Publishing Rights for Simpsons Novelty Track “Do the Bartman” Sell for $38,500
Twenty-five years ago, when The Simpsons was still a nascent phenomenon being dumped on by sitting First Ladies, the show’s creators commissioned The Simpsons Sing the Blues, the first (of many) Springfield-related musical releases. The album’s lead single, “Do the Bartman,” featured guest vocals by Michael Jackson and, propelled by the show’s popularity, wound up near the top of the charts in the US. (It fared even better in the UK, where it went to #1 and was certified gold.)
Now, the rights to “Do the Bartman”—a song which includes the lines “Homer was yelling/Mom was too/Because I put mothballs in the beef stew” and a reference to “U Can’t Touch This”—have been sold at auction for a pretty staggering $38,500. The winning bid came anonymously through the auction site Royalty Exchange.
While Michael Jackson’s appearance on “Do the Bartman” has never been in question, there is minor controversy around the song’s composition. Songwriter Bryan Loren, who also worked on Jackson’s Dangerous album, is credited as the song’s sole author, and while there is some speculation that Jackson was uncredited due to the ink still being wet on his contract with Sony—speculation fueled by Matt Groening himself, who claimed that Jackson co-wrote the song—Loren claims otherwise. “The story of the song and its creation has been a thorn in my side since I did it. But, despite Matt Groening’s repeated confessions, I am the sole writer of the song,” he said.
Whatever the case, the song is out of Loren and Jackson’s hands now, and we’re taking it upon ourselves to get it back in your head.