Quincy Jones: "I Miss My Little Brother"

Quincy Jones
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Michael Jackson was already a star when he teamed up with producer Quincy Jones. Together, they created some of the most memorable music of our time. Jones shared with Katie Couric his reflections on Michael Jackson's life and legacy.

Quincy Jones: It's very hard to accept. I know I'm in a big state of denial here because I can't believe it. I'm 76 years old, and he's 50. And he is not with me anymore. 'Cause our souls had to be connected to do what we did in the '80s, you know? They had to be. There was a divinity involved there. I just can't believe it.

Katie Couric: What do you think his greatest gift was?

Quincy Jones: Well, he empties the cup every time. And it came back twice as full. And he would try anything. And there were some things he resisted. But I tried to talk him into it. Singing lower on things like "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" and so forth. And finally, he got it. The contrast between high vocals and low vocals and so forth. And we experimented with a lot of things.

Like, for instance, "She's Out of My Life." Tommy Bailer wrote that for a very difficult relationship with his ex-wife. It came straight from his soul. And I was saving it for Sinatra. But I gave it to Michael. And every time Michael sang it, he cried.

Katie Couric: What was it about "Thriller" that really catapulted Michael Jackson into really a new stratosphere of superstardom?

Quincy Jones: From my perspective, nothing stopped him. We had everything we needed and the album just went crazy after that.

Katie Couric: In some ways, Quincy, was "Thriller" a blessing and a curse for Michael Jackson? Because he was always trying to surpass the success of that album.

Quincy Jones: And it was very difficult to do. I guess that's true. Michael wanted to sell 100 million albums after that on the next album. But nobody's gonna convince me that 25 million on "Bad" is a bomb.

Katie Couric: At some point, Michael Jackson's personal life seemed to eclipse his enormous talent. Why do you think he became such a troubled soul?

Quincy Jones: Success is a strange animal. And if you don't really have a serious, grounded approach towards life it can be just as defective as it is successful. And I've seen it happen hundreds of times, you know, of what can happen in success. You either think you deserve the adulation, the money, whatever. Or you think you don't deserve it. And the real truth is you have to be spiritually grounded and you are really a terminal for a higher power. And if you don't understand that, you know, it can be very complicated. And … I've seen a lot of people misinterpret what success is all about.

Katie Couric: What do you think will be Michael Jackson's legacy, ultimately?

Quincy Jones: Every city I go to in the world, at 12:00 midnight, I hear, "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough," I hear "Billy Jean," "I Don't Want To Be Startin' Somethin." I hear all Michael's records. And it just astonishes me that 30 years later, everywhere I go on the planet, that Michael's music is still dominant every place I go in the world. It's astounding.

Katie Couric: Quincy Jones. Quincy, thank you so much for spending time with us, remembering Michael Jackson. We really appreciate it.

Quincy Jones: I miss my little brother, Katie. I really do. And I just still cannot process the fact that he's not longer with us. I love him.

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