Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2014-08-25 04:51:06
A Dramatic Turn of Events
The soundtrack to Sonic 3 on the Sega Genesis is fascinating, not only because it's wonderful, but because of the involvement of Michael Jackson in its creation. Samples of Michael's Jackson's 'Jam' can be heard within the game, as well as string arrangements from 'Strangers in Moscow'. While Jackson eventually left the project before its completion - with some sources suggesting he left because of emerging sex scandals tarnishing his reputation and others because of the poor quality of the recording equipment on the system leaving him dissatisfied - his work can still be located in the game in bitesize pieced-together chunks.
Most fascinating is that the music for Ice Cap Zone, one of my favourite levels and the source of one of the best tracks in the history of the franchise, is ripped almost entirely from a song by The Jetzons recorded in the 1980s called 'Hard Times'. It seems obvious to question how this seemingly random song ended up in Sonic 3, and the answer is fairly simple - a member of the band called Brad Buxer was also a collaborator of Michael Jackson. When Jackson worked on Sonic 3 Brad worked with him, and apparently lent the backing music of one of his tracks with The Jetzons to the game.
The interesting thing is that while Brad's involvement in the game has been known for nearly two decades, fans have only found out in the last year or so that 'Hard Times' is the tune for Ice Cap Zone. Presumably, nobody ever heard this song before who had also played the game prior to 2013 - which could be possible, as the song is 'An extremely rare unreleased track' and had likely never been heard by just about everyone before the connection to Sonic 3 was established.
Below you can listen to 'Hard Times' and Ice Cap Zone and you'll see that the similarity is astonishing. The creation of Sonic 3's soundtrack is the most secretive and fascinating in gaming, and this adds another branch to the ever-growing mystery behind it: