4 Songs You Didn’t Know Michael Jackson Wrote For Other Artists

Michael Jackson’s legacy is largely sequestered to his own musical contributions. His hits—”Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and “Smooth Criminal” to name a few—made him into royalty, earning him a throne beside the upper echelon of the pop world.

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While his own musical contributions crowned him the King of Pop, Jackson also played a hand in penning tracks for other artists, across a wide expanse of genres, throughout his life. Previously, we gave you the story behind seven songs that Jackson helped write, now, we’re back with four more.

From Paul McCartney to 3T, here are four songs you didn’t know Michael Jackson wrote for other artists.

[RELATED: 7 Songs You Didn’t Know Michael Jackson Wrote for Other Artists]

1. “Say Say Say” (Paul McCartney)

Written by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney and Jackson hopped in the studio together for three duets—”The Girl Is Mine,” “The Man,” and “Say Say Say.” The latter song appeared on McCartney’s Pipes of Peace album.

“Say Say Say” sees both music icons bring their strengths to the table. Their unique songwriting voices somehow managed to co-exist on this track, neither one overpowering the other.

“‘Say Say Say’ was coauthored by Paul, a man who could play all the instruments in the studio and score every part, and a kid, me, who couldn’t,” Jackson said in his autobiography Moonwalk (per Genius). “Yet we worked together as equals and enjoyed ourselves. Paul never had to carry me in that studio. The collaboration was also a real step forward for me in terms of confidence, became there was no Quincy Jones watching over me to correct my mistakes. Paul and I shared the same idea of how a pop song should work and it was a real treat to work with him.”

2.  “Muscles” (Diana Ross)

Written by Michael Jackson

Jackson collaborated with his former Motown label mate, Diana Ross, for “Muscles” in 1982. According to Songfacts, the song was named after Jackson’s pet snake though the lyrics come in the sexual persuasion. She said she wants a guy to keep her satisfied but that’s alright for her / but it ain’t enough for me…I want muscles all over his body, she sings.

While Jackson is credited as a writer, he also helped produce the track for Ross, flexing the fact that his skills behind the soundboard were just as honed as his skills in front of the mic.

3. “Why” (3T)

Written by Michael Jackson and Kenneth “BabyfaceEdmonds

Jackson got back to his family band roots by writing “Why” for 3T in 1995. 3T consists of three of Jackson’s nephews: Taj Jackson, Taryll Jackson, and T.J. Jackson. “Why” was originally supposed to appear on Michael’s album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, but he ultimately decided to give it to the trio.

Jackson and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds penned this song together, asking essential questions like Why does Monday come before Tuesday, Why do summers start in June, and Why do people fall in love when they’re always breaking up?

4. “Don’t Matter to Me” (Drake)

Written by Aubrey Graham, Michael Jackson, Paul Anka, Noah Shebib, Anthony Jefferies, Nana Rogues, Negin Djafari

“Don’t Matter to Me” was a controversial release to Jackson’s fans. Drake made use of previously unreleased material from the pop icon, picking up where he left off with an added hip-hop edge. Given that the song came years after Jackson’s death in 2009, fans and Jackson’s family alike were concerned about the implications of not being able to ask his permission.

“I just feel like, if he didn’t finish it, then you shouldn’t use it,” Austin Brown, Jackson’s nephew, said. “I respect the artist but I just don’t feel like it’s OK to use someone’s vocals… and change them.”

Nevertheless, “Don’t Matter to Me” is counted among Jackson’s writing credits.

Drake has mentioned Jackson a number of times throughout his career. In “Big Amount,” a 2 Chainz song he is the featured artist on, the rapper claims to have been visited in a dream by Jackson himself.

Michael Jackson talkin’ to me in my dreams / And he say, “You bad and you know it” / Better shamone with my check then, he says in his verse.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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