For nearly three decades, die-hard fans of The Simpsons have debated whether or not Michael Jackson actually voiced Leon Kompowsky on the season three premiere, “Stark Raving Dad”. Some have argued he did the songs, others have claimed he only did the voice, yadda, yadda, yadda. Now, we finally have some clarity, as creator Matt Groening has finally put a kibosh on an incredibly annoying mystery.
“We really did have Michael Jackson,” Groening confirmed to Australia’s The Weekly. “He has a voice that sounds like someone doing a Michael Jackson bit.” Ironically enough, Groening actually hung up on the King of Pop, who initially reached out to the animator with a cold-call expressing interest to hop on the then-global phenomenon. “He said that he loved Bart [Simpson] and wanted to be on the show.
“He did do the show,” Groening continued. “He didn’t want credit for it, it was some kind of deal with his record company or whatever.” This explains why he was credited as John Jay Smith in the credits. “When it came time to do the songs,” Groening clarified, “he had a sound-a-like singer and he stood there and watched the guy—and he was so nervous—who had to to sound like Michael Jackson.”
In other words, no, Jackson did not sing “Happy Birthday, Lisa”, which is kind of a bummer. Still, one can always keep pretending the track is a demo for whatever sessions were going on at the time for 1995’s total misfire, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. Revisit the track below and be sure to catch Groening’s new show Disenchantment, currently available to stream now on Netflix..