‘Do the Bartman’ song, rumoured to be written by Michael Jackson, has been sold at auction.
An anonymous bidder has paid nearly the average UK annual salary for ‘Do the Bartman,’ the comedy rap performed by fictional cartoon character Bart Simpson which became a global hit in 1991. The song, which first appeared in the 1990 episode ‘The Simpsons Sing the Blues,’ features lines such as,
“I’m the kid that made delinquency an art. Last name: Simpson! First name: Bart!”
and “If you can do the Bart, you’re bad like Michael Jackson”.
That particular reference is the only clue to the singer’s involvement in the song – Michael sung backing vocals and came up with the concept, but has been at the heart of a decades-old debate about ‘Do the Bartman”s authorship. The song was bought at a Royalty Exchange auction by an anonymous bidder for $38,500 (£24,679), but it has opened up old wounds.
According to Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Michael Jackson co-wrote and co-produced ‘Do the Bartman’ alongside its credited writer Bryan Loren. Michael didn’t appear on the song’s credits because he was under an exclusive contract to Sony Music as a recording artist, and The Simpsons were forbidden from revealing his involvement.
In 1998, Groening spoke at the Annual World Animation Celebration, and admitted that it had “always been amazing to me that no one ever found out that Michael Jackson wrote that song”.
Apparently, Michael was a big fan of the show.
However, after Music Business Worldwide reported on the sale, Loren contacted them to dispute Groening’s claims, saying the story of the song’s creation,
“Has been a thorn in my side since I did it. Despite Matt Groening’s repeated confessions, I am the sole writer of the song. While it’s true, along with me, Michael Jackson does sing backing vocals. And it WAS his idea to call the song, ‘Do The Bartman,’ AND, he did insist I include his name in the lyric. Obviously, he was involved.”
Loren continues: “Perhaps this tidbit of info is not as sensational as saying MJ co-wrote the song, but I assure you, he did not.”
We will never hear Michael’s side of the story, but the Bartman’s rap is now the property of somebody else. While lucrative for royalties in its early years, the song generated an average of just $1,000 (£640) in 2013 – possibly the lowest for any chart-topping song created by Michael.