The superstar combination scored the first of two hit duets with the lead single from Jackson's "Thriller" album.
Lightning struck twice for Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney in 1983, a year in which the two pop icons achieved the rare feat of scoring not one, but two hit duets in a little more than a year -- with the first, "The Girl Is Mine," rocketing to its No. 2 peak on the Billboard Hot 100 on Jan. 8, 1983.
The collaboration between the titans -- one, a leading force behind the most successful group in history, and the other, soon to be his era's biggest solo performer -- came about as the song's producer, Quincy Jones, told Billboard in 2009, simply because "Michael and I just wanted to work with Paul." According to McCartney, Jackson rang up the former Beatle and, after McCartney believed he was being pranked and hung up, was able to present a simple pitch, "You want to make some hits?" Jones suggested the song's subject of two men squabbling over a woman, and Jackson, who was 24 at the time, wrote the tune while watching cartoons with McCartney, then 40.
Thanks in part to its double dose of star, "Girl" served as the lead single from Jackson's opus Thriller. The soft, playful duet debuted at No. 45 on Nov. 6, 1982, and crested to its runner-up peak nine weeks later, where it remained for three weeks, trapped behind Hall and Oates' "Maneater" for the first frame and Men at Work's "Down Under" for the next pair.