Quincy Jones Gets Candid About Michael Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, & The Beatles
Quincy Jones doesn’t hold back.
The iconic producer shares his controversial thoughts about Michael Jackson and The Beatles, while celebrating Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper in a candid interview with Vulture.
Speaking of his frequent collaborator M.J., Quincy explained why he viewed him as a “greedy” person who “stole a lot of songs.”
“I hate to get into this publicly,” he said, “but Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs. [Donna Summer’s] ‘State of Independence’ and ‘Billie Jean.’ The notes don’t lie, man. He was as Machiavellian as they come.” He added: “Greedy, man. Greedy. ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ — Greg Phillinganes wrote the c section. Michael should’ve given him 10 percent of the song. Wouldn’t do it.”
He was also not exactly glowing with his review of The Beatles. Speaking of his first impression, Jones said he thought “that they were the worst musicians in the world.” He added: “They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it.”
Elsewhere during the interview, Jones said that he isn’t inspired by too many musicians today, but praised Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, and Chance the Rapper, among others.
On Michael Jackson’s Plastic Surgery: “I used to kill him about the plastic surgery, man. He’d always justify it and say it was because of some disease he had. Bullshit.”
On Michael Jackson’s Childhood: “He had a problem with his looks because his father told him he was ugly and abused him. What do you expect?”
On The Beatles: “I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and Ringo had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it. We said, ‘Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.’ So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, ‘George, can you play it back for me one more time?’ So George did, and Ringo says, ‘That didn’t sound so bad.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, motherfucker because it ain’t you.’ Great guy, though.”
On Music Today: “It’s just loops, beats, rhymes, and hooks. What is there for me to learn from that? There ain’t no fucking songs. The song is the power; the singer is the messenger. The greatest singer in the world cannot save a bad song. I learned that 50 years ago, and it’s the single greatest lesson I ever learned as a producer. If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it.”
On Modern Artists He Likes: “Bruno Mars. Chance the Rapper. Kendrick Lamar. I like where Kendrick’s mind is. He’s grounded. Chance, too. And the Ed Sheeran record is great. Sam Smith — he’s so open about being gay. I love it. Mark Ronson is someone who knows how to produce.”