Thursday, March 22, 2018

Secret Song Origins: Which Song Almost Didn't Even Appear On 'Thriller'?

It had one of the longest intros in music history.

Its iconic video was almost never played on MTV.

And reportedly, superstar producer Quincy Jones hated it so much it almost never appeared on Thriller.

This is the story behind "Billie Jean."

Why did Jones not want the song to appear on the album? For one, he felt that the intro to the song was just too long. He also hated the song's title. He wanted to call it "Not My Lover" after the song's memorable refrain. But, Michael stood his ground and the version we all know made it on the best selling album of all time. Recalling "Billie Jean," Michael wrote, "I knew it was going to be big while I was writing it."

In his autobiography Moonwalk, Michael recalls the unbelievable moment he created "Billie Jean"—it was while his Rolls-Royce was on fire. In Michael's words:

"One day during a break in a recording session I was riding down the Ventura Freeway with Nelson Hayes, who was working with me at the time. 'Billie Jean' was going around in my head and that's all I was thinking about. We were getting off the freeway when a kid on a motorcycle pulls up to us and says, 'Your car's on fire.' Suddenly we noticed the smoke and pulled over and the whole bottom of the Rolls-Royce was on fire. That kid probably saved our lives. If the car had exploded, we could have been killed. But I was so absorbed by this tune floating in my head that I didn't even focus on the awful possibilities until later."
The song's appeal doesn't just lie in its rhythm and beats, "Billie Jean" also has great lyrics—and their meaning has been debated since fans heard that hook for the very first time. A lot of misunderstanding about the song can be traced to a story first told in a 1991 book that claimed that 'Billie Jean' referred to a fan and would-be stalker that claimed that Michael fathered two of her children. But according to Michael, none of that is true. Rather, the song is about the groupies that would follow Michael and his brothers while they were part of The Jackson 5.

The legacy of "Billie Jean" can still be felt watching its video, which MTV initially refused to play because it featured a black artist. Or watching Michael debut one of the most electrifying and recognizable dance moves of all time—the Moonwalk—during his performance on the TV special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. Or hearing that hook again.

The video for "Billie Jean."


Author: verified_user