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Hills audio - Printable Version

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Hills audio - Cindy M - 09-20-2019

MJ's first single in 1965. Photo of the single and of the royalty check is in the video. Thanks to Chris for remastering it!


In college, he entered a nationwide talent contest sponsored by Columbia Records and WGN radio in Chicago. One of the judges was Judy Collins, who has since become a great influence and good friend. 

He moved through local, regional and national competition and won the whole thing. The prizes were a week's booking in the It's Here coffeehouse in Chicago and a record on Columbia subsidiary Epic Records. 

"I was in my sophomore year and walked out of college during finals, never to return," he said. "Then I learned that it was a privilege to play at the It's Here so they didn't pay me. And the record, called 'Hills' after my one and only original composition till then, sold 23 copies. I got a royalty check for 11 cents, which I still have. Columbia wrote me weekly for three years asking me to cash it so they could bring their records up to date, but I'll cash it when I need it." 

The painful-to-remember lyrics of that first song went along the lines of "Rolling hills with purple hue/silver clouds caressed with blue." He's at pains to point out that his writing style, like his fingering technique, has matured.

RE: Hills audio - pob - 09-21-2019

So this is where it all began. Thank you for posting Cindy. Another treasure