Liberian Girl

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"Liberian Girl"
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Bad
B-side "Girlfriend"
Released July 4, 1989
Format CD single, 12"
Recorded 1987
Genre R&B
Length 3:53 (album version)
3:40 (edit)
Label Epic
Writer(s) Michael Jackson
Producer(s) Quincy Jones
Michael Jackson (co-producer)
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Leave Me Alone"
(1989)
"Liberian Girl"
(1989)
"Black or White"
(1991)
Bad track listing
"Speed Demon"
(3)
"Liberian Girl"
(4)
"Just Good Friends"
(5)

"Liberian Girl" was the ninth single to be released from Michael Jackson's 1987 album Bad. The song was written as early as 1983 and was among those considered for The Jacksons' Victory album. It was reworked and rewritten for Bad. The song was released as a single in Europe and Australia.

Background[edit]

"Liberian Girl" was written and composed by Michael Jackson. It was dedicated to Jackson's close friend, Elizabeth Taylor.

The song was the ninth single released from the Bad album in Europe and Australia, but not in the United States.

Critical reception[edit]

The New York Times editor Jon Pareles wrote that a melody line from Billie Jean reappears in this song.[1] Rolling Stone's Davitt Sigerson praised the song: "Liberian Girl" — is Michael's filler, which makes it richer, sexier, better than Thriller's forgettables" and he also described that it "glistens with gratitude for the existence of a loved one."[2]

Reaction in Liberia[edit]

The song received a positive reception in Liberia,[3] with women from the country viewing the song as empowering.[3] Liberian woman Margaret Carson said in an interview with the Washington Times "When that music came out … the Liberian girls were so astonished to hear a great musician like Michael Jackson thinking about a little country in Africa. It gave us hope, especially when things went bad … . It make us to feel that we are still part of the world."[3]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 50
Dutch Singles Chart 14
French Singles Chart 15
Irish Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart[4] 12
UK Singles Chart 13
Chart (2009) Peak
position
French Digital Singles Chart[5] 34
Swiss Singles Chart[4] 36
UK Singles Chart[6] 86

Music video[edit]

Directed by Jim Yukich, the video for the song featured many of Jackson's celebrity friends who gather on a soundstage to film the music video for "Liberian Girl", only to discover that Jackson was filming them all along. As named in the closing titles, featured in the video are:

There was also a mummy that was shown during the ending credits. The mummy was credited with a question mark but it could have been Jackson trying to state that he was watching all of them.

The music video of the song was included on the video albums: HIStory on Film, Volume II, Vision and the Target version DVD of Bad 25.

Track listing[edit]

  • 7"
  1. "Liberian Girl" (edit) – 3:40
  2. "Girlfriend" – 3:05
  • 12"
  1. "Liberian Girl" (edit) – 3:40
  2. "Get on the Floor" – 4:44
  3. "Girlfriend" – 3:05
  • CD single
  1. "Liberian Girl" (edit) – 3:40
  2. "Girlfriend" – 3:05
  3. "The Lady in My Life" – 5:00
  4. "Get on the Floor" – 4:44

Covers and sampling[edit]

"Liberian Girl" has been sampled and covered by various musicians:

Personnel[edit]

  • Written and composed by Michael Jackson
  • Produced by Quincy Jones
  • Co-produced by Michael Jackson
  • Michael Jackson: Solo and background vocals
  • John Robinson: Drums
  • Douglas Getschal: Drum programming
  • Paulinho Da Costa: Percussion
  • Christopher Currell: Synclavier
  • John Barnes, Michael Boddicker, David Paich, Larry Williams: Synthesizers
  • Steve Porcaro: Synthesizer programming
  • Letta Mbulu: Swahili chant
  • Rhythm arrangement by Michael Jackson, John Barnes and Quincy Jones
  • Synthesizer arrangement by Jerry Hey, John Barnes and Quincy Jones
  • Vocal arrangement by Michael Jackson and John Barnes
  • Swahili chant arrangement by Caiphus Semenya

References[edit]

External links[edit]