You've heard all his biggest hits: "Thriller," "Soul Bossa Nova," the theme from Sanford and Sons. You know he's worked with some of the biggest artists of all time: Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Michael Jackson. But did you know that Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born right on the South Side of Chicago? Or that his middle name is actually Delight? It would take a whole book to explore Quincy Jones and his entire body of work. (Luckily, he wrote an autobiography, Q.) On this Throwback Thursday, I'll highlight some of my favorite more surprising Quincy Jones jams.
"It's My Party" by Lesley Gore is a classic example of the sounds of the 1960s. It's filled with the brassy horns and harmonies of the girl groups at the time, and the bouncy beat is an interesting counterpoint to the sad lyrics. I had no idea Jones produced this song, although it does have similar elements to "Soul Bossa Nova." You can hear "It's My Party" on the compilation '60s Gold.
It's rare that anyone could overshadow Jones, but on It Might as Well Be Swing, he might have met his match. Jones directed Count Basie and his orchestra, and arranged classics like "Fly Me to the Moon" and "The Best Is Yet to Come" for Frank Sinatra to sing. Talk about firepower!
Jones produced three classic Michael Jackson albums: Thriller, Off the Wall and Bad. But these two titans of pop first met on the set of The Wiz, a funky retelling of The Wizard of Oz. Jones produced the soundtrack, and Jackson provided vocals as the Scarecrow for "You Can't Win" and "Ease on Down the Road." The rest is history.
This list barely scratches the surface of Jones' oeuvre, so let me know your favorite Jones music in the comments!