Originally Posted by DaneMcCloud
Okay, here goes:
1. Toto members were session players on every Thriller track, whether it was Lukather, Steve Pocaro, Jeff Pocao, David Paich, etc. and so on. Other great players included Dean Parks, Michael Boddicker and basically the "Who's who" of the LA Session scene.
2. As far as production is concerned, Thriller featured the greatest session players and arrangers of all time including Jerry Hey, Dean Parks, David Foster (who was later a brilliant producer), Humberto Gattica and the amazing Bruce Swedien, who recorded Michael's vocals with a $150 dollar microphone at the time ($349 now), the Shure SM7. Everyone who's ever watched a radio broadcast or been in a radio booth knows the SM7.
Michael was the magic.
3. Michael was not a musician. He couldn't play any instrument. Therefore, he couldn't compose music, hence he didn't actually write every song in which he was listed as writer.
Ghost writers wrote the record and those ghost writers were Toto. This is not uncommon. Ozzy Osbourne can't play an instrument and doesn't write lyrics, yet he's listed as a songwriter throughout his solo career. Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics early on and other writers have been brought in subsequently. I could go on and on and about this subject.
Frank Sinatra couldn't play an instrument and never composed music but in his vast arrogance, suggested that HE received publishing royalties, which are reserved for songwriters and composers only, because HE made the songs famous.
Unfortunately, managers and other artists picked up on this notion down the road and said "I own 50% of whatever you write and record for ME".
The bottom line is that Thriller was a culmination of the greatest musicians and Los Angeles session players the world had ever heard in one singular record. The producers were top notch, from Quincy to Swedien to Gattaca, acting as "engineers" on an amazing record.