Michael Jackson is “Bad”.. Don’t Be Messin’ is “Cool”

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Live on the Bad Tour in 1988

As music lovers around the world look forward in anticipation to the 25th anniversary of the release of Michael Jackson’s multi-million selling BAD album, marked by the late singer’s estate and record label with the September 18 release of an impressive box set (including 3 CDs and a concert tour DVD), the more astute of the Jackson fans have diverted their attention to a less publicised event.

On June 5th, 2012 Sony Music, in an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart (in the US), will make available a commemorative re-issue of the lead single of BAD, Jackson’s 1987 single “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”. The song, which was the first of a historic five consecutive chart-topping singles from the BAD album, is a gorgeous duet featuring Jackson’s collaborative partner Siedah Garrett. The track will remain unedited, in it’s original form, as it appeared on the single release 25 years ago.

What makes this release so exciting for Jackson fans is that the single also contains a previously unreleased track – a demo entitled “Don’t Be Messin’ Round” – which, according to Sony Music, originates from the BAD album sessions.

Fans have known of the track’s existence for quite some time however its actual origins remain under question. In a 2008 interview Jackson’s then-lawyer Peter Lopez let slip of the recording’s possible inclusion on the 25th anniversary re-release of the Thriller album. It was reported at the time that the track was an outtake from the Thriller sessions. Either way, the creative direction of that particular release (which would become Thriller 25) changed, and the song was never made public.

Following his passing, one of Jackson’s longest-serving producers Brad Buxer registered a song, titled “Don’t Be Messin’”, with the US Copyright Office. Buxer and Jackson first began working together on the Dangerous album sessions in 1989, and continued a professional relationship through 2006. Buxer’s possession of the recording and subsequent registration of it would indicate that Jackson, with Buxer’s assistance, continued to work on the song long after both the Thriller and BAD albums had been completed and released..

Bruce Swedien, Jackson’s long time studio engineer and the man that recorded Jackson’s vocals spoke about “Don’t Be Messin’ Round” in a 2009 interview, in which he referred to it as a “powerful” and “mesmerizing” ballad. “Michael plays piano on it, and it’s just beautiful … Oh my God, there’s nothing like it”.

Recently I was fortunate enough to with talk to someone who is familiar with the song.

“It’s cool”, she explained. “It’s not something you’d typically expect from Michael Jackson. When you listen to songs like Smooth Criminal or Dirty Diana which come from the same era it’s understandable why Messin’ wasn’t included on Bad. It’s too different. It doesn’t fit.”

Nevertheless, I was assured that fans will thoroughly enjoy the track.

“From what I could tell”, she continued, “it hasn’t been touched up. It seems to be the way Michael left it. It sounds like something you might have heard in a classy Jazz bar back in the ’50s. That’s the mood of the song. It’s a lounge type song.”

“You can imagine Michael just sitting at the piano, in the privacy of his home, jamming for his friends and family on this one. It’s really nice.”

All speculation will be set aside in just a few short days when fans finally have the chance to hear the track for themselves.

Visit www.bad25.michaeljackson.com for information.

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