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Do the Bartman

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"Do the Bartman"
An animated image showing a yellow child with a short sleeved red shirt and blue pants opening his mouth. On the green coloring there is the writing "Do the Bartman" sideways in large capital letters and "the Simpsons" written on the top of the song title.
Artwork for commercial European releases
Single by The Simpsons
from the album The Simpsons Sing the Blues
B-side"Sibling Rivalry"
ReleasedNovember 20, 1990
RecordedSeptember 1990
StudioRecord One (Los Angeles)[1]
  • 5:10 (album version)
  • 3:59 (single version and video edit)
  • Bryan Loren
  • Michael Jackson [1]
The Simpsons singles chronology
"Do the Bartman"
"Deep, Deep Trouble"
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Liberian Girl"
"Do the Bartman"
"Black or White"

"Do the Bartman" is a song from the 1990 album, The Simpsons Sing the Blues, featuring the voice cast of the American television cartoon The Simpsons. It was performed by The Simpsons cast member Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), with backing vocals from Michael Jackson, alongside additional vocals from Dan Castellaneta (voice of Homer Simpson). Jackson also produced the song, which was written by American recording artist Bryan Loren, and Geffen Records released it as a single on November 20, 1990.

Despite receiving much radio airplay in the United States, "Do the Bartman" was never officially released as a single there. It topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The song additionally reached the top 10 in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden. A music video, directed by Brad Bird, was released for the song in 1991. The video became a hit on the American network MTV, and received a nomination at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.


A mid-twenties African American man wearing a sequined military jacket and dark sunglasses. He is walking while waving his right hand, which is adorned with a white glove. His left hand is bare.
Michael Jackson provided back up vocals for "Do the Bartman".

The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues was released in September 1990. The first single from it was the rap song "Do the Bartman", performed by Bart Simpson's voice actor Nancy Cartwright and released on November 20, 1990.[3] Rumors began spreading in the summer of 1990 that Michael Jackson would write a song for Bart on the album.

This song was reported early on to be "Do the Bartman", but executive producer James L. Brooks issued a press release in September 1990 apologizing for the misunderstanding and stating that song was actually written by one of Jackson's friends, Bryan Loren.[4]

However, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening later stated during an appearance at the February 1998 World Animation Celebration convention in Pasadena, California that "Do the Bartman" was actually co-written and co-produced by Jackson,[3][5][6] but he could not receive credit for it because he was under contract to Epic Records.[7] Groening told a crowd at the convention that had gathered for a "The Simpsons tribute" that it had "always [been] amazing to me that no one ever found out that Michael Jackson wrote that song. [...] He was a big fan of the show."[8]

Jackson was a fan of The Simpsons, especially Bart,[9] and had called the producers one night offering to write Bart a number one single and do a guest spot on the show, which is how "Do the Bartman" came about.[10] Jackson eventually guest-starred in the episode "Stark Raving Dad" (season three, 1991) under the pseudonym John Jay Smith.[11]

He also wrote the song "Happy Birthday Lisa" for the episode "Stark Raving Dad", which was later included in the album Songs in the Key of Springfield.[12] Bryan Loren has stated that Jackson had provided background vocals for "Do the Bartman".[13][6]

In July 2015, when Bryan Loren was selling the publishing and songwriting rights for the song, Loren stated that "despite Matt Groening's repeated confessions, I am the sole writer of the song".[6] Loren stated that Jackson's contributions included back up vocals, providing the title "Do the Bartman" and that Jackson insisted his own name be mentioned in the lyrics.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reviews of "Do the Bartman" were mostly positive. Larry Flick from Billboard said the single "seems like a logical extension of the public's love affair with Fox TV's popular cartoon characters. This cute and amusing pop/new jack novelty doesn't actually teach any new dance steps, but that hasn't kept radio from jumping on it out of the box."[14] Monika Bartyzel of Cinematical, however, thought the song was a "cheesy number."[15] The Daily Vault's Benny Balneg liked that it disengaged itself from the album's "blues tag" and incorporated more "contemporary elements" into its sound.[16] He added that he thought the song had a "catchy beat" and an "infectious chorus."[16] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly described it as "not bad," and commented that Bart's high voice "echoes the beats nicely."[17] The Long Beach Press-Telegram's Patricia Smith called "Do the Bartman" a "surprisingly funky tune."[18] A reviewer from People Magazine stated, "Yes, of course the first single, "Do the Bartman", will be a novelty hit. Written by Bryan Loren, it's a white-bread rap featuring Nancy Cartwright's vocals, reeling off tales of Bart's mischievous ways."[19]

Chart performance[edit]

The song topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom. In the latter country, the song spent three weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart, and became Britain's seventh best selling song of 1991.[20] "Do the Bartman" has shipped at least 400,000 units in the United Kingdom, and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry on February 1, 1991.[21][22] The song's success in the United Kingdom was remarkable, given that at that time The Simpsons was airing only on British satellite television station Sky One. It would be five years before it first aired on terrestrial television in Britain, airing on BBC One and later BBC Two.[23][24]

In Ireland, "Do the Bartman" spent nine weeks at number one on the Irish Singles Chart from January 24, 1991, to March 24, 1991.[25] Only nine singles have ever managed a longer run at number one in that country.[26] The song also charted at number one on New Zealand's RIANZ Singles Chart on the issue date of January 25, 1991, and peaked at number one on the chart again, for a total of two weeks, from February 8, 1991, to February 15, 1991.[27]

In March 1991, "Do the Bartman" became the first single to reach number one in Australia that was not available on 7-inch vinyl.[28]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Do the Bartman" features the typical plot of Bart rebelling against authority when he decides to put his own spin on a rigidly choreographed dance presentation at Springfield Elementary School. The music video for "Do the Bartman" was directed by Brad Bird, with dance choreography by Michael Chambers. Nobody from the staff of The Simpsons wanted to direct it because they were busy doing the show, but Bird finally agreed to do it after having been asked four times. He had a very short amount of time to finish the video because it was supposed to coincide with the release of The Simpsons Sing the Blues.[5]

The entire music video was storyboarded in only two days in the United States. Bird then got on a plane to Budapest, Hungary, where the video was animated by Varga Studio. They thought the video was going to be animated as simply as the original The Simpsons shorts, shown on The Tracey Ullman Show, so when Bird told them that it was going to be done in full animation with no repeated scenes, they "went into deep shock".[5]

The animators added the wraparound at the beginning to set Bart against the crowd and put the video in "some sort of context."[5]

The video was nominated for Best Special Effects at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.[29][30] It originally premiered on Fox after the episode "Bart the Daredevil" on December 6, 1990,[citation needed] and was the number one music video on rotation on MTV between January and March 1991.[31] Along with the music video for "Deep, Deep Trouble", the video was included on The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season DVD boxset in 2002.[32][33] Following the death of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009, the music video was broadcast by Fox on June 28, 2009—ahead of a rerun of the episode "Wedding for Disaster"—and featured a title card paying tribute to Jackson.[34]

There is an alternative version of the music video which removes the references to Michael Jackson's "hair strand" (by not including said hair strand in frame), people dancing to the Bartman on a cruise ship with the Statue of Liberty in the background moving side to side with the rhythm of the song and replaces it with extra frames of the Springfield "cool kids" dancing along. The alternative version also removes the lyric, "if you can do it, so can I".

Track listings[edit]

  1. "Do the Bartman" (7" House Mix/Edit) – 3:54
  2. "Do the Bartman" (LP edit) – 3:59
  • CD single:
  1. "Do the Bartman" (7" House Mix/Edit) – 3:54
  2. "Do the Bartman" (LP edit) – 3:59
  3. "Do the Bartman" (Bad Bart House Mix) – 4:49
  4. "Do the Bartman" (a cappella) – 3:44
  • Digital Download:
  1. "Do the Bartman" (Diplo's Bartman So So Krispy Remix) – 4:27



  • Bryan Loren & Michael Jackson - producers
  • Richard Cottrell - recording engineer
  • Julie Last & Bart Stevens - assistant recording engineers

Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios



Certifications and sales for "Do the Bartman"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[52] Gold 35,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[60] Gold 5,000*
Sweden (GLF)[61] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[63] Gold 451,000[62]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lecocq, Richard; Allard, François (2018). "Bad". Michael Jackson All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track. London, England: Cassell. pp. 461–63. ISBN 9781788400572.
  2. ^ Greene, Andy (August 21, 2014). "Flashback: Bart Simpson Does 'The Bartman' With Help From Michael Jackson". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Michael Jackson Update: News From Korea, Poland And Groening". Viacom. February 23, 1998. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
  4. ^ Deborah Hastings (September 26, 1990). "'Simpsons' head to recording studio". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved January 25, 2010.[dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d Season 2 DVD commentary for the special feature "Do the Bartman".
  6. ^ a b c d "Michael Jackson Didn't Write 'Do The Bartman' After All". Fact. July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  7. ^ "Bart Simpson's secrets revealed". Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  8. ^ Ray Richmond (February 20, 1998). "Gloved one secret 'Simpsons' fan". Reed Elsevier Inc. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  9. ^ Cartwright, Nancy (2000). My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy. New York City: Hyperion. pp. 115–117. ISBN 0-7868-8600-5.
  10. ^ Brooks, James L. (2003). Commentary for "Stark Raving Dad", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  11. ^ Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood (2000). "Stark Raving Dad". BBC News. BBC Online. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
  12. ^ Jean, Al. (2003). Commentary for "Stark Raving Dad", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  13. ^ Michael Schneider and Andrew Stewart (June 28, 2009). "Michael Jackson tributes across TV". Reed Elsevier Inc. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  14. ^ Flick, Larry (December 8, 1990). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. p. 83. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  15. ^ Monika Bartyzel (August 10, 2007). "'Powder Blue' Adds The Swayze". Weblogs, Inc. Network. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  16. ^ a b Balneg, Benny (May 21, 2007). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : The Simpsons Sing The Blues". David Geffen Co. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  17. ^ Ken Tucker (December 14, 1990). "The Simpsons Sing the Blues". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner, Inc. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  18. ^ Patricia Smith (December 11, 1990). "Funky Bart". Long Beach Press-Telegram. pp. D7.
  19. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: The Simpsons Sing the Blues". People. January 21, 1991. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  20. ^ a b "All the Number 1 Singles–1990s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
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  24. ^ Kate Whiting (May 5, 2008). "Telly's first family". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  25. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Do the Bartman". Irish Singles Chart.
  26. ^ "Facts and Figures Most Weeks at No.1". Irish Recorded Music Association. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2009.
  27. ^ a b "The Simpsons - Do The Bartman (song)". Hung Medien. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  28. ^ "Chartifacts – Week Ending: 17 March 1991 (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 60)". Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  29. ^ "1991 Video Music Awards". MTV. MTV Networks (Viacom). Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  30. ^ Hastings, Deborah (July 29, 1991). "R.E.M. leads nominations for Video Music Awards". The Deseret News.
  31. ^ Chuck Barney (July 23, 2007). "The evolution of 'The Simpsons'". Pop Matters. PopMatters Media, Inc. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  32. ^ "Video & DVD". Now. August 8–15, 2002. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  33. ^ "The Simpsons - The Complete 2nd Season". Archived from the original on August 6, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  34. ^ Dan Snierson (June 27, 2009). "Michael Jackson: 'The Simpsons' to re-air 'Do the Bartman' video in tribute on Sunday". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner Inc. Archived from the original on July 1, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  35. ^ "The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
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  38. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1436." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  39. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 8 no. 16. April 20, 1991. p. 26. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
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  41. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
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  46. ^ "The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". VG-lista.
  47. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
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  52. ^ a b "1991 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
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  56. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1991". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
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  59. ^ "1991 Top 100 Singles". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. January 11, 1992. p. 20.
  60. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  61. ^ "Swedish single certifications – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman" (in Swedish). Swedish Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  62. ^ Copsey, Rob (February 15, 2018). "The Simpsons and Michael Jackson topped the charts 27 years ago this week". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
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External links[edit]