Thursday, 9 August 2007

Michael Jackson's Sonic 3 Album

How on Earth did this slip past my radar? Back in the late '80s Michael Jackson signed an endorsement deal with Sega America, which produced the arcade and Mega Drive smash hit Moonwalker (1990). A fact that I've covered in a previous post.

With the success of Sonic The Hedgehog (1991), Sega's blue mascot, reaching its zenith with the release of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (1992) (an essential Virtual Console purchase), Michael Jackson approached the Sega Technical Institute (STI), at one time an elite organisation within Sega America that developed acclaimed titles such as Kid Chameleon and Comix Zone, about scoring the soundtrack for the upcoming Sonic 3 (1994)!

Purportedly the completed score, composed, arranged and performed by Michael Jackson and the musicians who worked on the Dangerous (1991) recording sessions, was axed, at a very late stage of Sonic 3's development, due to the first public allegations of child molestation against the singer in 1993.

However, there's compelling evidence that some, if not all, of Michael Jackson's arrangements remained in the original release of Sonic 3 on the Mega Drive! Certainly the 'Dangerous sound' is unmistakeable and there's a hint of future projects HIStory (1995) and HIStory In The Mix (1997). It is worth noting that whilst Michael Jackson's official involvement was removed from all publicity and in-game end credits, his album session musicians, predominantly keyboard programmers, provided the final Sonic 3 score.

Bobby Brooks - engineer for Michael Jackson. Sequenced synthesizers and drums on Blood on the Dance Floor and mixed HIStory.

Darryl Ross
- vague, ill-defined resume credit: "Darryl Ross is an accomplished producer, musician, songwriter, arranger and vocalist. Artists he worked with are Michael Jackson...".

Geoff Grace
- arranger for Michael Jackson. Credited for arranging the music for Jackson's Dangerous tour.

Brad Buxer
- performed arranging, keyboards, sequencing and more for Blood on the Dance Floor and Invincible.

Doug Grigsby
- unknown credit on HIStory.

Of all Michael Jackson's keyboard virtuosos, Greg Phillinganes is notable by his absence! He has toured with Jackson and was a session keyboardist on his Sony solo albums.

Latterly Michael Jackson makes a cameo appearance in both Sega's Space Channel 5 and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2.