Disney prevented Michael Jackson from recording songs for 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'
Composer Alan Menken has recalled how the late King of Pop wanted to record some songs for the 1996 animated film but the studio vetoed the move because of the problems in Jackson's personal life
24 June 2021
Alan told SlashFilm: "I get a call out of nowhere from Michael's assistant, when Michael was at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York.
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"He had to (deal with) allegations about inappropriate behaviour with underage kids, and the break-up with Lisa Marie Presley.
"He's looking to change the subject. And he obviously loves Disney so much. So I mentioned 'Hunchback'. He said he'd love to come to my studio, watch the movie and talk about it.
"So we got in touch with Disney Animation. They said, 'Meet with him! If he likes it ... well, see what he says."
Alan recalled how Jackson – who died in 2009 aged 50 – wanted to record three songs for the project and the awkward conversation he had to have with Disney.
He shared: "Michael said, 'I would like to produce the songs and record some of them.' Wow. Okay. What do we now? Michael left.
"We got in touch with Disney. It was like somebody dropped a hot poker into a fragile bowl with explosives. 'Uh, we'll get back to you about that.'"
Alan, who wrote the musical score for the movie, then explained that his manager was forced to tell the 'Thriller' hitmaker that his services wouldn't be required by Disney.
He said: "Finally, predictably, the word came back, 'Disney doesn't want to do this with Michael Jackson.' I go, 'OK, could someone tell him this?' You can hear a pin drop, no response, and nobody did (tell him).
"It fell to my late manager, Scott Shukat, to tell Michael or Michael's attorney."
Menken continued: "In retrospect, it was the right decision. (But) Quasimodo is a character... if you look at his relationships with his family and his father, I would think there's a lot of identification there."