Late pop icon Michael Jackson was responsible for a slew of hit songs in his lifetime. From “Billie Jean” to “Beat It,” the star, who died at 50 in 2009, had a knack for penning lyrics. But he also wrote tunes for other artists. In honor of what would have been his 61st birthday on August 29, here are five songs the King of Pop crafted for other artists in his lifetime.
Ralph Tresvant — “Alright Now”
The Jackson-written song “Alright Now” was penned for New Edition crooner Ralph Tresvant’s self-titled debut solo album that was released in 1990. Jackson co-wrote the tune with John Barnes, who has worked with Toni Braxton and Cheryl Lynn.
Diana Ross — “Muscles”
Diana Ross can thank former mentee Jackson for the hit tune she released in 1982. “Muscles” has a Jackson-esque sound thanks to the pop star being responsible for producing and writing the track. And since Miss Ross was the one who “presented” Jackson on Motown when The Jackson 5’s debut album dropped on Motown back in 1969, the pair collaborating wasn’t out of left field.
Blackstreet — “Joy”
The fifth single released from Blackstreet’s eponymous debut album in 1994, “Joy” was written by Jackson as well as his frequent collaborator, producer Teddy Riley. Jackson’s demo for the midtempo track leaked in 2016.
Bart Simpson — “Do The Bartman”
A list of songs Jackson wrote for others wouldn’t be complete without mentioning “The Simpsons.” In the DVD commentary for the long-running animated sitcom’s season 3 box set, James L. Brooks explained Jackson called and told him, “I love Bart. I want to give Bart a No. 1 single.” The song was featured on the 1990 soundtrack “The Simpsons Sing the Blues.”
Drake — “Doesn’t Matter to Me”
While it may be easy to tell Jackson had a hand in this tune since he is featured on the song, Jackson didn’t necessarily write all of his own music. The singer was reportedly working on it after collaborating with singer-songwriter Paul Anka in 1983 but reportedly quit work on the tune halfway through. Drake landed the tune for 2018’s “Scorpio” in a duet form using Jackson’s demo vocals.