"Say Say Say" is the story of the duo of Paul McCartney and pop king Michael Jackson

“He became very good friends with my family and we had a great time together…”

How Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson Recorded the Hit "Say Say Say"

"Say Say Say" - a song written and performed by an ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and king of pop Michael Jackson! Fun fact: she effectively expanded both artists' audiences—Jackson attracted some of McCartney's more mature listeners, and Paul, in turn, attracted Michael's younger fans. Released 1983 year, the track became Jackson's seventh top 10 hit of the year! It reached number one in America, Canada and other countries, and many years later the magazine rolling stonee recognized it as the ninth best duet in history ... By the way: it was one of three songs that they worked together on McCartney and Jackson. Superstars teamed up when Jackson called McCartney at Christmas 1980 years and offered cooperation. autumn 1981 Jackson flew to England, where the musicians, in fact, worked on "Say Say Say": the recording took place at George Martin's AIR Studios. Later, in April 1982, McCartney came to Los Angeles and recorded two more duets with Jackson: "The Girl Is Mine" and "The Man". They also finished recording "Say Say Say" and filmed a music video for the song. How it was? Let's find out together!

How did the idea come about

Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson...

Already after the release of the track, in one of his interviews McCartney spoke about the origin of this magnificent composition:

“Michael called me and I didn't believe it was him! I asked, "Who is this?" He said, "Michael." And I'm like, "Are you sure...?" So we joked about it and he said, “Yes, I would like to write a song with you,” to which I replied, “Great!” So he came to England and we just sat down and started writing... I thought it's not easy to just sit down with someone you don't know and just start writing songs because you have to get the chemistry right... But I thought, that it's Michael, and if it doesn't work, we'll just throw it away and start over..."

In this interview McCartney also praised his new colleague… In particular, Paul said the following:

"He's great, he has a great voice, he really has one, he's inspiring... Michael called me and said, 'Let's make hits!' He wanted to write with me and I think he was into writing himself… He wrote a lot of things over the last couple of years… And “Say Say Say” was the first thing we came up with and we really just had fun! I sat and played the guitar chords and came up with the original idea for the song and Michael added and filled in many, many words... He also had ideas for arrangements and stuff. So it was great teamwork! Michael is really cool…”

lyrics and meaning

Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney
Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

"Say Say Say" - a song about a guy in love who alternately begs the girl to return and humiliates her for breaking his heart ... The composition has a bipolar character: poetry McCartney seem somewhat reasonable, while Michael is the voice of desperation.

"Say, say, say what you want,
But don't play games with my love..."

Michael Joseph Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson

The song was derided by critics, especially in the UK, but an objective look shows: two legendary masters have joined forces to create a modern hit ...

Music video

Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney
Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

The video, which was constantly broadcast on MTV, was taken Bob Giraldi (he also made a video "Beat It" and "Hello" by Lionel Richie). The clip is set in the 1800s and depicts McCartney and Jackson as merchants tricking people into buying "Mac and Jack's Miracle Potion". Linda McCartney and La Toya Jackson also appear in the video... Judging by the clip, it was really a lot of fun! However… there were some difficulties during filming. Later Giraldi spoke of McCartney's concerns on set:

“Paul was terribly insecure, he was afraid to appear next to Michael in terms of dancing ... And who wouldn’t be nervous about going on stage with the king of pop himself ?!”

The music video was filmed at the ranch. Sycamore Valley Ranch. When Jackson saw the developed property, he fell in love with it… He bought this property in 1988 year, and it was renamed to Neverland Ranch. Paul's wife Linda McCartney, appears in the video as a blonde playing the guitar. She becomes the musician's love interest and eventually his partner. As for Jackson, at the time of filming he was 25 years.

Track success and remix

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney

This song stayed at number one for six weeks! IN 2015 remix for "Say Say Say" with alternate vocals Jackson and McCartney was released on a special edition of the latter's album titled Pipes Of Peace. A new video was also filmed, directed by the dancer Ryan Heffington!


Michael Jackson performs in concert circa 1988. Photo: Kevin Mazur
Michael Jackson performs in concert circa 1988. Photo: Kevin Mazur

George Martinknown for his work with The Beatles, produced the track, making it his 22nd US number one hit. After death Jackson in 2009 year McCartney issued a statement recounting fond memories of Michael, and especially with their work on this song:

“He became very good friends with my family and we had a great time together…”


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