Monday, October 18, 1982

Michael Jackson’s “The Girl Is Mine” begins his Thriller reign

The Girl Is Mine

Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney

Writer(s): Michael Jackson (see lyrics here)

Released: October 18, 1982

First Charted: November 5, 1982

Peak: 2 US, 3 CB, 4 RR, 14 AC, 13 RB, 8 UK, 8 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.3 US, -- UK, 1.96 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 19.2 video, -- streaming

About the Song:

As Michael Jackson was about to become the King of Pop, Paul McCartney was wrapping up one of his most successful years as a solo artist. He had a #1 album in 1982 with Tug of War and the biggest #1 single of his solo career with “Ebony and Ivory,” a duet with Stevie Wonder. Jackson had a lot to live up to himself – his 1979 Off the Wall album had produced four top-ten hits, two of which went to #1. A collaboration between Jackson and McCartney, “arguably the two most successful pop musicians of all time” SG with more than 40 #1 hits between them, was as close as the pop world could get to guaranteed gold.

The two had crossed paths before. When they first met, McCartney told Jackson he’d written the song “Girlfriend” for him. Paul recorded it for his 1978 album London Town and then Michael put it on his Off the Wall album. SF Then on Christmas Day, 1980, Jackson called McCartney about working together. The next autumn, Jackson flew to England and the pair worked on a song McCartney had already started called “Say, Say, Say.” They met up again at McCartney’s Arizona ranch to start work on a song Jackson had written called “The Girl Is Mine.” SF Then Paul came to Los Angeles in April 1982, where they finished both songs as well as a third called “The Man.” That and “Say, Say, Say” ended up on McCartney’s 1983 Pipes of Peace album, but “The Girl Is Mine” would see its release on Jackson’s Thriller.

It is “a soft, breezy quasi-soul track” SG in which Michael and Paul “get into a good-natured argument over some girl, never quite selling the idea that they could ever be plausible romantic rivals.” SG It’s a “relatively weak first single” SG but it couldn’t miss, considering the “implicit blessing from one of the previous generation’s heroes.” SG According to, it was released first because it would guarantee airplay and radio stations would have leapt on the song anyway if it wasn’t released first. SF

The song hit #2, setting up Jackson to take over the world. By the time his Thriller album ran its course, it generated an unprecedented seven top-10 hits and became the best-selling album of all time.


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First posted 6/25/2022.

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