It doesn’t necessarily take a genius to know a genius. But that was the scene back in 1976, when Stevie Wonder pitched his latest composition to Michael Jackson in hopes of having the future King of Pop record the track.
Interviewed on Fresh Touch Radio, Susaye Greene, the last official member of legendary Motown girl group The Supremes, recalls how the two virtuosos had a musical meeting of minds.
“Stevie came to me and said he wanted to write something for Michael,” Susaye, then in the midst of recording backup vocals for Stevie’s double album, Songs in the Key of Life, tells host Darryl Williams.
“Stevie had part of the hook – ‘Can’t help it, if I wanted to,’ but he would say, ‘Llllll-ah-da, lll-yet-dee-dee-da.” You know, there weren’t any real words there.
“So we just down and . . . that song came together very quickly,” Susaye says of I Can’t Help It, which she co-wrote and which would be featured on Michael’s 1979 album Off the Wall.
“One time, I went down to [Stevie’s] studio and Michael was there. He and Stevie were talking about what Michael had coming up.
“They had a remote studio attached to Wonderland, which was Stevie’s studio, which was parked outside. I went and sat in there, and Michael came in and sat with me.
“We sat there, literally, for three hours listening to Songs in the Key of Life as it developed.
“We were enthralled by this fabulous, pulsating sound that Stevie had created.
“And when Stevie came out of the main studio, we all started talking. Then we hugged and Michael had to leave.
“But then Stevie said, ‘He’s gonna do the song!'”
To hear Susaye’s full interview, click here.