In part four of the Quincy Jones story, William Price King explores the relationship that Quincy formed with some of the most iconic names in the music industry. Also how he used his influence to produce one of the top selling singles every released.
Quincy Jones has now been at the peak of his musical career for the last 20 years having worked with the top artists in the industry.
In 1979 Quincy had produced Off The Wall with Michael Jackson for Epic Records. The two men had become friends after working on The Wiz together. They recorded the album between December 1978 and June 1979 and released it in the August. Michael Jackson had collaborated with other songwriters and composers such as Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. He had also written three of the tracks himself including the Grammy winning Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough. Five singles were released from the album becoming chart hits and over 8 million copies were sold. This cemented Michael Jackson as an International superstar and Quincy Jones as the most sought after record producer in Hollywood.
In 1980 his album The Dude won three Grammy awards. Collaborators on the album included vocalist James Ingram on two of the tracks; Just Once and One Hundred Ways. Razzmatazz with vocals by Patti Austin reached No. 11 in the UK singles chart and received a great deal of play time in the US… The album won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Instrumental Arrangement (Accompanying Vocalists).
Here is Patti Austin with Razzmatazz.
Quincy now settled in for the next ten years as head of his own label Qwest and putting his own releases on the back burner he focused on producing for other artists.
This included one of the bestselling singles of all time. We Are The World is a charity single written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album of the same name We Are The World. Quincy had used his influence to draw in most of the top American recording artists of the day to raise funds for the victims of Ethiopia’s famine. When asked how he had managed to make this multi-talented cast of singers work harmoniously he explained that he had taped a notice on the door at the entrance. “Check Your Ego At The Door”.
It sold in excess of 20 million copies and is one of less than 30 singles to have sold at least 10 million copies worldwide.
Quincy and Michael Jackson worked together again in 1982 on the bestselling album Thriller with 40 million sold. Six of the singles were in the Top Ten including Billie Jean and Beat It.
In 1987 they teamed up again for Michael Jackson’s 7th studio album Bad and Michael not only composed nine of the eleven tracks but also received co-producer credit for the whole album alongside Quincy. The album received six Grammy nominations and won two. It was to be the successful team’s final collaboration.
One of the most successful singles… Billie Jean from the album Thriller.
On hearing of Michael’s death, Quincy said the following:
‘”For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words. Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the ’80s. To this day, the music we created together on Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all…talent, grace, professionalism and dedication. He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him.”
Another star that Quincy continued to work with during the 80s was Frank Sinatra and in 1984 they produced L.A. Is My Lady. After their long and successful artistic partnership Quincy had to say this about this megastar.
“Frank Sinatra took me to a whole new planet. I worked with him until he passed away in ’98. He left me his ring. I never take it off. Now, when I go to Sicily, I don’t need a passport. I just flash my ring.”
Here is Frank Sinatra with the Quincy Jones Orchestra L.A. Is My Lady.
In 1985 a film arrived in the cinemas that was to take the world by storm; Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of the novel, The Colour Purple. Starring Whoopi Goldberg and Opray Winfrey the movie received eleven Oscar Nominations. Quincy Jones wrote the score for the film and he also co-produced the musical adaptation of the novel which opened at The Broadway Theater in New York in 2005 The other producers were Scott Sanders, Harvey Weinstein and Oprah Winfrey. It was nominated for five 2006 Outer Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score. In the same year the show was nominated for eleven Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score.
In 1989, Quincy Jones was presented with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. With a wonderful career and many accolades and awards behind him, Quincy was playing is way into the 1990s with so much more to come.
To end this chapter in Quincy Jones story here is Miss Celie’s Blues from The Colour Purple.
My thanks to those who have uploaded videos to YouTube.
Buy Quincy Jones Music.
Sources and information on tours and news for Quincy Jones.
About William Price King
William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.
William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and he is currently working on his new album available later in 2015.
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
You can find the previous post for Quincy Jones and the other series including Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Sir George Shearing in this directory.
We both would be very appreciative if you could leave a comment and share this new series on social media – Twitter and FB in particular. Many thanks Sally and William.