First up on my list of the 100 Best Songs of all time is Billie Jean, by Michael Jackson. I grew up in the 80’s and Michael Jackson was one of those “soundtrack of my childhood” artists.
My mom bought his Thriller album and I listened to it over and over again. A bunch of girls in my fourth grade class and I used to make up dance routines to his music and practice them on the playground. I even used to put on a single glove and dance around my room, pretending to be him.
The iconic Billie Jean music video was a popular request at the local roller rink and getting to see one of MJ’s videos on the big screen was something we looked forward to every week.
The song is basically a cautionary tale, about women who try to claim celebrities are their baby daddys in order to claim a big pay-day, set to a groovy dance beat. Billie Jean was supposedly based on a true story of one such woman, who tried to claim MJ fathered her illegitimate child.
Ironically, given the persistent rumors that Michael was in gay, a confirmed case of him getting some woman in the family way might have actually helped quash some of those rumors.
Lyrically, Billie Jean, doesn’t really do that much for me, but like many of MJ’s best songs, Billie Jean has that special something about it that just makes you want to get up and dance. The addictive rhythm, catchy melody and Michael’s vocal gymnastics make the song instantly enjoyable, even if you’re not that into stories about the wicked ways of women.
Whether MJ was gay or not was his own business and nothing I’m concerned about. However, the later accusations that he molested children were certainly disturbing. Combined with all the plastic surgeries, his eccentric behaviour and ultimately his death due to a drug overdose, MJ certainly seemed like at best, a hot mess of a person and at worst, well something a lot worse.
However, whatever kind of person he might have been, he remains one of my favorite music artists. His talent as a vocalist and a dancer made him one of a kind and I enjoy his music as much today as I did back in the 80’s, though I’ve given up the choreographed dance routines.