Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

Song information

Author: Michael Jackson
Album title: Thriller
Year of release: 1982
Duration: 6:02
Lyrics:
[Chorus]
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)

[1st Verse]
I took my baby to the doctor
With a fever, but nothing he found
By the time this hit the street
They said she had a breakdown
Someone's always tryin' to start my baby cryin'
Talkin', squealin', lyin'
Sayin' you just wanna be startin' somethin'

[Chorus]
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)

[2nd Verse]
You love to pretend that you're good
When you're always up to no good
You really can't make him hate her
So your tongue became a razor
Someone's always tryin' to keep my baby cryin'
Treacherous, cunnin', declinin'
You got my baby cryin'

[Chorus]
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)
You're a vegetable, you're a vegetable
Still they hate you, you're a vegetable
You're just a buffet, you're a vegetable
They eat off of you, you're a vegetable

[3rd Verse]
Billie Jean is always talkin'
When nobody else is talkin'
Tellin' lies and rubbin' shoulders
So they called her mouth a motor
Someone's always tryin' to start my baby cryin'
Talkin', squealin', spyin',
Sayin' you just wanna be startin' somethin'

[Chorus]
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)
You're a vegetable, you're a vegetable
Still they hate you, you're a vegetable
You're just a buffet, you're a vegetable
They eat off of you, you're a vegetable

[Ad-lib]
If you can't feed your baby (yeah, yeah)
Then don't have a baby (yeah, yeah)
And don't think maybe (yeah, yeah)
If you can't feed your baby (yeah, yeah)

You'll be always tryin'
To stop that child from cryin'
Hustlin', stealin', lyin'
Now baby's slowly dyin'

[Chorus]
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
I said you wanna be startin' somethin'
You got to be startin' somethin'
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)
It's too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
You're stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder (yeah, yeah)

[Ad-lib]
Lift your head up high
And scream out to the world
I know I am someone
And let the truth unfurl
No one can hurt you now
Because you know what's true
Yes, I believe in me
So you believe in you
Help me sing it, ma ma se,
Ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa
Ma ma se, ma ma sa,
Ma ma coo sa
(Repeat/fade out)
Song recording information:
  • Greg Phillinganes: Rhodes, Synthesizer
  • Michael Boddicker & Bill Wolfer: Synthesizer
  • David Williams: Guitar
  • Louis Johnson: Bass
  • Paulinho da Costa: Percussion
  • Jerry Hey: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
  • Gary Grant: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
  • Larry Williams: Sax, Flute
  • Bill Reichenbach: Trombone
  • Michael Jackson, Nelson Hayes & Steven Ray: Bathroom stamp board
  • Vocal arrangement by Michael Jackson
  • Rhythm arrangement by Michael Jackson & Quincy Jones
  • Horn arrangement by Jerry Hey & Michael Jackson
  • Background Vocals: Julia Waters, Maxine Waters, Oren Waters, James Ingram, Michael Jackson, Bunny Hull, Becky Lopez
Song released in albums:
Song type Album title, song's alt. title Duration Year of release
[D] Michael Jackson — Thriller Demos

Startin' Somethin'

5:29
[I] Michael Jackson - The Story - Played by London Twilight Orchestra - Vol. 2 Unknown
Michael Jackson — Thriller 6:02 1982
Michael Jackson — Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' [MJ 1/8] S 4:15 1983
Michael Jackson — Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' [34-03914] S 4:15 1983
[I] Michael Jackson — Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' [34-03914] S 4:15 1983
Michael Jackson — Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' [A3427] S 4:15 1983
[A] Michael Jackson — The 12" Mixes 6:30 1988
[R] Michael Jackson — Who Is It [34-74406] S

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Brothers In Rhythm House Mix)

7:40 1992
[R] Michael Jackson — Signature Series [ESK 5400] S

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Tommy D's Main Mix)

7:40 1993
[I] The Music Of Michael Jackson - 16 Instrumental Hits 5:40 1994
[R] Michael Jackson — Earth Song [662569 6] S

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Brothers In Rhythm House Mix)

7:35 1995
[R] Michael Jackson — Earth Song [662569 6] S

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Tommy D's Main Mix)

7:40 1995
Michael Jackson — HIStory - Past, Present and Future - Book I 6:04 1995
Michael Jackson — Thriller Special Edition 6:03 2001
Michael Jackson — Greatest Hits - HIStory - Volume I 6:04 2001
Michael Jackson — The Ultimate Collection 6:03 2004
Michael Jackson — The Essential Michael Jackson 4:17 2005
[R] Michael Jackson — Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 (With will.i.am) [88697290951] S

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 (With Akon) - Johnny Vicious Club - Radio Edit

3:36 2008
[R] Michael Jackson — Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 (With will.i.am) [88697290951] S

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 (With Akon) - Johnny Vicious Full Club Remix

9:03 2008
[A] Michael Jackson — Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 (With will.i.am) [88697290951] S

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 (With Akon) - Radio Edit

3:51 2008
Michael Jackson — Thriller 25 6:02 2008
[A] Michael Jackson — Thriller 25

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 (With Akon)

4:16 2008
Michael Jackson — King Of Pop (Deluxe UK Edition) 4:21 2008
[A] Michael Jackson — King Of Pop (Deluxe UK Edition)

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Extended 12" Mix)

6:33 2008
[G] Michael Jackson — One Night In Japan (bootleg) 5:14 2009
[I] #1 Tribute Band — Acoustic Guitar Tribute To Michael Jackson 6:05 2009
Michael Jackson — This Is It 6:03 2009
[D] Michael Jackson — This Is It 5:43 2009
[R] Michael Jackson — Immortal 3:09 2011
[G] Michael Jackson — Bad 25 5:18 2012
[G] Michael Jackson — Live at Wembley July 16, 1988 5:18 2012