Macca & MJ scored the first of two hit duets with the lead single from "Thriller."
LIGHTNING STRUCK TWICE IN 1983 for Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. The pop icons teamed up to achieve the rare feat of scoring two hit duets in little more than a year — with the first, "The Girl Is Mine," rocketing to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated Jan. 8, 1983.
The collaboration between the former Beatle and the ex-Jackson 5 singer — who each had built enduring solo careers — came about, as the song's producer, Quincy Jones, told Billboard in 2009, simply because "Michael and I just wanted to work with Paul." 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, who was 40.
With its star power-times-two, "Girl" served as the lead single from Jackson's opus Thriller. Second and third singles "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" followed, both hitting No. 1, for seven and three weeks, respectively, in 1983. The album has been certified 32-times platinum by the RIAA – the best total of all time.