|Say Say Say|
|Artist:||Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson|
|From Album:||Pipes of Peace|
|B-Side:||"Ode to a Koala Bear"|
|Released:||October 9, 1983|
"Say Say Say" is a song by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. The track was written by the duo, and produced by George Martin for McCartney's fifth solo album, Pipes of Peace (1983). The song was the pair's second duet, following "The Girl Is Mine" for Jackson's Thriller (1982). Recorded during McCartney's "War sessions", the single became Jackson's seventh top ten hit in a year, upon it's release in October, 1983. "Say Say Say" was a number one hit in the US, peaking at number two in the UK. Number one in Canada, Finland, Italy, Norway and Sweden, the single peaked within the top ten of Austria and New Zealand.
Certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, the song was promoted with a music video directed by Bob Giraldi. The video, filmed in Santa Ynez Valley, California, featured cameo appearances by Linda McCartney, LaToya Jackson and Mr. T. The short film introduced dialogue and storylines to music videos, and centered around two con artists, "Mack and Jack". Upon it's release, the video was considered too violent by the National Coalition of Television Violence. "Say Say Say" was covered by the Dutch music group Hi-Tack in early 2006. They took the song to number four on the UK singles chart.
Proir to recording "Say Say Say", McCartney had dueted with Jackson on "The Girl Is Mine", for the latter's Thriller album. In return, Jackson agreed to record "Say Say Say" for McCartney's Pipes of Peace. The song was recorded at Abbey Road Studios from May to September, 1981. During this time, McCartney was also recording Tug of War, his first solo album since splitting from the Wings. Jackson stayed at the home of McCartney and his wife Linda during the recording sessions, becoming friendly with both. One evening whilst at the dining table, McCartney brought out a booklet displaying all the songs he owned the publishing rights to. "This is the way to make big money", the musician told Jackson. "Every time someone records one of these songs, I get paid. Every time someone plays these songs on the radio, or in live performances, I get paid". McCartney's words later influenced Jackson's purchase of The Beatles' song catalogue in 1985. The recording of "Say Say Say" was completed in February, 1983. George Martin, who had worked with The Beatles, produced "Say Say Say". He said of Jackson, "He actually does radiate an aura when he comes into the studio, there's no question about it. He's not a musician in the sense that Paul is... but he does know what he wants in music and he has very firm ideas".
Following the release of Thriller and it's accompanying singles, "Say Say Say" was released on October 9, 1983. Remaining atop the Billboards Hot 100 for six weeks, the single was Jackson's seventh top ten hit in a year—breaking a record previously held by the Beatles and Elvis Presley. It was also Jackson's third single to top the Hot 100; "Say Say Say", "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" logged Jackson sixteen weeks at the top. Peaking at number two on the R&B chart, "Say Say Say" reached number three on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and 24 on the Hot Tracks Chart.  The song owed it's UK success to an interview with McCartney, who discussed the song's music video prior to an official airing. Screenings of the video on Top of the Pops, The Tube and Noel Edmonds' The Late, Late Breakfast Show also helped propel the song to number two on the UK Singles Chart. Reaching number one in Canada, Finland, Italy, Norway and Sweden, the single was within the top ten of Austria and New Zealand.
The Daily Collegian of Penn State described "Say Say Say" as a good song, despite the ad nauseum broadcasts of it. The Deseret News noted that the "pleading love song" had a "masterful, catchy hook". In a Rolling Stone review, the track was described as an "amiable though vapid dance groove". The reviewer, Parke Puterbaugh, added that it was "instantly hit-bound froth-funk that tends, after all, toward banality". Salon.com later described the song as a "sappy duet". They concluded that McCartney had become a "wimpy old fart". The single was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of at least one million units. The song was also covered by the Dutch music group Hi-Tack in early 2006. Entitled "Say Say Say (Waiting For U)", Hi-Tack, took the song to number four on the UK singles chart.
Directed by Bob Giraldi, the director of "Beat It", the music video for "Say Say Say" featured cameo appearances by Linda McCartney, LaToya Jackson and Mr. T.  Filmed in Santa Ynez Valley, California, McCartney had to fly out to Jackson; the latter's schedule was busy. As "Mack and Jack", the duo play a pair of conmen selling a "miracle potion". The salesman (McCartney) offers Jackson the potion, claiming it's "guaranteed to give you the strength of a raging bull". Jackson drinks the potion and challenges a large man, also in on the scam, to an arm wrestle. Upon Jackson winning the arm wrestle, the crowd surges forward, hoping to buy the magical potion. With the money earnt from the scam, Mack and Jack donate it all to an orphanage. In their hotel, Jackson enters the bathroom while McCartney is shaving. He playfully dabs foam on his own cheek, despite not needing a shave. McCartney and Jackson then star as vaudeville performers singing and dancing at a bar. Jackson's love interest, with whom he flirts, was played by his sister LaToya. Before taking to the stage, the duo appear in blackface makeup. The video ends with Paul, Linda and Michael driving off into the sunset. LaToya, handed a bunch of flowers by McCartney, is left at the roadside.
Giraldi said of the duo, "Michael didn't outdance Paul, and Paul didn't outsing Michael". He added that making the video was hard work, "The egos could fill a room". The video introduced both dialogue and storyline, an element extended upon in Thriller. Upon it's release, the National Coalition of Television Violence classified the music video as too violent to be aired. They also classified Thriller and more than half of the 200 videos surveyed from MTV as being overtly violent. The Manchester Evening News later described the video as "anarchic caper" that "plays out like an Emir Kusturica feature". PopMatters stated that the music video turns "a pair of otherwise forgettable songs into something worth watching". The video was later included on the McCartney DVD, The McCartney Years. 
|Austrian Singles Chart||10|
|Dutch Singles Chart||8|
|Finnish Singles Chart||1|
|Italian Singles Chart||1|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||1|
|Swedish Singles Chart||1|
|Swiss Singles Chart||2|
|UK Singles Chart||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|U.S. R&B Singles Chart||2|
. J. Randy Taraborrelli. The Magic and the Madness. 2004. Headline. Terra Alta, WV. ISBN 0-330-42005-4.