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The Way Midnight Man Became Thriller And Your Hit Pitch


In the UK there was plenty of coverage about the recent passing of a Grimsby fish filleter. Including, we learnt, that he hated that particular tabloid label.

Keyboardist Rod Temperton went straight from writing mid-70s britfunk to crafting Michael Jackson’s most loved work.

Producer Quincy Jones recalls first deciding to give working with him a whirl. A partnership that would lead him to ask Rod during recording sessions for Jackson’s 1982 solo album to go away and write a title track.

Wikipedia quotes the following pop legend;

I went back to the hotel, wrote two or three hundred titles and came up with Midnight Man. The next morning I woke up and I just said this word. Something in my head just said, ‘This is the title’. You could visualise it at the top of the Billboard charts. You could see the merchandising for this one word, how it jumped off the page as ‘Thriller’.

And the rest, as they say…

Anyway. As I whistle away to myself, I’m brought to mind of selling tips from creative gold mined here.

O-oh, first, a biggie. How many salespeople still, even today, do so little of the absolutely vital activity of Preparation? Too many. Yet here his prep time gave him enough propulsion to conjure an eye-popping choice of options.

This very volume to select from also improve chances of success. When you’re looking for the single big-impact slide, pitch, line, then the defining argument seldom comes with the first idea.

In addition, making such effort in advance clearly allowed his subconscious mind to whir further. A feeling we must surely all recognise. Especially sweet when the resultant brainwave nails what we’d been tussling with the day before.

And lastly, the specific visual aspects of the brief intrigue me here. Quincy Jones delivered a simple brief; title track. He also later revealed he’d wanted a short title. Then the composer’s mind actively visualised how cool the title would look on a giant advertising poster or merch.

A quartet of winning approaches to consider when in your studio trying to release your equivalent of the world’s biggest ever selling record.

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Category: quirky

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