“A Place With No Name” – The Story Behind The Song
by Damien Shields
On July 16, 2009, just three weeks after his tragic passing, a portion of an unreleased Michael Jackson song leaked online. Celebrity gossip website TMZ posted a twenty-four second snippet of the track, called “A Place With No Name”. For the past four-and-a-half years the twenty-four second snippet is all that Michael Jackson fans have had access to. That is, until now.
A few days ago, on December 3, 2013, the full-length version of the song, which is essentially a lyrically re-written cover of the 1972 hit “A Horse With No Name” by the band America, appeared online to the delight of Jackson enthusiasts around the world. With the leak of the track came questions about its origins – some of which could be answered by reading previously published interviews with those who worked on the track, and others which remained unanswered. This article aims to put all the pieces of the puzzle in one place to tell the complete story behind the song.
“A Place With No Name” was first conceived in 1998 by Elliot Straite, a talented singer, songwriter, and music producer who goes by the name “Dr. Freeze”. Record executive John McClain, who was managing Michael Jackson at the time (and is now coincidentally a co-executor of The Michael Jackson Estate) gave Freeze the opportunity of a lifetime – to collaborate with the King of Pop.
“I knew his manager, John McClain, and I was working on an album with my partners, Spydermann,” recalls Freeze. “After completing the album, it did not go as planned and we had to cancel the project. I was very upset. And then John McClain said, ‘Do not worry Freeze. I have another project for you. You’ll be in business with Michael.’ I said, ‘Michael who?’ And he said, ‘Michael Jackson!’”
“I did not believe it at first and I thought it was crazy. And then one day I was on the phone with my father and someone called me on the other line… It was Michael! That’s how it all began… That’s how we met.”
“It was pretty scary for me! I felt like I was back in primary school and not knowing anything about the production! With Michael I relearned everything,” told Freeze. “The other producers and I were as students facing a teacher. With Michael, it was as if we knew nothing more to the business; we had to start over and relearn everything. He taught us to do everything the best way possible. Michael was a perfectionist… I was very nervous. Very nervous but very honored! He knew all about the music industry; everything about everything. Nothing was foreign to him, and he taught me a lot.”
“I introduced him to many songs. The main songs on which we worked are ‘Break Of Dawn’, ‘A Place With No Name’ and ‘Blue Gangsta’,” explained Freeze. “These three songs were our priorities… He adored them! Michael and I, we have a knack for melody,” he continued. “So every time I proposed something, it was easy for him to study the song because it was as if he already knew. I gave him some songs that he adored. He cherished them.”
“I did all the music, and he only had to learn the lyrics,” continued Freeze. “‘A Place With No Name’ is itself a kind of escape, a song where you just close your eyes to find yourself instantly transported into a wonderful world. In fact, this song was inspired by ‘A Horse With No Name’ from the group America. The lyrics of this song are very deep. I wanted to refresh it, make a version for the 2000s as well… The group America loved the idea. They found this ‘update’ absolutely terrific. They were really excited about this project.”
After presenting the tracks to Jackson, the pair began collaborating on musical ideas at Record Plant Recording Studios in Los Angeles, in August of 1998. At the time, engineer and bass guitarist CJ deVillar was assisting them with the engineering side of things. During a session Freeze told CJ that he wanted to have a bass guitar sound on “A Place With No Name”.
Read More: http://www.damienshields.com/michael-jacksons-a-place-with-no-name-the-story-behind-the-song/
Quelle: damienshields / MJ-Upbeat.com