Off The Wall to Thriller
Michael Jackson's 1979 album Off the Wall spawned the hit singles and music videos "Rock With You" and "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough".
In the 1980s Jackson released a progression of solo albums of slickly-produced synthesizer-heavy pop.
His Thriller album was released in 1982, produced 7 hit singles, broke records and quickly became the world's best selling album (as of 2003 it has sold over 50 million copies). The "Billie Jean" music video, released to promote Thriller, became the first video by a black artist to be aired on MTV, and the Thriller short film released as The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller became the world's best selling home video at the time.
"Billie Jean" and "Thriller", as well as "Beat It", were the three music videos released from the album, and have since become three of MTV's most significant videos in history, placing highly on several MTV and VH1 countdowns, and receiving substantial airplay on MTV2 to this day. The album's other singles were "Human Nature" and "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)", both of which were also hits, despite neither having music videos.
While performing for the Motown 25th Anniversary Show on television in 1983, Jackson publicly performed the moonwalk (later his signature dance move) for the first time, stunning TV audiences. At the 1984 Grammy Awards Jackson was nominated for 12 awards and won a record-breaking 8 awards (now equaled by Carlos Santana) – 7 for Thriller and 1 for his narrative on The E.T. Storybook.
We are the World to Dangerous
Inspired by Band Aid he was instrumental in organising the single "We Are the World" (co-written with Lionel Richie) in 1985. "We Are the World" was sung by 44 different singers including Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder and sold 7 million copies in the United States, becoming the best selling single of the year, to raise money for USA for Africa – a charity working to raise awareness about and help starving people in Africa.
Jackson starred in the George Lucas/Francis Ford Coppola 3-D film Captain Eo in 1986, which was shown in Disney theme parks until 1998. Minute for minute it is the most expensive film ever produced, costing an estimated US $30 million to make. Jackson created two new songs for the film.
In 1987 Jackson released Bad and began his first solo world tour. He performed to sold out audiences at each concert. The following year Jackson released a silly, playful movie entitled "Moonwalker" and a serious, personal autobiography titled Moon Walk.
Bad was another smash success for Jackson. Its singles and music videos "Bad", "Dirty Diana", "The Man in The Mirror", "Smooth Criminal", "Leave Me Alone", and "The Way You Make Me Feel" provided Jackson with another string of hits. The album's only relatively unsuccessful single, "Liberian Girl", remains to this day as one of Jackson's least seen music videos and least heard singles.
Jackson was awarded a record breaking $890 million contract by Sony and released an album Dangerous in 1991. During the Dangerous world tour Jackson announced the creation of his Heal the World Foundation. Dangerous contained the singles and music videos "Who Is It", "Give In To Me", "Gone Too Soon", and "Will You Be There", which would later become the theme song to the movie Free Willy. But the album's most successful and memorable singles and videos were "Jam", "Remember The Time", "Black Or White", "In The Closet", and "Heal The World". As was becoming the standard for Jackson, the album's music videos were among the most costly, creative, and innovative of their time. "Give In To Me" featured Slash from Guns n' Roses in its video. The video for "Heal The World", to correspond to Jackson's charity of the same name, featured children and people from throughout the world. "Will You Be There" showed Jackson singing in front of scenes from Free Willy. Several of the other videos had complex storylines and dance sequences, and featured cameo appearances by celebrities. The video for "Jam" showed Jackson and Michael Jordan playing basketball and dancing together, while "Remember The Time" was set in a Middle Eastern palace and starred Eddie Murphy as the king of the palace who was trying to entertain his wife, played by Iman. Magic Johnson played the king's chief guard. Jackson's singing and dancing is the thing that finally makes Iman's character happy, in the seven-minute long video. Jackson and Naomi Campbell played lovers in "In The Closet".
Black Or White
But, of all the album's groundbreaking and popular videos, "Black Or White" probably remains the most aired and most remembered today. The original video is over ten minutes long, and premiered simultaneously on MTV, VH1, BET, and ABC, becoming one of the most-watched music video premieres in history. The original video begins with Macaulay Culkin playing a young Jackson fan whose father (played by George Wendt) tells him to turn his music down. Culkin's character, instead, decides to bring his speakers into the living room and cranks the speakers to full blast, which sends the father flying through the roof. He ends up landing in the middle of some exotic location. The music to "Black Or White" then starts, and Jackson proceeds to take viewers on a trip around the world, from country to country and culture to culture. As the song ends, the video features a morphing effect, where by several different people of different ethnicities' faces are morphed one into another, as a symbol of global unity. Although this was not the first music video to feature morphing technology - former 10cc members Kevin Godley and Lol Creme (performing as Godley & Creme) used morphing even more extensively in the 1985 video to their song "Cry" - it was the first exposure many people had to the technology, and this effect amazed those who saw the video for the first time. Thanks in part to "Black Or White", the morphing effect has since become somewhat common in music videos today, and can now be done much more cheaply than in the early 1990s. The original video for "Black Or White" then continued, even after the song itself ended, for another six minutes. The last six minutes depicted Jackson doing his infamous crotch-rubbing, smashing store windows, and destroying a car with a metal crowbar. It finally ended with a cameo appearance by Bart and Homer Simpson. However, Jackson's rampage and crotch grabbing caused a good deal of controversy with many parents of young children who watched the video's premiere. MTV and other music video stations decided to cut out the last six minutes of the video for all subsequent airings, and Jackson issued an apology statement to anyone who had been offended. To date, the final six minutes of the "Black Or White" video has only since re-aired in America on MTV2 between the hours of 1 AM and 4 AM, as part of their special uncensored airing of the "Most Controversial Music Videos" of all time.
HIStory to Invincible
HIStory, a double-disc album, was released in 1995. Its first disc had fifteen of his greatest hits and second disc contained fifteen new songs. The album's only new hit singles and videos in America were "Scream", a duet with his sister Janet, whose futuristic music video, with a seven million dollar price tag, is the most expensive music video to date; and "You Are Not Alone", a song which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart and whose video had a cameo from Jackson's then-wife, Lisa Marie Presley. The album's other singles and videos, "Childhood", "Earth Song", "Stranger In Moscow", and "They Don't Care About Us" failed to make any impact in America. "Childhood" is notable for having been the theme song to Free Willy 2. "They Don't Care About Us" caused quite a controversy when it was released due to the anti-Semitic slurs "kike" and "Jew me" in the song's lyrics. This caused American MTV and VH1 to ban the song's music video, even though it garnered heavy airplay on many of America's Boxnetworks. Other than "Scream", the videos from HIStory are rarely played, even on MTV2, and none of the album's singles are played substantially on American radio anymore, making the album a failure overall in Jackson's standards.
In 1997 Jackson released Blood on the Dance Floor a remix album of several of the tracks off of History, which also included 5 new songs. The album only had one single and official music video, the title track, which failed to catch on in America. However, Jackson also produced "Ghosts", a 40-minute short film, which was shown in several movie theaters and used the song "Ghosts" as well as the album's other new songs in the film. The short film "Ghosts" is occasionally played as an hour-long special, with space made for commercials, on MTV and VH1, especially during the Halloween season.
Jackson's 2001 album Invincible – the most expensive album ever – sold only 2 million copies in the United States but sold 5-6 million worldwide (a disappointment considering Jackson's previous success and the cost of the album). As opposed to his earlier albums – which each spawned at least six singles, most of which were generally worldwide smashes – Invincible produced only the singles "You Rock My World" and "Butterflies" in America. "Cry" was also issued as a third single in Europe. "You Rock My World" managed the top ten in America, but only for a week, and its big-budget, 14-minute music video only received sparse airplay on MTV, VH1, MTV2, and BET, usually in a shortened, 5-minute version. "Butterflies" was a top 40 hit in America, but did not reach the top 20, despite a popular radio remix featuring rapper Eve; the song's relative lack of success also allowed no budget for a music video.
In what was perhaps the "Golden Age" of the video clip, some of Jackson's videos were virtually short
Source | Copyright