Video 1983) Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 June 25, 2009) The short film for Jackson's "Billie Jean" is considered the video that brought MTV, a relatively unknown music channel, into mainstream attention. It was the first video by a black...

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Michael Jackson - Billie Jean



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1983) Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 June 25, 2009) The short film for Jackson's "Billie Jean" is considered the video that brought MTV, a relatively unknown music channel, into mainstream attention. It was the first video by a black artist to be aired by the channel, as they felt black music wasn't "rock" enough. Directed by Steve Barron, the video shows a paparazzo following Jackson. The paparazzo never catches the singer, and when photographed Jackson fails to materialise on the developed picture. Dancing his way to Billie Jean's hotel room, Jackson walks along a sidewalk, each tile lighting up at his touch. Performing a quick spin, Jackson jumps and lands, freeze framed, on his toes. Upon arriving at the hotel, Jackson climbs the staircase to Billie Jean's room. Each step lights up as he touches it and a burnt out "Hotel" sign illuminates as he passes. Arriving at the scene, the paparazzo watches as Jackson disappears under the covers of Billie Jean's bed. Trailed by the police, the paparazzo is then arrested for spying on the couple. Jackson sported a new look for the video; Jheri curled hair and a surgically sculpted nose. Jackson's look, a black leather suit with a pink shirt and bow tie, was copied by children around the US. Imitation became so severe that despite pupil protests Bound Brook High School banned students from wearing a single white glove like Jackson had on Motown Walter Yetnikoff, the president of Jackson's record label, CBS, approached MTV to play the "Billie Jean" video. Yetnikoff became enraged when MTV refused to play the video, and threatened to go public with MTV's stance on black musicians. "I said to MTV, Im pulling everything we have off the air, all our product. Im not going to give you any more videos. And Im going to go public and fucking tell them about the fact you dont want to play music by a black guy." MTV relented and played the "Billie Jean" video in heavy rotation. With the airing of the video, Thriller went on to sell an additional 10 million copies. The short film earned Jackson the Billboard Video Award for Best Overall Video and he was inducted into the Music Video Producers Hall of Fame in 1992. In a 2005 poll, the music video was ranked as the fifth greatest music video ever. The poll was of 31 pop stars, video directors, agents and journalists, including Natasha Bedingfield, Björk, Fatboy Slim, Avril Lavigne and Amy Winehouse. Thriller ranked at number two, behind Johnny Cash's "Hurt". The video was also ranked as the 35th greatest music video in a list compiled by MTV and TV Guide at the millennium. ____________________________ "Billie Jean" is a dance-pop R&B song by 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 numerous disagreements. The song's lyrics refer to a real-life experience, in which a mentally ill 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, "Billie Jean" sealed Jackson's status as an international pop icon.

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