Billboard #1 Hits: #530: ‘Billie Jean’- Michael Jackson. March 5, 1983. #1 for 7 weeks in Billboard Hot 100.
- Single:’Billie Jean’- Michael Jackson
- Record Company-Epic
- Genre: R&B, Dance -Pop
- Written by Michael Jackson
- Time: 4:54
- B-side:’Can’t Get Outta The Rain’
- Album- Thriller
- Grade: A+
- Peaked at #1 7 weeks in Billboard Hot 100. #1 in UK Singles Chart, #1 in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.
Easily my favorite Michael Jackson song ever- nearly 40 years later and after having listened to it hundreds of times it still sounds great. This was the second single from Thriller. It has always been kind of a head shaker to a lot of people why the rather lame ‘This Girl Is Mine’- the weakest song on Thriller was released as the first single.
The moment that Thriller really exploded was when Michael performed it at the television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever- where he introduced the moonwalk.
The song is driven by the bassline played by Louis Johnson- of The Brothers Johnson which makes the song unforgettable.
Producer Quincy Jones wanted the song title change to ‘Not My Lover’- because he thought the title would be confused with tennis star Billie Jean King- but Michael won out as it was of course called “Billie Jean.’
This song is about a girl who claimed Jackson was the father of her child. Jackson based it on a woman who used to stalk him, writing him letters about a son she thought was his. Jackson rarely spoke about this woman, but he had a very hard time dealing with this unwanted attention and became more reclusive as a result. The song was his way of expressing his feelings without addressing her directly.
While Jackson didn’t give many details about the real Billie Jean, his producer Quincy Jones said that Jackson found the woman one day lounging by his pool with a bathing suit and sunglasses on. According to Jones, she accused Jackson of being the father of one of her twins, which Jones thought was pretty funny.