Greg Phillinganes on the Magic Behind the Hits | Red Bull Music Academy
Legendary keyboardist Greg Phillinganes recalled the stories, and revealed the secrets, behind timeless hits in his lecture at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy.
08:15 – Being a session musician
15:10 – Life in Detroit
20:30 – Meeting and working with Stevie Wonder
38:59 – Meeting and working with the Jacksons
48:44 – Recording Off The Wall
1:10:20 – Recording Thriller
1:19 – Michael Jackson – “I Can’t Help It”
34:27 – Stevie Wonder – “Isn’t She Lovely”
38:26 – The Jacksons – “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)”
47:03 – Michael Jackson – “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”
1:08:47 – Michael Jackson – “Starlight”
1:10:07 – Michael Jackson – “Thriller”
Greg Phillinganes began playing the piano at the tender age of 2 and hasn’t stopped since. Inspired as a youth by the classic Motown recordings of The Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder, Phillinganes began performing with bands around his hometown of Detroit as a teenager.
After Stevie Wonder heard a demo tape of his, Phillinganes was asked to join Wonder’s Wonderlove band and contributed to the landmark album Songs In the Key Of Life. He soon became one of the most in-demand session keyboardists in the music industry and, in 1979, handled arrangements on The Jacksons’ Destiny LP. A close association with Michael Jackson followed, including sessions for Off the Wall and Thriller and a role as Jackson’s touring music director.
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The Red Bull Music Academy is a global music institution committed to fostering creativity in music. We celebrate music, its culture, and the transformative minds behind it. Begun in 1998, the Academy has taken the core principles that underlie its annual workshop for selected participants and applied this curatorial approach to events, lectures, and city-wide festivals throughout the year.