I Know That Song! The One Michael Jackson "borrowed" for Billie Jean


Hey thanks for checking out I Know That Song! Weekday mornings at 7:10. Today's was a fun one, probably because we're big fans.

Today's song went to number in 1982. Michael Jackson has confessed that this greatly influenced his hit song "Billie Jean." One half of today’s duo recalls that when they were both recording "We Are The World," Jackson told him he hoped they didn't mind that he copped the groove. They told him Jackson did a good job of stealing it because they didn't even notice.

But the “TRIBUTES” didn't stop there: According to this duo, this is one of the most sampled songs from their catalogue. “It's been sampled on so many songs. I can name five or six versions of it. Just last year Simply Red did a song...which was basically [this song]. Puff Daddy sampled it, De La Soul sampled it. I like it [when our music is sampled]. I like when people have a different take on what you do. That's quite a compliment."

This song bridged the gap between the black and white charts, which is a rare achievement for a white act. It hit #1 on the R&B charts as well as the Hot 100.

The member of this duo who has a magnificent mustache said of this song: "The theme is sort of ongoing with us, that people should think for themselves, do what they believe. They shouldn't act or do things just because other people do, or because the government says to do it or because their fathers and mothers say this is the right thing. People have to be able to assess each situation, based on their own beliefs, and not just follow along."

Today’s song came out in 1982 and when the decade ended it still ranked right up there as one of the best, voted number six on VH1's list of "The 100 Greatest Songs of the '80s."

The tall, blonde half of this duo said that he gets that people may assume the lyrics of today’s song are about a relationship, in reality, the song, "is about the music business. “That song is really about not being pushed around by big labels, managers and agents and being told what to do, and being true to yourself creatively." This was done intentionally, he explained, to universalize the topic of the song into something everyone could relate to. He points to another of their songs; "Maneater" - saying this was a common theme for the group's songs.

That same half of the duo has had a couple side hustles including restoring historical homes for the DIY Network and a live music webcast featuring Rob Thomas, Darius Rucker, Ceelo Green, and many others called Live From Daryl’s House.

Of course we’re talking about Daryl Hall and John Oates. Or as they were known in 1982: Hall & Oates.