George Harrison‘s “Got My Mind Set on You” sounds distinct from Michael Jackson’s songs. Despite this, a track from Jackson’s album Bad competed for the top of the chart with one of George’s songs. Notably, George’s song was originally by another artist.
George Harrison’s ‘Got My Mind Set on You’ was a cover of a song from the 1960s
“Got My Mind Set on You” was a cover of “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You” by James Ray. While the original had Caribbean rhythms, George’s cover is a boisterous pop-rock tune.
“Got My Mind Set on You” was George’s third and final No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. “My Sweet Lord” and “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” were his previous chart-toppers. “Got My Mind Set on You” was his only No. 1 without a spiritual theme.
Michael Jackson sang like a saxophone on ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’
The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits reports Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” dethroned “Got My Mind Set on You” off the top of the chart. Gary Grant played the trumpet on “The Way You Make Me Feel.” “The groove, and the way that the 12-8 tempo works in ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ … It just had that thing about it,” he told Billboard in 2017. “The bridges in it, the format of the song, the way it kept moving. You just learn those things as you’re in the songwriting genre.”
Grant revealed Jackson’s vocals on the song sounded like an instrument. “Larry Williams did a solo on ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ that they just loved, and then they put about 30 synthesizer sounds on his saxophone and then Michael did some singing and they would synthesize it — so it would sound like a saxophone solo, but it was really Michael singing,” Grant said.
How George Harrison’s ‘Got My Mind Set on You’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ performed on the chart
“Got My Mind Set on You” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. It stayed on the chart for 22 weeks in total — longer than all of George’s other singles. “Got My Mind Set on You” appeared his album Cloud Nine. The album reached No. 8 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 31 weeks.
“The Way You Make Me Feel” was slightly less popular. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week, remaining on the chart for 18 weeks altogether. Jackson released “The Way You Make Me Feel” on his blockbuster album Bad. For six weeks, the album was No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It lasted on the chart for 171 weeks.
Although the charts pitted them against each other, “Got My Mind Set on You” and “The Way You Make Me Feel” are both classic songs.