Sonic 3 Composers: Michael Jackson’s Music is in the Game

A new interview with credited musicians of Sonic 3 have added more weight to the age-old theory that the late pop star, Michael Jackson, was deeply involved with the Mega Drive classic’s soundtrack – and that his work was in fact left on the cartridge, not removed.

“Oh, it did get in the game. The stuff we handed in, the stuff we did, made it. To. The game,” said Sonic 3 composer Doug Grigsby III, who stated that the reason Jackson removed his name from the game’s credits was due to the artist not being satisfied with the audio capabilities of the Mega Drive console.


“Michael wanted his name taken off the credits if they couldn’t get it to sound better,” fellow composer Brad Buxer claimed. The long-form interview piece, found on the Huffington Post, adds that the music tracks ‘started out sounding like typical Jackson songs’ before Grigsby added that “it all had to be squashed down for the game.”

Former SEGA executive Roger Hector admits that Michael Jackson worked on the Sonic 3 soundtrack, however he claims that the pop star’s music was removed – and the deal terminated – due to Jackson’s high-profile molestation allegations that surfaced during the game’s development. “We had to replace it all,” he said, with Howard Drossin brought in to do the job of composing a new soundtrack.

Only problem is, that didn’t really happen, according to Drossin. “There was a lot of music already plugged into [the game],” he said, with the article adding that Drossin ‘didn’t change much… and certainly didn’t rewrite the whole soundtrack before handing it off to Sega for final processing.’

Buxer was the first to speak openly about Jackson’s work in a 2009 interview with a French Michael Jackson tribute fanzine. SEGA has always steadfastly denied Jackson’s involvement, and true to form commented on the story with, “[We’re] not in the position to respond… we have nothing to comment on the case.”

We really recommend reading the whole feature on Huffington Post, as it covers a lot of extra detail on Michael Jackson’s work attitude when composing for the game, as well as a bunch of other tidbits.

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.


  1. Mmm… Old news really. It was already obvious from the start and most already knew he just wasn’t credited in the end despite his involvement.

    Still, guess a little more evidence is a good thing anyways. Not much of a news flash though. lol

    Shame he’s gone… Would have been great to have his style in another 2D game.

    1. This is significant, because although we know that Jackson worked on the soundtrack, there has been little in the way of confirmation that those tracks actually remained on the cartridge (even though it’s really kind of obvious).

      1. Meanwhile I was sitting here thinking “didn’t Sonic Stadium already post something with confirmation about his involvement like a year or 2 ago? Then shortly after, we discovered the never before released song that Ice Cap Zone was based on?

  2. Now if only we could get hold of that soundtrack or at least samples before it transitioned to what we hear today…

  3. oh! i just can’t imagine then how good the original music would have been like.. Michael was so perfectinst.. people would have liked to hear the way he actually wanted to sound like.
    if they only had a way to put it into a.. dunno sort of cassette?? disk.XD dunno… to then show it as an arrangued or HQ version.. it would have been great! 😀

    what a good new anyways..

    1. Agreed. In fact, I kind of wished they NEVER confirmed Jackson’s involvement in the project or that MJ would have never been part of the project, if it meant that the best Classic Sonic game would never get a re-release or re-mastering because of music rights.

      1. They could just change the songs. It would suck, yeah, but it’d be better than just saying “Oh well, can’t do it”.

  4. I can see why he was dissatisfied. Out of all of the Jackson tracks in Sonic 3, the only one I like is the miniboss theme (sorry, IceCap BGM fans). The PC tracks that replaced his music were much better and I wish later S3&K releases had used them, rather than the ugly original tracks.

    Oh well. At least all S3&K versions use the superior Knuckles theme from S&K, rather than the Sonic 3 one by MJ (except for that stupid hack, Sonic 3 Complete, but that’s only because it was made by biased Sonic 3 fanboys, and since it’s not official it doesn’t count anyway).

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