Kygo has remixed real-deal icons including Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Donna Summer. On Friday (March 31), he’s adding another set of all-time artists to the list with his remake of Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson‘s 1983 classic, “Say Say Say.”
The project was a year in the making, with the Norwegian producer and his team reaching out to the respective artist teams in 2022.
“It’s no secret that I love working with iconic vocals from the ’80s, and ‘Say Say Say’ was one that I really wanted to work on,” Kygo tells Billboard. “We initially got in touch with Paul McCartney’s team and Michael Jackson’s estate over a year ago to get approval and the stems to start working on an idea.”
After getting this greenlight, Kygo was sent the stems of the song and, he says, “started on an idea that I liked, which took a few days. Overall, it took a few months to get it to the final version.”
“It’s the same process that I use on all my remixes,” he adds, “which starts by stripping back some of the original production then trying new melodies and ideas with the vocals.”
Indeed, this remake begins with an isolated chop of Jackson’s voice, before slipping into McCartney’s first verse, then stripping down most of the production to spotlight Jackson’s voice before going full Kygo by adding some emphatically hit piano chords and a chorus composed of chopped up vocals from the two masters in addition to some weighty, funky synth.
“I feel like it has some great added energy and brings a masterpiece from 1983 into 2023, which is exactly what I was trying to achieve,” the producer says.
It’s also the same format Kygo brought to his edits of Houston’s cover of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” in 2019, Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” in 2020 and Summer’s “Hot Stuff” that same year.
“Say Say Say” was released in October of 1983 and spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately spending 22 weeks on the chart. The song ranks at No. 50 on the list of the Greatest Hot 100 Singles of All Time.
Listen to the Kygo remake of “Say Say Say” below.