Michael Jackson Secretly Co-Wrote the Music for Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Mike Powell /Allsport
Mike Powell /Allsport / Mike Powell /Allsport

Along with finding Luigi in Super Mario 64 and unlocking a hidden character named Sheng Long in Street Fighter II, there’s a video game urban legend that suggests Michael Jackson secretly co-wrote the soundtrack for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The rumor started when gamers noticed eerie similarities between the video game’s soundtrack and the King of Pop’s mid-1990s musical output. Though Sega denied that Jackson had any involvement with Sonic 3, the rumor has persisted for more than 20 years. But new interviews suggest that the “rumor” is fact.

In an article on The Huffington Post about the history between Michael Jackson and Sega, the longstanding urban legend has been confirmed as being true. Jackson worked with longtime music collaborator Brad Buxer on approximately 40 tracks for Sonic 3 during the early half of 1993. MJ was reportedly a big fan of the game series and had an ongoing professional relationship with Sega after they developed his video game, Moonwalker, in 1990. In the midst of his “Dangerous” world tour, Jackson sprained his ankle and had to cancel a few concert dates to heal. While recovering, he made a covert visit to Sega’s development facility in Palo Alto, California, where he met with the Sonic team.

Jackson agreed to work on the then-new video game’s soundtrack over the next few weeks, but did not receive a credit on the final version. There were some rumors that Jackson wasn’t happy with how the music turned out after Sega compressed his tracks into a series of bloops and bleeps, while others speculated that it was Sega who removed his name when the singer was very publicly accused of child molestation in the summer of 1993.

Though the real reason why his name isn’t on the game might never be known, the musicians who worked on Sonic 3 alongside Jackson have confirmed the late pop icon's involvement.

According to The Huffington Post, “Six men—Brad Buxer, Bobby Brooks, Doug Grigsby III, Darryl Ross, Geoff Grace and Cirocco Jones—are listed as songwriters in Sonic 3's endgame scroll. Buxer, Grigsby, and Jones tell The Huffington Post that Jackson worked with them on a soundtrack for Sonic 3—and that the music they created with Jackson ended up in the final product.”

Take a listen for yourself.

[h/t The Huffington Post]