With the passing of Michael Jackson, many fond recollections of collaborating with the gloved one have bubbled to the surface. Mark Stein, lead singer of the iconic Vanilla Fudge, remembers a song he did with Jackson during the recording of Dave Mason’s 1980 album, Old Crest On A New Wave.
“We were doing the session at Hollywood Sound in Los Angeles and the Jackson Five were also doing some tracks in the studio down the hall,” Stein recalls. “I went out for a break and ran into Michael Jackson in the lounge. I introduced myself and said, ‘Hey Michael, come in the studio and check out this track. I think you'll dig it’ and he said, ‘Sure.’ He followed me into the studio and I told the engineer Ed Thacker to put up the track “Save Me,” written by the late great Jim Krueger (who also wrote the huge hit "We Just Disagree").
“It had the same type of flavors and rhythm from the Off The Wall album and I could see he was getting into it, so I said, ‘Michael, why don't you go inside and scat on the tune. That would be amazing.’ Low and behold, he actually went into the studio, stood in front of the microphone and put the earphones on. We hit the record button and he started singing and dancing as if it was his own. I turned to the engineer and said, ‘Can you believe what’s going on here?’ He basically did it in one take, shook my hand, said, ‘Thank you,’ and took off into the night.”
Stein says, after all these years, he feels privileged to have worked with the King of Pop. “I was probably one of the very few cats from my era to have had the pleasure to sing and play the Hammond organ on a track with him.”
Michael Jackson’s vocal track on Dave Mason’s “Save Me” can be heard on YouTube.
Mark Stein is currently playing shows with Vanilla Fudge guitarist Vince Martell. The two will perform at Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut, on August 8. The next night, they're scheduled to make a special appearance at Hippiefest at the Brookhaven Amphitheater in Farmingville, New York. The bill also includes the Turtles, former Three Dog Night vocalist Chuck Negron, Mountain, Badfinger and Brewer & Shipley. For details, visit Mark Stein’s Home Page.