Jackson 5 visit to Gloucestershire inspires unreleased Michael Jackson recording three decades later
The Michael Jackson Estate and Sony Music’s treasure chest of unreleased Michael Jackson material suffered a blow yesterday, with yet another one of the King of Pop’s unpublished work-in-progress recordings finding it’s way onto the internet.
Those not familiar with the story behind “I Am A Loser” can
read all about it here
In a nutshell, Jackson and Buxer were staying in adjoining hotel rooms while working on music together in early 2003. Buxer, who was going through a breakup at the time, was awake late one night, pacing around his room repeating, “I’m a loser! I’m just a loser!”
Before long Jackson, who could hear Buxer through the wall, knocked on his door, came in and asked, “What’s the problem?”
“Oh I’m a loser… I’m just a loser!” answered Buxer, before explaining his situation.
“Let’s write a song about it,” suggested Jackson. And they did!
Fast forward to 2004; Jackson and Buxer were at it again – this time working together with Michael Prince at Neverland Ranch.
Although there was a state-of-the-art studio at Neverland, “Days In Gloucestershire” was recorded in one of the ranch’s bungalows.
Buxer had a little studio set up in a bungalow, Prince had one set up in a bungalow, and Jackson was staying in one of the bungalows with his three children.
Jackson began staying in the ranch’s bungalows with his children after his home, including his bedroom and private office, were raided by police on November 20, 2003 in relation to allegations of child molestation. Jackson was arrested, charged, and was awaiting trial at the time (at which he would later be found not guilty on all counts).
After writing a song about being a ‘loser’ Jackson and Buxer began talking about things that made them happy and lifted their spirits when feeling down.
Michael recalled that when he was in The Jackson Five he visited a beautiful place in England called Gloucestershire. Jackson, however, took creative license (as he often did) on the pronunciation of the South West county – pronouncing it as it reads, not as it really should be.
According to Jackson, the time he spent in Gloucestershire as a teenager three decades earlier while on tour with his brothers was still one of his fondest memories. And so, just like they did with “Loser”, Jackson and Buxer turned life into art.
Buxer did the music and Jackson wrote the lyrics, then Brad left to go home for a few days. Prince stayed at the ranch with Jackson and went on to record all the King of Pop’s vocals in a makeshift studio right there in the bungalow’s bathroom – not an uncommon thing for Jackson.
However unfortunately, as with the vast majority of material he was working on during the final years of his life, Jackson never got to bring the track to completion. As it stands in its final version, the song has just one verse and a chorus which Jackson sings over and over again.
“He would do is go in and do the first verse, and the chorus, and he would not do a second verse,” says Teddy Riley of Jackson’s habits when writing or recording demos. “It’s just to get the idea down.”
This is the way Jackson worked in order to decipher which tracks he felt good about, and which he didn’t.
“What I do when I write is that I’ll do a raggedy, rough version just to hear the chorus, just to see how much I like the chorus,” explained Jackson. “If it works for me that way when it’s raggedy, then I’ll know it will just work …
I do that same process with every song. It’s the melody. It’s the melody that’s most important. If the melody can sell me then I’ll go to the next step.”
“Days In Gloucestershire” is by no means complete, but judging by the positive reaction from Jackson’s loyal fans since it first appeared online yesterday, and to those who are simply looking at it as a piece of art, that lack of completion doesn’t seem to matter one bit.
by Damien Shields - March 16, 2014