Michael Jackson sang classic singer’s track before ‘breaking down’ during recording
MICHAEL JACKSON couldn’t contain his emotions while recording a touching ballad that was originally written for a legendary star who said the King of Pop was the “only singer better than him”.
In 1979 Michael Jackson teamed up with legendary music producer Quincy Jones for the first time to create his fifth studio album Off The Wall. While working out which tracks to record for the album, Jones convinced songwriter Tom Bahler to give him a song for the young King of Pop.
Bahler wrote She’s Out Of My Life in the late 1970s. The songwriter and lyricist had previously written tracks for Bobby Sherman and Cher. It was thought the song was originally written about Bahler’s ex-girlfriend Karen Carpenter – but he denied these claims. He confessed: “The fact is, I had already written that song by the time Karen and I became romantic. That song was written more about Rhonda Rivera… Rhonda and I had been together for two years, and it was after we broke up that I started dating Karen.”
Bahler held on to She’s Out Of My Life for some time, and originally wanted it to be sung by the legendary crooner – but Jones convinced him otherwise.
Jones revealed in an interview: “She’s Out of My Life I’d been carrying around for about three years – you can feel the pain in it, you know? And I held on to it and finally something said: ‘This is the right moment to give it to Michael.'” Before Jones agreed to give the song to MJ, it was originally meant for Frank Sinatra.
Sinatra was of course one of the most legendary American singers of all time – but he was a harsh critic. The star famously didn’t enjoy any rock and roll music, and rarely commented on other artists. But after meeting Jackson, he praised the star’s incredible talents.
Sinatra was on record declaring: “The only male singer who I’ve seen besides myself and who’s better than me – that is Michael Jackson.” When Jackson eventually recorded the song meant for Sinatra, it meant a lot to him. Jones revealed: “When we recorded it with Michael, I know it was an experience he’d never even thought about to sing in a song, ’cause it’s a very mature emotion. And he cried at the end of every take, you know. We recorded about – I don’t know – eight to 11 takes, and every one at the end, he just cried, and I said: ‘Hey – that’s supposed to be, leave it on there.'”