List of unreleased songs recorded by Michael Jackson

An African American man in his mid-twenties wearing a sequined military jacket and dark sunglasses. He walks and waves his right hand, which is adorned with a white glove. His left hand is bare.
Michael Jackson in 1984

Michael Jackson was an American musician and entertainer. He is known to have written, recorded and filmed material that has never been officially released. Many of his unreleased songs have been registered—usually by his company Mijac Music—with professional bodies such as the United States Copyright Office, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) and EMI Music Publishing.[1] This list, however, only documents the songs explicitly cited as unreleased, and therefore does not contain every unreleased Jackson song registered with such bodies.

In 1993, Jackson—along with Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton and Joseph Jackson—faced a copyright infringement suit. The lawsuit came after three songwriters alleged that the pop star and his fellow defendants had plagiarized the hits "The Girl Is Mine", "Thriller" and "We Are the World".[2][3] During a seven-hour deposition, Jackson named numerous unreleased songs that he had written or co-written.[1][4] Following the testimony, a nine-member jury found the defendants not guilty.[5]

Many officially unreleased Jackson songs had been scheduled, at one point, for release, through ways such as his six solo studio albums with music label Epic Records: Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), HIStory (1995) and Invincible (2001) and the remix album Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix (1997). For varying reasons, the tracks were rejected and, as of 2019, remain unreleased. Jackson's unreleased material includes songs recorded as a solo artist (including covers of songs released by other artists and the Jackson 5 songs) and demo versions, some featuring established artists such as Freddie Mercury and Barry Gibb.

In 2009, after Jackson's sudden death, La Toya Jackson said that she had discovered two hard disks at her brother's home which contain more than 100 unreleased songs, many of which were unregistered.[6]

Several of Jackson's songs have been leaked onto the Internet, such as a 24-second segment of "A Place with No Name" leaked by TMZ.com following Jackson's death.[7] At the time of the leak, it was claimed that there were "hundreds" of unreleased songs by Jackson, and that they could be issued for years to come. The curator of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jim Henke, noted that any future releases would garner significant attention.[8][9][10] On March 16, 2010, Sony Music Entertainment signed a record-breaking $250 million deal with Jackson's estate to retain distribution rights to his recordings until 2017 and release ten posthumous albums—some of which will feature unreleased material—over the next decade.[11]

Key

Denotes songs registered with Broadcast Music Incorporated
Denotes songs registered with EMI Music Publishing
*
Denotes songs cited by Jackson in his 1993 deposition
(Year)
Denotes songs registered with the United States Copyright Office and the year of registration
*(Year)
Denotes songs cited by Jackson in his 1993 deposition and the year they were registered with the United States Copyright Office

Songs

Song Writer(s) Notes Ref
"A Baby Smiles"* Michael Jackson
  • Lyrics to the song were featured as a poem titled "When A Baby Smiles" in the 1992 book Dancing the Dream
[12]
"A Pretty Face Is" Stevie Wonder
  • Written circa 1974
  • The song was originally intended for The Jackson 5 or as a duet between Wonder and Jackson; the two reportedly recorded the song for Wonder's 1987 Characters album
[12]
"Angel" Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds
  • Recorded by Jackson around 1998
  • Had been scheduled to feature on a shelved greatest hits compilation
  • Authenticity of leaked snippets is disputed
[12]
"Attitude" Michael Jackson
Kathy Wakefield
Michel Pierre
[12]
"Bad Girl"* Michael Jackson [13]
"Bassouille" Michael Jackson
Bruce Swedien
  • Written in 1994
  • Failed to make the HIStory album
[13]
"Be Me 4 a Day" Michael Jackson
Gray Calix Days
  • Also known as "Be Me For a Day", "Just For One Day Be Michael", "Just For a Day", "Me 4 a Day" and "Be Michael"
[13]
"Belong 2" Michael Jackson
Teddy Riley
  • Written in 1999
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[13]
"Blue Powder" Michael Jackson
Brad Buxer
  • Written and recorded in 2000 during the "Invincible" sessions
  • Track was put up for auction in 2018 along with "Jungle City", "What More Can I Give", and a demo of "The Way You Love Me"
[14]
"Bottle of Smoke" Michael Jackson
  • Written and possibly recorded by Jackson in 1989
  • Failed to make the Dangerous album
[13]
"Buffalo Bill"* Michael Jackson [13]
"California Grass"* Michael Jackson [15]
"Chicago 1945"* Michael Jackson
Steve Porcaro
[15]
"Colour of My Soul" Unknown
  • Known to have been recorded by Jackson, though the date is uncertain
[15]
"Crack Kills"* Michael Jackson
  • Planned to have been recorded with rappers Run-D.M.C. for Jackson's Bad album, but was shelved due to the group's negative attitude toward the singer
[15]
"Cry"* Michael Jackson [15]
"Do You Love Me" Michael Jackson
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds
  • Completed by Jackson and Edmonds in 1998
  • Was to feature on a scheduled but shelved Jackson album in 1999
[16]
"Do You Want Me" Sisqó
Dru Hill
  • Written in 1999
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[16]
"Doing Dirty" Michael Jackson
Marlon Jackson
  • Written around 1988–1990 for a shelved greatest hits album
[16]
"Dreams" Michael Jackson [16]
"Eaten Alive" Michael Jackson
Maurice Gibb
Barry Gibb
  • Original version of the song written by the Gibb brothers, but was reworked by Jackson who was granted co-writer credits
  • A demo version was recorded by Jackson but remains unreleased.
  • Later recorded by Diana Ross
[17]
"Ekan Satyam (The One Truth)" A.R. Rahman
A.R. Parthasarathy
Kanika Myer Bharat
  • Recorded as a duet in 1999 by Jackson (singing in English) and Rahman (singing in Sanskrit)
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[17]
"Elizabeth, I Love You" Michael Jackson
  • Written and performed by Jackson as a tribute to his friend Elizabeth Taylor in 1997
  • No official release, though bootleg recordings taken from the 1997 performance exist
[17]
"Face" Unknown
  • Failed to make the HIStory album
[18]
"Fanfare Transition"(1992) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1992
  • Known alternatively as "Fanfare 1992"
[18]
"Fantasy"* Michael Jackson
Jermaine Jackson
[18]
"Far, Far Away"* Michael Jackson [18]
"Fear" Michael Jackson
  • Written circa 1993
  • Failed to make the HIStory album
[18]
"From the Bottom of My Heart" Michael Jackson
  • Written in 2005
  • Was scheduled to be released as a charity recording for the victims of Hurricane Katrina
[18]
"Get Around"* Michael Jackson [19]
"Get Your Weight Off of Me" Michael Jackson
Rodney Jerkins
Fred Jerkins III
Michael Prince
  • Written and recorded in 2000-2001 during the "Invincible" sessions
  • Finalized in 2004
  • Track is vocally complete and ready for release
[20]
"Goin' To Rio"* Michael Jackson
Carole Bayer Sager
  • Written in 1976
  • Failed to make the Off the Wall album
[19]
"Got to Find a Way Somehow"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1979
[19]
"Groove of Midnight" Rod Temperton
  • Written around the Bad era
  • A demo by Jackson surfaced on the Internet in 2003
[19]
"He Who Makes The Sky Grey" Jermaine Jackson
Sheik Abdullah of Bahrain
  • Featured vocals by Jackson
[21]
"Higher Ground" Stevie Wonder
  • Stevie Wonder songwriter Donny Osmond confirmed he had been working with Jackson on in a 2003 television interview
[21]
"Holiday Inn"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1976
[21]
"Hot Fever"(1985) Michael Jackson [21]
"Hot Street" Rod Temperton
  • Failed to make the Thriller album as Temperton and Quincy Jones felt that the song was too weak for inclusion
[21]
"I Can't Get You Off My Mind" Michael Jackson
  • Jackson worked on the song in the early 1970s
  • A demo version/mono acetate is known to exist
[22]
"I Don't Live Here Anymore" Michael Jackson
  • Written circa 2001
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[22]
"I Forgive You"* Michael Jackson [22]
"I Have This Love of Me"* Michael Jackson [22]
"If You Don't Love Me" Michael Jackson
  • Had been scheduled for release on a shelved special edition of the Dangerous album
[22]
"In the Valley"* Michael Jackson [22]
"Iowa" Michael Jackson
  • Classical piece confirmed by sister Janet Jackson in a 1993 magazine interview
[22]
"Jungle City" Michael Jackson
Brad Buxer
  • Written and recorded in 2000 during the "Invincible" sessions
  • Track was put up for auction in 2018 along with "Blue Powder", "What More Can I Give", and a demo of "The Way You Love Me"
[23]
"Kentucky"* Michael Jackson
  • Written in the mid-1970s
[24]
"Kreeton Overture"(1984) Michael Jackson
Jai Winding
Marty Paich
Pat Leonard
  • Written in 1984 for the opening of The Jacksons' Victory Tour
[24]
"Learned My Lesson"(1985) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1981
  • Two versions of the song were registered with the United States Copyright Office
[25]
"Little Girls"* Michael Jackson [25]
"Llama Lola"* Michael Jackson [25]
"Lonely Bird"* Michael Jackson [25]
"Lonely Man"* Michael Jackson [25]
"Lucy Is in Love With Linus"* Michael Jackson [25]
"Make a Wish"* Michael Jackson [26]
"Make or Break"* Michael Jackson
John Barnes
[26]
"Maybe We Can Do It" Michael Jackson
Rodney Jerkins
Sean Combs
  • Features Jackson and Sean Combs
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[26]
"Men in Black" Michael Jackson
  • Had been scheduled for release on a shelved 1990 greatest hits collection
[26]
"Michael McKellar"* Michael Jackson [26]
"MJ Melody"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1982
[26]
"Neverland Landing"* Michael Jackson [27]
"Nightline/Nite-line" Glen Ballard
  • Written circa 1982
  • Failed to make the Thriller album
[27]
"Nymphette Lover"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1981
[27]
"Ode to Sorrow"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1977
[28]
"On My Anger" Michael Jackson
Teddy Riley
  • Written in 1999
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[28]
"People Have To Make Some Sort of Joke"* Michael Jackson [29]
"Peter Pan" Michael Jackson
  • Song mentioned by Jackson on the 1993 CD The Michael Jackson Interview
[29]
"Pressure" Rodney Jerkins
Fred Jerkins III
Harvey Mason
LaShawn Daniels
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[29]
"Red Eye"* Michael Jackson [30]
"Rolling the Dice"* Rod Temperton
  • Jackson worked on the song with Temperton and Quincy Jones during the Thriller recording sessions
[30]
"Satisfy" Terry Lewis
James Harris III
[31]
"Saved By the Bell"* Michael Jackson
Jermaine Jackson
[31]
"Seduction" Michael Jackson
Shelby Lee Myrick III
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[31]
"Serious Effect" Michael Jackson
Teddy Riley
  • Features rap by LL Cool J
  • Had been scheduled for release on a shelved special edition of the Dangerous album
  • Solo demo version by Jackson known to exist
[31]
"Seven Digits" Michael Jackson
Bryan Loren
  • Failed to make the Dangerous album
  • Only known lyrics: "He'd never need a girl / He'd never cry / He'd never need a room / He'd never see"
[31]
"She Got It" Unknown
  • Had been scheduled for release on a shelved special edition of the Dangerous album
[31]
"She's Not a Girl"* Michael Jackson
Jermaine Jackson
[31]
"She's Trouble" Sue Shifrin
Bill Livsey
Terry Britten
  • Failed to make the Thriller album
  • Bootleg version known to exist
  • Also known as "Trouble"
[31]
"Siegfried & Roy"(1990) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1989 for illusionists Siegfried & Roy
  • Two versions—vocal and instrumental—registered with the United States Copyright Office
  • Thought to be an early version of "Mind Is The Magic"
[31]
"Sister Sue"* Michael Jackson [31]
"Slapstick" Rod Temperton
  • Worked on by Jackson during the Thriller recording sessions
  • The song is an early demo version of "Hot Street"
[31]
"Soldier's Entrance" Michael Jackson
  • Worked on by Jackson in 1999 with a view to have it featured on the Invincible album
[31]
"Somewhere in Time"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1980
[31]
"Stand Tall"(1985) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1982
[31]
"Starlight"* Rod Temperton
  • Jackson worked on the song during the Thriller recording sessions.
  • Referred to by Jackson as "Starlight Sun" during his 1993 deposition; he sang, "Starlight... Starlight Sun... Gimme some starlight, for a new day has begun"
  • Evolved into "Thriller"
[31]
"State of Shock" Michael Jackson
Randy Hansen
[31]
"Stay" Michael Jackson
Bryan Loren
  • Written circa 1988
[31]
"Stop the War" Michael Jackson
Carole Bayer Sager
  • Written circa 1999
[31]
"Set It On Out" Michael|Jackson|
  • Written and recorded in 1982
[32]
"Susie"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1978
[31]
"Thank Heaven"(1998) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1998
[33]
"Thank You For Life"*(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written circa 1976
[33]
"That"(1998) Michael Jackson [33]
"That Kind of Lover" Michael Jackson
Ray Ruffin
  • Written circa 2001
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[33]
"The Children's Hour"* Michael Jackson [15]
"The Gloved One" Sisqó
  • Written circa 2001
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[19]
"The Nightmare of Edgar Alan Poe" Michael Jackson
Walter Afanasieff
  • Written circa 2000
  • Had been scheduled to feature in the shelved independently financed film The Nightmare of Edgar Alan Poe, which Jackson was slated to appear in
  • Alternatively titled "Edgar Alan Poe"
[27]
"The Pain" Shawn Stockman
Jay Harvey Mason
Rodney Jerkins
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[34]
"The Sky is the Limit"* Michael Jackson [31]
"The Toy"(1981) Michael Jackson [33]
"There Must Be More To Life Than This" Freddie Mercury
  • One of three songs Jackson worked on with Queen's Freddie Mercury in 1983
[33]
"This Is It"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1980
  • Not to be confused with "This Is It", a song featured on the 2009 compilation album This Is It
[33]
"This Is Our Time" Michael Jackson
Lauryn Hill
David Foster
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
  • Despite rumours to the contrary, the song was not recorded as a duet with Hill
[33]
"Throwin' Your Life Away"(1988) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1988
[33]
"To Satisfy You" Michael Jackson
Bryan Loren
  • Written during the Dangerous recording sessions, but Jackson didn't like it and gave it to Loren for his 1992 album Music From the New World
  • Solo recording by Jackson known to exist
[33]
"Tomboy"*(1985) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1985
  • Failed to make the Bad album
  • Mistakenly believed by some fans to have been written by Quincy Jones
[33]
"Tragedy of a Cheer-leader"* Michael Jackson [33]
"Tubeway" Michael Jackson
  • Written circa 1999
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[33]
"Turning Me Off"* Michael Jackson [33]
"Under Your Skin"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1979
[35]
"Unknown" Michael Jackson
  • It is unclear whether the song is titled "Unknown" or the song title is unknown
[35]
"Vibrationist" Michael Jackson
Teddy Riley
  • Written circa 1999
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[36]
"Victory" Michael Jackson
Freddie Mercury
  • One of three songs Jackson worked on with Queen's Freddie Mercury in 1983
  • Demo version known to exist
[36]
"We Are the Ones"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1978
[37]
"What a Lonely Way to Go"* Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1975
[37]
"What About Us" Michael Jackson
  • Written originally for the Dangerous album
  • Evolved into "Earth Song"
[37]
"What You Do to Me"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1985
  • First registered with the United States Copyright Office in 1985
  • Failed to make the Bad album
  • Re-registered with the United States Copyright Office in 1998, having possibly been re-written
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[37]
"What's a Guy Gotta Do" Pharrell Williams
  • Written in 2000
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
[37]
"What's It Gonna Be" Michael Jackson [37]
"What's Your Life"* Michael Jackson
Jermaine Jackson
[37]
"Who Do You Know"* Michael Jackson
  • Written circa 1981
  • Failed to make the Thriller album
[37]
"Who Is the Girl With Her Hair Down"* Michael Jackson [37]
"Why Can't I Be"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1980
[37]
"Why Shy"* Michael Jackson [37]
"You Ain't Gonna Change Nothin'"*(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1975
[38]
"You Are a Liar"* Michael Jackson
  • Failed to make the Invincible album
  • Also known as "You're a Liar"
[38]
"You Are So Beautiful" Michael Jackson [38]
"You Told Me Your Lovin'"(1984) Michael Jackson
  • Written in 1979
  • A second unreleased version exists, with words and music by Jackson's brother Randy
[38]
"You're Supposed to Keep Your Love For Me" Stevie Wonder
  • Originally recorded in 1975 by Jermaine Jackson, with Wonder, Jackie Jackson and Michael on backing vocals
  • Re-cut solo version by Jermaine featured on his 1980 Let's Get Serious album, replacing the original recording featuring brother Michael
[38]

See also

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Halstead 2007, p. 1.
  2. ^ Campbell, p. 89
  3. ^ Grant, p. 168
  4. ^ Collier, Aldore. Michael Jackson tries to keep career from crumbling as he fights addiction to painkiller drugs and charges of child molestation. Jet. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  5. ^ Federal jury rules in favour of Michael Jackson. Jet. January 31, 1994. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2009.
  6. ^ Martin, Dan (7 August 2009). "Michael Jackson's last recordings seized by sister LaToya". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  7. ^ Kreps, Daniel (July 20, 2009). "America Respond To Michael Jackson's 'A Place With No Name'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  8. ^ "Michael Jackson's second career really takes off this week". San Jose Mercury News. October 28, 2009. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
  9. ^ Montgomery, James (July 20, 2009). "America 'Honored' By Michael Jackson's 'A Place With No Name' Sample". MTV. Archived from the original on August 25, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  10. ^ Netter, Sarah (July 17, 2009). "Michael Jackson's Unreleased Songs, Continuing the Music Legacy". ABC News. Archived from the original on August 17, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  11. ^ "Sony Places Big Bet on a Fallen 'King'". The Wall Street Journal. March 16, 2010. Archived from the original on February 24, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  12. ^ a b c d Halstead, pp. 6–20
  13. ^ a b c d e f Halstead, pp. 24–54
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-07-26. Retrieved 2019-07-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ a b c d e f Halstead, pp. 57–73
  16. ^ a b c d Halstead, pp. 87–95
  17. ^ a b c Halstead, pp. 100–102
  18. ^ a b c d e f Halstead, pp. 107–114
  19. ^ a b c d e Halstead, pp. 115–130
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-07-15. Retrieved 2019-07-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ a b c d e Halstead, pp. 133–142
  22. ^ a b c d e f g Halstead, pp. 147–180
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-07-26. Retrieved 2019-07-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ a b Halstead, pp. 194–195
  25. ^ a b c d e f Halstead, pp. 197–212
  26. ^ a b c d e f Halstead, pp. 213–232
  27. ^ a b c d Halstead, pp. 238–241
  28. ^ a b Halstead, pp. 242–243
  29. ^ a b c Halstead, pp. 251–253
  30. ^ a b Halstead, pp. 259–265
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Halstead, pp. 267–306
  32. ^ Cite error: The named reference Halstead 268 306 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Halstead, pp. 309–332
  34. ^ Halstead, p. 248
  35. ^ a b Halstead, p. 334
  36. ^ a b Halstead, p. 337
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Halstead, pp. 342–362
  38. ^ a b c d e Halstead, pp. 369–380

Bibliography

  • Campbell, Lisa (1995). Michael Jackson: The King of Pop's Darkest Hour. Branden. ISBN 0-8283-2003-9.
  • Grant, Adrian (2009). Michael Jackson: The Visual Documentary. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84938-261-8.
  • Halstead, Craig (2007). Michael Jackson: For the Record. Authors OnLine. ISBN 978-0-7552-0267-6.
  • Shields, Damien (2015). Xscape Origins: The Songs & Stories Michael Jackson Left Behind. Modegy. ISBN 978-0-986-19910-3.