PETE HOPKINS Human Nature, covered
by Walter Price
The monuments in pop music can not be simulated easily. Think about it, who can reach the vocal talent of Mariah or Celine? The suave of Ol’ Blue Eyes or the hip-swaying appeal of Mr. Presley? Nor will anyone really be able to capture the enduring lightning in a bottle of The King of Pop, Michael Jackson. But if you’re going to take on a track from Jackson and a song that featured on his seminal album “Thriller”, it has to be Get Back Val mastermind Pete Hopkins, and the song will be a surprising studio intensive redux of “Human Nature”.
We’ll let Hopkins go into the backstory of his version of the Steve Porcaro-penned classic. But first, let’s mention that taking a silky early 80s track that Jackson interpreted as him wanting to escape fame long enough to fraternize with regular people and be a real human and turning it into a mega-tracked odyssey showcasing Hopkin’s production wizardry was a bold move for the retro-loving producer. And while some may find his version odd or so far out that it seems surreal at moments, this cover version is what Hopkins does. He envisions and hears things in a near-galactic way. Layring and tinkering until the original is transformed into an eccentric blast!
From a Facebook post dated Febuary 3, 2023, Hopkins goes deep on the cover’s backstory, “Human Nature has always been one of my most favorite songs by the late great legendary King of Pop, Mr. Michael Jackson. I was privileged to get to record the vocals on this track at the equally legendary studio Westlake Audio the very studio where MJ recorded the real thing as well as the whole album Thriller among many other great records.”
He adds, “I spent almost 6 months honing the production and arrangement on this track then another year on my own. I didn’t want to just redo the song as is. I wanted to put my own stamp on it in every way possible. I’m very proud of the final outcome and I’ll say this song is kind of a flex of how many different skills of mine I pushed to the limit. Musical arrangement, reharmonization, guitar virtuosity, vocal performance… pre and post-production. I produced and performed and mixed all the music. Edo Tancredi my good friend and talented drummer lended some live drums to the production as the final addition and Chris Andrews put his touch into some of the vocal processing. Then I set to the task of mixing this monster. There are more than 150 tracks to this piece. Live instruments, guitars, bass, tons of percussion and drum layers as well as synths of my own design, EDM programming automation, and modern production techniques that I learned during my time at Westlake Audio… It really is quite something. Took a lot of special friends and supporters to make it happen. Always so grateful for the support I receive from the music community.”
If you’re a fan of going the extra lengths to not mimic a beloved classic but transform it into a mindblowing experience, Pete Hopkins’ redux of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” will set your senses ablaze.
PETE HOPKINS Human Nature, covered
Artist photo and quotes via Facebook
Written by John Bettis / Steve Porcaro
REDUX: Composed, produced, and performed by Pete Hopkins
“Thank you to all. RIP MJ forever. Super love and acknowledgment to the genius of Steve Porcaro of Toto and John Bettis the amazing songwriters/lyricists and musicians who gave this song the ice-fire instrumental riffs beautiful poetry that hold up even decades later as groundbreaking and timeless all at once. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.” – Pete Hopkins