Is Mine 2008"
(2008)
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008"
(2008)
will.i.am singles chronology
"I Want You"
(2007)
"The Girl Is Mine 2008"
(2008)
"Here I Come"
(2008)
Thriller 25 track listing
"Vincent Price Excerpt from Thriller Voice-Over Session"
(10)
"The Girl Is Mine 2008"
(11)
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008"
(12)

For Thriller 25, an album celebrating Thriller's 25th anniversary, Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am remixed "The Girl Is Mine".[20] Entitled "The Girl Is Mine 2008", the remix featured an original solo demo of the song by Jackson, before he had recorded the duet with McCartney. will.i.am added his own vocals and new verse. Though the remix sampled the demo, The Daily Telegraph alleged that McCartney was omitted because he and Jackson had fallen out over the latter's purchase of Sony/ATV Music Publishing and the Beatles' song catalogue in 1985.[21] Despite the allegation, the original version of "The Girl Is Mine" was included on the album, with McCartney's vocals included.[22] Upon its release in 2008, the song reached number 12 in New Zealand. Peaking at 22 in France, the song charted within the Top 50 of Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. The remix peaked at number 51 in Switzerland.[23]

Reception[edit]

"The Girl Is Mine 2008" received mostly unfavourable reviews from music critics. Journalist Christopher Rees stated that will.i.am had "done a fantastic job of murdering a classic song".[24] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone noted that will.i.am's production was "dumb-thug bluster" and criticized him for trying to hide the "goofy 'doggone' hook"—"the whole point of the song".[25] Music journalist Aidin Vaziri criticized the song, stating, "[the] Black Eyed Peas rapper completely erases Paul McCartney's vocal track from the original duet to make room for himself spouting nonsense such as, 'I call her mommy and she call me papa/I'm sorry Mike, but she loves the way I rock-a.'"[26] Stephen Erlewine of Allmusic claimed that will.i.am had turned "The Girl Is Mine" into a "hapless dance number".[27] Kelefa Sanneh of Blender noted that "will.i.am contributes beats (why?) and rhymes (why, oh, why?) to "The Girl Is Mine 2008" ".[28] IGN's Todd Gilchrist stated that will.i.am's "The Girl Is Mine" remix was an offense. The offense was made even more "egregious" by the insertion of his own "atonal vocal presence" in place of McCartney's.[29]

Pitchfork Media added to the unfavourable reviews, stating of will.i.am, "He takes Macca off 'The Girl Is Mine' but decides it can't work without someone sounding like an idiot and steps manfully in himself."[30] The Times stated that whoever thought it was a good idea for will.i.am to participate in the song ought to be "locked in a windowless cell with nothing but those songs on a continuous loop".[31] PopMatters, however, praised Thriller 25 and the remix of "The Girl Is Mine". They wrote, "Any album good enough to make you forgive (although maybe not forget) a song as bad as the Paul McCartney duet 'The Girl is Mine' has got to be damn good." They added that will.i.am had put a "breezy spin" on the track and that the song's omission of McCartney did not suffer because of it.[32]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
Austrian Singles Chart[23] 51
Danish Singles Chart[33] 31
Dutch Singles Chart[34] 12
French Singles Chart[35] 22
Swedish Singles Chart[36] 41
Swiss Singles Chart[37] 47
UK Singles Chart[38] 32

Remix credits[edit]

  • Written by Michael Jackson, William "will.i.am" Adams, Keith Harris
  • Produced by William "will.i.am" Adams
  • Engineered by William "will.i.am" Adams
  • Mixed by William "will.i.am" Adams
  • Drums: William "will.i.am" Adams
  • Keyboards: William "will.i.am" Adams
  • Keys and synths: Keith Harris
  • Recorded in November 2007

Charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Dutch Singles Chart[8] 16
Norwegian Singles Chart[39] 2
UK Singles Chart[4] 8
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 2
US R&B Singles Chart[4] 1
Preceded by
"Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye
Billboard Hot Soul Singles number-one single
January 15–29, 1983
Succeeded by
"Outstanding" by The Gap Band

Personnel[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The 40 Biggest Duets of All Time". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b c Taraborrelli, p. 223
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Michael Jackson didn't steal song, court rules". Jet. (December 31, 1984). Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Halstead, p. 119
  5. ^ a b c d Davis, p. 141
  6. ^ Halstead, p. 362
  7. ^ Halstead, p. 310
  8. ^ a b c "Dutch Singles Chart Archives". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  9. ^ George, p. 38
  10. ^ Campbell, Mary (November 24, 1990). "Record certifications". The Daily Collegian. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  11. ^ Christgua, Robert (December 28, 1982). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  12. ^ Connelly, Christopher (January 28, 1983). "Thriller review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  13. ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "Allmusic's Thriller review". Allmusic. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  14. ^ Rosenburg, Tal (June 19, 2007). "Michael Jackson – Thriller". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  15. ^ Garcia, Gilbert. "The ballad of Paul and Yoko". Salon.com. Retrieved March 7, 2009. 
  16. ^ Taraborrelli, p. 227
  17. ^ a b "Michael Jackson in court over origin of 'The Girl Is Mine'". The St. Petersburg Times. (December 7, 1984). Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  18. ^ a b "Federal jury rules in favour of Michael Jackson". Jet. (January 31, 1994). Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  19. ^ Campbell, pp. 125–126
  20. ^ Kreps, Daniel (November 30, 2007). "Kanye, Akon remix Jacko on Thriller reissue". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Pea off, Michael Jackson tells McCartney". The Daily Telegraph. (December 28, 2007). Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  22. ^ Cashmere, Paul (December 31, 2007). "Jackson and McCartney Will Continue To Thrill". Undercover.com.au. Retrieved March 8, 2009. 
  23. ^ a b "Austrian Singles Chart Archives". Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  24. ^ Rees, Christopher (February 1, 2008). "Michael Jackson with will.i.am, The Girl Is Mine 2008". walesonline.co.uk. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  25. ^ Sheffield, Rob (February 21, 2008). "Thriller 25 Deluxe Edition review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  26. ^ Vaziri, Aidin (February 10, 2008). "CD reviews: Michael Jackson". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  27. ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "Thriller 25th Anniversary Expanded Edition". Allmusic. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  28. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (February 12, 2008). "Thriller - 25th Anniversary Edition Blender review". Blender. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  29. ^ Gilchrist, Todd. "Michael Jackson - Thriller 25th Anniversary Ed". IGN. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  30. ^ Ewing, Tom (February 15, 2008). "Pitchfork Media Thriller 25 review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  31. ^ Paphides, Pete (February 8, 2008). "Michael Jackson: Thriller 25 - Times". The Times. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  32. ^ Joseph, Mike. "PopMatters Thriller 25 review". PopMatters. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Danish Singles Chart Archives". Danishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  34. ^ "Dutch Singles Chart Archives". Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  35. ^ "French Singles Chart Archives". Lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  36. ^ "Swedish Singles Chart Archives". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Swiss Singles Chart Archives". Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  38. ^ "UK Singles Chart". Chartstats.com. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  39. ^ "Norwegian Singles Chart Archives". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]