Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Human Nature

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Steve Porcaro (1983).
Hit version by Michael Jackson (US #7/MOR #2/R&B #27/CAN #11/BEL #12/NETH #11 1984).
Also recorded by Miles Davis (1985), Mike Porcaro (2017).

From the wiki: “‘Human Nature’ was written by Toto band member Steve Porcaro about a playground incident his daughter had at school earlier in the day. (A boy had hit her after she fell off the slide – Porcaro said ‘she asked [me] why?’ and he replied ‘it was human nature.’) Procaro wrote the song that night in a studio while the band was mixing their single, ‘Africa’, in another studio.

“Soon after, bandmate David Paich called Procaro one day to make a cassette tape of 2 songs David had written for Michael Jackson’s new Thriller album project, for someone to pick up for delivery. Procaro happened to use the cassette he recorded ‘Human Nature’ on, putting Paich’s songs on the opposite side and switching the labels to read Side-A. In a happy accident, the deck’s auto-playback kicked in while Jackson producer Quincy Jones was in his car listening to Porcaro’s cassette demo. Jones got to hear ‘Human Nature’ on Side B, and loved it.

“‘Human Nature’ was released on July 3, 1983, as the fifth single from Thriller. It was not released in the UK for unknown reasons. The song achieved Top-10 chart success in the US and in several international markets.

“Miles Davis covered ‘Human Nature’ instrumentally in 1985. with Davis suggesting that the song could become a jazz standard. Mike Procaro covered his brother’s song in 2017 for the album Brotherly Love, a tribute to their late brother, Jeff, with an instrumental arrangement similar to Davis’ with backing from Steve on keyboards, Steve Gadd (drums), and Walt Fowler (trumpet).”

Steve Porcaro relates how he “accidentally” wrote “Human Nature”:

Michael Jackson, “Human Nature” (1984):

Miles Davis, “Human Nature” (1985):

Mike Porcaro, “Human Nature” (2017):

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