Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson worked together on "We Are the World."
I first met Michael when I was in Detroit. He came to Motown, and they were talking about this boy from Gary, Ind., and the Jackson 5, and everyone was excited. He was a little boy then. He would always come into the studio curious about how I worked and what I did. "How do you do that?" "Why do you do that?" I think he understood clearly from seeing various people do the music scene that it definitely took work. He must have been around 9 or 10 then, and I definitely felt that he would be someone. You heard the voice, and all he could do was grow. And that's what he did.
I remember playing air hockey one time, and we were going back and forth. I play air hockey on the side as opposed to the end of the table because it's more accessible for me to really understand what's happening. He said, "Oh, you're cheating." And I said, "Aw, I'm not cheating, come on." And we went on and on for hours, just playing air hockey and being silly. He had a childlike heart. And that was very, very impressive to me. At the end of the day, we're all human beings, and for those who can't see that it is possible for a man who's an adult to have a childlike spirit, it doesn't mean that they're weird, it doesn't mean they're a freak or whatever ridiculous things people say. We have all kinds of people in the world. The most important thing is that your heart is in a good place.
With reporting by Alex Altman, Alyssa Fetini, Sean Gregory, Randy James, Rebecca Kaplan, Barbara Kiviat, Jeffrey Kluger, Catherine Mayer, Tim Morrison, Kristi Oloffson, Kate Pickert, Julie Rawe, Claire Suddath, Molly Stephey