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Quincy Jones Knows Why Hillary Clinton Is So Disliked

Quincy Jones at the 2007 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (World Economic Forum / Wikimedia)

Quincy Jones is a living legend. Over his 65-year career in the music business, the 84-year-old producer has seen the world and then some.

His worldview was shaped by a trip to Europe with jazz bandleader Lionel Hampton in the early 1950s.

I went to Europe at 19, and it turned me upside down in many ways. It gave you some sense of perspective of past, present and future. It took the myopic conflict between just black and white in the United States and put it on another level because you saw the turmoil between the Armenians and the Turks, and the Cypriots and the Greeks, and the Swedes and the Danes, and the Koreans and the Japanese. Everybody had these hassles, and you saw it was a basic part of human nature, these conflicts. It opened my soul, it opened my mind.

Jones, who turns 85 on March 14 and has an upcoming Netflix documentary and CBS special, sat down for a conversation with journalist David Marchese, a contributing editor at New York Magazine and Vulture.com. In the eye-opening interview that ran on Vulture and has gone viral (over 1.5 million readers and counting), Jones speaks on a wide range of subjects, including Hillary Clinton, Donald and Ivanka Trump, Michael Jackson, Big Pharma, John F. Kennedy, The Beatles and more.

Below are a few samples from the discussion.

On Michael Jackson.

I hate to get into this publicly, but Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs. [Donna Summer’s] “State of Independence” and “Billie Jean.” The notes don’t lie, man. He was as Machiavellian as they come. Greedy, man. Greedy. “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough”—Greg Phillinganes wrote the c section. Michael should’ve given him 10 percent of the song. Wouldn’t do it.

On the juxtaposition of Jackson’s joyous music with his sad, odd life.

Yes, but at the end, Michael’s problem was Propofol, and that problem affects everyone—-doesn’t matter if you’re famous. Big Pharma making OxyContin and all that shit is a serious thing. I was around the White House for eight years with the Clintons, and I’d learn about how much influence Big Pharma has. It’s no joke.

On why there is such a “visceral dislike” for Hillary Clinton.

It’s because there’s a side of her—when you keep secrets, they backfire. This is something else I shouldn’t be talking about.

On who killed John F. Kennedy.

[Chicago mobster Sam] Giancana. The connection was there between [Frank] Sinatra and the Mafia and Kennedy. Joe Kennedy—he was a bad man—he came to Frank to have him talk to Giancana about getting votes. We shouldn’t talk about this publicly.

On Trumpism.

It’s Trump and uneducated rednecks. Trump is just telling them what they want to hear. I used to hang out with him. He’s a crazy motherfucker. Limited mentally — a megalomaniac, narcissistic. I can’t stand him. I used to date Ivanka, you know.

On dating Ivanka Trump.

Yes, sir. Twelve years ago. Tommy Hilfiger, who was working with my daughter Kidada, said, “Ivanka wants to have dinner with you.” I said, “No problem. She’s a fine motherfucker.” She had the most beautiful legs I ever saw in my life. Wrong father, though.

On whether Oprah Winfrey would make a good president.

I don’t think she should run. She doesn’t have the chops for it. If you haven’t been governor of a state or the CEO of a company or a military general, you don’t know how to lead people.

On running the United States.

A symphony conductor knows more about how to lead than most businesspeople—more than Trump does. He doesn’t know shit. Someone who knows about real leadership wouldn’t have as many people against him as he does. He’s a fucking idiot.

On The Beatles.

They were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul [McCartney] was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo [Starr]? Don’t even talk about it.

On Marlon Brando.

Marlon Brando used to go cha-cha dancing with us. He could dance his ass off. He was the most charming motherfucker you ever met. He’d fuck anything. Anything! He’d fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye. [Pryor’s widow confirmed the Brando story is true.]

On Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen singing and playing guitar “just like Hendrix.”

Yeah, man. I went on a trip on his yacht, and he had David Crosby, Joe Walsh, Sean Lennon—all those crazy motherfuckers. Then on the last two days, Stevie Wonder came on with his band and made Paul come up and play with him—he’s good, man.

On one of the greatest moments of his life.

It was the first time they celebrated Dr. [Martin Luther] King’s birthday in Washington, D.C., and Stevie Wonder was in charge and asked me to be musical director. After the performance, we went to a reception, and three ladies came over: The older lady had “Sinatra at the Sands,” I arranged that; her daughter had my album “The Dude”; and then that lady’s daughter had “Thriller.” Three generations of women said those were their favorite records. That touched me so much.

On knowing so much.

I know too much, man.

To read Jones’ complete interview with Vulture, click here.

For more background on the conversation, read this Columbia Journalism Review Q&A with Marchese.

Eric Ortiz
Managing Editor
Eric Ortiz is the managing editor of Truthdig. A journalist and innovator with two decades in digital media, Ortiz founded the mobile app startup Evrybit, a live storytelling and reporting tool, as a 2014 John…
Eric Ortiz

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