Home Celebrity Quincy Jones Exclusive Video Interview: “Joe Jackson Is a Liar”

Quincy Jones–he’s one of my heroes, I won’t beat around the bush. Long before he hooked up with Michael Jackson, Q was an all-star musician and composer. He produced the likes of Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles, besides leading his own band around the world.

Quincy’s new album, “Soul Bossa Nostra,” features tons of today’s stars reinterpreting his music. John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg are all on it. I am partial to a track he did with Mary J. Blige called “Betcha Wouldn’t Hurt Me,” an update of a 1981 number he did with Stevie Wonder and Patti Austin. It’s the best Mary J has ever sounded.

The album is accompanied by a book called “Q on Producing.” If you’re even slightly interested in popular music of the last 40 years, this book is a gift. It’s also a great holiday item for coffee tables, as long as you read it. I’ve devoured it.

That Quincy is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is one of the great shames of that organization. But he doesn’t care, and he doesn’t need it.

It was Q–not to diminish Michael Jackson–who made “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” and “Bad” happen. Don’t worry, he gives Michael a lot of credit, all due credit, as a songwriter. But producers are a special thing: they create the sound. Quincy brought 25 years of musical sophistication with him when he and Michael Jackson hooked up. He told me, as you’ll see that “Joe Jackson is a liar” when he says he was always in the studio with Michael. And still, as Quincy notes, “No one from that family has ever thanked me.”

We thank you, Q! Rock on!

PS Quincy still holds out hope of prroducing a long in the wings Stevie Wonder-Tony Bennett album–a project I announced a couple of years ago. Q is ready, guys. Let’s go!

53 replies to this post
  1. Quincy, were you not in the Grammy’s when Mike repeatedly said Thank You to you??? You EARNED from whatever endeavor u had with MJ. Did the wife and children of Frank Sinatra say thank you to you? And hello…TC Kirkham… Which stone did u crawl out from? You honestly think that MJ was a flogged out singer before Quincy Jones??? IF Quincy is such a great creator of Entertainers, who did he create after mike? Long after Mike parted ways with him, he still kept on thanking him. Your ego, Mr Jones is too big to contain! For ONCE, can you p,ease be honest and accept that Michael Jackson is indeed a genius???

  2. Just a summary: Quincy Jones Michael Jackson no, probably not much.
    Michael Jackson with or without Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson has always been and will remain forever.
    And Quincy Jones will spend the rest of his life talking about Michael Jackson and trying to diminish it. When I die, some will remember him as a producer of Michael Jackson.
    With or without Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson shines …
    Sm Qincy Michael Jackson does not exist.
    This is it.

  3. Since when have sales anything to do with creativity or innovation? Jackson certainly started this “complete PR package” stuff, that is for sure. Listening in to the new album it just proves that Jackson strong period was in the 80s and not now and not 10 years ago. The new album displays the same strengths and weaknesses basically, but no significant musical development.

  4. I agree with most of these comments about QJ is certainly not MJ. Jones even wanted to leave “Billie Jean” off Thriller, then when Jackson insisted he put it on, QJ wanted to take out the bass track -that’s how good he was. On the Bad album Jackson wanted to include “Streetwalker”, but QJ wanted “Another Part of Me” – unfortunately Jones won this argument and as a result Bad is not as strong as it could have been.

    Jackson’s second biggest selling album is Dangerous – in fact it’s one of the all time bestselling albums and Jones had nothing to do with it.

    Finally, Michael Jackson was a complete package, composer, singer and dancer. Jones certainly deserves no credit for Jackson the complete entertainer.

  5. Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson produce three awesome albums, Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. Quincy is a great producer, but Michael was the “Force” there is no doubt and I do remember Epic did not think Quincy was a good match for Michael since they consider him to “Jazzy”. I love the idea that Michael and Quincy proof everybody wrong to the record company. Now, Quincy is sounding a little “off” this days..we all now the extended of Michael gifts and he deserves a lot of credit. Quincy needs to “chill”. I respect him and thank him for the gems we gave us but he is sounding a little envious …It starting to look like “Salieri” versus “Mozart” in “AMADEUS” God choose Michael to be his instrument of nature and Michael full fill his destiny..just like other “masters” before him..this is why we will continue to celebrate him years to come..

  6. BTW, if QJ is so talented he would have known that Billie Jean would become a huge hit. But let’s see what he did? He refused the song! If not because of a genius of Michael, we would never have an honor to enjoy one of the best melodies that ever made

  7. How is everyone so sure that the demos werent edited as well before they were put out? Nobody really knows what exactly Michael Jackson brought to the studio in the first place…….

  8. Q is great producer a legend but he produced artist that were already famous, he didn’t make any unknown artist famous! He received grammy’s and oscar for his talent! But that is IT!
    As far as his relationship with MJJ I believe he is mad at himself that he never achieve success with other artists as he did with Michael Jackson and that is the truth! Off the Wall Thriller BAD are great albums because Michael was a singer! Why Q didn’t achieve great success with other artists? As far as production of Thriller, Michael wrote himself in the book that when was done and ready to release, Michael didn’t like it because it sounded like crap he even cried beg them to go back and reproduce it again! It was Michael ears and talent that recognized the sound should be! Quincy said things that makes no sense but it shows only jealousy and petty behave! Remakes of the old MJJ’s songs it is a great evidence that Q is not as great as he think he is! Q you are not Michael Jackson you are great legend, and you have made your name since 60’s! Don’t spoil it, enjoy it!

  9. QJ has an INFLATED EGO, everybody knows that. A little “twofaced” too he is, ’cause one minute he is praising MJ and in another interview he tells another story.e.g. he always had another take on how and when MJ asked him to work with him. One time he said MJ asked him on the set of The Wiz and the next time he is saying he told MJ let’s do it. Michael talks about this in his biography Moonwalk. On the WIZ set QJ told MJ that if he ever needed something to be free to ask him, so “after”the movie finished he asked QJ if he knew a producer to help him with Off the Wall and QJ was smiling all the time and saying “Come on,Mike”, thinking that MJ was referring to him, Quincy Jones, and that MJ was just putting on an act. Q didn’t believe him. MJ said he was blown off his feet when QJ said “Let’s do it”. When MJ told EPIC that QJ was to be his producer the CEO Jetnikoff blew his top saying that Q knew NOTHING about popmusic. MJ said Q was mad and he said “let’s do it let’s show them”. Bottomline is this: if Q had stayed on the JAZZSIDE and with SINATRA et al, he would not be FAMOUS today. Of course QJ contributed to MJ’s music, but MJ wrote his song and QJ arranged/co-produced them and all the others which were NOT MJ’s songs. But if MJ’s success was MAINLY Q’s doing then the best selling album of all time should have been NEW YORK, NEW YORK or STRANGERS in the NIGHT or Ray Charles’ I CAN’T STOP LOVING YOU. All great hits but nothing compared to THRILLER or even BAD or DANGEROUS!! Just saying.

  10. It was MICHAEL who made the sound,not Quincy,Roger.Michael was the one who was not happy with the way Thriller came out at the listening party and insisted that the album be re-worked to MICHAEL’S satisfaction.You give Quincy too much credit.He is a great producer,but he is not a singer or performer.Michael deserves most of the credit,not Quincy.

  11. In previous interview I’ve heard QJ say many favourable things about MJ. When asked if he sees anyone around these days who can ëqual” Mj he answered: “There’s Michael Jacksaon and then there’s EVERYBODY ELSE”. Q also called Michael “an amazing songwriter”. Before MJ
    Quincy Jones was mainly recognized in the Jazz scene. Maybe Q made Sinatra and Ray charles famous, but it’s Michael who made Q famous.
    SINATRA and RAY Charles were fenomenal singers, but they still can’t fit into MJ’s shoes. Like QJ once said himself “There will never be anyone like Michael, because HE HAD IT ALL.”

  12. It would be nice to have a transcript because it’s hard to understand Q, he’s so busy eating. It sounds like when the interiewer asks “Did Michael ever thank you?” Q says “of course.”

  13. Q got paid to do his job. Q got his Grammys for doing his job. Michael thanked Q at the Grammys profusly for doing said jobs. Job was over after 3 albums. Why is this man continuing to harbor jealous feelings because Michael chose to move on with another producer with Dangerous? The Jackson do not need to THANK Quincy Jones? Why on earth would they need to do that? He is getting old and senile, go sit down Q. Play your old records, drink a nice scotch, smoke a good cigar and enjoy a good “date”. Mike is gone and you aint gettin him back baby. Enjoy your accolades.

  14. I get annoyed when people claim that Quincy was the real mastermind behind OTW/Thriller… Just listen to the earliest demo recordings of some of Michael’s top hits including Billie Jean, Beat It, etc. long before Q ever entered the picture, and you’ll see that Michael had just about all the work done before Q ever touched the tracks.

    If Q were such a genius producer, he wouldn’t have butchered We Are the World by putting the likes of Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne in place of the true legends that made that song so significant in the first place. He wouldn’t have taken Michael’s classic P.Y.T. and turned it into a robotic, autotuned piece of junk. And, certainly he would’ve cranked out more masterpiece albums for other artists after parting from MJ decades ago. Instead, his musical fame pretty much ended when his contract with MJ did…

    And, even Q has a hard time agreeing with RF that the vocals on Breaking News are MJ.

  15. I think Quincy is great, but I do agree with everyone else here in regards to giving Michael the credit he deserves. All those demos do tend to prove that Michael was the true mastermind behind his music.

  16. Very interesting interview, Roger. Thank you for posting it.

    In his autobiography, Q, Quincy wrote about some of the bad feelings and animosities between himself and the Jackson familiy, especially the Jackson brothers. The Jackson brothers felt Quincy claimed to much credit for the success of Thriller, while Quincy claimed the family fed off of Michael’s (and Quincy’s) success. There’s always gonna be drama behind every great creation and Michael’c career is no exception. None of this is a surprise.

    The MJ/Quincy collaborations are an example of the planets lining up. It was a well shuffled deck of cards, laid out, one-by-one, and revealing ace-to-king for 4 suits! Once in a life time.

  17. Quincy Jones taking more credit than he deserves again..this was the same guy who originally refused to include Billie Jean (that Mike wrote) into the album..Jones was relatively unknown until his collaboration success with Jackson materialized. MJ was already a young man with vision and extraordinary talent, he just needed someone to put things together, not so much artistically, but technical-wise.

  18. Actually, people DO buy records because of the producer. That’s why artists seek them out and people who know music know when they’re going to get something special. That isn’t to diminish MJ in any way, but the right artist with the perfect producer can produce magic. Beatles and George Martin, Quincy and MJ, or even Rick Rubin and Johnny Cash. They know how to assemble the perfect musicians, build the track and coax the best performances. It isn’t a slam against De Niro to admire his collaborations with Scorsese.

  19. “not to diminish” Mr Jones but MICHAEL made those songs! “Don’t worry, he gives Michael a lot of CREDIT”? Where do you get off forming such a sentence, Mr Friedman? Michael is the artist, Quincy is the producer hired by Michael! Take Michael out of the equation from those songs, are they still classics? Apparently this article is to shout-out to Q’s book, why do you attach Michael’s or his dad’s name to promote it? And why would the family thank Quincy, are they required to thank everyone Michael collaborated with? And what’s Q wearing, a bathrobe?

  20. IF there is ANYONE who deserves a lot of the credit for the early solo-artist success of Michael Jackson, it is Quincy Jones. Quincy and Michael were an unbeatable team. And Michael had nothing but admiration for his musical mentor.

    What I applaud Quincy for as well are his very candid comments regarding Joe Jackson and the rest of the Jackson family. The funniest thing has been the desperate attempts by Joe to try to garner sympathy — as well as to profit from Michael’s passing — as if he is owed something.

    Joe Jackson caused his son Michael nothing but misery for years. He emotionally and physically abused him as a child; emotionally abused and leeched off of him as an adult. And all the while, he had no use for his own son, except for as a meal ticket. Joe Jackson’s repeated and foolish attempts to sue his late son’s estate are proof that this man is beyond redemption. Anyone who knowingly tries to overturn a Will that they are deliberately left out of clearly has some screws loose.

    Wherever Michael is now, he can rest knowing that his estate is thriving — because he had the good sense to put the BEST people on the planet in charge of it, the children he loved so dearly are being taken care of, and will be set for life financially, that his music is still be played and celebrated all over the world — with new music to come, and that Joe Jackson will NEVER SEE ONE SINGLE PENNY of his estate.

    It doesn’t get much better than that now does it?

  21. Could you please put subtitles to this clip? Quincy Jones is always difficult to listen to, I rarely understand anything he says – and here he is also eating, and there is background noise. Or give us a transcript.

  22. I have all respect for Quincy Jones and so did Michael Jackson, but I think the truth is MJ created a LOT of his own sound. He was a multiple genius. If you read the credits for Thriller, you can see how he was responsible for many of the arrangements, in addition to vocals, composing, lyrics and background vocals.

  23. I have to say that this is one of those times when Roger is exactly correct. While the singer is definately 49% of the equasion, the producer is 51%. Some examples:

    ->Eddie Murphy would have been a disaster as a singer without the considerable help of the immense talents of Rick James – without Rick, he’s just plain AWFUL. Find the demos online sometime and listen…

    -> Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, and the later Bananarama, and about 3 dozen other mid-to-late 80s performers from the UK and Australia, all owe their success to the production team of Stock/Atken/Waterman, who not only produced but wrote a good deal of the material these artists had their biggest success with

    -> the same can be said of most late 60s-early 70s Motown, where Holland/Dozier/Holland and the conglomeration that called itself the Chairmen Of The Board reigned – both wrote and produced dozens of artists who recorded without them and didn’t sound nearly as nice as the classic Motown did.

    Just a few examples to prove that Michael was most of it, but Q DEFINATELY deserves his credit…Q brought Michael’s solo career back from the dead where it had been for five years before Off The Wall came out…and together they kept it rolling for over another decade…

  24. Quincy has always held some kind of negative energy towards Michael. Remember he said that he did not know what to think about Michael’s change of skin color? Like he did not know about his vitiligo? I am sure Quincy knew about it..so why did he not tell the truth? It is as if he went out of his way to tarnish Michael’s reputation. It seems that Quincy has a deep rooted issue with Michael’s fame, genius, and the love he received from his fans. Quincy was jealous and envious-bottom line..and after death he still is..See, death sometimes bring out the truths and more truths..Quincy is just being Quincy..RIP My King of Hearts, King of Compassion, King of LOVE..GOD has you now..I will see you in paradise.

  25. Quincy is still salty over Michael dropping him for the Dangerous album. This man said that he and Michael’s relationship was just business and said that Michael wanted to be white and this was two days after Michael’s death so Q can go jump off a bridge. And Joe was talking about the Jackson 5 days Roger.

  26. To me, it’s very clear who had the REAL talent when it came to Quincy Jones’ work with Michael Jackson.

    I mean, all you have to do is compare “We Are The World” (the original) to “We Are The World-25” (the remake). LOL!

    Oh and as a chaser, don’t forget to listen to the new version of “PYT” that Quincy worked on with T-Pain and Robin Thicke. Autotune, Autotune and MORE Autotune! In my opinion, a “legend” like Quincy Jones should be ashamed of himself for working with an artist that NEEDS Autotune in order to call themselve a singer. Shameful!

  27. marky: Michael did thank Q, it was the rest of the Jacksons who didn’t. I’m willing to bet their hostility was because, in their minds, Q was the one who “took” Michael from them. Michael had done solo stuff before, but Q gave him that extra boost to go from star to superstar. (Not that Michael wouldn’t have gone solo anyway – but Q was there at the right time and place with the right people to make it happen.) The Jacksons didn’t want Michael to leave them. They didn’t even want Michael to be in “The Wiz” in the first place. Even after Thriller, they guilt-tripped him into doing one more tour with them. They just couldn’t let go.

  28. MJ didn’t just write the lyrics Roger, he also composed the beat to the music for classics like Don’t Stop Til Ya Get Enough, Billie Jean, Beat It, Wanna Be Startin Somethin, The Way You Make Me Feel, Smooth Criminal, Black Or White, Earth Song, etc. Yes Quincy produced the tracks from OTW to Bad but it was MJ who came up with the sound. He was the genius in the entire songwriting/composition field. It’s proven through the demos. Quincy has a bigger ego then most and likes to take credit for stuff MJ did.

  29. Here we go again huh Rog?? Giving credit where it sure as hell doesn’t belong Q needs to go retire in guam maybe! This is the same man less than 24 hrs after MJ death went on tv after his airport blah said MJ bleached his skin and didn’t want to be black. Well we all knew and know that was a lie. Thank God for autopsies esp since some didn’t believe it from the actual horses’ mouth meaning MJ stated his vitiligo years ago. Q has tried to take such credit for MJ success for years we all know WHO the REAL talent was..Q keep dreaming!

  30. So I take it Q agrees with the rest of us that it ain’t MJ on “Breaking news”

    Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones together is Genius.The greatest Musical collaboration of all time in my opinion! Together they made it happen, nobody can say anyone contributed more than the other, they both made it what it was. I get the feeling their musical relationship was built on mutual appreciation for each other and that’s the best!

  31. Nice try, Roger but all performers like to talk about themselves and it seems that Quincy is just a little tired of talking about Michael! He had his mouth full most of the time so I found it difficult to understand him. However, he is one of the great men in the American music field.
    Still agree with you Roger,Breaking News is sung by Michael no matter how it is’stacked’.

  32. The demo’s are there for all to see,MJ made MJ.Quincy was just more of a facilitator in bringing other musician involved in the project.If Quincy was so great why didnt he make tevin campbell a worldwide star.

  33. Michael’s vision and Quincy had the musical training and musicians to make it come to life. A wonderful collaboration. It only takes one listen to Michael as a 12 year old to know that he made it happen.

  34. Can somebody answer this question for me please. If Q is the one to get credit how come there is no records albums like thriller considering he had been in business for 25 years before working with mj and the fact that none of his other artists reached the pinnacles of thriller? Its futile to try and diminish MJ’s genius because all his albums did well despite all the conspiracies that befell him . The persecution was astounding if you take time to go through what MJ went through and he suffered with a smile and love in his heart -What a man! He never stopped thanking Quincy and telling him he loved him and look what he gets in return! Yet I know that he would have turned the other cheek if he was still in this rotten earth.

  35. Q: Not much to think. Not ONCE did the family ever thank me, for doing what we did. Not once. Nobody.

    R: Did Michael thank you?

    Q: Of course. Michael knows what happened, though.

    ————————

    What the heck did Quincy mean by that? =/ Was he talking about his producing Off the Wall and Thriller? Because why on earth would MJ’s family members need to thank him for that?

    Anyway, yeah, MJ was an amazing song-writer. He wrote some of his biggest hits, like Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, Wanna Be Startin’ Something, Billie Jean, Beat It, The Girl Is Mine, Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel, Dirty Diana, Smooth Criminal . . . the list goes on and on. And when I say written by MJ, I mean he created the whole dang thing. Check out the Thriller demos, for example, that he recorded at home, just beatboxing — not one thing was changed for brilliant stuff like Billie Jean and Beat It, etc. He was truly amazing!

  36. I’ll have to agree with Teresa on this one…I, like most of the world, thought it was Quincy Jones that made a rookie solo performer like Michael Jackson sound great, but once the demos came out of some of Michael’s biggest hits, it was obvious that MJ had already created something special. Now, could Michael have found the musicians etc to put his vision together the way Q had? Probably not, but MJ didn’t just write lyrics and have Quincy make music. Mike was the man with the vision from the start.

  37. “But producers are a special thing: they create the sound.”

    Really? I thought the singer had something to do with it. Come on, nobody buys a singer’s record because of the producer. Q needs to go somewhere and sit down and enjoy his retirement. According to Walter Yetnikoff, Michael Jackson tried to get Q’s ass bounced off of Thriller as producer because he didn’t think he did much work on the record. This item isn’t about Joe Jackson being a liar. It’s just another slam against Michael Jackson. Never gets old, does it Roger?

  38. When he quotes ‘no one from that family has ever thanked me’ is he including Michael in that? I can’t see Michael not thanking anyone unless he really hated Q.

  39. If you have listened to Michael Jackson’s demos of Billie Jean and other songs you will realize that Michael deserves far more credit for his masterpieces than you or Quincy are giving him.

  40. Have seen almost all Q’s interviews this last press tour and by far you captured the best and most “real” side of him. Not all the sounbites and stories but the real thoughts on music from a true genius and legend. Way to go!

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