Yes, it happened.
And I’m sure many of you suspected as much the first time you played the 1994 Genesis classic. No? Take a look at this video:
I was actually planning to put something like this together but seeing as someone else already did the work I’ll credit him. While looking for another video I found a link to an article where musician Brad Buxter confirms Michael Jackson did in fact compose Music for Sonic 3. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Sega never publicly commented on Jackson’s involvement with the game, but over the years, MJ fans (and avid gamers) have kept the rumor alive, creating sites, penning lengthy essays, and even posting YouTube clips comparing music from “Sonic 3” with some of Jackson’s songs. However, there was no comment from anyone officially involved — apparently, until now.
In the latest issue of the French-language magazine Black & White — which calls itself “le magazine official de Michael Jackson” — there is an interview with musician Brad Buxer, who, in addition to being credited with composing the music to “Sonic 3,” also played keyboards for Jackson on his Dangerous world tour in 1992.
In the interview, Buxer reportedly said, “I’ve never played the game so I do not know what tracks on which Michael and I have worked the developers have kept, but we did compose music for the game,” according to a translation posted on VGMDB.com. “Michael called me at the time for help on this project, and that’s what I did. And if he is not credited for composing the music, it’s because he was not happy with the sound coming out of the console. At the time, game consoles did not allow an optimal sound reproduction, and Michael found it frustrating. He did not want to be associated with a product that devalued his music.”
And there you have it.
One of Gaming History’s biggest Urban Legends was confirmed true In the November 2009 Publication of Black & White Magazine, a French Publication about Michael Jackson.
I have one more twist of irony for you: Next year is the 20th Anniversary of Sonic 3. It is also the 5th Anneversary of Jackson’s death. I’ll complete the mindblowing coinciidence with this song I found on You Tube. Here’s Knuncles’ Theme remixed with Ghost:
As for why Michael Jackson is not properly credited in the game’s credits the part I underlined in the above excerpt explains why. The crazy thing is echoes of songs that hadn’t been released at that time are embedded in this game’s score–Ghosts and Stranger In Moscow among others. As this video I found illudes to, when the 1994 sex scandal involving Michael Jackson broke it was too late for Sega to remove the music he did with replacement tracks. Some of you old enough to remember eagerly aiwiting this game’s release might recall Sonic 3’s shipment was delayed.
The reason? Sega cut the game in half. The half that was removed (and subsequently had its entire soundtrack redone) would come to be known as Sonic & Knuckles. Didn’t you ever find it odd how Sonc 3’s ending felt…incomplete? To make things up to the fans Sega introduced Lock-On Technology with S&K, allowing you to play the game as intended when you put Sonic 3 on top of S&K. In addition to that you could also play as Knuckles in Sonic 2.
Perhaps out of respect for Michael Jackson (though I suspect more so to get on his good graces after all charges against him were dropped) Sega never re-released Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles as they orginally made it. In the years immediately following the Genesis release the game was released bundled with Sonic 3 and other Sega titles the MJ’s tracks replaced due to copyright (They also took the time to change Sonic’s “Waiting” Animation, which originally showed him picking his nose).
They reverted to the original Tracks in the mid-2000s starting with the Virtual Console and Xbox Live releases in 2006 and 2007. In the years since his untimely death it’s been something of a source of pride for companies like Sega and Fox to say they worked with The King of Pop.