In the early 1990s Michael Jackson was at the height of his fame. He had recently released Bad to critical acclaim (and diamond status certification) and was gearing up to drop his next album, Dangerous. Meanwhile, The Simpsons had become one of the biggest shows on TV, and Jackson himself was a massive fan. Eventually, he reached out to the show’s creator, Matt Groening, and asked to get involved with the Fox show.
Jackson was a massive fan of Bart Simpson in particular. So when he called Groening he offered to write Bart a number one single. As if that wasn’t generous enough, the King of Pop also offered to do a guest spot on the show. And the star did exactly that.
Jackson wrote and produced the track Do The Bartman, which was released on November 20, 1990. Four months later, on February 16, 1991, Do The Bartman hit number one in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
The song also reached the top ten in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Despite having a lot of radio play in the USA, it was never officially released as a single.
But Jackson’s name was nowhere to be seen on it.
Jackson was reportedly not allowed to write songs for anyone else at the time because he was on contract to Epic Records. This meant he likely did not receive any royalties or credit for the song at the time.
Since then, Groening has revealed the truth.
Jackson also wrote the song “Happy Birthday Lisa” which featured in the season three episode Stark Raving Dad. This episode also featured Jackson playing Leon Komposwky, a psychiatric hospital patient who claimed to be Michael Jackson in disguise. But the white, overweight character left the rest of the cast confused about his claims, despite the fact he could perfectly sing and dance to Billie Jean.
During the episode Jackson voiced Leon serenading Lisa Simpson on her birthday. The episode does not have a happy ending for the real life Jackson, however.
In 2019 Jackson’s episode of The Simpsons was removed from streaming service Disney Plus. This episode removal followed on from the controversy surrounding Leaving Neverland, which detailed a number of abuse allegations against Jackson.
The Simpsons is available on Disney Plus now.