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|Single by Michael Jackson|
|from the album Thriller|
|B-side||"Baby Be Mine"|
|Released||July 3, 1983|
|Format||45 rpm, 7" single|
|Genre||R&B, soft rock, adult contemporary|
|Length||4:06 (Album version)
3:47 (7" Remix/Single version)
|Michael Jackson singles chronology|
"Human Nature" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was written and composed by Steve Porcaro and John Bettis, and produced by Quincy Jones. It is the fifth single from the singer's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). Initially, Porcaro had recorded a rough demo of the song on a cassette, which was then given to Jones. Enjoying the demo, Jones had the ballad included on the Thriller album. The song was the last selected for the album, removing "Carousel" from the final track listing.
"Human Nature" was released on July 3, 1983, as the album's fifth single. Although not released in the UK, the song achieved chart success in the US. Reaching number two on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary chart and number seven on the Hot 100, the song became Jackson's fifth Top 10 hit from Thriller. In New Zealand the single reached number 11. The ballad garnered many positive reviews from music critics. "Human Nature" has been covered and sampled by numerous artists, including Stevie Wonder, Danny Chan, John Mayer, Miles Davis, SWV, Nas and Chris Brown.
"Human Nature" was written and composed by Steve Porcaro of Toto and John Bettis for Michael Jackson's Thriller album. Initially, Porcaro recorded a rough demo of the song on a cassette. Fellow Toto band member David Paich then gave the demo, along with two songs written by Paich, to producer Quincy Jones, hoping they would be included on Thriller. Jones didn't like Paich's songs, but enjoyed the rough demo of "Human Nature" at the end of the cassette. Jones explained, "All of a sudden, at the end, there was all this silence, there was: 'why, why, dah dah da-dum dah dah, why, why'. Just a dummy lyric and a very skeletal thing—I get goosebumps talking about it. I said, 'This is where we wanna go, because it's got such a wonderful flavor'". Bettis, who had written lyrics for hits by The Carpenters and The Pointer Sisters, among others, was asked to add lyrics to the song. He completed the song in two days. The producer asked if the song could be included on Jackson's album, to which Porcaro and Bettis agreed. "Human Nature" was the last song selected for Thriller, ousting "Carousel" from the final track listing.
Release and reception 
"Human Nature" was released on July 3, 1983, as the fifth single from Thriller. Although not released in the UK, the song achieved moderate chart success in the US. Reaching number two on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary chart and number seven on the Hot 100, the song became Jackson's fifth Top 10 hit from Thriller. "Human Nature" charted at number 27 on the R&B singles chart. In the Netherlands the single reached number 11.
John Rockwell, of The New York Times, stated that "Human Nature" was a "haunting, brooding ballad" with an "irresistible" chorus. Allmusic noted that the "gentle and lovely" "Human Nature" coexisted comfortably with the "tough, scared" "Beat It". They later added that the song was a "soft rocker". Reflecting on Thriller, Slant expressed their fondness of the song, stating that it was "probably the best musical composition on the album and surely one of the only A/C ballads of its era worth remembering". The magazine added that the track's "buttery harmonies" were powerful. Stylus also praised the song, describing it as "the smoothest of ballads". They further added that the music "does little to embody the song’s message" and that it couches Jackson's "glazed voice" in "cloudy synths and drum pillows".
"Human Nature" was described as "the smoothest of ballads" by Stylus.
|Problems listening to this file? See media help.|
About.com's Bill Lamb looked back on the track 25 years after its release. He felt that the song "set down a blueprint for what would become known as adult R&B". Kelefa Sanneh of Blender described the "soft-serve balladry" of the song as a "silk-sheets masterstroke". In a 2008 IGN review, Todd Gilchrist explained that the elements of "Human Nature" worked better today than they did before. He added that it may be because modern R&B "sucks". Tom Ewing, reviewer for Pitchfork Media, described the song as "meltingly tender", with MTV adding that it was an "airy ballad". Rolling Stone claimed that the "most beautifully fragile" "Human Nature" was so open and brave it made "She's Out of My Life" seem phony. The Los Angeles Times concluded that it was Jackson's delivery that made the "middling ballad" take off.
Live performances 
The song was first performed during The Jacksons' Victory Tour. Michael started to sing "Ben", but stopped and proceeded to sing "Human Nature". It was also performed during Michael's Bad World Tour and Dangerous World Tour. It was going to be performed for Jackson's This Is It concerts, but they were cancelled due to his death.
|Australian Kent Music Report||63|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||7|
|U.S. Billboard R&B Singles chart||3|
|U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary chart||2|
|Dutch Singles Chart||6|
|Danish Singles Chart||3|
|Swiss Singles Chart||27|
|UK Singles Chart||35|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Digital Songs||21|
Track listing 
- 45 RPM:
- "Human Nature" (7" remix) – 3:47 (Misprinted as 4:06)
- "Baby Be Mine" – 4:20
Official remixes 
- Album version – 4:06
- 7" remix – 3:47 (This version features an alternate synth before the bridge. The only digital source is the 3" CD single for "Thriller" released in Japan in 1987.)
- Edit – 3:46 (This edit from the Essential Collection is an attempt at re-creating the original 7" version, however it doesn't match the instrumentation.)
- Instrumental (unreleased)
Cover versions 
- In 1984, the song was first covered by Philadelphia saxophonist George Howard in his album Steppin' Out.
- In 1985, American jazz artist Miles Davis included a cover version of the song on his album You're Under Arrest. At the time, Rolling Stone described the track's inclusion on the album as "glorified filler". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer disagreed, stating it was "particularly good".
- In 1991, Hong Kong Singer Danny Chan covered this song in Cantonese.
- In 2003, Brass band Youngblood Brass Band (from Oregon, Wisconsin, U.S.) recorded a Riot Jazz version of the song under the name "Human Nature Pt. 2" on their album Center:Level:Roar.
- In 2003, jazz fusion/contemporary jazz pianist David Benoit covered the song from his renditions album Heroes.
- In 2004, Boyz II Men included a Latin-style cover of the song on their Throwback, Vol. 1 album.
- Claudette Ortiz provided backing vocals on the track.
- In 2004, Filipina pop singer Kyla covered the song from her album, Not Your Ordinary Girl.
- In 2004, Nashville singer-songwriter David Mead also recorded a version of "Human Nature" for his release, Indiana, which featured Butterfly Boucher.
- In 2009, on July 7 John Mayer performed an instrumental version of the song at Jackson's public memorial service.
- In 2009, Mario covered the song in memory of Michael.
- In 2009 Chillwave artist Toro Y Moi recorded a cover of "Human Nature" for a Michael Jackson tribute album titled Chum Onah that was released for free on the music blog, ButterXFace.
- In 2009, American Idol contestant Matt Giraud covered the song on the show.
- In 2010, Jazz pianist Vijay Iyer included a solo piano version of the song in his album Solo; in 2012, he included a trio version of it in his album Accelerando.
- In 2010, Brazilian star Ivete Sangalo recorded the song for their DVD live at Madison Square Garden.
- In 2010, Heather Peace covered the song on her acoustic album This Is Me.
- In 2010, singer Craig David sang an acoustic cover of the song.
- In 2011, Toto (whose band members wrote the song) performed the song in memory of Jackson and a dedication to Mike Porcaro during their 2011 tour. Joseph Williams was the lead vocalist. Toto continued to perform this as a cover on their 2012 tour.
- In 2011, at the induction of John Bettis into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, Skylar Grey performed the song using a lap dulcimer.
- In 2011, Marcus Miller covered the song on his album Tutu Revisited – Live 2010.
- In 2011, American a cappella group, Duwende (Doo-WEN-day) covered the song for their Michael Jackson tribute album titled REMEMBER: The Music of Michael Jackson.
- In 2012, Amber Riley and Chord Overstreet (who play Mercedes Jones and Sam Evans) covered this song in Glee's episode "Michael" (aired on January 31). This cover debuted and peaked at number 56 at Billboard Hot 100, number 31 at Billboard Hot Digital Songs, and number 62 at Billboard Canadian Hot 100 chart at the week of February 18, 2012.
- In 1992, "Human Nature" was sampled by R&B group SWV. Titled "Right Here/Human Nature", the song was a remix of the group's "Right Here". The song was later included on the soundtrack album of Free Willy, alongside Jackson's "Will You Be There".
- In 1997, "Human Nature" was sampled by R&B singer Aaliyah for the pop/R&B version of the song titled "Journey to the Past" for the 1997 animated film Anastasia soundtrack.
- SWV's remix was sampled by the late American rapper Tupac Shakur on "Thug Nature", from the 2001 posthumous album Too Gangsta for Radio.
- In 1994, New York-based rapper Nas sampled the song for his track "It Ain't Hard to Tell" from his debut album Illmatic.
- Jason Nevins, a DJ from New York City, sampled Jackson's track on "I'm in Heaven", which also featured vocals by Holly James.
- In 2003, American R&B group BLACKstreet's "Why, Why" also sampled "Human Nature". The song appeared on the album Level II.
- In 2006, R&B/pop artist Ne-Yo used a sample of "Human Nature" for his remix version of "So Sick", which also featured rapper LL Cool J. The remix released later on LL Cool J's album Todd Smith. Also in 2006, "Human Nature" was remixed by Japanese drum and bass producer Makoto together with The Specialist.
- In 2007, singer Tyra B (Tyra Bolling) sampled and did a remix version including parts of Jackson's "Human Nature" with her song "Givin' Me a Rush" as well as Paula Abdul's "Rush Rush".
- In 2009, following Jackson's death on June 25, the American rappers Yung Berg and Lil Wayne sampled "Human Nature" on their tribute song "We Miss You".
- In 2011, American pop singer Chris Brown sampled "Human Nature" and SWV's remix version for the fourth single "She Ain't You" from his album F.A.M.E..
- In 2012, Australian bluegrass band John Flanagan & The Begin Agains recorded a version of the song for release on YouTube.
- Written and composed by Steve Porcaro and John Bettis
- Produced by Quincy Jones
- David Paich: Synthesizer
- Steve Porcaro: Synthesizer, synthesizer programming
- Steve Lukather: Guitar
- Jeff Porcaro: Drums
- Paulinho Da Costa: Percussion
- Michael Boddicker: Emulator
- Arrangement by David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Steve Lukather
- "Human Nature - Michael Jackson Digital Sheet Music (Digital Download)". MusicNotes.com. Alfred Publishing Co. Inc. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
- Halstead, p. 144
- Thriller 25: The Book, p. 13
- Shannon, Bob; John Javna (1986). Behind The Hits:Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. New York: Warner Books. p. 14. ISBN 0-446-38171-3.
- Powers, Ann (February 15, 2008). "Nine reasons why Jackson masterpiece remains a 'Thriller'". South Coast Today. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- George, p. 39
- Borza, Michael J. (September 7, 1984). "Jacksons captivated JFK Stadium". The Daily Collegian. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- "Dutch Singles Chart Archives". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Rockwell, John (December 19, 1982). "Michael Jackson's 'Thriller': Superb Job". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Allmusic's 'Thriller' Review". Allmusic. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- "Allmusic's Thriller 25 review". Allmusic. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Henderson, Eric (2003). "Slant's 'Thriller' review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- "Thriller - The Diamond". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved February 21, 2009.
- Lamb, Bill. "About.com's Thriller 25 review". About.com. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Sanneh, Kelefa (April 11, 2008). "Thriller - 25th Anniversary Edition Blender review". Blender. Retrieved March 10, 2009.[dead link]
- Gilchrist, Todd. "IGN's Thriller 25 review". IGN. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Ewing, Tom (April 11, 2008). "Pitchfork Media's Thriller 25 review". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on January 13, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2009.
- "Michael Jackson biography". MTV. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Sheffield, Rob. "Rolling Stone's Thriller 25 review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Gamboa, Glenn (February 12, 2008). "Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' turns 25". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 11, 2009.[dead link]
- Kent, David (2003). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 269.
- "Swiss Singles Chart Archives". hitparade.ch. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
- "UK Singles Chart". The Official UK Charts Company. Archived from the original on July 30, 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- "U.S. Billboard Hot Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
- "allmusic (( Steppin' Out > Overview )))". Allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- Halstead, p. 145
- Davis, Francis (July 4, 1985). "You're Under Arrest review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Hackett, Regina (September 5, 1987). "Miles Davis treats a forgiving crowd to his lean, hard-driving dance music". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved April 11, 2009.[dead link]
- "Heroes overview". Allmusic.com.
- "Heroes : David Benoit : Concord Music Group". ConcordMusicGroup.com.
- Harris, Mike (February 11, 2005). "'Throwback' review". PopMatters. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Spencer, Todd (August 23, 2004). "New CDs: R. Kelly, Earle". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Powers, Ann; Martens, Todd (July 7, 2009) "Michael Jackson memorial: John Mayer performs 'Human Nature'". LA Times (accessed July 8, 2009))
- (August 5, 2009) "CHUM ONAH: BxF celebrates the music of M. Jackson. butterxface.blogspot.com/ (accessed September 12, 2011))
- Gary Trust (2012-02-10). "Weekly Chart Notes: Madonna, Michael Jackson, 'Godspell'". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
- "SWV biography". MTV. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- "Journey to the Past". Enotes.com. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
- Farley, Christopher John (June 20, 1994). "Street stories". Time. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Rivaldo, Joey. "Jason Nevins featuring Holly - I'm in Heaven". About.com. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
- Litman, Joseph (March 31, 2003). "Blackstreet - Blackstreet Level II". Michigan Daily. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- "Ne-Yo feat. LL Cool J's So Sick (Remix) sample of Michael Jackson's Human Nature". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
- "Yung Berg ft Lil Wayne We Miss You (MJ Tribute) mp3 - Free Download from 4shared". FilesTube.com. 2010-06-23. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
- Name (2011-05-03). "Video Premiere: Chris Brown “She Ain’t You” Dedicated To Michael Jackson". Drfunkenberry.com. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
- "“Human Nature” | Soul Sessions". Blogs.centrictv.com. 2011-05-03. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
- Jackson, Michael. Thriller booklet. Sony BMG.
- George, Nelson (2004). Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection booklet. Sony BMG.
- Halstead, Craig (2007). Michael Jackson: For the Record. Authors OnLine. ISBN 978-0-7552-0267-6.
- Thriller 25: The Book (2008). Thriller 25: The Book. ML Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-9768891-9-9.