Oddly enough, there was a time when Eddie Murphy was a major pop star — he even produced one of the biggest hits in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Despite this, his duet with Michael Jackson did not take the two performers to the top of the chart. However, Murphy feels there is a silver lining to his collaboration with Jackson.
The Eddie Murphy song that became one of the biggest hits in American history
Murphy is primarily known for his work as a comedic actor as well as his stand-up routines. However, there was a brief time when he was a major pop star. In 2018, Billboard reported his song “Party All the Time” was one of the most successful songs in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. It was No. 447 on their list of the 500 most successful songs in the history of the chart. (No. 1 was Chubby Checker’s classic dance song “The Twist.”)
The times Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy collaborated
Jackson and Murphy first worked together when Murphy appeared in the video for Jackson’s hit “Remember the Time.” Murphy enjoyed the experience, telling Billboard he found Jackson’s dancing incredible. “He’s tapping into a deeper spirit. You know how like when you drink different alcohols, they contain different spirits — some make you want to dance, some make you horny, some make you want to fight…. Well, when I saw [Jackson dancing], it was confirmation that the spirit world was real.”
After working together for the “Remember the Time” video, Murphy and Jackson collaborated on a song called “Whatzupwitu.” After the success of “Remember the Time,” a duet between Murphy — a proven hitmaker — and Jackson — one of the most successful singers ever — should have been a huge hit, at least on paper. According to Jet, Jackson provide vocals for “Whatzupwitu” and “Yeah” — another song from Murphy’s album Love’s Alright — simply because Murphy asked him to do so.
“Whatzupwitu” doesn’t sound much like Jackson’s big hits, as it makes heavy use of electronic instrumentation and Jackson’s vocals are obviously processed. Murphy and Jackson filmed a video for the track, which is very different from Jackson’s many classic, glossy videos. It shows Murphy and Jackson dancing together in the clouds as musical notes fly by them. The effects in the video are very primitive.
How the public and Eddie Murphy reacted to ‘Whatzupwitu’
So, how did “Whatzupwitu” perform with the public? Billboard reports the track reached No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s arguable if ether the song was a very minor hit or if it simply wasn’t a hit at all. Compared to “Party All the Time’ or Jackson’s ubiquitous singles, “Whatzupwitu” barely made a cultural dent. So what does Murphy think of it?
“You know, I was dancing around in the clouds with Michael Jackson,” Murphy told The Guardian. “However wack anyone thought ‘Whatzupwitu’ was, there’s not a lot of people that have footage of themselves dancing around in the clouds with Michael Jackson. I do have that forever.” Murphy can certainly claim “Whatzupwitu” provided him with some unique footage — even if the public rejected the song.
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