The internet is full of wild and wonderful conspiracy theories but few are quite as weird as the one concerning Michael Jackson and Sonic the Hedgehog.
For years the subject of intense speculation among a very specific sub-section of Sonic/MJ fandom, several videos on YouTube outlined the apparent evidence proving Jackson contributed to the soundtrack for Sonic The Hedgehog 3 on the Sega Mega Drive.
Several tracks from Jacksons’ Dangerous album certainly bore similarities to the tunes that featured in the side-scroller while the singer’s subsequent single Stranger In Moscow also featured during the game’s end credits.
A few fans were quick to pick up on the similarities, but very little about the story made sense. Why would Jackson, the King of Pop, want to provide the score for a video game sequel? It just seemed odd.
Or at least it did until a feature from French magazine Black & White confirmed the secret collaboration. It was Brad Buxer, one of the official composers on the Sonic title, who revealed he had worked with Jackson on the game – though he couldn’t recall which tracks specifically.
“I’ve never played the game so I do not know what tracks on which Michael and I have worked the developers have kept,” he said.
The Huffington Post went on to follow-up the story a few years later in more detail, confirming the odd circumstances that resulted in Jackson working on the game.
It all started back 1993 when Jackson decided to pay a visit to the Sega Technical Institute. There was no motive behind the visit – Jackson was simply a huge Sonic fan and was keen to see how things worked behind the scene.
It was only during that visit that he was offered the opportunity to work on the game’s soundtrack – Sega bosses probably never expected him to say yes, of course. It was at this point that Buxer was brought in.
“I was working with Michael on the Dangerous album,” Buxer told HuffPo, “and he [MJ] told me he was going to be doing the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack for Sonic 3. He asked me if I would help him with it.”
Six composers were recruited for the four-week project, which saw 41 different tracks created by Jackson and his team. The pop legend was in his element throughout the process as Matt Forger, a sound engineer on the game recalls.
“We were recording lots of beatboxing. Lots of Michael’s mouth percussion. … He’d be laughing, joking, and that kind of infectious attitude would … make the work not seem like work,” he said.
“Michael understood that this was for a game, he was in a really up mood whenever we’d be working.”
So why all the secrecy until now? Well, the first accusations of child molestation emerged prior to the release of the game, while Jackson himself was thought to be unhappy with some of the end results of his work and, in particular, the quality of the audio compression.
To this day no one is quite sure how much of Jackson’s work remains but it’s clear that some of his work remains in place, as fans are keen to highlight.
Check out the video documentary included for further proof of perhaps the strangest musical collaboration to date.
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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.