Quincy Jones Gets Real About Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Racism and More in Wild Interview
Quincy Jones (middle) at A Great Night in Harlem at The Apollo, 2012
28-time-Grammy-winning music legend Quincy Jones is best known for his production work on some of Michael Jackson’s iconic albums and his career in the jazz world, but it seems that, these days, the 84-year-old Jones’ most prominent skill might be his ability to give one hell of an interview.
In a newly published Q&A with Vulture’s David Marchese, Jones covers a wide range of topics—from working with Jackson to racism today to why The Beatles were terrible musicians—seemingly without much care at all about people reading some wild things he’s recounting. It’s like a top-notch Gallagher brother interview, except Jones has nothing left to prove, which leads to some fantastic results.
First of all, the revelation that is currently getting the most traction on the internet is Jones’ claim that he dated Ivanka Trump. Not that he was asked about it directly, of course. While discussing the state of racism in this country today—”That’s why what’s happening now is good, because people are saying they are racists who didn’t used to say it. Now we know“—and the possible link to Donald Trump’s rise to the Oval Office, Jones off-handedly notes, “I used to date Ivanka, you know.” Marchese’s response echoes all of our own: “Wait, really?” Yes, really, or at least according to Jones.
Other moments of note include Jones’ open remarks on Michael Jackson, who he says “stole a lot of songs” and was exceptionally “greedy,” particularly when it came to giving others songwriting credits. Soon after, Jones is asked about his first impression of The Beatles. “They were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherfuckers.” He even shared a quick story about his experience with Ringo when Jones was helping with arranging a song on the drummer’s 1970 solo debut Sentimental Journey:
I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and Ringo had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it. We said, “Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.” So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, “George, can you play it back for me one more time?” So George did, and Ringo says, “That didn’t sound so bad.” And I said, “Yeah, motherfucker because it ain’t you.” Great guy, though.
Look, you really just have to read the full interview yourself. Jones also reveals how Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen “sings and plays just like Hendrix,” refuses to talk about his thoughts on Bill Cosby or the Kennedy assassination(!) in public, how Cindi Lauper didn’t like “We Are the World,” his greatest musical innovation (“Everything I’ve done) and so much more. Here you go.