"Billie Jean" is a dance-pop R&B song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was written by Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones for the singer's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). Originally disliked by Jones, the track was almost removed from the album after he and Jackson had numerous disagreements. The song's lyrics refer to a real-life experience, in which a mentally ill female fan claimed that Jackson had fathered one of her twins. The song is well known for its distinctive bass line and Jackson's vocal hiccups. The song was mixed 91 times by Bruce Swedien before it was finalized. Following the successful chart performance of "The Girl Is Mine", "Billie Jean" was released on January 2, 1983, as the album's second single. "Billie Jean" was a worldwide commercial and critical success; it became one of the best-selling singles of 1983, and topped both the US and UK charts simultaneously. Cited as one of the most revolutionary songs in history, "Billie Jean" was certified platinum in 1989. Honored numerous times—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 into the 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 played in heavy rotation by the channel, and an Emmy-nominated performance on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, in which Jackson premiered "the moonwalk." The song was also promoted through Jackson's Pepsi commercials; during the filming of one commercial, Jackson's scalp was severely burned. Covered and sampled by modern artists, "Billie Jean" sealed Jackson's status as an international pop icon.
Thriller Album: Thriller is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Michael Jackson. The album was released on November 30, 1982 by Epic Records as the follow-up to Jackson's critically and commercially successful 1979 album Off the Wall. Thriller explores similar genres to those of Off the Wall, including funk, disco, soul, soft rock, R&B, and pop. Thriller's lyrics deal with themes including paranoia and the supernatural. With a production budget of $750,000, recording sessions took place between April and November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California. Assisted by producer Quincy Jones, Jackson wrote four of Thriller's nine tracks. Following the release of the album's first single "The Girl Is Mine", some observers assumed Thriller would only be a minor hit record. With the release of the second single "Billie Jean", the album topped the charts in many countries. At its peak, the album was selling a million copies a week worldwide. In just over a year, Thriller became—and currently remains—the best-selling album of all time. Sales are estimated to be over 110 million copies sold worldwide. Seven of the album's nine songs were released as singles, and all reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards at the 1984 Grammys. Thriller cemented Jackson's status as one of the predominant pop stars of the late 20th century, and enabled him to break down racial barriers via his appearances on MTV and meetings with President Ronald Reagan at the White House. The album was one of the first to use music videos as successful promotional tools—the videos for "Thriller", "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" all received regular rotation on MTV. In 2001, a special edition issue of the album was released, which contains additional audio interviews, a demo recording and the song "Someone In the Dark", which was a Grammy-winning track from the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial storybook. In 2008, the album was reissued again as Thriller 25, containing re-mixes that feature contemporary artists, a previously unreleased song and a DVD. Thriller ranked number 20 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003, and was listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers at number three in its Definitive 200 Albums of All Time. Thriller was preserved by the Library of Congress to the National Recording Registry, as it was deemed "culturally significant".
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"When You Believe" is a song by American recording artists Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. The song was written and composed by Stephen Schwartz for the 1998 DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt. A version of "When You Believe" was produced as a single with additional music by writer-producer Babyface for the film's soundtrack album. Additionally, the song was featured on Houston's fourth studio album, My Love Is Your Love and Carey's first compilation album, Number 1's. The song was described as a big ballad, with meaningful and inspirational lyrics, describing the ability each person has to achieve miracles when they reach out to God and believe. The original version of the song featured in the narrative portion of the film is sung by Sally Dworsky and Michelle Pfeiffer; Carey and Houston's version is played during the end credits.
The song received generally mixed reviews from contemporary music critics. "When You Believe" experienced moderate success on the US Billboard charts, peaking at only number fifteen on the Hot 100, despite heavy media attention and live promotion. The song however, achieved strong charting throughout Europe and other worldwide regions, peaking within the top five in Belgium, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Due to strong single sales in Europe and the US, the song was received various certification awards throughout many major music markets.
"When You Believe" was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 71st annual ceremony on March 21, 1999. Prior to their performance of the song that night, Schwartz left Babyface's name off the nomination submission sheet. He felt that because the additions Babyface added to the song were not featured in the actual film version, he did not deserve writing credits. However, while Babyface did not receive the Oscar, Carey and Houston performed his version of the song, because they were more familiar with it than the one in the film. Prior to their performance at the Academy Awards, they sang it on November 26, 1998 on The Oprah Winfrey Show, promoting the song, as well as both their albums.
The song featured two music videos. The first and most commonly seen video was filmed at Brooklyn Academy of Music performing arts center. The video features both singers, and begins with Houston and Carey performing in a large auditorium, giving the illusion of a concert. Towards the end of the video, clips of the film are projected onto a large screen at the concert, while they belt out the final verse. The alternate video features a similar synopsis, with both singers performing on a large stage of an old Egyptian pyramid. The main difference however, is the fact that no film clips are played in the video and there is no audience present.