"Billie Jean" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It is the second single from the singer's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). It was written and composed by Michael Jackson and produced by him and Quincy Jones. Originally disliked by Jones, the track was almost removed from the album after he and Jackson had disagreements regarding it. There are contradictory claims to what the song's lyrics refer to. One suggests that they are derived from a real-life experience, in which a female fan claimed that Jackson had fathered one of her twins. Jackson himself, however, stated that "Billie Jean" was based on groupies he had encountered. The song is well known for its distinctive bass line and Jackson's vocal hiccups. The song was mixed 91 times by audio engineer Bruce Swedien before it was finalized.
"Billie Jean" became a worldwide commercial and critical success; "Billie Jean" 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, "Billie Jean" topped the charts of Spain and Switzerland, reached the top ten in Austria, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden, and peaked at number 45 in France. Considered to be one of the most revolutionary songs in history, "Billie Jean" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1989. Rolling Stone magazine placed "Billie Jean" in the 58th spot on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time .
Awarded numerous honors—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 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" also helped to popularize the song. The song was also 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.
Read more about Billie Jean: Background, Production, Composition, Release and Reception, Live Performances, Billie Jean 2008, Notable Cover Versions, Other Covers, Remixes and Samplings, Legacy, Personnel