Grammy-winning producer, composer and arranger Quincy Jones produced some of Michael Jackson's biggest-selling albums, including Off the Wall and Thriller.
Michael's always had that intriguing and silent power inside of him, and so [while filming The Wiz] I was paying attention to him, almost out of everybody who was in the film. He'd get up four hours before everyone else to get these prosthetics on his face, and then he'd stand there, very, very diligently and disciplined. He knew everybody's lines, he knew all the songs, all the steps, everything. I mean I'd never seen so much focus in my life, and I started to watch him and I started to see things in him that I wasn't cognizant of before. And then they were rehearsing one day, and Sidney Lumet was blocking the principal characters, and Michael would pull these little pieces of paper from his chest and recite words from a powerful thinker Socrates or Aristotle or Confucius or whatever and then he'd say the name at the end. The last one he said, Blah blah blah "So-crayts." And I said, "What is that?" And he said it a few times, and I realized what was going on. And because you get used to something when you're rehearsing like that, the second day I said to him, "Michael, it's Soc-ra-tees." And he said, "Really?" And the look he gave me then, it just prompted me to say, because I'd been impressed by all the things I saw in him during the rehearsal process, "I would love to take a shot at producing your album." And he went back and told the people at Epic Records, and they said, "No way Quincy's too jazzy." Michael was persistent, and he and his managers went back and said, "Quincy's producing the album." And we proceeded to make Off the Wall. Ironically, that was one of the biggest black-selling albums at the time, and that album saved all the jobs of the people saying I was the wrong guy. That's the way it works.
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