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#ThrowbackThursday: “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” Album Cover

by Sean Smith

Late last week the interwebs were buzzing with the “news” that a DNA test had all but confirmed that a 31-year-old aspiring singer was in fact the son of the late great Michael Jackson. However, this sensational claim was soon proved to be false after a bit of digging into the story was done by TMZ. Now I’m not going to mention the aspiring musician by name, or the website that served as the platform for the claim, because to me it seems to have been little more than a ill-conceived publicity stunt in an effort to drum up some name recognition and get a lot of clicks onto a website. If you’re interested in learning more about the specifics you can click on the links to read more about it, but I don’t think the perpetrators behind this stunt should get any more attention than they already have. Furthermore,  I will say that I find it beyond shameful for someone to lie about and use the memory of a dead legend to try and further one’s own selfish ambitions.

With that being said, I am a huge fan of Michael Jackson’s music and I will now gladly use this shameful story as an excuse to remember a great song from one of the most legendary musicians of all-time. This aspiring singer, which again will remain nameless, is supposedly 31 years of age which would mean he was born around the time of the release of Michael Jackson’s classic album Thriller which to this day is the best selling album of all-time. And I’m sure it wasn’t lost on those that put together this false story that the second single released from that album was a hit that delves into the subject of fatherhood claims. “Billie Jean” was written by Jackson himself and though many have questioned whether the song was about a particular woman, Jackson himself stated multiple times in interviews that he came up with the premise of the song through witnessing his brothers’ experiences with groupies while touring with the Jackson 5. Regardless of where the true inspiration for the song came from, once it was released as the second single off of Thriller the fans embraced it. The single would go on to reach the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as numerous other charts around the globe.

“Billie Jean” is remembered as much for Jackson’s performances of the hit as much as it is for it’s catchy bassline and  self-harmonizing.  It was during his performance of this song during the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. concert that he first publicly debuted his now legendary moonwalk. It was also during that performance that he started to wear the iconic one glove while performing. It was in the video for “Billie Jean” that Jackson first showed off his 1980’s jheri curl hairstyle. The video is also largely credited for helping to break the  color barrier on the newly created MTV. The video for “Billie Jean” was one of the first video’s by an African-American to get heavy airplay on the channel.

As I said at the start, I find it shameful that a person would claim to be the son of a dead famous person just to garner some attention and further their own aspirations. Rather than to give light to this person and their false accusation, we will instead use this negative story and turn it into a positive by remembering a classic song by a legendary performer. This week we remember Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” from his iconic 1982 album Thriller. Enjoy!

Michael Jackson 

“Billie Jean”

From Thriller

Epic Records

Michael Jackson And The Jackson 5
Full Motown 25 Performance 
From Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever
Motown Productions/NBC

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