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Michael penned the original demo version of "P.Y.T." with keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, who worked as a session musician on several of Jackson's albums. Thriller producer Quincy Jones passed on the song itself but liked the title and, with James Ingram, fashioned a totally new song with the same name for the album.
The song was released on September 19, 1983, as the penultimate single from Thriller. It charted at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the sixth Top 10 hit from the album.
Jackson kept it in the family for the song's backing singers. The two females singing "na na na" back to Michael towards the end of the song were two of his sisters, Janet and La Toya, in the guise of the P.Y.T.s.
The song has been sampled on several occasions, most notably by Kanye West on his hit single "Good Life
." Fittingly, the first time the full song was performed by West was during the Recording Academy's Leadership Award Ceremony for Quincy Jones on July 28, 2007. Ludacris made reference to this song when he rapped about Jones on Quincy's 2010 song "Soul Bossa Nostra": "He keep a flock of PYT's with him, and they all exotic, erotic, come in groups of threes with 'em."