The Weeknd: 1 Michael Jackson Hit Is the 'Blueprint' for His Music

Although his heyday was in the 1980s, Michael Jackson continues to inspire artists to this day. For example, The Weeknd cited one of the King of Pop’s No. 1 hits as the blueprint for his music. Here’s a look at the creation of the song — and why Jackson means so much to The Weeknd.

Michael Jackson crafted this No. 1 hit with Billy Idol’s guitarist

It all starts with Steve Stevens. Stevens was Billy Idol’s guitarist. During an interview with Billboard, he recalled what it was like to work with Jackson.

“My whole thing is working with the artist, that’s why I picked up a guitar — I saw Elvis and Scotty Moore on TV and I went, ‘Oh, look, it’s a singer and a guitar player,’” Stevens recalled. “And that’s the way it’s always been for me. And then I got a call about another record, and the artist wasn’t there, and I was like, “Woah, really?” It was just me and the engineer, and it’s just not for me. There’s no joy in that. So of course, my question was, “Will Michael be there? Quincy kind of laughed and said, ‘Yeah, it’s his record.’ He thought it would be an odd thing for him not to be there. I guess Michael is one of those guys that no matter what went down on the record, even if it was a miniscule little percussion part, he was there for every note. And that’s the way it should be.’”

Together, Stevens and Jackson helped create one of Jackson’s most famous songs: “Dirty Diana.” “Dirty Diana” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Aside from “Beat It,” “Dirty Diana” might be Jackson’s most famous rock song.

The ways ‘Dirty Diana’ impacted The Weeknd

Millions of people around the world are fans of Jackson, however, Rolling Stone reports he has a very special place in The Weeknd’s heart. The Weeknd is from an Ethiopian family and he was very moved by “We Are the World” because it was a charity single for Ethiopia. He said when he wasn’t listening to Ethiopian music at home, he was usually listening to Jackson’s songs.

In addition, The Weeknd told Variety that “Dirty Diana” served as the blueprint for his music. After all, “Dirty Diana” is a song that’s both dark and sexual, much like many of The Weeknd’s songs, from “In the Night” to “The Hills” to “False Alarm.” In addition, The Weeknd released his own version of “Dirty Diana” which features electronic flourishes that weren’t in the original.

The Weeknd included his rendition of the song on his mixtape Echoes of Silence under the title “D.D.” Comparing his cover to the original, it’s shocking how similar The Weeknd’s singing style is to Jackson’s. The King of Pop had a massive influence on many pop and R&B artists — and The Weeknd is no exception.

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