Michael Jackson Really Did Compose Music For ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 3’

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It’s been one of those strange video game urban legends, up there with the CIA’s secret arcade game and Pokémon Black. Michael Jackson supposedly secretly contributed to the soundtrack for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. This has been a rumor for more than twenty years, and it turns out, believe it or not, to be true.

It’s not as strange a leap as it sounds. Jackson had a long relationship with Sega, which developed the Moonwalker arcade game, and longtime Jackson collaborator Brad Buxer is credited with music in the game. But despite years of fans pointing out what was pretty obvious, Sega has denied it.

The Huffington Post has a lengthy exploration of the rumor, how it got started, and how ultimately it was proven to be true. More or less what it comes down to is most of the games’ musical department has both confirmed the rumor and talked with HuffPo about how it came together. The big mystery that remains is why Jackson isn’t directly credited with the music. Jackson’s team claims he was disappointed with the technology at the time and how Sega handled the score he gave them, while some speculate that Sega took Jackson’s name off the game due to the scandal he was embroiled in at the time. Interestingly, the game’s main credited composer, Howard Drossin, also spots plenty of cues in the games that aren’t his music.

Either way, it’s finally confirmed: Jackson composed for the game. Tantalizingly, it sounds a bit like somebody may have the original master tracks of Jackson’s work. But, for now, here’s the full score of the game to listen to for yourself:

(Via USA Today)