3 Songs You Didn’t Know Quincy Jones Wrote for Other Artists

The 90-year-old Chicago-born songwriter and music icon Quincy Jones is one of those people who doesn’t seem real. From his early beginnings in the Pacific Northwest as a burgeoning jazz artist to working with Michael Jackson and countless other artists on projects ranging from pop singles to orchestral composition, Jones has done it all.

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We wanted to dive into three songs that Jones lent his efforts to that turned out to be a boon for three other songwriters and performers.

[RELATED: Quincy Jones Receives Inaugural U.S. State Department Peace Through Music Award]

Here are three songs you likely didn’t know Quincy Jones wrote for other artists.

1. “Get Da Funk Out Ma Face,” The Brothers Johnson

Written by George Johnson, Louis Johnson, Quincy Jones

For fans of the basketball-themed comedy film Semi-Pro, starring Will Ferrell, this song may already be familiar, as it was part of the movie’s soundtrack. Either way, this funk track from the family group comprised of brothers George “Lightnin’ Licks” and Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson was co-written by Quincy Jones.

The two linked up with Jones, who hired them for work on his record, Mellow Madness. Later, Jones helped them cut several other songs, including “Just a Taste of Me” and “Is It Love That We’re Missing.” As for “Get Da Funk Out Ma Face,” this song was also on the soundtracks for the Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976) and for Jackie Brown (1997). On the song the brothers sing,

Get the funk out ma face
Get the funk out ma face
Get the funk out ma face
Get the funk out ma face

You don’t like my music
You don’t have to use it
Funkin’ is a thing that all of us release
You don’t have to get it
All you do is let it
Then you’ll know exactly how to groove

2. “Yah Mo Be There,” James Ingram with Michael McDonald

Written by Michael McDonald, Rod Temperton, Quincy Jones, James Ingram

This song, written by a cadre of big names including Quincy Jones, won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It’s also another song to feature in a film, The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005). In that movie, one of the characters sees a Michael McDonald DVD and says, “If I hear Ya Mo B There one more time I’m gonna ‘ya mo’ burn this place!” Originally, the song was released on James Ingram’s 1983 LP, It’s Your Night. It hit No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sings Ingram and McDonald on the religiously inspired single (originally titled “Yahweh Be There”),

Well, it’s a doggone shame
But never too late for change
So, if your luck runs low
Just reach out and call His name, His name

Yah-mo be there
Yah-mo be there
Yah-mo be there
Yah-mo be there
Whenever you call

3. “Foul Owl,” Boomer & Travis

Written by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Quincy Jones

From the iconic and Oscar-winning 1968 Sidney Poitier movie, In the Heat of the Night (1967), this song is another in a string of soundtrack offerings written or co-written by Quincy Jones. Fans can check out the song used in one of the scenes from the movie here. The twangy country song may seem different from what Jones, known for jazz and soulful pop tracks, is accustomed to writing. But that just shows his genius. Just check out how the song opens,

Hey, little lark, get outta the dark
Foul owl on the prowl
Hey little jay, stay out of his way
Foul owl on the prowl
You just might be the quail he’ll tail
Foul owl on the prowl
You just might be the swallow he’ll follow
Foul owl on the prowl

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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