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Old 30th August 2006
Gear Nut


In some clinic of yours, do i remember correctly that you were someway tampering with Louis Johnsons bass when tracking Billy Jean? Something with the pickup?


Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
About "BILLY JEAN"....

But, More About "BILLY JEAN".....

The year is 1982. The song is "Billie Jean". The sonic image of Michael Jacksons' "Billie Jean" is a perfect example of what happened, when I sat around dreaming awhile, about combining different recording techniques to produce a unique musical canvas with a tremendous 'sonic personality'.

I recorded the drums,(played by my pal N'Dugu) with as tight, and powerful a drum sound as I could come up with. Of course I put N'Dugus' drum set on my plywood drum platform. Also at this time, I had a special kick drum cover made that covers the whole front of the kick drum. There's a slot with a zipper in it that the mike fits through. When the kick drum mike is in place, in the slot in my drum cover, I zip the opening tight around the mike.

Brucie asks - Shall I post a Photo of this beautiful device????? I still have it and use it on every session!!!

I brought in my old pal George Massenburgs' spectacular sounding, portable, 12 channel recording console and used it to record the rhythm section. With it I recorded the bass, drums and guitars on my analogue 16 track, with no noise reduction equipment in the way of that fantastic sound!

In my estimation, “Billie Jean” is a perfect example of what I call “Sonic Personality”. I don’t think there are many recordings, where all you need to hear is the first few drums beats, and you instantly know what song it is.

Great albums always start with great songs....

“BILLY JEAN” is just such a superb song! Of course, Michael wrote “BILLY JEAN”.

Quincy says that the lyric he wrote is highly personal. I’m sure that’s true. Michael told us... it was about a girl, that climbed over the wall at Michael’s house, and was lounging out there, by the swimming pool.... she was laying out there, near the pool , lounging... hangin’ out... with shades on, her bathing suit on.

One morning she just showed up! Kind of like a stalker, almost. She had accused Michael of being the father of ONE of her twins... Is that possible? I don’t think so....


Bruce Swedien