E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Recording sessions : June-September 1982

Studios :  Westlake, Los Angeles, California

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is an audiobook and soundtrack companion album for the 1982 blockbuster film of the same name directed by Steven Spielberg. Composed by John Williams, the album was narrated by recording artist Michael Jackson, produced by composer Quincy Jones and distributed by MCA Records. The production of the audiobook had John Williams and Michael Jackson working with Rod Temperton, Freddy DeMann, and Bruce Swedien.

Label : MCA

Release date : November 15, 1982

Peak on Billboard 200 : 37

Track listing

  1. “Someone in the Dark” (Opening Version) (recorded June 1982) Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Rod Temperton 4:30
  2. “Landing” John Williams 3:24
  3. “Alone” Williams 3:50
  4. “Discovery” Williams 2:13
  5. “School” Williams 2:26
  6. “Home” Williams 2:17
  7. “Intrusion” Williams 3:39
  8. “E.T. Phone Home” Williams 3:01
  9. “Chase” Williams 3:18
  10. “Good-Bye” Williams 4:45
  11. “Someone in the Dark” (Closing Version) (recorded June 1982) A. Bergman, M. Bergman, Temperton 3:04

Narration and vocals by Michael Jackson
Produced by Quincy Jones for Quincy Jones Productions
Original music for E.T. composed and conducted by John Williams
Narrative written by William Kotzwinkle, Steven Spielberg, Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton Jones
Lyrics to “Someone in the Dark” written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
Music to “Someone in the Dark” written by Rod Temperton
Arranged and conducted by Jeremy Lubbock
Synthesizer Solo by Craig Huxley
Album concept: Kathy “Leen” Carey
Executive producers: Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy
Assistant to executive producers: Kate Barker
Production coordinators: Freddy DeMann and Ron Weisner
Editor: Bruce Cannon
Production assistants: Pam Crocetti, Madeline Randolph, Corinne Alicia and Bonnie Sachs
Supervising sound editor: Charles L. Campbell
Sound effects editors: David A. Pettijohn, Louis L. Edemann, Richard C. Franklin, Jr and Samuel C. Crutcher
Re-recording mixers: Buzz Knudson, Robert Glass and Don Digirolamo
Storybook album engineer: Bruce Swedien
Assistant engineer: Matt Forger
Project coordinator: Nancy Cushing-Jones
Designer: Michael Brock
Photographers: Bruce McBroom and Terry Chostner
Photographer for poster of Michael Jackson and E.T.: Dick Zimmerman
Cover illustration of booklet: Drew Struzan
Art direction: George Osaki

Singles and short films

Epic Records allowed Jackson to record the album on two conditions:

MCA Records was not to release E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial until after Christmas 1982. (This was to avoid the audiobook competing with Jackson’s new album, Thriller.)
The song “Someone in the Dark” was not to be released as a single.
MCA Records breached both conditions, releasing the storybook in November 1982 and giving 7-inch promo copies of “Someone in the Dark” to radio stations. After Epic lodged a $2 million lawsuit, MCA Records was forced to withdraw the album and prohibited from releasing “Someone in the Dark” as a single. Epic executives had felt that MCA was misleading members of the public into believing that the then-recently released single “The Girl Is Mine” was featured on the storybook album. The plaintiffs further requested that MCA Records be banned from working with Jackson in the future and that any other media owned by MCA featuring the singer be prohibited from release. As a result of the legal restrictions that prohibited the public release of “Someone in the Dark” as a single, the promo copies which were made have since become one of the singer’s rarest and most sought-after records; some have been sold for over $1,600. The song’s opening version was later included as a bonus track on the 2001 special edition of Thriller, as well as the box set Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection in 2004.

Previous album : Triumph (1980)

Next album : Thriller (1982)

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