Ever find yourself playing Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and thinking, “Man, the musical atmosphere of this anthropomorphic rodent’s superspeedy world filled with enslaved robot animals sure does have a King of Pop feel to it”?
That might be because Michael Jackson helped create the game’s soundtrack—even though the pop star’s name doesn’t appear in any credits.
At least, that’s what the people who are credited with working on Sonic 3’s soundtrack maintain, despite the fact that publisher Sega denies Jackson’s involvement with the game. Since the dawn of the internet, Sonic fans have speculated the game’s soundtrack sounded too much like Michael Jackson for him to not be involved, and piles of evidence and hints in interviews convinced many there was a big conspiracy to keep Jackson’s name out of Sonic history.
Turns out, the conspiracy theorists seem to be right. That’s according to a lengthy report from The Huffington Post that digs into the history of the Sonic 3 Michael Jackson Caper, with interviews with the soundtrack’s credited composers and others who worked on the game at that time. They say Jackson worked on the soundtrack, but they disagree as to whether his music actually made it into the game and why that might be—Jackson started working on Sonic 3’s music right before the first child molestation allegations against him became public.
The accounts do line up on one fact: yeah, despite what Sega says, Jackson made Sonic music. And at least one person says that the music in the game is definitely the stuff Jackson helped create. So it seems there’s a super-compressed, Sega Genesis-sounding, 16-bit Michael Jackson album out there in the world that most people didn’t know about.