“Legend” is a title that unfortunately gets prematurely bestowed, either out of sensationalism or because we’re victims of a moment, but when it comes to the 84-year-old producer, musician, and executive, Quincy Jones, legend is not only fitting, but an understatement,
He was first publicly recognized in the 1950s as a young trumpeter with the Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie bands, and now stands alone as the most nominated Grammy artist of all time — we’re talking 79.
On a quick note, Jones has composed over 50 major motion picture and television scores, achieved global success with the “We Are the World” recording (the bestselling single of all time), and produced the bestselling album in the history of the recording industry, Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
If there is anyone that has a say on both music and the music industry, it’s Quincy Jones.
In a new GQ feature to promote his upcoming documentary on Netflix, Quincy does not hold anything back. He touches on parties in the 80s, an untold chapter in the Michael Jackson vs. Prince rivalry, and Jones’ promiscuity. There were honestly too many gems to share, so I pulled out the five most important and wildest ones.
He has 22 girlfriends between the ages of 28 and 42
Apparently Quincy Jones has 22 girlfriends. According to the 84-year-old, they’re all over the world and far younger .
“Cape Town. Cairo. Stockholm — she’s coming in next week. Brazil — Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, and Rio. Shanghai — got a great girl over there from Shanghai, man. Cairo, whew,” he reveals in the exclusive with GQ.
Though he doesn’t detail the ages, he maintains that his daughters — Rashida Jones and Kidada Jones (43 and 41, respectively) — give him new age ranges from time to time.
“Well, my daughters gave me new numbers, because they kept saying, ‘Dad, you can’t go out with girls younger than us.’ I said, ‘Y’all are not young anymore …’ So the new numbers are 28 to 42. They gave them to me.”
On Taylor Swift: ‘We need fucking songs, not hooks’
According to the GQ feature, Jones did not initially make a statement on Taylor Swift. Rather, he made a face described as “somewhere between disapproval and disdain.”
It wasn’t until later where he came around to expounding: “We need more songs, man. Fucking songs, not hooks.” And then he diagnoses Swift’s problem:
Some people consider her the great songwriter of our age.
He laughs. “Whatever crumbles your cookie.”
“Knowing what you’re doing. You know what I mean? Since I was a little kid, I’ve always heard the people that don’t wanna do the work. It takes work, man. The only place you find success before work is the dictionary, and that’s alphabetical.”
So if you were producing a record for Taylor Swift, what would you have her do?
“I’ll figure something out. Man, the song is the shit—that’s what people don’t realize. A great song can make the worst singer in the world a star. A bad song can’t be saved by the three best singers in the world. I learned that 50 years ago.”
Plenty of people talk as though Taylor Swift has great songs.
“But they don’t know, man. They don’t know. I’ve come and gone through seven decades of this shit. Seen all that. Seen how that works. Ignorance is no thing.”
He wants Donald Glover to play him in a TV biopic
Jones, who says he’s never been this busy in his life due to the “ten movies, six albums, four Broadway shows, two networks, business with the president of China, intellectual property,” he’s working on, says he “hopes” Donald Glover will play him in the 10-part TV biopic.
He hopes to premier the series on Netflix, as a CBS special hosted by Oprah.
Malcolm X was Quincy’s plug
The feature touched on a a lot, including Jone’s younger life.
Apparently when Jones was a teenager, he toured with band leader Lionel Hampton. As you can imagine, they toured heavy, and in result had to have dealers in different cities. Such was the case in Detroit.
“Every time we’d go to Detroit, at the Majestic hotel, standing in front, with his Italian shit on and amber glasses: Malcolm X. Detroit Red,” Jones told GQ. “That’s where we bought our dope. It was before he went to prison.” He went on:
So you would personally buy drugs off Malcolm X?
“Personally?” He nods. “Shit, everybody in the band bought it! The junkies used to call cocaine ‘girl’ and heroin ‘boy.’ That’s because they said cocaine would take you from your woman.”
Jones said he’s tried everything — amyl nitrate, methedrine, benzedrine — but quit heroin after he fell down five flights of stairs (he also said he stopped drinking last year).
Michael Jackson and Prince’s beef was real
Everyone has heard of a Prince and Michael Jackson story, but none have been closer and more knowledgeable than Quincy.
According to Jones, he wanted Jackson and Prince to record a duet for “Bad”. Prince agreed and arrived to Jackson’s home at Hayvenhurst with a gift for Michael (whom Prince called “Camille,” and whom Jones called “Smelly”).
Inside the gift box were cuff links with Tootsie Rolls on them, but Jackson threw the gift away later because “he thought there was some voodoo in there.”
“[The meeting] started off funny. Michael said, ‘I never been to Minnenapolis.’ [Prince] said” — snapping angrily — “‘It’s Minneapolis!’ Oh God … man, this is not going too well. Then Janet went by. [Prince] said, ‘Relax your lips, girl.’ And it was not going well, that’s for sure. Then we went upstairs, and he saw the chimpanzee and the snake, he said, ‘Now, that’s interesting.’ And then he says to me, ‘He doesn’t need me on this — it’s going to be a hit anyway.’ Which is true.”
There is a generation of music lovers and kids out there that may never truly know how iconic Quincy Jones was — and still is — to the music industry.
For the record, we’re officially down for Donald Glover to play Jones in whatever capacity he so chooses.