Monday, January 2, 2017
ON THIS DAY.. #MichaelJackson DROPS 'Billie Jean' and the rest is HISTORY! [vid]
Did you know that on this day, January 2, 1982, THE KING OF POP dropped single, 'Billie Jean'!! The song would GO ON to make HISTORY of course!!!
"Billie Jean" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson. It is the second single from the singer's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). It was written and composed by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. There are contradictory claims on the meaning of the song's lyrics. One suggests that they are derived from a real-life experience, in which a female fan claimed that Jackson (or one of his brothers) had fathered one of her twins. However, Michael Jackson stated that "Billie Jean" was based on groupies he had encountered. The song is well known for its distinctive bassline played by Louis Johnson, the standard drum beat heard in the beginning, the repetition of "Billie Jean is not my lover" towards the end of the song and Michael Jackson's vocal hiccups. The song was mixed 91 times by audio engineer Bruce Swedien before it was finalized, though he reportedly went with the second mix as the final product.
"Billie Jean" was the first short film made for 'Thriller,' the biggest-selling album of all time. The short film for this No. 1 single, directed by Steve Barron, made history as the first video by a black artist to receive heavy rotation on MTV, and was later ranked by the network as one of the 100 greatest music videos of all time.
The song became a success; it was one of the best-selling singles of 1983 and is one of the best-selling singles worldwide. The song topped both the US and UK charts simultaneously. In other countries, it topped the charts of Switzerland and reached the top ten in Austria, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. "Billie Jean" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1989. Rolling Stone magazine placed the song in the 58th spot on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Awarded numerous honours—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 helped propel Thriller to the status of 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 in heavy rotation. Also, Jackson's Emmy-nominated performance on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, in which Jackson premiered his "moonwalk", helped to popularize the song. It was additionally promoted through Jackson's Pepsi commercials; during the filming of one commercial, Jackson's scalp was severely burned. Covered by modern artists, "Billie Jean" sealed Jackson's status as an international pop icon.
Michael Jackson wrote "Billie Jean" with his female fans in mind, and later stated that when he wrote the song, he knew it would be a success: "A musician knows hit material. Everything has to feel in place. It fulfills you and it makes you feel good. That's how I felt about 'Billie Jean'. I knew it was going to be big when I was writing it."The singer explained that he was so absorbed by the song that, in one instance, he did not notice that his car had caught fire as he drove down a freeway with a friend until a passing motorcyclist informed him. Jackson noted: "The kid probably saved our lives."
Jackson faced numerous disagreements with the song's co-producer. It has been reported that Quincy Jones did not want the song to appear on Thriller and that he felt that the song was too weak to be part of the collection, but Jones has stated this is a false rumor. The producer disliked the demo and did not care for the song's bassline.]Jones wanted to cut Jackson's 29-second introduction, which was the longest one ever created at the time. The entertainer, however, insisted that it be kept. "I said, 'Michael we've got to cut that intro'" Jones later recalled. "He said: 'But that's the jelly!'[...]'That's what makes me want to dance'. And when Michael Jackson tells you, 'That's what makes me want to dance', well, the rest of us just have to shut up." Jones also wanted to change the track's title to "Not My Lover", as he believed that people would think the song referred to the tennis player Billie Jean King. Jackson refused to change the title and asked Jones to give him co-producing credits for the track, as he felt that the demo tape sounded exactly like the finished product. In addition, Jackson wanted extra royalties. Jones granted neither and the two fell out for several days.
Having resolved their differences, Jones had Jackson sing his vocal overdubs through a six-foot-long cardboard tube. Jackson's entire lead vocal was performed in one take; he had received vocal training every morning throughout the production of the song Jazz saxophonist Tom Scott played the lyricon. Bass guitarist Louis Johnson was then brought in and he played his part on every guitar he owned, before Jackson finally settled for a Yamaha bass. Greg Phillinganes was also drafted in and he played the keyboard. He later said of the song, "'Billie Jean' is hot on every level. It's (sic) hot rhythmically moving action got Michael excited. It's hot sonically, because the instrumentation is so minimal, you can really hear everything. It's hot melodically [...] lyrically [and] vocally. It affects you physically, emotionally, even spiritually."
The song was mixed by Bruce Swedien ninety-one times—unusual for Swedien, who usually mixed a song just once. Jones had told Swedien to create a drum sound that no one had ever heard before. The audio engineer was also told to add a different element: "sonic personality". "What I ended up doing was building a drum platform and designing some special little things, like a bass drum cover and a flat piece of wood that goes between the snare and the hi-hat" Swedien later wrote. "The bottom line is that there aren't many pieces of music where you can hear the first three or four notes of the drums, and immediately tell what the piece of music is." He concluded, "But I think that is the case with 'Billie Jean'—and that I attribute to sonic personality."