New MICHAEL JACKSON: IN THE STUDIO Book Due For International Release in Spring, 2023 From Blackstone Publishing
Legendary Producers Teddy Riley, Rodney Jerkins, Bill Bottrell, J-Roc Harmon & Drummer John J.R. Robinson Take Fans Inside Recording of Jackson’s Greatest Hits
NASHVILLE, TN, UNITED STATES, December 23, 2022/ EINPresswire.com / -- This spring, fans of the King of Pop will be able to take an up-close look at his recording process in MICHAEL JACKSON: IN THE STUDIO, which takes readers from The Jackson 5 heyday at Motown thru the making of legendary solo albums OFF THE WALL, the landmark THRILLER, BAD, DANGEROUS, HIStory, INVINCIBLE and posthumous LP XSCAPE. Featuring exclusive interviews with key creative collaborators like Teddy Riley, Rodney Jerkins, Bill Bottrell, Timbaland co-producer Jerome ‘J-Roc’ Harmon, and longtime Jackson session drummer John ‘J.R.’ Robinson among other exciting interviews from Michael Jackson’s rich interview archives, the book additionally features sourced commentary from Quincy Jones, Dallas Austin, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Stevens, Slash, Berry Gordy, and other key collaborators.
Due for publication in multiple countries around the world in 2023, the book is due out in Japan from DU Books and BLACKSTONE Publishing in the North America as well as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel and Canada among other territories. Anne Fonteneau, Chief Sales Officer for Blackstone Publishing, said of the pact that “we’re excited to be partnering with Jake Brown to make MICHAEL JACKSON: IN THE STUDIO available to music history fans worldwide. The book has much to offer anyone with an interest in pop culture, and especially Jackson’s singular musical contributions.”
Award-winning author Jake Brown’s 55th published book, the “IN THE STUDIO” series has been in publication around the world for 3 decades now, featuring highlight titles co-written with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees HEART, late metal pioneer/Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, the Tupac Shakur Estate, along with award-winning chronicling of the record-making process of RICK RUBIN, TORI AMOS, AC/DC, TOM WAITS, DR. DRE and IRON MAIDEN among others, published in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Canada, and more countries globally. Brown said of the project’s release that “I grew up on Michael Jackson’s albums as a kid in the 80s like so many millions of fans around the world, and am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the historical study of his timeless catalog of albums and hits. We start at the Jackson 5 and Motown and go all the way up through Xscape, so there’s bound to be something for fans from every era of his iconic catalog.”
Sharing highlight excerpts from the book exclusively chronicling the creation of iconic Jackson hits, legendary session drummer J.R. Robinson shared his memory during the recording of “Rock With You” that “we were struggling within take 3, not getting a take. We were at Westlake B in LA, a small studio, and Quincy Jones was pretty good about his casting, but there was no magic yet. So Quincy Jones comes out of the control room, and Rod comes out with him, smoking his red Marlboros. Quincy’s on my right shoulder and Rod’s on my left shoulder, and Quincy says ‘J.R., can you come up with a drum intro fill that the whole world will forever identify with this song?’ I look around and the guys in the band are putting their hands between their legs, because it was like asking ‘Can you fly to the moon?’ I said, ‘Sure I can! I can do this,’ but I basically didn’t know what I was going to do. They walked back into the control room, and it was the beginning of Take 4 when I went, ‘Alright, let’s go guys,’ and I remember two things: I don’t like triplets and 16th notes together, I think it’s like Peanut butter and Pickles, they don’t associate, so I thought, ‘I’m going to do that! I’m going to combine these two concepts, use syncopation and still leave a hole in the fill!’ And sure enough, there’s 4 clicks and I dropped that opening fill, and the fill was so pronounced that everybody else in the band responded equally. So if you listen to that take, Bobby Watson’s bass part is just one of the greatest bass parts of all time, and the other ones weren’t nearly that good, so it was kind of the influence of everything that happened at that moment.”
By the time New Jack Swing inventor Teddy Riley had taken the reins from Quincy Jones and was in the studio writing and producing “Remember the Time,” he remembered Jackson having a sharp ear for a hit, where “Michael pulled me out of the room while I was working on the demo for ‘Remember the Time,’ and this is after I’d just finished working in the studio on 60 or 70 tracks for him to listen through. That was the 5th track I played for him, and he loved ‘Remember the Time’ from the first time he heard it. It was important to give him to have something that would shock the world, where people just have no choice where its undeniable. With ‘Remember the Time’ and the hard drums, he just wanted stuff that would hurt you on the dance floor. That’s what he would always say, ‘I need you to hurt me with this record. The mix, I need it to hurt me, I need to be laying on the floor from the kick drum, banging the room out!’ That’s the one thing about Michael, he loved his music so loud that the engineer Bruce Swedien and I had to leave the room sometimes! Ear plugs still didn’t help, so Bruce would say, ‘Okay Michael, I’m going to start the tape up and then leave the room...’ ’Remember the Time’s opening chords would come on while he was running out, and then as soon as those drums kicked in, Michael and Emanuel Lewis would just get down and dance all day!”
Bill Bottrell, the principal architect behind the album’s other smash hit, the # 1 “Black Or White,” recalls the morning “we began working on that song, at the very beginning of the Dangerous sessions. Before we even knew he was going to go record a new album, we were going to record 2 songs and put them on a Greatest Hits of some sorts. So the day we started working at Westlake, Michael came in the studio and hummed out the lead riff of ‘Black or White.’ He wasn’t referring to guitar or anything, but there was a guitar sitting right there so I picked it up, played it, he liked it, and I thought it was a great guitar riff. He’d come in that day just to scratch out some vocals, and the way we hear the song today, I encouraged him to leave it the way it was. And he was not one to listen to me if he had another idea, he normally would say in those moments ‘No Bill, I want to do it again, because I want to do this, this, and this…’ But this time he didn’t, I think he appreciated the rawness of the vocal, and I don’t think some of the words were even finished, but we both agreed on leaving it and there it sits. So that was a rare case where I got to hear the whole melody and lyric pretty much by day 2 of recording!”
Rodney Jerkins, after first being introduced to Jackson in the early 90s through the young producer’s mentor Teddy Riley, reveals that when he took the wheel years later, “it was literally a dream come true! I was at my mother and father’s house in Jersey sleeping on the couch, and I had a dream. In the dream there was this facility, it was all glass, and I was pulling up and could see Michael Jackson in his red shirt through the glass. I woke up from that dream and told my parents about the dream. Well, within a couple hours later, I get a call from a lady by the name of Carol Bayer Sager, an Academy Award winning songwriter, and she says, ‘Rodney, I’m a big fan of yours!’ At the time in 99, ‘Say My Name’ was out with Destiny’s Child. So she continues, ‘I love ‘Say My Name,’ I love the production, and wanted to know if you’d be interested in writing with me and Michael Jackson sometime?’ My reaction was ‘WHAT?!’ and I booked my flight right then and there, went to L.A., checked into a hotel and told her I’d be ready when he calls. She rang a few days later and said ‘Can you come on Thursday to my house?’ and the crazy, ironic part about this is: when I was driving up the hill to her home, I see a guy with a red shirt over near the guest house studio. It was just like the dream I’d had 4 days before, and now it was literally a reality! In the middle of the night, Michael would call me with an idea, whether it was a baseline or beat, or string melody lines with his mouth, he was definitely hand’s on in all of that, and hands on in the comping of everything. He was very particular about what he wanted it to sound like and what he was going for on Invincible.”
Jerome ‘J-ROC’ Harmon, Timbaland’s right-hand-man in the studio during the creation of the # 1 dance floor smash “Love Never Felt So Good” from XSCAPE, confesses that “when we agreed to do it, I went as an open book myself, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how it was going to come to us. I just remember they said that they had some tunes that he did. The estate had picked out these certain songs that they felt could be not the easiest to re-do, but that was more like Michael from the 70s all the way up through his death. With ‘Love Never Felt So Good,’ we played all of the instruments you hear in the song live. It was scary hearing his voice in my headphones while we were working, because sometimes, you forget that he’s not around. When that song came in with just a piano and his vocals, I knew exactly what era that was, just by listening to the tone in his voice. I grew up on Michael Jackson so I knew every era just by his voice. It took me back, it did, but I didn’t want to just try and clone and mimic that era. I wanted to take the essence of it, and then modernize it. That’s what Justin Timbaland and I did, we took the essence of everything out his voice, and said ‘Okay, I know that’s what was going on during that time,’ and we modernized it and brought it up to date.”
Founded in 1987, Blackstone continues to pioneer new and creative ways to bring stories to life. With multiple New York Times Best Sellers, Grammy award-winning audio productions, and three books placed on the New York Times Best Books of the Year list, Blackstone has firmly positioned itself as one of America’s fastest growing and respected publishing houses. A true independent, privately owned publisher, with offices on both coasts, Blackstone is home to a vibrant and eclectic community of storytellers and story lovers, offering hundreds of new titles each month to its catalog of 17,000+ books. The authors published are as varied as the books themselves, with works by some of the biggest names in literature including Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Ayn Rand, Ian Fleming, George Orwell, Robert Heinlein, James Clavell, as well as more contemporary authors like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Karen Slaughter, Don Winslow, Robert Downey Jr., Jeneva Rose, Norman Reedus, and many more. Jake Brown is repped by Frank Weimann at Folio Literary Management and The English Agency in Japan.
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