Michael Jackson

Billie Jean

Composed by Michael Jackson

Song Review by

Quincy Jones had objections to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." The veteran composer/arranger/producer thought that the title would be confusing, leading listeners to think that the title referred to pro tennis player Billie Jean King. It was suggested that the title be changed to "Not My Lover." Actually, the song's title character was based on all the women who'd brought maternity suits against Jackson and his brothers when they were known as the Jackson 5. The session list for "Billie Jean" listed drummer Leon "Ndugu" Chancler,Brothers Johnson bassist Louis Johnson,Michael Boddicker on the Emu Emulator sampling keyboard, and synth players Greg Phillinganes, Bill Wolfer, and Greg Smith. Tom Scott blows an interwoven lyricon line throughout the track. As the follow-up to "The Girl Is Mine," the first single from Thriller,"Billie Jean" sold more than two million copies, staying at number one R&B for nine weeks and number one pop for seven weeks in early 1983. Who can forget Jackson's sensational performance of the song during the May 1983 NBC broadcast of the Motown 25 special which boasted the first public showing of his gravity-defying moonwalk dance? Or the song's stylish, trend-setting music video. Ironically around the time of "Billie Jean"'s release,Jackson was slapped with a paternity suit.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Thriller 1982 Epic 4:54
No Image 1985
Various Artists
MGM
No Image 1991 Concorde
Dangerous: The Short Films 1993 Sony Music Distribution
Video Greatest Hits: HIStory [Video] 1995 Smv
History on Film, Vol. 2 1997 Smv
Billie Jean 1997 Epic 6:23
12 Inch Mixes 1998 Sony Music Distribution 6:23
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:53
Millennium of Pop 2000
Various Artists
Import 4:54
Greatest Hits: HIStory, Vol. 1 2001 Epic
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Vol. 4: Flash FM 2002
Original Game Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution 4:53
Number Ones [DVD] 2003 Epic 4:55
Hang All DJ's, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Wax / Waxed Soul Recordings 2:12
Off the Wall/Thriller 2004 Epic / Sony Music Entertainment 4:53
Best of 80's Rock, Vol. 1 [Atracao Fonografica] 2004
Various Artists
Atracao
The Ultimate Collection [Sony/Epic] 2004 Epic
The Essential Michael Jackson 2005 Epic / Legacy 4:52
No Image 2005 EPC
Fantastic 80's: Extended 2006
Various Artists
BMG International 6:22
Visionary: The Video Singles [Box Set] 2006 Epic / Sony Music Distribution
Visionary: The Singles Set 1 2006 Epic
No Image 2007 GR8 / Panpipes 4:30
Now That's What I Call the 80s 2008
Various Artists
RCA / Sony BMG / Universal Distribution / Zomba / Sony Music Distribution 4:52
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:53
Die Hit Giganten: Hits der 80er 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:54
King of Pop 2008 Sony BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 4:53
One Night in Japan 2009 Immortal Records
The Collection 2009 Sony BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 4:54
Live in Japan 2009 Hudson Street
In Memory of Michael Jackson 1958-2009: The Tribute Compilation 2009
Various Artists
IMV Blueline / XXL 4:56
Michael Jackson's This Is It 2009 Epic / Sony Music Entertainment 4:53
Vision [Video] 2010 Epic / Legacy / Sony Music Video 4:54
80s Groove, Vol. II 2011
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 4:53
Mix 80's, 90's y Más 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:54
Live at Wembley, July 16, 1988 [Video] 2012 Legacy / Sony Music
No Image 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:53
30 Stars of the '80s [US] 2013
Various Artists
SME 4:53
Now! That's What I Call Music: 30 Years 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music / Universal Music TV 4:55
The 80s, Pt. 2 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:51
Now That's What I Call Legends 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music / Universal Music TV 4:55
The Nation's Favourite 80s Number Ones 2015
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:53
Now That's What I Call the 80s [2015] 2015
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:53
Japan Broadcast 1987 2016 Goldfish 6:09
Auckland 1996 2016 Zip City 9:05
No Image 2017
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:53
History, Vols. 1-2 Sony Music
No Image Live Storm 7:43
Now That's What I Call 20th Century
Various Artists
Now! 4:53
blue highlight denotes editor's pick