The Girl Is Mine

Album: Thriller (1982)
Charted: 8 2
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  • This is a duet with Paul McCartney, one of three he and Jackson recorded together. As Jackson told it in his autobiography Moonwalk, when he first met McCartney in the '70s, Paul told him that he wrote a song for him called "Girlfriend." McCartney used the song on his 1978 album London Town, and Jackson included it on his 1979 Off the Wall album.

    The pair connected again when Jackson called McCartney on Christmas Day 1980 asking, "Do you wanna make some hits?" Jackson flew to London in the fall of 1981 where they wrote "Say, Say, Say" and began recording the song with producer George Martin. In December, with Jackson and Quincy Jones ready to start work on the "Thriller" album, they visited McCartney at his ranch in Tucson, Arizona and started working on a song Jackson wrote called "The Girl Is Mine," an experience Jones says was a lot of fun, as the song seemed tailor-made for the pair. They recorded the song together in April 1982 at Westlake Studios in Los Angeles, which was home base for the Thriller sessions. Around this time, they finished work on "Say Say Say," shot a video for the song, and recorded another duet called "The Man." "The Girl Is Mine" ended up on Jackson's Thriller album, released in November 1982; "Say Say Say" and "The Man" went on McCartney's album Pipes of Peace, released in October 1983.

    Jackson and McCartney remained good friends until 1985, when Jackson bought the publishing rights to most of The Beatles' songs, causing an intractable rift in their relationship. McCartney taught Jackson about publishing rights when they got together in 1981, and Jackson used this wisdom, along with his Thriller profits, to buy the songs McCartney coveted. Jackson said it was "just business," but McCartney saw it as a betrayal.
  • This was the first single released off the Thriller album. Although it was one of the weakest songs, it was released first because it was guaranteed airplay thanks to McCartney's contribution, and if they didn't release it first, radio stations would play it anyway and wear it out. Also, it was the first song completed for the album, which they were still working on.

    At the time, many big albums contained a song with a prominent guest vocalist to attract attention. Released ahead of the album, this song gave no indication that Thriller would become the best-selling album of all time.
  • The lyrics are mostly friendly banter about who has dibs on the girl. The song was a very safe choice as the first single, since it was very conventional and easy to understand. Jackson was afraid that if he released an edgy song like "Billie Jean" or "Beat It" first, people wouldn't give the album a chance.
  • McCartney was 40 years old and well into one of the most stable marriages in rock (to his wife, Linda, who was present at the recording session), when this song was released. Hearing him bicker with the 24-year-old Jackson over a girl was kind of ludicrous, but there are only so many homosocial duet topics out there.
  • This was released a month before the album came out. The next six singles all came after the album, and were all Top 10 hits as well.
  • Michael Jackson said: "One of my favorite songs to record of all of my recordings as a solo artist is probably 'The Girl Is Mine' because working with Paul McCartney was pretty exciting and we just literally had fun. It was like lots of kibitzing and playing and throwing stuff at each other and making jokes."
  • Four members of the band Toto - David Paich (piano), Steve Lukather (guitar), Jeff Porcaro (drums) and Steve Porcaro (synthesizer programming) - contributed to this track. David Foster, who was one of the top songwriter/producers of the '80s ("St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)," "Glory Of Love"), did the synthesizer arrangement.

    David Paich also worked on the arrangement with Quincy Jones. "That was a magic moment in the studio," Paich said in his 2015 Songfacts interview. "It was one of those 'pinch me' moments."
  • Thanks to Jackson's star power and anticipation for his new album, this song went to #1 on the R&B chart and stayed there for three weeks. It made McCartney the only Beatle ever to top the R&B chart.
  • Michael Jackson re-recorded Thriller in 2008 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the record. He enlisted a variety of musical stars, plus had tracks from it re-mixed. For "The Girl Is Mine 2008," he recruited Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas, to reprise the role initially performed by Sir Paul McCartney.
  • Fifteen years after this song was released, Brandy and Monica teamed up for a lyrically similar duet, "The Boy Is Mine," which drew inspiration from this song.
  • Thriller engineer Bruce Swedien told MusicRadar about one of Jackson's studio quirks: "Interestingly, we always recorded with Michael in the dark - he hated light. I mean I would have a little bit of light for him, but the studio was absolutely dark. I think one reason why he wanted this - and why it works so effectively - is that through my study of acoustics and so on, I found that the human being is primarily a visual animal, hearing is our second sense. People can be distracted by too much light in the studio to the extent that it can take away from the music."

Comments: 21

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1983 {January 2nd} "The Girl Is Mine" by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney peaked at #2* {for 3 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    The rest of the Top 10 on January 2nd, 1983:
    At #1. "Maneater" by Daryl Hall & John Oates
    #3. "Dirty Laundry" by Don Henley
    #4. "Down Under" by Men At Work
    #5. "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye
    #6. "Mickey" by Toni Basil
    #7. "Gloria" by Laura Branigan
    #8. "Steppin' Out" by Joe Jackson
    #9. "Rock This Town" by The Stray Cats
    #10. "Truly" by Lionel Richie
    * Michael Jackson's next two releases, "Billie Jean" and "Beat It", would both peak at #1 on the Top 100 chart...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 31st 1982, "The Girl is Mine" by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #45; and nine weeks later on January 2nd, 1983 it peaked at #2 {for 3 weeks} and spent 18 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #4 in Australia and #8 in Canada {peaked at #1 in Spain}...
    The first week it was at #2, the #1 record was "Maneater" by Daryl Hall & John Oates; and for the second & third weeks, "Down Under" by Men at Work was in the top spot...
    Michael Jackson's next two releases, "Billie Jean" and "Beat It", would both peak at #1 on the Top 100...
    As a solo artist, Paul McCartney's next chart appearance would be at #49 with "So Sad" on December 18th, 1983, but at that same time he was 48 positions higher up the chart at #1 with "Say, Say, Say", it was other duet with Michael Jackson.
  • Danielle from Houston, TxPeople needs to read what really happen. Paul can say anything to try and make people feel sorry for him but read this.
  • Julia from Milton, Pathat isnt right a BEATLE, not a BEAT IT, should own publishing rights to the beatle music
  • Sue from Hamilton, OnMichael was an amazing songwriter and won many songwritting awards. He wrote Billie Jean and Thriller, just to name a couple.
  • Sue from Hamilton, OnPaul might have to pay royalties to Michael because he owns the catalog, but Michael still has to pay the original writer of the song royalties as well, so Paul still gets paid for each song he sing from the catalog.
    Somebody had to own the catalog, it was up for sale and the people that owned it, a company in Australia, offered it to Paul and he didn't want it. This person was on TV a couple of months ago and told the whole story.
    The Beatles catalog wa among other catalogs that were for sale, it was a package deal. Michael bought them, end of story. I love the Beatles, but Pleas, it's time to leave Michael alone. He did nothing wrong.
  • Dekendrick from Jackson, MsI don't know that much about publishing rights but if Michael did that then he used Paul's advice against him.
  • Anmarie from Burbank, CaFACT vs. RUMOR. Here's a link that breaks it all down: There was no bidding war. Michael had his lawyers approach Paul, FIRST. Never mind, Paul had already been approached earlier by the owners, themselves, but he said the price was too "steep." Once he found out Michael was interested, he "CHANGED HIS MIND." Hmmm ... Paul has two-faces: He has been paying someone else his entire life, & never had a problem w/it until Michael got involved. Never mind, it was on Paul's advice that Michael ventured into this area, in the first place. Now, how would Paul know that, THAT is a great way to make money? OH YEAH! That's right! Someone is PAYING HIM, every time they sing one of their own songs. As a matter-of-fact, a "whole lotta someones." Hmmm, your attitude is very interesting, Paul . . . THAT is what's disgusting. Paul needs to get over himself. He had his chance & he had the money.
  • San from San Fransisco, CaThis song features Paul McCartney from The Beatles and is about Michael and Paul fighting over a girl they both love.
  • Chuck from Concord, NhHave to agree with TARA-CHICAGO. Paul McCartney could easily have outbid Jacko or any other interested party, but for some reason he chose not to. Wonder if he regrets that decision now? Any future chance to own those rights will cost Paul or any other bidder dearly. But, I don't like that the rights aren't owned by a Beatle, it just doesn't seem right.
  • Eric from Beaverton, OrI like this song, but it reminds me of the fact that Michael Jackson owns the rights to the Beatles songs. I'm surprised that someone other than one of the Beatles has the rights to the Beatles songs, even though 2 of the Beatles are still around. It doesn't seem right, especially since Michael Jackson actually worked with Paul McCartney.
  • Joe from Teaneck, NjI cannot believe that Michael Jackson wrote this song. This sounds like McCartney all the way. Jackson is not a good songwriter. Notice that many of Michael's songs that he composed contain 2 or 3 chords. This song is very melodic - like McCartney's work.
  • Asef from Silkeborg, DenmarkThe Jackson/McCartney collaborations started in the late 70´ies with McCartney releasing "London Town" in 1977. Jackson liked the song "Girlfreind"(track nr:7 on the album) and released His own version of this song on His 1979 album "Off the wall".
  • Ken from Louisville, KyMichael Jackson asked Paul McCartney to do a duet with him for his new album ("Thriller"). McCartney agreed, only if Jackson would come to Montserrat to record a duet with HIM("Say Say Say" on Paul's "Pipes Of Peace" album).
  • Takashi from Tokyo, JapanI love this song! I think it's cute. But why do they keep on singing "The doggone girl is mine"?
  • Tara from Chicago, IlTruth is, McCartney had two chances to buy the company. Both times, he was too cheap to spend the bucks. Mind you, Paul is said to be one of the richest entertainers in the world. The man is worth about 560 million, his royalties in one year come to 41 million. If he didn't want to invest 47.5 million in his own songs, then he shouldn't cry about it now. Are you all saying Michael shouldn't have bid on a valuble company because it belonged to one of the Beatles?? PLEASE!
  • Appleheadluva from Boston, MaAnother one of the PLETHORA of FALSE FACTS that mislead you about who Michael Jackson is, or what he did...

    He never OUTBID Paul McCartney for the catalog. It was up for grabs, and Macca did not put in a bid. Michael did, and it was purchased.
  • Shirley from Ocean, NjIt's an outrage. It is a humiliating kick in the crotch to Paul but The Beatles are still the greatest and always will be, but like Brad said it's sickening to know that Paul has to pay that little twirp royalties every time he sings a Beatles song. He stabbed him in the back; but good.
  • Cio from Lithonia, GaThis was the first of four million selling singles from THRILLER...reached #1 on the soul chart,thanks to Michael's mass appeal!!!
  • Brad from Indianapolis, InI can't believe Michael Jackson had the nerve to outbid Paul McCartney for rights to the songs that John, George, Ringo, and him wrote. To think that Paul has to pay royalties to Michael everytime he sings a Beatles song is disgusting.
  • Loretta from Sydney, AustraliaMichael purchased ATV Songs from Robert Holmes A Court in Perth, Australia in 1985, not 1995. Part of the purchase agreement required Michael to visit Australia and participate in a Fund Raising Telethon for sick children and he honoured this agreement in August, 1985.
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