How Eddie Murphy Inspired One of Michael Jackson’s Favorite Songs

by Jeremy Spirogis
Michael Jackson holding an award next to Eddie Murphy

Michael Jackson had a sure sound and magnificence — however he was apparently prepared to get pleasure from music exterior of his wheelhouse. One of his favourite songs was fairly risque. Interestingly, the track wouldn’t exist with out an Eddie Murphy standup routine.

Michael Jackson holding an award next to Eddie Murphy
Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy | The LIFE Picture Collection by way of Getty Images

How an Eddie Murphy joke impressed a serious hit

Our story begins with certainly one of Murphy’s most well-known early movies: Eddie Murphy Raw. Unlike most of Murphy’s movies, Raw is an easy and simple recording of certainly one of Murphy’s standup reveals. In a well-known bit from Raw, Murphy recounts a story the place a girl watches her boyfriend depart one other girl’s home. Later, she confronts her boyfriend and tells him what she noticed. He repeatedly claims “It wasn’t me” and his girlfriend believes him.

According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, Raw impressed certainly one of reggae singer Shaggy’s most well-known songs: “It Wasn’t Me.” Like the aforementioned joke in Raw, “It Wasn’t Me” facilities on a person whose girlfriend has cause to consider he’s untrue. The distinction is that the girlfriend in “It Wasn’t Me” has seen her boyfriend cheat on her when she walked in on intimate moments between him and one other girl. The boyfriend Murphy joked about in uncooked had a point of believable deniability whereas the person in “It Wasn’t Me” doesn’t.

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“It Wasn’t Me”

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“It Wasn’t Me” was arguably a little bit of an underdog on American airwaves. How many different jokey reggae songs about adultery have turn out to be hits on U.S. radio? The track was first successful in Hawaii earlier than it debuted round No. 80 on the Billboard Hot 100. It regularly rose on the chart earlier than reaching No. 2 — behind Destiny’s Child’s basic R&B hit “Independent Women.” Then Shaggy beat out Destiny’s Child for chart supremacy, which is fascinating contemplating how common Destiny’s Child had been on the time.

Michael Jackson’s shocking ideas on ‘It Wasn’t Me’

According to Time, not solely did the general public appear to take to the track — Jackson did as nicely. “[W]e had a conversation,” Shaggy recalled, “because ‘Wasn’t Me’ was one of his favorite songs, and he says to me ‘So Shaggy, did you write that song?’ and I said ‘Yeah.’ And he said ‘That sounds like something I would write.’ And I said ‘So you be bangin’, huh?’”

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Shaggy and Rikrok performing for Michael Jackson

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It’s actually fascinating to suppose Jackson noticed similarities between “It Wasn’t Me” and his personal music. First of all, it’s a reggae track and reggae was not Jackson’s wheelhouse. Secondly, “It Wasn’t Me” has a way more jocular tone than Jackson’s hits. Above all, “It Wasn’t Me” is far more risque than a typical Jackson track.

Regardless, Shaggy carried out the track at a particular live performance: Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Celebration. The live performance was a celebration of Jackson’s first thirty years within the music business. When Shaggy began singing the track, Jackson mouthed that he beloved it. Who would’ve thought Shaggy would’ve been performing for Jackson sometime due to certainly one of Murphy’s jokes?

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