A week ahead of the 25th anniversary re-release of Michael Jackson‘s 1987 LP Bad, we’re proud to premiere an unreleased demo for a song called “Al Capone.” Loosely referencing the 1920s Chicago gangster, the demo provides a rare glimpse inside the King Of Pop’s recording process: ad-libs and (temporary) scratch lyrics were often recorded over the rough track, before Jackson would go in to fine tune the prose. It’s the best look at this era of Jackson’s musical output we’ve had since “Don’t Be Messin’ Around” premiered in June.
With “Al Capone,” however, this isn’t a case of a demo for a song that never saw the light of day — it’s actually an early version of Michael’s hit single “Smooth Criminal.” Intrigued, pop fans? Hear it below.
Michael Jackson — ”Al Capone”[wpaudio url="http://cdn.idolator.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/11/Michael-Jackson-Al-Capone-Edit.mp3" text="Michael Jackson - Al Capone" dl="0"]
“Too bad, forget it, ’cause he’s Al Capone, he’s in it / so sad, you’ll regret it, ’cause the man is out tonight,” Jackson sings over familiar synth chords on “Al Capone.” It’s a fascinating echo of a song that eventually went on to become one of the most beloved in the entertainer’s canon.
“Smooth Criminal,” as we know, was one of the later singles released off Bad. It became yet another Top 10 hit for the singer — eventually peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 in 1988) — despite the dark subject matter, the narrative of an assailant who breaks into a woman’s apartment and kills her.