If there is an artist who had a bigger impact on the history of pop music – and particularly music videos – than Michael Jackson, we are yet to hear of them!
The King of Pop almost single-handedly altered our consumption of music through video and we are thrilled he did. Michael Jackson’s music videos – which he more accurately referred to as short films – are almost as famous as the tracks they accompany.
Michael Jackson was an unstoppable force on pop culture when he broke off from the very successful Jackson 5 to pursue a solo career, which remains one of the most successful and significant of the modern era.
He had a deep understanding of the people he was producing his music for and saw the music video as more than just a necessary promotional tool. He turned the videos that accompany hit songs into an art form.
But of course, the music videos were nothing without the phenomenal songs, dance moves and performances that Michael himself gave. He was the total package and one of the most exhilarating live performers on the planet.
While few things would come close to seeing Michael Jackson performing in the flesh, we do have the next best thing! The Michael Jackson History Show is presenting Thriller and it is definitely the closest thing you will ever get to attending an MJ concert. Kenny Wizz, a Californian who bears an uncanny resemblance to the man himself, will perform many of Michael Jackson’s biggest and best hits compete with dance moves.
Kenny Wizz will perform the Michael Jackson History show at ASB Theatre on Sunday May 29. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
To celebrate this very exciting announcement we are celebrating the life and music of Michael Jackson by featuring 10 of our favourite music videos – or should we say short films?
We hope you will enjoy this trip down memory lane, re-living some of Michael Jackson’s most epic film moments. Enjoy!
Heal the World (1992)
This music video is very unique as it is one of the rare clips that does not feature Michael Jackson himself. The song and accompanying video is highly emotive and features images of children who are the victim of unrest in underprivileged countries. MJ has been quoted saying Heal the World is a song and video he is most proud of. It also led him to create the Heal the World Foundation.
Scream is a fantastic video as it brings together two amazing Jacksons, Michael and his sister Janet. The duet is phenomenal and the video is just as epic. The black and white video highlights the incredible vocal and physical abilities of the Jackson siblings and is a high energy accompaniment to the song that features elements of pop and electro sounds.
You Rock My World (2001)
You Rock My World was the lead single on Michael Jackson’s tenth and final studio album, Invincible. A promotional music video, which is more than 13 minutes long, was released and stars Michael Jackson alongside Chris Tucker. The narrative clip features MJ and Chris Rock attempting to get the attention of a girl and is considered a trip back to some of Jackson’s earlier music videos which are heavily peppered with classic MJ dance moves.
The Way You Make Me Feel (1987)
The Way You Make Me Feel is perhaps the best example of Michael Jackson’s dancing ability. The clip, which again follows a narrative courtship, highlights MJ’s exceptional physical movements. Amazingly, at the 1988 Grammy Awards, Michael Jackson had two nominations for the Best Choreography award – The Way You Make Me Feel and Bad – but he was beaten by his little sister, Janet, who won for The Pleasure Principle.
Remember the Time (1992)
Remember the Time, another Michael Jackson short film, runs for more than nine minutes and stars Eddie Murphy and model Iman. Murphy plays a pharaoh and his wife (Iman) wants to be entertained. Following a few failed performers, Michael Jackson enters dressed as a hooded wizard. He performs a trick which sees him emerge as a gold-clad version of himself. It is here that the singing and dancing begins and of course, the Pharoah’s wife is suitably impressed, but the Pharoah is not, which leads to a chase. The Egyptian-style choreography and scenes are the highlight of this clip.
Beat It (1983)
Beat It was one of the songs and video clips that really thrust Michael Jackson onto the international stage as a bona fide pop icon. The clip is one of the first to include choreography of a mass of dancers – a move that became a Michael Jackson trademark. MJ financed the video for Beat It after his record company refused. Lucky he did, it won multiple awards and was the first step to changing the face of music videos altogether.
The music video for Bad reached new levels with the extended edition playing for 18 minutes. The video was written by novelist Richard Price and was directed by legendary director, Martin Scorsese. The clip visits one of Michael Jackson’s popular themes, street gangs, and has strong ties to West Side Story. The choreography of large groups of dancers is classic Michael Jackson!
The music video for Billie Jean begins in black and white but as Michael Jackson enters, the tiles he steps on spring to colour. It is this clip that is often credited with bringing MTV into the mainstream and it has also been said that is helped to sell 10 million further copies of the album, Thriller. The clip for Billie Jean was ground breaking and led to the inclusion of a lot more African American artists on MTV. In 1992, the music video was inducted into the Music Video Producers Hall of Fame and in 2005, it was ranked fifth in a poll of Top 20 Music Videos Ever.
Black or White (1991)
The star-studded music video for Black or White brought together two of the 1990s’ most famous performers, Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin. George Wendt of Cheers fame played the part of Macaulay’s Dad who is catapulted to Africa after his son blasts him with his loud music. This is where the song kicks in and Michael Jackson joins people all over the world, performing traditional dances of different cultures. Black or White debuted in 27 countries around the world simultaneously in front of more than 500 million people – the most ever for a music video.
Thriller is without a doubt Michael Jackson’s most popular and recognisable work and may just be the biggest and best music video of all time. Thriller is a 13-minute epic is credited for combining music and filmmaking and is one of the most influential pieces of pop culture still to this day. The clip, which is set in the 1950s, shows Michael Jackson out with his girlfriend when he suddenly transforms into a werewolf. But, the video has many twists and turns; it is best if you watch if for yourself. But the key to Thriller is the fantastic group choreography that spawned lots of copy-cat dancers at every party ever since the clip debuted!
Michael Jackson History Show presents Thriller
ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre
May 29, 2016
General public tickets are on sale from November 27 from 9am. A My Ticketmaster presale will operate from 10am on November 23. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.