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Sonic the Hedgehog 3/Development/Music

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The music of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 stands as an ongoing conundrum for Sega due to certain executive decisions made during development. Due to the last-minute inclusion of the popular music artist Michael Jackson and his sound team, along with the consequences of his subsequent departure before the game's release, it is not fully understood how much of the soundtrack is currently owned by the company. As time passed, some of Sonic 3's development staff commented on the issue (some providing conflicting information), confirming Jackson's involvement in one of the most curious and complicated moments in the franchise's history.

History

Dreams Come True

Soon after development on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 completed, core staff members Yuji Naka, Hirokazu Yasuhara, and Takashi Iizuka were brought back to Japan to begin planning for Sonic the Hedgehog 3.[1] Around this time, Masato Nakamura (responsible for composing the first two Mega Drive Sonic games) experienced a great deal of success with his band Dreams Come True and subsequently increased his contractual demands for producing a soundtrack for Sonic 3. He requested more royalties for his music and the reuse of his compositions in future releases. Sega of Japan declined, and had to look elsewhere for the composition power needed in such a blockbuster title.

Michael Jackson assigned the project's management duties to long-time friend and collaborator Brad Buxer.

Michael Jackson & team

Sometime in 1993 - relatively late in the development process when a full version of the soundtrack was already drafted[2] - the company agreed to have Michael Jackson and his sound team replace it entirely. Jackson had a long history with Sega (most notably producing Michael Jackson's Moonwalker early in the Mega Drive's lifespan) and had visited Sega's offices in Japan some months prior - particularly becoming close friends with company executive Hisashi Suzuki. As Jackson was both an avid video gamer and a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, Suzuki suggested that the artist compose the soundtrack to an upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog title, an offer which was immediately accepted. Despite Suzuki warning Jackson that his work on the game was unlikely to be as profitable as his other endeavors, Jackson astoundingly charged no cost for his work on the project, refusing Hisashi Suzuki's offers of reimbursement and only requesting that Sega instead donate a percentage of the game's profits to charity.[3] Accordingly, a number of the company's upper management, including Sega of America president Tom Kalinske, recall that Jackson signed no official contracts for his work on Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

When Jackson was first assigned to create music for the game, Hisashi Suzuki initially described the game's various Zones verbally, which gave Jackson a difficult time imagining what sounds could accompany them. However, once Suzuki switched to picture-based examples, Jackson sprung to life and began envisioning the game's music. According to Suzuki, Jackson was the type of artist whose creativity was inspired by "visuals, not words." Following this, Sega's in-house Sega Sound Team (along with Jackson's assistant Mayumi Nina Sakazaki and Sega's Hisaki Nimiya), were flown to a Los Angeles, California hotel with their computers and equipment to produce the soundtrack with Jackson. This process consisted of working with the artist to create demo tracks with professional instruments during the day and then translating that music to FM synthesis for playback on the Mega Drive during the night. Jackson and his team would then listen to the results and provide feedback, with the artist delegating his team's management to Brad Buxer, one of Jackson's closest professional collaborators and a trusted friend. In particular, Buxer would assume most of the management duties on the project, as according to Mayumi Nina Sakazaki, "it seems that Michael had complete trust in Brad." Both Jackson and Buxer assumed they could complete the soundtrack in about a week, but problems acquiring a satisfactory sound from the new compositions, as well as ideological differences with the Sega Sound Team and issues with sample memory size, resulted in the team remaining in Los Angeles two weeks longer than expected.[3]

One of Buxer's biggest obstacles was transcribing Jackson's style to digital music. In particular, Buxer ran into conflicts with the Sega Sound Team over the shifting of rhythms, as he was told that the limitations of video game music at the time resulted in more rigid "beats". Worse, Jackson was reportedly disappointed in the sound quality of the freshly translated compositions and told Buxer that his work could never be released like this. In response, Nimiya countered that millions of Jackson's fans listened to his work on low-quality speakers such as radios, and the group endeavored to produce the best quality they could from such a unique collaboration. According to several people involved with the project, Jackson always remained professional and polite and never spoke down to other musicians.[3]

Jackson and his sound team produced several original compositions for the project along with recycling some of their past compositions, such as Buxer's unreleased New Wave single "Hard Times" as the theme for Ice Cap Zone. More recycling included a composition from the 1991 recording of Blood on the Dance Floor: a single co-produced by Buxer and Jackson which features a rolling drum beat later included in Knuckles’ Theme (and by extension, Sub-Boss Theme). More famously, however, is the reuse of the general chord progression of Jackson's 1995 single Stranger in Moscow for Sonic 3's "Staff Roll".

After the music was complete, the Sega Sound Team flew back to Japan to finalize the soundtrack's development. Early that September, Jackson, who was in Japan for a concert at the Fukuoka Dome, met with Sega for final approval of his team's contributions. However, the artist was still displeased with the quality of his original music and worked with the Team to make many last-minute changes - including taking out certain tracks entirely. Jackson then officially approved the soundtrack, and even personally invited Nimiya and the Sega Sound Team to his Fukuoka Dome concert.[3]

[If] he is not credited for composing the music, it's because he was not happy with the [resulting] sound coming out of the console. [The Genesis] did not allow an optimal sound reproduction, and Michael found it frustrating. He did not want to be associated with a product that devalued his music...

— Brad Buxer, in an interview by the Black & White Magazine[4]

While some developer statements claim Jackson requested all his music be removed from the final product[5], most sources claim Jackson did allow the use of it in the game, but chose to go uncredited for both Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and the related Sonic & Knuckles.[6][3] Only the remaining members of his sound team (Brad Buxer, Bobby Brooks, Darryl Ross, Geoff Grace, Doug Grigsby III, and Scirocco) would get credited as "music composers", with the Sega Sound Team and Cube being treated as secondary to them. As the 1997 Windows PC port of Sonic 3 appears to have been developed alongside the Mega Drive version, it sidesteps any involvement by Michael Jackson by featuring the tracks originally composed for the game. The November 2019 release of the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 prototype features these original tracks in Mega Drive form and date from a time before Jackson's involvement - revealing the rather late nature of the star's collaboration.

STI's Howard Drossin, from the 1994 MTV television special Rock the Rock.

Sega Sound Team & other contractors

For Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sega veteran Tokuhiko Uwabo was responsible for managing the game's sound development, assigning Sega staff to production work, and contracting outside composers as needed. Initially, the game's soundtrack was composed by Sega's in-house composers including Tatsuyuki Maeda and Tomonori Sawada, the latter providing the original theme song and its derivative jingles. Other members of the Sega Sound Team, like Yoshiaki Kashima, were tasked with refining the game's sound engine that was carried over from Sonic 2, and Masaru Setsumaru focussed on sound programming and arrangement.[7]. While not composing anything for Sonic 3 directly, one of Kashima's songs that had been previously created for the unreleased arcade title SegaSonic Bros., would find its way as Sonic 3's special stage theme.[8] Jun Senoue, who was busy at the time, made small contributions by composing the game's bonus stage themes.[9]

Even before the involvement of Michael Jackson, the soundtrack for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 underwent a few changes mid-way with the help from outside parties; Masayuki Nagao, still a SEGA employee but in the middle of moving over to sound company Opus, was now brought over for arrangement work and creating remixes for every second act of a zone.[7] Furthermore, the company Cube was commissioned to compose eight additional songs for the game. This includes music for the zone Marble Garden, which was confirmed to have been the work of Miyoko Takaoka, who was part of Cube back then but went uncredited. Nagao also speculated that Masanori Hikichi may have been a composer from Cube to have worked on Sonic 3, but this remains unconfirmed.

Sega Technical Institute's in-house composer Howard Drossin was brought in near the end of development to contribute a new theme song for Sonic 3 as well as a new theme for the character Knuckles. These were utilized in the later Sonic & Knuckles and replaced the songs present in the standalone Sonic 3. Drossin also comments on Jackson's involvement, stating the artist had "nothing to do with the final product" confirming his involvement and later departure.[10]

Legacy

Sonic 3 (also called Sonic & Knuckles) was a lot of fun, but it was also very difficult. Michael Jackson was originally brought in to compose all the music for the game, but at the very end, his work was dropped after his scandals became public. This caused a lot of problems and required a lot of reworking. But the game turned out great in the end.

— Roger Hector, General Manager of the Sega Technical Institute[11]

In an August 2005 interview, Roger Hector ("executive coordinator" of both Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles) revealed that Michael Jackson had originally composed the entirety of the game's soundtrack, and additionally stated that the artist was later dropped due to his 1993 sexual abuse allegations[11] (which occurred around the same time). Hector later reaffirmed this statement in a second interview two years later, claiming that the general public had never heard the Jackson soundtrack.Media:Makingofs3kpg4.jpg[12] This marked the first public knowledge of Jackson's involvement with the game.

While Hector was not directly involved in the game's development, he was Sega Technical Institute's General Manager and worked directly with Jackson on several occasions. Hector claims he was responsible for both hiring and firing the artist, and for bringing in Howard Drossin to replace the offending music (since denied by Drossin[10]). He recalls Jackson's tracks "fitted perfectly for the game, and they had a distinctive 'Michael Jackson' sound. We had it all ready and integrated into the game when the first news stories came out accusing him [of] child molestation, and Sega had to back away from the collaboration... It was too bad nobody outside ever heard the Michael Jackson music."Media:Makingofs3kpg4.jpg[12] This stance was supported by Naoto Oshima in 2018, who was not involved in the game's development. However, the majority of Jackson's staff argues this was not the case. In particular, Brad Buxer states that Jackson voluntarily chose to go uncredited due to his dissatisfaction with the playback quality of the Mega Drive (likely the "crunchy" sample playback of Sonic 3's sound driver). Buxer also reconfirmed that the decision was unrelated to the 1993 sexual abuse allegations.

Sometime later, it was also discovered that the online discography for Cirocco Jones (credited as 'Scirocco' in Sonic 3) lists two pieces of untitled music from the project. Labeled "levels 2 & 3", and noting the tracks were composed by Michael Jackson for "Sonic The Hedgehog",[13] it is speculated this numbering refers to either a prototype Zone order or the internal production order of the compositions themselves. Correspondence between Jones and Sonic Retro members has revealed that Jackson's sound team worked "countless hours" with the artist on the soundtrack's production, stating that "Sega owes them money" for unpaid work.[7]

B&W: One of the surprising things in this soundtrack is that you can hear the chords from Stranger in Moscow, which is supposed to have been composed later...

Buxer: Yes, Michael and I had composed those chords for the game, and it has been used as [the] base for Stranger in Moscow. [...]

— An excerpt from the Black & White Magazine interview with Brad Buxer[4]

Brad Buxer was interviewed in December 2009 by Jackson fan magazine Black & White Magazine, where he confirmed that the game's final release of Sonic 3 does contain at least one composition by Michael Jackson - "Staff Roll".[14] According to Buxer, Jackson requested to go uncredited due to dissatisfaction with the sound quality of the Mega Drive's YM-2612 sound chip. He also confirmed the relation between Jackson's "Stranger in Moscow" and "Staff Roll", and that said theme uses chords originally composed by the two.

In 2016, Todd van Luling of the Huffington Post reached out to all Western composers involved in Sonic the Hedgehog 3's development.[6] Those who responded revealed that they were assembled by Jackson to assist him in composing music for the game, and that Jackson's music could still be heard in the final release. Additionally, with the 2019 release of the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 1993-11-03 prototype, it appears the music that Jackson's sound team produced was used to replace existing tracks composed by Sega's internal sound team, which would be first heard in Sonic & Knuckles Collection. This lends further credence to Michael Jackson deciding to go uncredited rather than Sega pulling the plug themselves (who could always revert to older, in-house compositions), as well as revealing the rather late nature of Jackson's involvement in the development process.

In May 2019, Buxer was interviewed for YouTube show The MJCast[5] where he talked about the origin of Stranger in Moscow and his work on Sonic 3, describing how Jackson assigned him to start composing for the game and put him in charge of "delegating other people to help... like Doug Grigsby and Darryl Ross and other people." Buxer frames himself as being the lead on the Sonic 3 project, with Jackson having less personal involvement, and states the team had completed around 41 music cues for the game - suggesting that every Act and Zone had a unique track composed for it (even Zones planned for Sonic & Knuckles). If true, it explains why Roger Hector feels people have never heard Michael Jackson's version of the soundtrack.

Fans, including those on Sonic Retro, had asked SEGA staff throughout the years about their involvement with the soundtrack and Jackson. Yoshiaki Kashima stated he cannot go into further detail due to confidentiality issues.[8] Fellow composer Jun Senoue echoes these sentiments, stating in a 2010 Nintendo Power interview that he knows "quite a lot" about Jackson's involvement, but cannot disclose any information outside of crediting himself for the game's bonus stage themes.[9] Masaru Setsumaru recalled his experience with Jackson as "an honor to [be working] on the same project as [him]."[15]

Legal matters

The Sonic 3 prototype provided a great deal of insight into the soundtrack's legal status.

In the modern age, game companies have become increasingly wary of rereleasing games in their back catalog that they may not own the full rights to, particularly regarding music and samples. To this end, Sonic 3 is less widely available than its predecessors - while included in compilations like Sonic Jam or Sonic Mega Collection, it is often neglected in budget Mega Drive consoles, particularly those made by AtGames. It is also notably absent from the 2018 release of Sega Mega Drive Classics, despite virtually every other first-party Mega Drive game making an appearance, as well as the Mega Drive Mini consoles, which include every other notable Mega Drive Sonic game. While Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley offered to develop a remastered version of Sonic 3 in line with their mobile versions of Sonic CD, Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, Sega chose not to pursue remastering the game until the release of Sonic Origins in 2022.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3's original soundtrack may have presented a problem as early as 1997. While Sega isn't thought to have been legally challenged on the game's music, when Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were brought to Windows PCs in the form of Sonic & Knuckles Collection, six tracks (Carnival Night, IceCap, Launch Base, the credits to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Knuckles' theme in Sonic 3 and the Competition menu) had entirely different compositions and both game's Mini-Boss themes defaulted to the Sonic & Knuckles version. The Michael Jackson tracks were also conspicuously absent in the related Sonic the Hedgehog The Screen Saver. Those alternate tracks were initially believed to be replacements to avoid rights issues. However, as these tracks are present in the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (prototype; 1993-11-03), it is speculated that the Mega Drive and PC versions may have been developed simultaneously. It is possible that these compositions were the original versions of their respective themes, already in place before Michael Jackson's team was brought over.

Following Sonic 3, and before Sonic Origins' release, Carnival Night and IceCap made reappearances in Sonic Adventure and the Sonic the Hedgehog expansion for Lego Dimensions, with Carnival Night only appearing in the latter. In both games, each level received brand new compositions, although Lego Dimensions features soundalike tracks for any level from Mega Drive titles, including Sonic & Knuckles. Launch Base Zone hasn't made any appearances since, leaving its themes not to be heard outside of Sonic 3. Non-level themes, such as Knuckles' theme and the mini-boss theme, similarly aren't heard outside of Sonic 3, barring an inclusion of Knuckles' theme in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure; the game lifts its soundtrack mostly from Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, and hasn't been rereleased as of writing. Some of the replaced Sonic 3 jingles have turned up in games from this timespan (such as the title screen and 1-up theme), indicating that Sega owns the rights to those.

Sonic Origins marks the first time in which Sonic 3 & Knuckles was rereleased in over 11 years, featuring music from the Sonic 3 prototype.

2022's Sonic Origins marks the first rerelease of Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles (as Sonic 3 & Knuckles) since 2011's emulated rerelease on Steam, presented as a faithful remake with added flourishes and features, picking up on Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley's pitch to recreate the game as they did Sonic CD, Sonic 1, and Sonic 2. The Sonic 3 portion of the remake features all the original music themes from the game that were replaced by the Sonic & Knuckles equivalents in the Mega Drive version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, with the exception of Knuckles' theme. Most notably, Sonic Origins features the compositions previously exclusive to Sonic & Knuckles Collection and the aforementioned Sonic 3 prototype, replacing the equivalent songs thought to be composed by Michael Jackson's team; these songs more closely resemble the Sonic & Knuckles Collection iterations, although with Mega Drive instrumentation. Sonic social media manager Katie Chrzanowski stated the following in episode 3 of the sixth season of the Sonic Official livestream: "While unfortunately we can’t use all the original sounds from the Sega Genesis version of the game, Jun Senoue has been working really hard to adapt the original music that was composed in 1993 for Sonic Origins, [...] going so far as reproducing it, with the same sound chip from the Sega Genesis, and using his own digital audio tape collection to make this as faithful to the originals as possible." Sonic Origins also includes a brand new composition for Super Sonic, featuring a different instrumentation to every other song in the game.

Track list

This is a work-in-progress list to identify the sound team and composer(s) behind each track in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Of particular interest is whether said tracks have made reappearances in future Sonic games, indicating they are likely owned by Sega and do not present copyright complications.

Curiously, while most compositions believed to be credited to Michael Jackson and his sound team are expectedly absent from future Sonic media, the 1999 Neo Geo Pocket Color game Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure features Knuckles' theme from the standalone Mega Drive version of Sonic 3. As the legal status of these compositions is believed to be unknown, even to Sega themselves, and Pocket Adventure was developed by an outside company, it is thought its inclusion was a simple licensing mistake.

Zone themes


Angel Island Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Angelisland.png
01
ALL
Sega
???
02
ALL
Sega
???
When arranged for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, credit is given solely to Jun Senoue (later debunked by Senoue himself). It was speculated that Tomonori Sawada is the Zone's composer, but confirmed in a 2015 SoundCloud message that he only composed Sonic the Hedgehog 3's title screen theme and some additional jingles.
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Act 1 & 2), Sonic Generations (Act 1), Sonic Mania (Act 1, first 15 seconds only), Sonic Mania Plus (Act 1), Sonic Mania Adventures (Act 1 & 2), True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog (Act 1 & 2), and Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Act 1 & 2).


Hydrocity Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
HydrocityAct1.png
03
ALL
Sega
???
04
ALL
Opus
Masayuki Nagao (Arrangement)[16]
The online discography for Cirocco Jones (credited as 'Scirocco' in Sonic 3) contains a listing for two pieces of untitled music from the game. Labelled "levels 2 & 3", and crediting to tracks to Michael Jackson for "Sonic The Hedgehog"[13], it is speculated this numbering refers to either a prototype Zone order or the internal production order of the compositions themselves. Jones also lists a track titled "The Water", but does not clarify if this is a third track or a title for one of the aforementioned two.
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Act 1 & 2), Sonic Generations (Act 1), and Sonic Mania (Act 1 & 2).


Marble Garden Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Marblegarden.png
05
ALL
Cube
Miyoko Takaoka (Composer)[17]
06
ALL
Cube
Miyoko Takaoka (Composer)
In 2014, Miyoko Takaoka revealed during fan correspondence that she composed the music for Marble Garden Zone and the game's bonus stage.[17] However, after being shown the bonus stage music in the final game, she did not recognize it as hers, believing her original composition may have gone unused. While she did not comment on Marble Garden Zone, fans familiar with her work claim the final theme does not sound like Takaoka's style. During a 2020 Sonic Live event, Takaoka was credited for the song x being used as background music.[18]
Reappears in Sonic Generations (Act 1).


Carnival Night Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Carnivalnight.png
07
S3 Proto, PC, Origins
Sega
???
S3
M.J.
???
08
S3 Proto, PC, Origins
Opus
Masayuki Nagao (Arrangement)
S3
M.J.
???
Both Acts of the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version are directly inspired by the 1991 Michael Jackson song "Jam", most notably in the use of a horn-based "downwards fall". The final note in this sequence is accompanied by a distorted "crashing glass" sample taken directly from the song "Jam". The relatively-poor fidelity of the sample's playback supports Brad Buxer's 2009 claim that Michael Jackson left the project from dissatisfaction over the Mega Drive's sound quality. Identical notes between the two songs are highlighted in red:
Michael Jackson Jam and Carnival Night Zone comparison.png
Both acts also contain rhythms inspired by "Entry of the Gladiators" by Julius Fučík, a public domain piece commonly associated with circuses.
Does not reappear in future media.


Flying Battery Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
FlyingBatteryAct1.png
09
ALL
Sega
???
0A
ALL
Sega
???
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Act 2), Sonic Generations (Act 1), Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Act 1), Sonic Mania (Act 1 & 2), and Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Act 1 & 2).


IceCap Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Icecap.png
0B
S3 Proto, PC, Origins
Sega
???
S3
M.J.
Brad Buxer (Composer)
0C
S3 Proto, PC, Origins
Sega
???
S3
M.J.
Brad Buxer (Composer)
The Sonic 3 version is directly based on the song "Hard Times", an unreleased 1982 new wave single by Brad Buxer's band The Jetzons[19], which went unheard by the general public until its inclusion on the 2008 compilation album The Complete Jetzons.[20]. While Jackson was not involved with the song, a section of the artist's famous "Smooth Criminal" shares chord structures with Act 1. While these specific chords were somewhat common in contemporary R&B music (even appearing in Jackson's later "Who Is It"), the familiarity of "Smooth Criminal" and interest in Jackson's involvement resulted in long-standing community speculation that Ice Cap Zone was one of Michael Jackson's uncredited compositions.
The prototype Sonic 3 version is speculated to have been composed by Tomonori Sawada, due to distinct similarities between it and Crystal Egg Zone's theme from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit).
Does not reappear in future media.


Launch Base Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Launchbase.png
0D
S3 Proto, PC, Origins
Sega
???
S3
M.J.
???
0E
S3 Proto, PC, Origins
Sega
???
S3
M.J.
???
The Sonic 3 version is speculated to have been composed by Michael Jackson and his sound team.
Does not reappear in future media.


Mushroom Hill Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
MushroomHillAct1.png
0F
ALL
Sega
???
10
ALL
Sega
???
Interestingly, the backing drums of Act 1 strongly resemble the beat of the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version of Knuckles' Theme[21].
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Act 1), Sonic Generations (Act 1 & 2), and Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Act 1).


Sandopolis Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sandopolis.png
11
ALL
Sega
???
12
ALL
Sega
???
A Howard Drossin composition bearing the same name was included in the 1996 album Virtual Sonic. However, it is a completely different song from the one which actually appears in Sonic 3.
Reappears in Team Sonic Racing and 'Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3.


Lava Reef Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Lavareef.png
13
ALL
Sega
???
14
ALL
Opus
Masayuki Nagao (Arrangement)
Act 2's theme would later be repurposed for Sonic & Knuckles's Hidden Palace Zone.
Reappears in Sonic Mania (Act 1 & 2) and Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Act 1).

Sky Sanctuary Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Skysanctuary.png
15
ALL
Cube
???, Masaru Setsumaru (Programming)
At first, it was speculated that Tomonori Sawada would be the song's composer. When asked about the track, Sawada and Masaru Setsumaru denied being the song's composers. Furthermore, in a tweet from late 2023, Masaru Setsumaru recalls Sky Sanctuary not being a SEGA in-house composition altogether.[22]
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Act 1), Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (Act 1), Sonic Generations (Act 1), Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Act 1), and Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Act 1).


Death Egg Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
DeathEggAct1.png
16
ALL
Sega
???
17
ALL
Sega
???
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Act 1), Sonic Generations (Act 1), and Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Act 1).

Boss themes


Sub-Boss Theme ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Aizsubboss.png
18
S3 Proto, S&K, PC, Origins
Sega
???
2E
S3
M.J.
Brad Buxer (Composer)
The Sonic 3 version is derived from the original version of "Knuckles' Theme" from the same game, with Geoff Grace credited as its arranger. It shares a similar chord progression with Michael Jackson's "Is It Scary", recorded one year before the game's release. Notably, "Is It Scary" was intended for use in the 1993 film Addams Family Values, but its inclusion was canceled after contractual issues. Alongside Buxer's reuse of his song "Hard Times" for Ice Cap Zone's theme, this reveals that Jackson's sound team was recycling their past, unreleased material for inclusion in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (likely due to the late nature of their requested involvement).
A bug in Sonic 3 causes the Sonic & Knuckles version of the theme to play. This programming oversight (where the game loads the music at ID 18 instead of 2E) reveals the late nature of Jackson and his sound team's involvement in Sonic 3. The 1993-11-03 prototype seems to support this theory, as it only contains the Sonic & Knuckles version.
The Sonic & Knuckles version reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3, and Virtual Sonic (voice samples).

Boss Theme ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Aizboss.png
19
ALL
Sega
???
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Sonic Drift 2, and Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3.

The Doomsday Zone ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
DoomsdayLevel.PNG
1A
ALL
Sega
???
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Sonic Generations (Nintendo 3DS) (2011 demo)[23], and Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3.

Final Boss Theme (Big Arm) ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
LBZBoss3Tails.png
30
ALL
Sega
???
"Final Boss Theme" is notably high on Sonic 3's internal track listing, suggesting it was a later addition to the project. It is also present in the October 1993 prototype, indicating it may have been created after it was decided to split the game in two.
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Sonic Generations (Nintendo 3DS), Sonic Mania Adventures, and Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3.

Bonus/Special Stage themes

Bonus Stage (Rolling Jump) ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Magspheres.png
1B
ALL
Sega
???
Reappears in Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3.

Special Stage (Blue Spheres) ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
S3k specialstage.png
1C
ALL
Sega
Yoshiaki Kashima (Composer)[8]
Recycled from the unreleased 1992 Sega System C puzzle game SegaSonic Bros..
Reappears in J.League Pro Striker (1993 prototype), Sonic Mania, Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3, Sonic the Hedgehog 10th Anniversary, and announcements for Sonic the Hedgehog's official Minecraft DLC[24] and texture pack[25].

Bonus Stage (Slot Machine) ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic&Knuckles MD BonusSlotMachine.png
1D
ALL
Sega
Jun Senoue (Composer & Arrangement)
The lead programmer of Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island, Jon Burton, credits the composition to Jun Senoue.
Reappears in Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island (825 prototype), Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, and Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3.

Bonus Stage (Gumball Machine) ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Bubblegum.png
1E
ALL
Sega
Jun Senoue (Composer)[9]
Confirmed through an interview with Jun Senoue.
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

Competition themes

Azure Lake ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Azure Lake Zone.png
20
ALL
Sega
???
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

Balloon Park ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Balloonpark.png
21
ALL
Sega
Jun Senoue (Composer)[26]
Composition credit shared with Sega Sound Team on Sonic Generations Original Soundtrack: Blue Blur and Sonic Generations Official Soundtrack (Vol. 2).
Reappears in Sonic Generations.

Desert Palace ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Desertpalace.png
22
ALL
Sega
???
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

Chrome Gadget ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Chromegadget.png
23
ALL
Sega
???
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

Endless Mine ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Endlessmine.png
24
ALL
Sega
???
Sonic Generations Original Soundtrack: Blue Blur solely credits the composition to Jun Senoue.
The melody bears similarities to "Escape from the City" from Sonic Adventure 2, composed by Jun Senoue. However, Senoue himself denied a connection between the two[27]. Regardless, his band Cash Cash incorporated Endless Mine Zone's melody in their Act 1 arrangement of "Escape from the City" for Sonic Generations.
Reappears in Sonic Generations (melody).

Other themes & jingles

Knuckles' Theme ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 MD AIZ1 Knuckles1.png
1F
S3 Proto, PC
Sega
???
S3
M.J.
Brad Buxer (Composer)
S&K, PC, Origins
Sega
Howard Drossin (Composer), Masaru Setsumaru (Programming)
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 prototype and Sonic & Knuckles Collection version were composed by an unknown composer, likely in-house at Sega. Curiously, this version is the only track from Sonic 3 to be excluded from Sonic Origins.
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version was almost certainly co-composed by Brad Buxer and Michael Jackson; notably, it includes a 4-bar swinging hip hop beat previously featured in "Blood on the Dance Floor", a single by Jackson (with drum programming credited to Buxer) recorded three years earlier. Interestingly, the backing drums of Mushroom Hill Zone Act 1 strongly resemble the beat of this version[28]. This track reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.
The Sonic & Knuckles version was composed by Howard Drossin, and reappears in Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Virtual Sonic.

Title Screen ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 title.png
25
S3C, S3, PC, Origins
Sega / Opus
Tomonori Sawada (Composer)[29]
S&K, PC
Sega
Howard Drossin (Composer)[30], Masaru Setsumaru (Programming)
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version was composed by Tomonori Sawada (as revealed in 2015 fan correspondence[29]). It reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.
The Sonic & Knuckles version was composed by Howard Drossin, and reappears in Sonic & Knuckles • Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Virtual Sonic.

Staff Roll ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 MD CreditsStart.png
26
S3 Proto, PC, Origins
Sega
???
S3
M.J.
Brad Buxer (Composer)
S3C Proto
Various
Various
S&K, PC, Origins
Sega
Various
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 prototype and Sonic & Knuckles Collection version reappears in Sonic Origins.
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version was co-composed by Michael Jackson and Brad Buxer, and was notably used as the basis for Jackson's 1995 song "Stranger In Moscow" (as confirmed by Buxer in his 2009 and 2019 interviews.[4][31] Recorded just a few months after Jackson departed the project, Buxer utilized the same chord progression and synth/strings sections of "Staff Roll".
The Sonic & Knuckles version reappears in Sonic Origins.

Game Over ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 MD GameOver.png
27
ALL
Sega
Jun Senoue (Composer & Arrangement)
The Mega Drive version of Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island credits composition to Jun Senoue.[32]
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Sonic Generations, Sonic Mania, and Super Mario Maker.

2-Player Results (Competition) ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
S3 2player.png
28
ALL
Sega
Jun Senoue (Composer & Arrangement)
The Mega Drive version of Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island credits composition to Jun Senoue.[32]
Reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

Act Clear ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
SonicCanMoveDuringScoreTally.png
29
ALL
Sega
Jun Senoue (Composer & Arrangement)
The Mega Drive version of Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island credits composition to Jun Senoue.[32]
Reappears in various future media.

Extra Life ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 MD ExtraLife.png
2A
S3 Proto, S3, PC, Origins
Sega / Opus
Tomonori Sawada (Composer)
S&K, PC, Origins
Sega
Howard Drossin (Composer), Masaru Setsumaru (Programming & Arrangement)
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version is based off the title screen theme, and is likely one of the jingles Tomonori Sawada referred to composing. It was later rearranged by Masayuki Nagao for 1995's Sonic Drift 2, and makes reappearances in Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Sonic Mania, and a 2012 Progressive Insurance commercial starring Sonic the Hedgehog.[33]
The Sonic & Knuckles version is based off the title screen theme, and is likely composed by Howard Drossin. It later reappeared in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure and Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version is used for Sonic Origins except for Classic Mode, where the Sonic & Knuckles version plays instead. This determines what version is used in Blue Sphere and New Blue Spheres, except for when played standalone from the main menu, in which Blue Sphere is in Classic Mode yet both use the Sonic & Knuckles version.

Chaos Emerald ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 MD ChaosEmerald.png
2B
ALL
Sega
Yukifumi Makino (Composer & Arrangement)
Used as early as the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
Reappears in various future media.

Invincibility Theme ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
S3Invincibility.PNG
2C
S3 Proto, S3, PC
Sega / Opus
Tomonori Sawada (Composer)
S&K, PC, Origins
Sega
Howard Drossin (Composer), Masaru Setsumaru (Programming)
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version is based off the title screen theme, and is likely one of the jingles Tomonori Sawada referred to composing. It later reappeared in 1995's Sonic Drift 2 (which attributes sound to Masayuki Nagao & Saori Kobayashi) and a 2012 Progressive Insurance commercial starring Sonic the Hedgehog.[33]
The Sonic & Knuckles version is based off the title screen theme, and is likely composed by Howard Drossin. It later reappeared in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

Competition Screen ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
S3competitionscreen.png
2D
S3 Proto, PC, Origins
Sega
???
S3
M.J.
???
The Mega Drive version is speculated to be composed by Jackson's sound team. If true, it would be their only contribution to forgo the use of sampled drums. Additionally, the 2001 Michael Jackson single "You Rock My World" shares similar chords with the theme, with further speculation that Jackson based the single on his Sonic 3 work (in a similar manner to "Stranger in Moscow").
Does not reappear in future media.

Unused Theme ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Notavailable.svg
2E
S3 Proto, PC, Origins
Sega
???
Replaced with the sub-boss theme in the Mega Drive release.
Reappears in Sonic Origins.

Data Select ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 MD DataSelect.png
2F
ALL
Sega
Masaru Setsumaru (Programming & Arrangement)
The theme's arrangement in 1997's Sonic Jam is credited to Masaru Setsumaru and Kenichi Tokoi. However, Setsumaru later confirmed he was not the composer (and did not know who was), and Tokoi joined Sega two years after Sonic 3's release, leaving the actual composer unknown.
Reappears in Sonic Jam, Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Sonic Gems Collection, Sonic Generations, and True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Drowning Countdown ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 MD DrowningCountdown.png
31
ALL
Sega
Yukifumi Makino (Composer & Arrangement)
Used as early as the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
Reappears in various future media.

All Clear ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 MD Ending Sonic.png
32
S3, PC
Sega / Opus
Tomonori Sawada (Composer)
S&K, Origins
Sega
Howard Drossin (Composer), Masaru Setsumaru (Programming)
The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 version reappears in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, and the Sonic & Knuckles version reappears in Sonic Origins.

Super Sonic ID Version(s) Team Credit(s)
Sonic3 MD IceCapAct1Tunnel.png

Origins
Sega
Howard Drossin (Composer), Jun Senoue (Arrangement)
A remix of the Sonic & Knuckles theme created for Sonic Origins, replacing the Invincibility theme upon activating Super Sonic.

Audio samples

Download.svg Download Sonic 3 Samples (WAV Format)
File: S3sampswav.rar (125 kB) (info)
The DAC audio samples located within the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 ROM (
Sonic Retro
originally extracted by Stealth
) are listed here as part of an ongoing project to locate where they came from.
Sonic Retro
Discussion Thread
.
DAC Audio Samples List ID Type Source Description / Usage
81 Drum Snare
82 Drum Same as 83, 84, 85 Tom
83 Drum Same as 82, 84, 85 Tom
84 Drum Same as 82, 83, 85 Tom
85 Drum Same as 82, 83, 84 Tom
86 Drum Kick
87 Drum Snare
88 Drum Kick + Cymbal
89 Drum HiHat
8A SFX Same as 8B Hit (Metal)
8B SFX Same as 8A Hit (Metal)
8C SFX Pop, Click
8D Drum Same as 8E
8E Drum Same as 8D
8F Clap
90 Drum Same as 91, 92, 93 E.Tom
91 Drum Same as 90, 92, 93 E.Tom
92 Drum Same as 90, 91, 93 E.Tom
93 Drum Same as 90, 91, 92 E.Tom
94 Drum Same as 95, 96, 97 E.Snare
95 Drum Same as 94, 96, 97 E.Snare
96 Drum Same as 94, 95, 97 E.Snare
97 Drum Same as 94, 95, 96 E.Snare
98 Drum Same as 99, 9A Timpani
99 Drum Same as 98, 9A Timpani
9A Drum Same as 98, 99 Timpani
9B Drum Snare
9C SFX Shaker
9D SFX Kick (Distorted)
9E SFX Hit
9F Sample (Original) Michael Jackson: "Jam" "Jam!" long (Played at 13.5kHz) / Carnival Night Zone
A0 Sample (Original) Michael Jackson: "Jam" "Jam!" short (Played at 13.5kHz) / Carnival Night Zone
A1 Sample (Original) Michael Jackson: "In The Closet" ([1]) Glass Break 1 / Carnival Night Zone
A2 Sample (Original) Michael Jackson: "In The Closet" ([2]) Glass Break 2 / Carnival Night Zone, Launch Base Zone
A3 SFX Hit
A4 Drum Kick (Muted)
A5 Sample (Sample Pack) Norman Cook: "Skip To My Loops" (Track 64) "Come On!" / Sub-Boss Theme (S3)
A6 Drum E.Snare
A7 Drum Kick (Vintage)
A8 Drum Kick (Processed)
A9 Sample (Sample Pack) Norman Cook: "Skip To My Loops" (Track 64) "Woo!", "HUH" / Sub-Boss Theme (S3)
AA Sample (Sample Pack) Run-DMC: "Peter Piper" (1:56) "Go!" / Launch Base Zone
AB Sample (Edited Sample Pack) Same as AA sample with snare drum added "Go!" + Snare / Launch Base Zone
AC Drum Kick (Processed)
AD Percussion Same as AE Hit (Wooden)
AE Percussion Same as AD Hit (Wooden)
AF Percussion Same as B0 Hit (Metal)
B0 Percussion Same as AF Hit (Metal)
B1 SFX Sci-Fi Sound
B2 Clap Same as B3 / Knuckles' Theme (S3)
B3 Clap Same as B2 / Knuckles' Theme (S3)
B4 Sample Same as C1, C2, C3, C4 Chord Stab
B5 Sample Chord Stab
B6 Sample (Original) James Brown: "Say It Loud, I'm Black & I'm Proud" ([3]) "Yeah", "Hey" + Kick / Knuckles' Theme (S3), Sub-Boss Theme (S3)
B7 Drum Kick
B8 Sample Same as B9 Chord Stab
B9 Sample Same as B8 Chord Stab
BA SFX Cymbal (Reversed)
BB SFX Record Scratch
BC Sample Chord Stab
BD Drum Kick
BE Sample (Edited Sample Pack) Same as A9 plus glass break added "Woo!" + Glass Break / Sub-Boss Theme (S3)
BF SFX Click
C0 Sample (Original [?]) Breath
C1 Sample Same as B4, C2, C3, C4 Chord Stab
C2 Sample Same as B4, C1, C3, C4 Chord Stab
C3 Sample Same as B4, C1, C2, C4 Chord Stab
C4 Sample Same as B4, C1, C2, C3 Chord Stab
XX Sample Similar to BC Chord Stab

Staff list

Name Group Role Description Statement(s)
Tokuhiko Uwabo Sega Sound Team Sound Director Tokuhiko "Bo" Uwabo is a composer and Sega Sound Team member responsible for managing the game's sound development, which entailed assigning Sega staff to production work and contracting outside composers; he confirms he did not compose for the soundtrack itself.[7] 20xx fan correspondence
Sachio Ogawa Sega Sound Team Sachio Ogawa is a composer and Sega Sound Team member.
Yoshiaki Kashima Sega Sound Team Sound Programmer, Sound Designer, Sound Driver Programming Yoshiaki Kashima is a sound programmer and sound designer with Sega Sound Team, tasked with creating Sonic the Hedgehog 3's music driver entirely by himself.[15] Milpo Interview by LOst (July 23, 2001)
Masaru Setsumaru Sega Sound Team Sound Programmer, Sound Designer, Arranger Masaru Setsumaru is a sound programmer and Sega Sound Team member. He is one of few Sega of Japan employees to confirm Jackson's involvement in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. 20xx fan correspondence, 2015 fan correspondence
Tatsuyuki Maeda Sega Sound Team Tatsuyuki Maeda is a composer and Sega Sound Team member.
Tomonori Sawada Sega Sound Team Composer Tomonori Sawada is a composer and Sega Sound Team member. 20xx fan correspondence
Masayuki Nagao Sega Sound Team Sound Programmer, Sound Designer, Arranger Masayuki Nagao is a sound programmer and arranger with Sega Sound Team. As Nagao was preparing to migrate to a new job at Opus, he is credited to said company instead.
Jun Senoue Sega Sound Team Composer Jun Senoue is a composer and Sega Sound Team member. He is one of few Sega of Japan employees to confirm Jackson's involvement in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Jun Senoue interview by LOst (June 2002), Jun Senoue interview by Nintendo Power (2010)
Miyoko Takaoka Cube Composer Miyoko Takaoka is a composer. She is credited to Cube, the sound production company she was contracted through.[15] Between her and fellow Cube composer Masanori Hikichi, they created a total of eight tracks for the project.[34] 2014 Twitter post
Masanori Hikichi Cube Composer Masanori Hikichi is a composer. He is credited to Cube, the sound production company he was contracted through.[15] Between him and fellow Cube composer Miyoko Takaoka, they created a total of eight tracks for the project.[34]
Masanori Nakayama Studio Who Masanori Nakayama served an unknown role in the soundtrack's production. He receives a Sound Special Thanks in Sonic 3's credits.
Michael Jackson Jackson's sound team Composer Michael Jackson was an American pop music artist who became involved in the composition of Sonic the Hedgehog 3's soundtrack relatively late in development, bringing a number of members of his personal sound team to the project.
Brad Buxer Jackson's sound team Composer, Arranger Brad Buxer is a composer and one of Michael Jackson's closest professional collaborators at the time. He is one of three members of Jackson's sound team to confirm the artist's involvement in the project through the 2016 Huffington Post article.[6] Brad Buxer Interview (Black & White, November/December 2009), 2016 Huffington Post article, 2019 MJCast episode
Robert Green "Bobby" Brooks Jackson's sound team Bobby Brooks is an audio engineer and long-time collaborator of Michael Jackson and his siblings.
Darryl Ross Jackson's sound team Darryl Ross is an audio engineer and Michael Jackson collaborator.
Geoff Grace Jackson's sound team Arranger Geoff Grace is a composer and Michael Jackson collaborator.
Doug Grigsby III Jackson's sound team Doug Grigsby III is a producer and long-time Michael Jackson collaborator. He is one of three members of Jackson's sound team to confirm the artist's involvement in the project through the 2016 Huffington Post article.[6] 2016 Huffington Post article
C. Cirocco "Scirocco" Jones Jackson's sound team Sound Programmer, Arranger, Composer C. Cirocco Jones is a producer and Michael Jackson collaborator. He is one of three members of Jackson's sound team to confirm the artist's involvement in the project through the 2016 Huffington Post article.[6] Online discography (Wayback Machine), 20xx fan correspondence, 2016 Huffington Post article
Mayumi Nina Sakazaki Jackson's sound team Coordinator Mayumi Nina Sakazaki ("MRM") was Michael Jackson's long-time Japanese coordinator, personally responsible for assisting the artist while working in the country. She is given a special thanks in Sonic 3's credits.
Hisaki Nimiya Sega of Japan Coordinator Hisaki Nimiya is a coordinator and translator with Sega of Japan which assisted Sega Sound Team during their work with Michael Jackson.
Hisashi Suzuki Sega of Japan Director Hisashi Suzuki is a veteran Sega of Japan executive, director, and engineer, and the Sega representative who worked most closely with Michael Jackson during his past collaborations with the company. Suzuki was Jackson's primary point of contact for Sega, and the two reputedly developed a close friendship over the years.
Howard Drossin Sega Technical Institute Composer, Arranger Howard Drossin is Sega Technical Institute's in-house composer. He recalls being called into the project at the last minute to create several jingles for Sonic 3, most of which would go unused until the release of Sonic & Knuckles. He receives a Sound Special Thanks in Sonic 3's credits. Howard Drossin interview by SageXPO (August 2008)
Roger Hector Sega Technical Institute General Manager Roger Hector was Sega Technical Institute's General Manager, and while not directly involved in sound production, was responsible for some important decisions relating to Michael Jackson's involvement with Sonic 3. Hector states that he was the one officially responsible for both hiring and firing Jackson, and for assigning Howard Drossin to replace the offending music. Hector was the first person within Sega to bring the artist's involvement to light, and is the source of the claim that Jackson was fired over his 1993 sexual abuse allegations. Roger Hector interview by hxc (August 2005), Roger Hector interview by Games™ (2007)
Shigeaki Irie
Masaaki Nishizawa Goro Takahashi
Unlimited Sound Project Sound Programmer, Arranger Credited in the 1997 Windows PC port of Sonic 3. They were tasked with porting over the music from the Genesis to the MIDI format. Unlimited Sound Project's portfolio

Interviews

External links

References

  1. The Story of Sonic Team – 1997 Developer Interview
  2. The Cutting Room Floor: Proto:Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 M Sakazaki (2010). Memories of Michael Jackson
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Brad Buxer Interview (Black & White, November/December 2009)
  5. 5.0 5.1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W06T6whrqQs
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 https://testkitchen.huffingtonpost.com/michaeljacksonsonic/
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 [
    Sonic Retro
    Sonic Retro forum thread: Stuff I've gotten from the Sonic 3 music team; post #662546 by Dissident93
    Sonic Retro
    Sonic Retro forum thread: Stuff I've gotten from the Sonic 3 music team; post #662546 by Dissident93
    ]
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Milpo Interview by LOst (July 23, 2001)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Jun Senoue interview by LOst (June 2002)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Howard Drossin interview by SageXPO (August 2008)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Roger Hector interview by hxc (August 2005)
  12. 12.0 12.1 File:Makingofs3kpg4.jpg
  13. 13.0 13.1 Cirocco Jones' website (Wayback Machine: 2004-09-23 21:36)
  14. https://vgmdb.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3511
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 [
    Sonic Retro
    Sonic Retro forum thread: New info on MJ involvement?; post #764635 by Dissident93
    Sonic Retro
    Sonic Retro forum thread: New info on MJ involvement?; post #764635 by Dissident93
    ]
  16. Masayuki Nagao#Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  17. 17.0 17.1 @soundforest1 on Twitter (Wayback Machine: 2019-11-18 14:01)
  18. https://youtu.be/QdU6AvbGyHg?t=1663
  19. Even more Sonic 3 music details emerge
  20. Fervor Records at Center of Sonic The Hedgehog / Michael Jackson Musical Mystery
  21. https://twitter.com/CubieJudy/status/1579695318278770688
  22. https://x.com/MasaruSetsumaru/status/1734225941998805322
  23. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcXWMurAdls
  24. Sonic x Minecraft DLC: Official Trailer on YouTube
  25. GET READY FOR TRAILS AND TALES! | MINECRAFT MONTHLY on YouTube
  26. SONIC GENERATIONS ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK BLUE BLUR on VGMdb
  27. Jun Senoue answering a fan's question on Twitter
  28. https://twitter.com/CubieJudy/status/1579695318278770688
  29. 29.0 29.1 Screenshot showing the messages between Tomonori Sawada and a fan
  30. Sonic the Hedgehog 3/Development/Music#Howard_Drossin
  31. https://youtu.be/W06T6whrqQs?t=2764
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 [
    Sonic Retro
    Sonic Retro forum thread: The "Sonic The Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles" Quest for Music Composer Research; post #951242 by ICEknight
    Sonic Retro
    Sonic Retro forum thread: The "Sonic The Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles" Quest for Music Composer Research; post #951242 by ICEknight
    ]
  33. 33.0 33.1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQXthR_16lA
  34. 34.0 34.1 Cube's old list of works (Wayback Machine: 2004-04-03 19:31)


Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Sonic3 title.png

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