Michael Jackson has become an immortal symbol for dance & music culture. However, the artist’s interest in the Hunchback of Notre Dame was no secret, as he was extremely fond of the story of Quasimodo.
After an oral history on The Hunchback of Notre Dame which was published on Monday, composer Alan Menken revealed that him and Jackson met when he had been looking for a singer to take on the task of performing A Whole New World” for 1992’s Aladdin.
He defined Jackson to be “very unique” and “interesting” person who was very much “in his own world.” Suddenly he received a phone call from Jackson’s assistant when he had been staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York.
He had to [deal with] allegations about inappropriate behavior with underage kids, and the breakup 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.’
He explained that there were three songs in particular that needed to be recorded and Jackson was interested. The songs were “Out There,” “God Help the Outcasts,” and “Someday.” While Disney was interested at first, they chose not to go with Jackson as the association would have potentially tarnished their image.
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. 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.
Jackson’s involvement would have been pretty interesting, considering that he was one of the biggest forces in the industry at the time, but it often happens that accusations often lead to PR nightmares.[Via]