Michael Jackson The Simpsons: How MJ wrote famous hit song for The Simpsons

The Simpsons: Lisa reads poem for Snowball II at funeral

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Michael Jackson was a man of many talents: he sang and danced but occasionally acted as well. Some people were not aware, however, of his songwriting talents, which saw him come up with full songs in his head. Even stranger still, Michael once donated this gift to a popular animated series: The Simpsons.

The story of Michael Jackson’s involvement in The Simpsons is rather strange and has also been contested.

The song Do the Bartman, performed by Nancy Cartwright, the voice artist for Bart in The Simpsons, was released in September 1990 on the first album of the animated family.

The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues, also released September 1980, had become a relatively controversial issue, with rumours about Michael’s involvement.

Those with very good hearing would, on listening to one particular song, hear a recognisable voice in the background.

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Michael performed backing vocals on Do the Bartman, which was not revealed until a few years later.

Matt Groening, the show’s creator, eventually opened up on this in 1998, adding in 2018 on The Weekly With Charlie Pickering: “We really did have him. He [Michael Jackson] said that he loved Bart and wanted to be on the show…

“He did do the show. He didn’t want credit for it.

“There was some kind of deal with his record company or whatever.

“So when it came time to sing the songs, he had a soundalike singer [Kipp Lennon], and he stood there and watched the guy who was so nervous who had to sound like Michael Jackson.”

Michael also appeared in the series three episode Stark Raving Dad, though his name was changed to John Jay Smith.

As alluded to by Matt, Michael was under contract with record company Epic Records, meaning he was not able to be credited for his songwriting.

However, his efforts on the song were later disputed by Bryan Loren, another songwriter who claimed full credit, denying Matt’s protestations on the subject.

He told Music Business Worldwide in 2015: “The story of the song and its creation has been a thorn in my side since I did it.

“But, despite Matt Groening’s repeated confessions, I am the sole writer of the song.

“While it’s true, along with me, Michael Jackson does sing backing vocals.

“And it WAS his idea to call the song, DTB. AND, he did insist I include his name in the lyric.

“Hence, ‘If you can do the Bart, you’re bad like Michael Jackson.’ And so, obviously, he was involved.

“Perhaps this tidbit of info is not as sensational as saying MJ co-wrote the song, but I assure you, he did not.”

While the question of whether Michael really did write the song is disputed, his work voicing a character in series three was headline news when the series was uploaded to Disney Plus, as this episode was conspicuously missing.

The episode, in which Michael played an inpatient in a mental institution, was not included on the Disney+ roster after the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland was aired.

Executive producer James L Brooks said of the decision: “The guys I work with – where we spend our lives arguing over jokes – were of one mind on this.

“This was a treasured episode. There are a lot of great memories we have wrapped up in that one, and this certainly doesn’t allow them to remain…

“I’m against book-burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”

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