‘The Girl Is Mine’ was the third and final duet between Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. It was released as the lead single from Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller.
Unlike their previous duets ‘Say Say Say’ and ‘The Man’, the song was written by Jackson alone, and did not appear on a McCartney album.
Jackson wrote it after being told by Quincy Jones to compose a song about two men fighting over a girl. Jackson completed the song while watching cartoons with McCartney.
‘The Girl Is Mine’ was recorded from 14-16 April 1982 at Westlake Studios in Los Angeles.
One of my favorite songs to record, of all my recordings as a solo artist, is probably ‘The Girl Is Mine’, because working with Paul McCartney was pretty exciting and we just literally had fun. It was like lots of kibitzing and playing, and throwing stuff at each other, and making jokes. We actually recorded the (instrumental) track and the vocals pretty much live at the same time, and we do have footage of it, but it’s never been shown. Maybe one day we’ll give you a sneak preview of it.
Michael Jackson: For the Record, Craig Halstead
‘The Girl Is Mine’ was the lead single from Michael Jackson’s sixth album Thriller. The choice of a relatively anodyne duet with a former Beatle suggests that Jackson was tentative about the commercial potential of the album, which went on to become the best-selling album of all time.
The single topped the singles chart in Spain, and was a top 10 hit in Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States. In the US it peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, but topped the R&B Singles Chart and Adult Contemporary Chart.
By 1985 ‘The Girl Is Mine’ had sold 1.3 million copies, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.