LaToya Jackson's Ex Claims Michael Jackson Stole From Rick James
A week after Quincy Jones accused Michael Jackson of ripping off Donna Summer, the longtime business partner (and one-time fiancé) of LaToya Jackson has accused the King of Pop of stealing from Rick James.
“Rick told me on many occasions that the song ‘Billie Jean’ was actually taken from his song ‘Ghetto Life’ from his Street Songs album,” Jeffre Phillips told Page Six.
“Michael called [Rick] to tell him how great the album was. He was like, ‘I want to come to the studio to see how you do your thing.’ And then Thriller came out. Rick knew right away [that he stole it]."
Indeed, the first few notes of "Ghetto Life" and "Billie Jean" sound similar.
Phillips said James confronted Jackson at an awards show — "and Michael just laughed and said, ‘Good to see you, Rick.’”
The accusation comes after Jones, who produced Thriller, told New York magazine’s Vulture that Jackson borrowed Summer’s “State of Independence” for “Billie Jean.”
Jones said: “The notes don’t lie, man.
“Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs. He was as Machiavellian as they come. Greedy, man. Greedy.”
None of the players involved are around today to weigh in on the “Billie Jean” controversy. James died in 2004, Jackson died in 2009, and Summer died in 2012.
According to Nielsen Music, Summer’s “State of Independence” got a big streaming boost in the 48 hours after Jones’ comments were published.
Check out the songs below and judge for yourself: