Michael Jackson releases "Billie Jean"
"Billie Jean" is a dance-pop R&B song by late American recording artist Michael Jackson.
It was written by Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones for the singer's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). Originally disliked by Jones, the track was almost removed from the album after he and Jackson had a disagreement. The song's lyrics refer to a real-life experience, in which a mentally insane female fan claimed that Jackson fathered one of her twins. The song is well known for its distinctive bass line and Jackson's vocal hiccups. The song was mixed 91 times by Bruce Swedien before it was finalized.
Following the successful chart performances of Thriller and "The Girl Is Mine", "Billie Jean" was released on January 2, 1983, as the album's second single. "Billie Jean" was a worldwide commercial and critical success; it became one of the best-selling singles of 1983, and topped both the US and UK charts simultaneously. Considered one of the most revolutionary songs in history, "Billie Jean" was certified platinum in 1989.
Honoured numerous times—including two Grammy Awards, one American Music Award and an induction into the Music Video Producers Hall of Fame—the song and corresponding music video propelled Thriller into the best-selling album of all time. The song was promoted with a short film that broke down MTV's racial barrier as the first video by a black artist to be aired by the channel, and an Emmy-nominated performance on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, in which Jackson premiered "the moonwalk." The song was also promoted through Jackson's Pepsi commercials; during the filming of one commercial, Jackson's scalp was severely burned. Covered and sampled by modern artists, including Chris Cornell, "Billie Jean" sealed Jackson's status as an international pop icon.
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Thriller
Released: January 2, 1983
Genre: Dance-pop, R&B, Funk
Label: Epic Records
Writer(s): Michael Jackson
Producer: Quincy Jones