Thriller-Shooting / Auktions-Updates + Artikel

30. November 2023

Bei einer weiteren Auktion werden bisher unbekannte Fotos von Dick Zimmerman versteigert, die für das Thriller-Cover gemacht wurden. Zudem verlinken wir passende Artikel und teilen spannende Infos zur Gotta Have Rock And Roll Auktion. Angeblich sind einige Zeichnungen gefälscht.

Die Auktion mit den bisher unbekannten Polaroid Test-Fotos aus der Thriller-Coversession wird am 9. Dezember 2023 durch Blackwell Auctions in Clearwater durchgeführt. Nebst den originalen Fotoabzügen wird auch die Kamera versteigert, mit der Dick Zimmerman den angehenden King of Pop abgelichtet hatte.

Der Blog „On MJ Footsteps“ hat hierzu einen Artikel mit Zitaten vom Fotograf verfasst: Clichés inédits de Dick Zimmerman du photoshoot pour la pochette de l’album Thriller

Demnach wurden die Fotos am 22. Juli 1982 gemacht, als Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones und Bruce Swedien mitten in den Aufnahmen für das damals noch mit „Starlight“ betitelten Albums standen.

(für eine deutsche Version benutze die automatische Übersetzungsfunktion deines Browsers)

Eine andere Auktion mit Michael Jackson Memorabilien findet ebenfalls im Dezember bei Gotta Have Rock and Roll statt. Von einem breit informierten Fan wurden wir informiert, dass die dort angebotenen Zeichnungen, darunter das farbige Donald Duck Portrait, womöglich gefälscht seien und von einem oder mehreren bereits in der Vergangenheit aufgetauchten Fälscher stammen. Bei „Autograph Live“ ist eine Diskussion mit vielen Fotobeispielen von damals zu finden. Offenbar wurden Parallelen zu den aktuell angebotenen Zeichnungen gefunden.

Betreffend den Musiktapes aus den HIStory-Sessions, die auch bei Gotta Have Rock and Roll versteigert werden, haben wir noch keine weiteren Infos vom Auktionshaus erhalten. (Nur eine Empfangsbestätigung, dass sie mit dem Anbieter der Tapes deswegen Kontakt aufnähmen und sich wieder melden. Siehe hier unser Beitrag.)

Derweil hat jedoch Brad Sundberg, einer der beiden technischen Leiter der HIStory-Sessions, ausführlich Stellung genommen zu den Musikbändern.

„Ich bin nicht in der Lage, Fragen zu dieser Auktion zu beantworten – ich weiß nicht, wer sie verkauft oder warum – aber ich kann sagen, dass sie echt aussehen und sehr wahrscheinlich sehr frühe Demos, Songideen und Grooves sind.“, so Brad Sundberg. „Wir haben mit Michael im Laufe der Jahre an unzähligen Grooves und Ideen gearbeitet, und einige wurden schließlich zu Songs. Darunter große Songs. Andere verschwanden im Tresor, im Schrank oder in der Garage – was wohl das Schicksal einiger der Bänder ist, die versteigert werden.“

Auf Facebook hat der Tontechniker in seiner Gruppe „Brad Sundberg Studio Rats“ folgenden Beitrag verfasst:

Tapes, Masters, Slaves, Demos, Hit Factory

Well… it seems someone is selling a bunch of „mystery“ MJ tapes from our time at the Hit Factory in 1994!!

„What’s on them??“
„Are they real??“
„Did Michael sing on them??“

That’s a sampling of some of the messages I’ve been receiving over the past few days as MJ fans and music collectors have been stumbling on this auction.

I am not in a position to answer any questions about the auction – I don’t know who is selling them or why – but I can say they do look real and are very likely very early demos, song ideas and grooves.

Again – I have absolutely no connection or insight as to where these tapes came from.

We worked on countless grooves and ideas with Michael over the years, and some eventually became songs. Like big songs. Others faded away into the vault or closet or garage – which looks like the fate of some of the ones being auctioned

I won’t elaborate on song titles from this cluster, but I think I will discuss some basic terms we used in the studio. For obvious reasons some of these terms are now considered a bit dated and even politically incorrect, but they were extremely common used constantly in production settings – and to the best of my knowledge they are still are to a certain extent.

Of course I am referring to Master and Slave.

What did/do those words mean in a studio? Well… it’s more complicate than you might first think.

When we started a new song with Michael, we often put up a blank tape (Master) with something called SMPTE on track 24. SMPTE is a time code that allows the tape to „sync“ with another tape. So say the track layout of a song looks like this (very simplified for the discussion):
1 – Bass
2 – Kick
3 – Snare
4 – Hat
5 – Tom 1
6 – Tom 2
7 – Tom 3
8 – Tom 4
9 – OH Left
10 – OH Right
11 – Room Left
12 – Room Right
13 – Lead Guitar Left
14 – Lead Guitar Right
15 – Keys Left
16 – Keys Right
17 – Perc Left
18 – Perc Right
19 – Horns Left
20 – Horns Right
21 – Rhythm Guitar Left
22 – Rhythm Guitar Right
23 – Blank
24 – SMPTE

Now Michael wants to sing a scratch vocal but there are no more tracks. (You never use the track next to SMPTE).

So… we would create a Slave tape to play on a 2nd machine – using SMPTE to sync the two machines together. (In reality we would often submix the drums and percussion to two tracks of the Slave tape, transfer the bass, keys and horns, and submix the guitars to two tracks.

1-15 = Open (ready to record)
16 – Bass
17/18 – Guitars
19/20 – Horns
21/22 – Drums + Perc
23 – Blank
24 – SMTPE

This would give us 15 blank tracks for Michael to sing until it was time for dinner.

This might be called Slave 1: Vocals
Then we might create Slave 2: Background Vocals.
Then Slave 3: Choir.
Then Slave 4: Orchesta.

Then these would be transferred to Digital, creating Mix Masters Tape 1 and Tape 2.

But wait… there’s more!

Let’s suppose a really talented production team in another city wanted to work on one of Michael’s songs. We would then create new work tapes (slaves) from Mix Masters 1 and 2, and sent them out. (This was obviously before ProTools, file sharing, etc.).

Then this work tape (we’ll call it Slave 14) would be sent back to us and if anything was usable those tracks would be added to the digital Master tapes.

This went on and on over the course of countless songs and grooves. Each song might have several masters (different versions, tempos, edits, etc.), which were created from dozens and dozens of slaves. Seriously. I remember some songs spanning over 40-50 multitrack tapes using this methodology.

Each album was very well organized with a very detailed numbering system for each master, slave and work tape. It really was a very impressive library (vault) of tapes, and over the course of an album like HIStory we would often request tapes be shipped out to the Hit Factory in NY from LA to we could listen to specific sounds or instruments from previous sessions years earlier.

Bruce and Michael had remarkable memories (as do most studio folks) remembering the tiniest nuances of a certain guitar or keyboard sound, and used those old tapes to help re-create a sound for a new song.

Now – this style of working was very costly. Most artists could never imagine having endless amounts of multitrack tapes to work with! But now they have endless virtual tracks via ProTools.

Confused yet?

Bruce Swedien’s style of recording and cataloging these songs and tapes was really second to none.

As to where these tapes came from or what is on them? I don’t know. There are a couple familiar song titles, and it would be a lot of fun to hear some of them again, but I thought it might be fun to give you a quick education into why we used so many tapes and so many tracks to create Michael music.

Happy bidding!!



Our last stop of the year is coming Dec 8th and 9th at Musikstil Academy in Stockholm!!

Dec 8th is „An Evening In The Studio With MJ“.
A perfect date-night! Dip your toe into three albums for a bite-sized version of my full „In The Studio With MJ“ event!

Dec 9th we go full-speed into „In The Studio With MJ“, diving deep into the albums „Bad“, „Dangerous“ and „HIStory“. You will see, hear and learn things you never knew.

Later that afternoon I want to take you on „The Virtual Tour Of Neverland“, where I will show you the incredible ranch we built with Michael! 2800 acres of absolute beauty, innocence and love.

This is our last stop for 2023, and I am excited to spend my birthday weekend with my Swedish friends in Stockholm!!

Will You Be There?


Quelle:,, Facebook, div.