One of the biggest mysteries surrounding Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is its soundtrack. Pop music icon Michael Jackson was brought in to compose songs for the game alongside his team of musicians. One of those is keyboardist Brad Buxer, who opened up to Abbey Road Institute about his involvement with Sonic 3.
Officially, Jackson goes undcredited on the soundtrack. According to Buxer, Jackson himself contributed very little to the Sonic 3 OST. Following his sexual abuse allegations, Jackson suffered from depression and tasked Buxer with working on the soundtrack in his stead. Buxer says in the interview:
We were in Moscow performing and he’s all depressed with what was going on with him. And he calls me at 10:30 in the morning. I go knock on his door, and I had under my arm a cassette player — I’d been doing all the SEGA, Sonic the Hedgehog cues — because the way Michael works is, he’ll tell SEGA he’ll do it, and he said “Brad, you do it.” So I think we did one cue together with Michael, and the rest, I had to do it myself.Brad Buxer, keyboardist
See the full interview here, courtesy of Abbey Road Institute on YouTube:
Sonic 3 and Michael Jackson: a brief history
It’s been a constant debate as to why Jackson isn’t credited on the final release, despite some of his team’s compositions remaining in the final game. SEGA officials maintained that Jackson’s sexual abuse scandals forced them to take his name off the project. Others, including Buxer and others on Jackson’s team, claimed Jackson wasn’t happy with the SEGA Genesis sound output.
Fans have noted similarities between Michael Jackson songs and his attributed music for Sonic 3. Exactly how much of the final soundtrack has Jackson’s team’s stamp on it remains unknown, but clearly, some of their work remains intact. According to Buxer, Jackson was too busy worrying about his public image to focus on Sonic:
I had 41 cues done, and I said “I’m sure you wanna hear this Sonic the Hedgehog [music]. He said “no, just play something.” And I started playing, and I played the verse for Stranger in Moscow, and then I came up with the chorus on the spot. And he fell in love with it.Brad Buxer, keyboardist
Stranger in Moscow became one of Jackson’s most beloved songs. And interestingly, it shares the same chord structure as the Sonic 3 credit sequence. Coincidence? (No, not at all.)
What do you think of Buxer’s interview? What’s your favorite song from Sonic the Hedgehog 3? Let us know!
Via Abbey Road Institute.