"'''You Can't Win'" is an R&B, pop and soul song performed by American recording artist Michael Jackson, who played Scarecrow in the 1978 musical film The Wiz'',Jones (2002), pp. 229-259 an urbanized retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.Brooks, p. 30 The movie featured an entirely African American cast and was based on the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz.
After the original soundtrack version was recorded, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones went back into the studio and re-recorded the track. It was the re-recording that was released in January 1979 as the second single from The Wiz: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, following the release of "Ease On Down the Road" in 1978, and was Michael's first solo chart single on Epic Records. The 7" version included "You Can't Win, parts 1 & 2". The full length version was released on 12" and was included on The Ultimate Collection in 2004.
The single only charted in the United States, where it reached number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 42 on the R&B singles chart. Since its release, the song has been well received by music critics. The song has been performed by contemporary singers such as Jill Scott and Charles Grigsby.
In 1982, part 2 of the song, in which Michael Jackson repeatedly sings "Can't get outta the game", was dusted off, given a couple of vocal overdubs, was renamed "Can't Get Outta the Rain" and became the B-side of the first single of his landmark album Thriller: "The Girl Is Mine".
- Category: 1978 songs
- Category: 1979 singles
- Category: Michael Jackson songs
- Category: Song recordings produced by Quincy Jones
- Category: Songs from films
- Category: Songs written by Charlie Smalls
- album: The Wiz (soundtrack)
- genre: Disco
- musicalArtist: Michael Jackson
- musicalBand: Michael Jackson
- performer: Michael Jackson
- previousWork: Ease on Down the Road
- producer: Quincy Jones
- record label: Epic Records
- recordLabel: Epic Records
- recordedIn: 1977 in music
- releaseDate: 19790111
- subsequentWork: A Brand New Day (The Wiz song)
- writer: Charlie Smalls