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
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.