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Quincy Jones, perhaps best known for co-producing Michael Jackson’s best-selling albums, may be working on "ten movies, six albums, four Broadway shows, two networks, [and] business with the president of China" (plus a TV biopic in which he wants Donald Glover to play him on the way), but he’s got even more to say about his legendary life. He’s followed up a notable GQ profile with a Vulture interview full of incredible quotes about Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Donald Trump, the state of music today, and more.
On Michael Jackson, he says, "I hate to get into this publicly, but Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs. [Donna Summer’s] 'State of Independence' and 'Billie Jean.' The notes don’t lie, man. He was as Machiavellian as they come." Jones adds, "'Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough'—Greg Phillinganes wrote the c section. Michael should’ve given him 10 percent of the song. Wouldn’t do it."
He also shares an incredible story about The Beatles, in response to a question about his first impressions of them. It is worth reading in full:
That they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it. I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and Ringo had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it. We said, “Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.” So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, “George, can you play it back for me one more time?” So George did, and Ringo says, “That didn’t sound so bad.” And I said, “Yeah, motherfucker because it ain’t you.” Great guy, though.
Quincy Jones goes on to call Trump a mentally limited megalomaniac and decry the state of music today. Now, with that said, he did single out a few contemporary artists who he feels are doing good work today, and, to be honest, the list isn’t super surprising. He singles out Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, saying they are “grounded.” He also shouts out Bruno Mars, Ed Sheehan, Sam Smith, and Mark Ronson, who “knows how to produce.”
Read the incredibly extensive interview in full on Vulture here.