Michael Jackson – Human Nature
On July 3, 1983, a fantastic song was released that would remain forever in the hearts of all us 80s dinosaurs. The song was already well known, because it was featured in an album that was already writing the story. An album that already sent many singles to the top of the charts, including some unforgettable songs like “Beat it” and “Billie Jean“. That album of course was “Thriller”, and this song is “Human Nature”, and in my opinion it remains one of the most beautiful songs ever performed by the King of Pop, and one of the most beautiful of the 80s.
I didn’t want to say “Michael Jackson’s song” because the song is actually the result of a collaboration between exceptional talents. Toto, after the great success of “Rosanna” and “Africa“, were almost fully involved in the creation of “Thriller”: David Paich and Steve Porcaro played and programmed synthesizers, Steve Lukather played guitars, and Jeff Porcaro played drums. And this song is mainly their work.
As always fate has added a beautiful story: the producer of “Thriller” as we know was the great Quincy Jones. He was looking for other music for the album, and every day he used to send someone to Paich and Steve Porcaro, who gave him everything they had produced, recorded on some tapes. One day, however, Paich tells Porcaro to record a cassette with some music for Jones, but Porcaro had no empty cassettes left (ah, the problems of the 80s!).
And so Porcaro takes a tape and records it on one side, because on the other side there was a song he had composed for his daughter. The little girl was in primary school and had an argument with some friends who were making fun of her, and she was very sad. Porcaro composed this melody that only said why, why? tell them that it’s human nature: it was not a real song, it was a soothing music, with a few words of comfort.
Of course, Quincy Jones listens to the tape and tells Paich: nice, all beautiful… but that song that says “why, why” is really great, but we need to find the other words! Paich doesn’t understand: but what song are you talking about? At the end Porcaro explains that it was the song on the unrecorded side of the tape, but now Quincy Jones has made up his mind: that song about human nature will enter Thriller! And he calls John Bettis to complete the words.
Over the years, many have wondered what Michael Jackson meant with verses like “I like living this way, I like loving this way”, and who the “she” of the song is. The she of the song may be the city of New York in the night, with electric eyes everywhere, there is also a reference to the city being an apple, but in the lyrics it is not clear if there is also another woman, because in the end Jackson says to touch her shoulders.
In any case, as I said, it is not correct to ask what Jackson meant: the song was written by Toto and the lyrics by another artist, so Jackson put mainly his great and sensual interpretation.
Although it came out as a single, “Human Nature” didn’t have a real video. On the net we can find the clip that was made in 1988 for the movie “Moonwalker”, or we can enjoy one of the many live performances of the King of Pop. This song was performed in almost all of Michael Jackson’s concerts, at least in the early part of his career. It was last performed live in July 1996, in a private concert Michael Jackson held for the birthday of the Sultan of Brunei, who at the time was the richest man in the world, before being overtaken by the founders of the big computer companies.
Michael Jackson on Wikipedia