Demo of Beat It composed using only Michael Jackson’s voice
As Jackson couldn’t fluently play any instruments, he would sing and beatbox out how he wanted his songs to sound by himself on tape, layering the vocals, harmonies and rhythm before having instrumentalists come in to complete the songs.
One of his engineers Robmix on how Jackson worked: “One morning MJ came in with a new song he had written overnight. We called in a guitar player, and Michael sang every note of every chord to him. “here’s the first chord first note, second note, third note. Here’s the second chord first note, second note, third note”, etc., etc. We then witnessed him giving the most heartfelt and profound vocal performance, live in the control room through an SM57. He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Steve Porcaro once told me he witnessed MJ doing that with the string section in the room. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything. Not just little eight bar loop ideas. he would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills.”
Dear friends: here is my take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe,” over which I toiled and toiled as though it were a complex soufflé! I prepared this cover at the request of Kickstarter backer Matt Frohlich, who is pretty much a totally sainted saint. Thank you Matt!
Belatedly getting the last few EXHIBIT songs up on Youtube. here’s “Firefight,” which was born thusly: A spark flew from the model of Rick Deckard’s apartment building in Blade Runner (viewableat the Museum of the Moving Image), and landed on a pile of Ray Bradbury short stories stashed in my brain. The process was helped along by the accelerant of “Space Oddity” and “Rocket Man,” which by chance happened to be clanking around in my head at the time.