Recently i had a strange series of events that lead to me finally hearing one of the most popular, badass songs of all time. I honestly dont know how this song escaped me for so long; after debating for many hours with friends about how my life could have neglected this song from my ears, i remembered that growing up, the only time my family really listened to music was while we were taking long drives on weekends, listening to Oldies 103 in boston, which played hits from the 50s through the 70s. I remember and love this music fondly; the beatles, the stones, the beach boys.. the zombies, simon and garfunkle, crosby stills and nash.. but the 80s music scene was completely ignored in my parents musical taste. I still find songs these days that i have known vaguely before, but finally come to catagorize in ways like "oh, THIS is talking heads?!". For the most part, excluding the BIGGEST hits from the 80s, i am a complete music novice.
All that said, this track by the biggest name in music history had eluded me.
So as it goes, one day i was surfing some random videos online and decided to watch some Tim and Eric. In particular, i was watching all of the clips of James Quall that they had. This guys is so ridiculous. So i stumbled upon this one clip of him doing his rendition of Billie Jean by michael jackson. The embedding link isnt working here, so this is the direct link to the clip.
james quall-billie jean
After watching that, i realized that i didnt know how the actual melody for Billie Jean sounded. So i decided to look up Billie Jean on youtube and found this.
This is probably the best performance of the most popular song of all time. Which is insanity to comprehend; it has sold twice as much as the 2nd highest selling album of all time; it is one of the best tracks off the album that catapulted michael jackson to superstardom; it is quincy jones working at the top of his game. I didnt know shit about any of this until i heard this track, started some historic digging, and purchased Thriller. He was pop music at the end of disco, making dancing incredibly melodic and catchy beyond belief.
As a side note, since buying and absorbing Thriller, i have fallen in love with a lesser known track, track two, Baby Be Mine. Its just pop brilliance. The backup vocals during the chorus, and how they expand throughout the song are so fucking tight.