Michael Jackson videography

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A mid-twenties Michael Jackson 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 at the White House in 1984

American entertainer Michael Jackson (1958–2009) debuted on the professional music scene at age five as a member of The Jackson 5 and began a solo career in 1971 while still part of the group.[1] Jackson has been referred to as the "King of Music Videos" in subsequent years.[2][3]

Jackson had seven of his solo albums promoted with music videos. In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular culture and the first African American entertainer to have a strong crossover fanbase on MTV.[4][5] The popularity of his music videos that aired on MTV,  such as "Billie Jean", "Beat It" and "Thriller"—credited for transforming the music video from a promotional tool and into an art form—helped bring the relatively new channel to fame; MTV's focus shifted in favor of pop and R&B from channel's original 'rock 'n' roll only' format.[5][6][7] Michael Jackson's Thriller short film marked an increase in scale for music videos, and has been named the most successful music video ever by the Guinness World Records.[8] The choreography in "Thriller" has become a part of global pop culture, replicated widely from Indian films to prisons in the Philippines.[9] In the 19-minute music video for "Bad"—directed by Martin Scorsese—Jackson began using sexual imagery and choreography not previously seen in his work and he occasionally grabbed or touched his chest, torso and crotch.[10][11] For the "Smooth Criminal" video, Jackson experimented with an anti-gravity lean where the performer leans forward at a 45 degree angle, beyond the performer's center of gravity. To accomplish this move live, Jackson and designers developed a special shoe that locks the performer's feet to the stage, allowing them to lean forward. They were granted a US patent for the device.[12] Although the music video for "Leave Me Alone" was not officially released in the US, in 1989 it won a Golden Lion Award for the quality of the special effects used in its production. In 1990, "Leave Me Alone" won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form.[13] He received the MTV Video Vanguard Award in 1988 and the MTV Video Vanguard Artist of the Decade Award in 1990; in 1991 the former was renamed as Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in his honor.[14]

"Black or White" was released on November 14, 1991.[15] Along with Jackson, it featured Macaulay Culkin, Peggy Lipton, and George Wendt. It helped usher in morphing as an important technology in music videos.[16] "Remember the Time" was an elaborate production, and became one of his longest videos at over nine minutes. Set in ancient Egypt, it featured innovative visual effects and appearances by Eddie Murphy, Iman, and Magic Johnson, along with a distinct complex dance routine.[17] The video for "In the Closet" featured supermodel Naomi Campbell in a courtship dance with Jackson.[14] The music video for "Scream", directed by Mark Romanek and production designer Tom Foden, is one of Jackson's most critically acclaimed. In 1995, it gained eleven MTV Video Music Award Nominations—more than any other music video.[18] A year later, it won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form; shortly afterwards Guinness World Records listed it as the most expensive music video ever made, at a cost of $7 million.[19][20] "Earth Song" was accompanied by an expensive and well-received music video. The video had an environmental theme, showing images of animal cruelty, deforestation, pollution and war. Using special effects, time is reversed so that life returns, wars end, and the forests re-grow.[19][21] Released in 1997 and premiering at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, Michael Jackson's Ghosts" was a short film written by Jackson and Stephen King and directed by Stan Winston. The video for Ghosts is over 38 minutes long and broke the Guinness World Record as the world's longest music video.[22] The music video for "You Rock My World", which is thirteen and a half minutes long, was directed by Paul Hunter, and was released in 2001. The video features appearances from Chris Tucker and Marlon Brando.[23] The video won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Music Video at the award show's 2002 ceremony.[24]

In 1978, Jackson appeared in his first film, The Wiz.[25] It was nominated for four awards at the 51st Academy Awards.[26][27][28] Jackson later starred in films such as Disney's Captain EO in 1986, the anthology film Moonwalker in 1988 and the posthumous documentary This Is It in 2009.[29][30][31]

Music videos[edit]

Headshot of a middle-aged man looking to his right. The man has short hair and light stubble. He appears to be smiling slightly, and is wearing a dark coat.
Steve Barron, director of "Billie Jean"
Headshot of an older man looking to his right. The man has messy hair.
Bob Giraldi, director of "Beat It" and "Say Say Say"
Paul McCartney.
Paul McCartney was featured in "Say Say Say"
Headshot of a middle aged. Looking and smiling directly into the camera, the man wears rounded spectacles and sports a light grey beard. He wears a suit jacket, with a blue shirt and a patterned tie.
John Landis, director of "Thriller" and "Black or White"
Diana Ross.
Diana Ross was featured in "Eaten Alive"
Barry Gibb.
Barry Gibb was featured in "Eaten Alive"
A headshot of an elderly man with grey hair. He is clean shaven and dons rectangular spectacles. He wears a suit and tie.
Martin Scorsese, director of "Bad"
Janet Jackson.
Janet Jackson was featured in "2300 Jackson Street" and "Scream"
Paula Abdul.
Paula Abdul appears in the "Liberian Girl" video
Dan Aykroyd.
Dan Aykroyd appears in the "Liberian Girl" video
Steven Spielberg.
Steven Spielberg appears in the "Liberian Girl" video
Macaulay Culkin.
Macaulay Culkin appears in the "Black or White" video
Naomi Campbell.
Naomi Campbell appears in the "In The Closet" video
David Fincher.
David Fincher, director of "Who Is It"
Eddie Murphy.
Eddie Murphy was featured in "Whatzupwitu" and made a cameo appearance in "Remember the Time".
Chris Tucker.
Chris Tucker appears in the "You Rock My World" video
Title Year Other performer(s) credited Director(s) Description
"Enjoy Yourself" 1976 The Jacksons[a] Unknown The video features the five Jackson brothers wearing white suits and dancing on a stage. It was released on DVD for the bonus disc of Michael Jackson's Vision.[32]
"Blame It on the Boogie" 1978 The Jacksons[a] Peter Conn The video, features the group's members dancing on a black background, relied heavily on electronic trail effects, created at Image West, Ltd. using then-cutting edge equipment: the Scanimate analog computer system and a Quantel DFS 3000 digital framestore.[33]
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" 1979 None Nick Saxton It was Jackson's first music video as a solo artist. The music video shows a smiling Jackson dancing and singing "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" in a black and white tuxedo with a black bow tie while appearing chroma keyed over a background of abstract geometric figures. At one stage, Jackson is seen dancing in triplicate, which was considered innovative at the time.[34]
"Rock with You" 1979 None Bruce Gowers The video features Jackson in a sparkly sequined suit singing the song with a bright laser behind him. It was filmed on a stage in Los Angeles called the 800 Stage.[34]
"She's Out of My Life" 1979 None Bruce Gowers The music video for the song features Jackson sitting on a stool in a darkened room singing the song, lit by a single spotlight. The video uses a split screen technique to simultaneously show Jackson from two different angles during the second and third verses.[34]
"Can You Feel It" 1980 The Jacksons[a] Bruce Gowers
Robert Abel
The music video was noted for its remarkable special effects created by Robert Abel and Associates, which included tidal waves, explosions and the Jacksons towering over a city, spreading glitter and rainbows. Jackson created the video's concept and Tito Jackson's sons, Taj and Taryll, appeared as extras.[34]
"Billie Jean" 1983 None Steve Barron The short film for "Billie Jean" is considered the video that brought MTV, until then a fairly new and unknown music channel, into mainstream attention. It was one of the first videos by a black artist to be aired regularly by the channel, as the network's executives felt black music was not "rock" enough.[34]
"Beat It" 1983 None Bob Giraldi The music video for "Beat It" helped establish Jackson as an international pop icon and cost Jackson $150,000 to create after CBS refused to finance it. The video was filmed on Los Angeles' Skid Row—mainly on locations on East 5th Street.[34]
"Say Say Say" 1983 Paul McCartney Bob Giraldi In the short film, the duo play "Mac and Jack", a pair of conmen who sell a "miracle potion". The video was filmed at Los Alamos near Santa Barbara, California and the video cost $500,000 to produce. Cameo appearances in the video are made by McCartney's then wife Linda, as well as Jackson's older sister La Toya.[44]
"Thriller" 1983 None John Landis This music video became one of Jackson's most successful and was filmed at the Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, the zombie dance sequence at the junction of Union Pacific Avenue and South Calzona Street in East Los Angeles and the final house scene in the Angeleno Heights neighborhood at 1345 Carroll Avenue. All principal photography was done in mid-October.[34]
"Somebody's Watching Me" 1984 Rockwell Francis Delia The music video underscores the song's paranoid tone with a haunted house-inspired theme, including imagery of floating heads, ravens, graveyards, and shower scenes referencing Psycho.[49]
"We Are the World" 1985 USA for Africa Tom Trbovich The song for the music video was created as a charity single recorded by the supergroup United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa.[52]
"Eaten Alive" 1985 Diana Ross
Barry Gibb
David Hogan The video, inspired by The Island of Doctor Moreau, features the singer playing a cat-like demon seducing a man played by Joseph Gian after having been pursued by chimeras.[54]
"Bad" 1987 None Martin Scorsese The video is an 18-minute short film written by novelist and screenwriter Richard Price. The video has many references to the 1961 film West Side Story.[34]
"The Way You Make Me Feel" 1987 None Joe Pytka The short version of the video is six minutes and thirty-four seconds long and the full version is nine minutes and thirty-three seconds long. The video begins with a group of males trying to pick up women. Joe Seneca, Sean Cheesman, and Tatiana Thumbtzen all have roles in the video.[58]
"Man in the Mirror" 1988 None Donald Wilson This video is a notable departure from Jackson's other videos mainly because Jackson himself does not appear in the video, aside from a brief clip toward the end of the video in which he can be seen donning a red jacket and standing in a large crowd. It also features a montage of clips of children in Africa, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, kids in graduation, and other historical figures.[34]
"Dirty Diana" 1988 None Patrick Kelly The five-minute music video for the song was directed by Joe Pytka. The woman who appears in the video is model Lisa Dean. A second seven-minute long accompanying video of a live performance (which should not be confused with the actual music video) was filmed in early 1988 in front of a live audience during Jackson's show in Madison Square Garden.[62]
"Smooth Criminal" 1988 None Colin Chilvers In the music video, Michael Jackson and the dancers immediately around him perform a seemingly impossible forward lean. To accomplish this maneuver, a hitching mechanism which Jackson co-patented was built into the floor of the stage and the performers' shoes, thereby allowing performers to lean without needing to keep their centers of mass directly over their feet.[34]
"Speed Demon" 1988 None Jerry Kramer
Will Vinton
Jackson filmed a promotional video for the song, seen first as a segment in the anthology film Moonwalker (1988). Directed by Will Vinton, the video was produced by Vinton, Jerry Kramer, Michael Jackson and Frank Dileo.[64]
"Come Together" 1988 None Jerry Kramer
Colin Chilvers
Jackson filmed the video as a promotional video for the song, which originally was a segment of his 1988 film Moonwalker.[66]
"Leave Me Alone" 1989 None Jim Blashfield The music video features llamas and peacocks from an animal preserve and an amusement park, Oak's Park. The video was the result of the media criticizing his idiosyncrasies.[34]
"2300 Jackson Street" 1989 The Jacksons
Rebbie Jackson
Marlon Jackson
Janet Jackson
Grey Gold The music video features most of the Jackson siblings, except for La Toya and Marlon.[68]
"Liberian Girl" 1989 None Jim Yukich The music video features many of Jackson's celebrity friends who gathered on a soundstage to film the music video for "Liberian Girl", only to discover that Jackson was filming them all along. It features Paula Abdul, Dan Aykroyd, Danny Glover, Steven Spielberg, John Travolta, and Olivia Newton-John.[69]
"Black or White" 1991 None John Landis The video features Macaulay Culkin, Tess Harper, and George Wendt. This was the second time John Landis and Jackson worked together, the previous time being Thriller. It was choreographed by Vincent Paterson.[34]
"Remember the Time" 1992 None John Singleton It was a nine-minute video and was promoted as a "short film" and was choreographed by Fatima Robinson. The video was an elaborate production and became one of Jackson's longest videos at over nine minutes. It was set in ancient Egypt and featured innovative visual effects and appearances by Eddie Murphy, Iman, The Pharcyde, Magic Johnson, Tom "Tiny" Lister, Jr. and Wylie Draper. The video also featured Jackson's first on-screen kiss.[34]
"In the Closet" 1992 None Herb Ritts The sepia colored music video features Jackson performing sensual dance routines with supermodel Naomi Campbell. The spoken vocals by Princess Stéphanie of Monaco were re-recorded by Campbell for the video. The clip was filmed in Salton Sea, California.[34]
"Jam" 1992 Heavy D David Kellogg The video features cameo appearance by the rap duo Kris Kross and Michael Jordan. Both Jordan and Jackson teach one another their special talents in this video; Jordan's basketball skills and Jackson's "moonwalk".[34]
"Heal the World" 1992 None Joe Pytka The music video features children living in countries suffering from unrest, especially Burundi. It is also one of only a handful of Michael Jackson's videos not to feature Jackson himself.[78]
"Give In to Me" 1993 None Andy Morahan It was shot in Munich, Germany and features Jackson performing the song on stage at an indoor rock concert with ex-Living Color bassist Muzz Skillings, Guns N' Roses guitarists Slash and Gilby Clarke, as well as the band's touring keyboardist Teddy Andreadis. The pyrotechnics appearing on the video are computer-generated and were added later on.[79]
"Who Is It" 1993 None David Fincher In the music video Jackson was featured falling in love with a high-priced escort and stares sadly at the city skyline.[34]
"Whatzupwitu" 1993 Eddie Murphy Wayne Isham
Klasky Csupo
The music video was inspired by the album's cover art and also uses computer graphics. This was the second time Murphy and Jackson had worked together, the first being for the music video for "Remember the Time".[81]
"Will You Be There" 1993 None Vincent Paterson The music video features Jackson performing the song during his Dangerous World Tour and footage from Free Willy.[83]
"Gone Too Soon" 1993 None Bill DiCicco The footage in the music video features scenes of Jackson and Ryan White together, as well as brief coverage from White's funeral. Home movies, donated by White's mother Jeanne, were also shown in the short film.[85]
"HIStory Teaser" 1995 None Rupert Wainwright A promotional music video for Michael Jackson's HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I studio album.[87]
"Scream" 1995 Janet Jackson Mark Romanek The music video was 4:46 minutes in duration and was choreographed by Travis Payne, LaVelle Smith Jnr, Tina Landon, Sean Cheesman and Sacha Lucashenko. It features a dystopic, playful spaceship dance-off between Jackson and his sister Janet and the video cost $7 million to make.[34]
"Childhood" 1995 None Nick Brandt Jason James Richter and Francis Capra, actors from the movie Free Willy 2, both make a cameo appearance in the video.[89]
"You Are Not Alone" 1995 None Wayne Isham The video features temple scenes that were a homage to Maxfield Parrish's 1922 painting "Daybreak" and theater scenes which was filmed at the Pantages Theatre, in Los Angeles. Lisa Marie Presley, Jackson's wife at the time, appears in an affectionate semi-nude scene with him.[90]
"Earth Song" 1995 None Nick Brandt The video was filmed in three geographic regions (Americas, Europe and Africa). The first location was the Amazon rainforest, where natives of the region appeared in the video and were not actors. The second scene was a war zone in Karlovac, Croatia, with Croatian actor Slobodan Dimitrijević and the residents of the area. The third location was Tanzania, which incorporated scenes of illegal poaching and hunting into the video. The final location was in Warwick, New York, where a safe forest fire was simulated in a corn field.[92]
"Why" 1996 3T Ralph Ziman The video features 3T and Jackson and is shot in black and white. The music video was released on the Michael Jackson's box set, Michael Jackson's Vision.[93]
"They Don't Care About Us" Brazil Version 1996 None Spike Lee One of two music videos made for the single. The first was filmed in Salvador (Pelourinho) and in Rio de Janeiro. Jackson also collaborated with 200 members of the cultural group Olodum, who "swayed to the heavy beat of Salvador's 'samba-reggae' music".[34]
"They Don't Care About Us" Prison Version 1996 None Spike Lee One of two music videos made for the single. The video was filmed in a prison with cell mates; in the video Jackson is seen handcuffed. It also contains real footage of police attacking African Americans, the military crackdown of the protest in the Tiananmen Square, the Ku Klux Klan, war crimes, genocide, execution, martial law, and other human rights abuses.[95]
"Stranger in Moscow" 1996 None Nick Brandt The music video was shot in Los Angeles and is based on Jackson's personal life, portraying him walking around looking for new people to talk to, as he did in his real life.[97]
"Blood on the Dance Floor" 1997 None Michael Jackson
Vincent Paterson
Carmit Bachar, member of The Pussycat Dolls, was featured as a dancer in the music video. Another version of the music video was made, presented as the "Refugee Camp Mix".[99]
"Ghosts" 1997 None Stan Winston It was a five-minute clip taken from a film entitled Ghosts. Jackson unveiled the film at the Cannes Film Festival, as part of the album promotion.[101]
"HIStory (Tony Moran's HIStory Lesson)" 1997 Boyz II Men Unknown The video features scenes from his short film Ghosts, and live performances from the Bad World Tour and the Dangerous World Tour.[104]
"You Rock My World" 2001 None Paul Hunter The video, which is over thirteen minutes long, was described as being a short film. The video features appearances from Chris Tucker, Marlon Brando, Michael Madsen and Billy Drago.[105]
"Cry" 2001 None Nick Brandt The video was filmed in six different locations, five of which were in California and another in Nevada. People featured in the video included members of a real-life gospel group.[108]
"What More Can I Give" 2001 The All Stars Unknown The song for the music video was created as a charity single recorded by various artists for 9/11.[109]
"One More Chance" 2003 None Nick Brandt Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch was raided by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office. Michael Jackson had been shooting the video late into the night of November 17, but following the raid, production was stopped. The single was instead promoted using a montage video of highlights from Jackson's career to date.[110]
"Cheater" 2004 None Unknown The music video features clips from the Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour DVD, which was included in the same album the song appears in.[111]
"This Is It" 2009 The Jacksons Spike Lee The video was premiered posthumously on the webpage of Lee's production company 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. The video, almost five-minutes long, features various scenes of Jackson's hometown and former residence in Gary, Indiana, along with photos and videos of him and tributes from his fans around the world.[112]
"We Are the World 25 for Haiti" 2010 None Paul Haggis The music video for the song was formatted similar to the original "We Are the World"; the video opens with the song's title with the recording artists' signatures surrounding it, as well as clips of the artists performing their parts in the recording studio and included archive footage of Michael Jackson performing his part of the song. The video was intercut with clips showing people in Haiti following the earthquake.[113]
"Hold My Hand" 2010 Akon Mark Pellington The filming for the video began in Tustin, California, a main filming location being the airship hangars at Marine Corps Air Station Tustin. There was a casting call posted on Jackson's official website, stating interest in people of all ages who wanted to be in the video.[114]
"Hollywood Tonight" 2011 None Wayne Isham It was shot in front of the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California. Sofia Boutella portrays the lead dancer in the video.[115]
"Behind the Mask" 2011 None Dennis Liu
Two versions of the music video were made, the first being made in 2011 and the second, known as the alternative version, being made in 2013.[117]
"All in Your Name" 2011 Barry Gibb Barry Gibb The video shows unveiled footage of Gibb recording an unreleased track of the song with Michael Jackson in 2002.[119]
"Love Never Felt So Good" 2014 Justin Timberlake Rich Lee
Justin Timberlake
Two versions of the music video were released. The first features a crowd of young dancers lip syncing and, Timberlake singing along and making some memorable moves from Jackson's classic music videos or live shows. The second version featured clips from the duet version, as well as clips from other Michael Jackson music videos, such as "Dirty Diana" and "You Rock My World", along with some of Jackson's live performances, such as "Billie Jean".[120]
"A Place with No Name" 2014 None Samuel Bayer The video stars dancers Alvester Martin and Danielle Acoff in new dance sequences in a desert. The video also weaves in rare clips from Jackson's "In the Closet" video shoot. A second music video was released on Michael Jackson's Vevo page, with choreographed dances performed by the dancers from Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson: One" world tour. It was filmed at different places in Los Angeles, but most of the video was shot inside the "Michael Jackson: ONE" Boutique inside Mandalay Bay.[122]
"Say Say Say (2015 Remix)" 2015 Paul McCartney Ryan Heffington McCartney released this music video that unveiled new vocal recordings by Jackson.[124]

Video albums[edit]

Title Album details Description
Moonwalker Contains a collection of short films about Jackson, several of which are long-form music videos from Jackson's Bad album.
Dangerous: The Short Films Contains the music videos for Jackson's eighth studio album, Dangerous.
Video Greatest Hits – HIStory Contains the music videos for Jackson's ninth and penultimate studio album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.
HIStory on Film, Volume II Contains a collection of music videos from six of Jackson's studio albums.
Number Ones Contains a collection of music videos from eight of Jackson's studio albums.
The One Contains interviews with other celebrities about Jackson's influence, and also contains footage from Jackson's previous music videos.
Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour Contains the special as it originally aired on HBO in October 1992 along with new content.
Michael Jackson's Vision Contains forty-two music videos with newly restored color and remastered audio.
Live at Wembley July 16, 1988 Contains a performance of the Bad world tour, performing songs from the album Bad.


Title Year Role Director Notes
The Wiz 1978 Scarecrow Sidney Lumet Musical adventure film[25]
Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller 1983 Himself John Landis Documentary[136]
Captain EO 1986 Captain EO Francis Ford Coppola Short film[137]
Moonwalker 1988 Himself Jerry Kramer Anthology film[138]
Executive producer
Story writer
Michael Jackson's Ghosts 1996 Maestro / Mayor /
Mayor Ghoul / Super Ghoul /
Stan Winston Short film[139]
Men in Black II 2002 Agent M Barry Sonnenfeld Cameo appearance[140]
Miss Cast Away and the Island Girls 2004 Agent MJ Bryan Michael Stoller Cameo appearance[141]
Michael Jackson's This Is It 2009 Himself Kenny Ortega Documentary[142]
Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon 2011 Himself Andrew Eastel Documentary[143]
Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender 2012 Himself Rhys Thomas Documentary[144]
Bad 25 2012 Himself Spike Lee Documentary[145]
Michael Jackson: The Last Photo Shoot 2014 Himself Craig Williams Documentary[146]
Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall 2016 Himself Spike Lee Documentary[147]


"Stark Raving Dad" was the first episode in the third season of The Simpsons. Jackson performed the speaking voice of Leon Kompowsky under the pseudonym John Jay Smith.[148] The producers of the show were legally prevented from confirming that Jackson guest-starred at the time, although many media sources assumed it was really him. The episode was written specifically for Jackson, a fan of the show, who had called Matt Groening, the creator of the show, one night and offered to do a guest spot.[149] The offer was accepted and a script was written by Al Jean and Mike Reiss, based on an idea pitched by James L. Brooks.[150] Groening and co-executive producer Sam Simon also contributed significantly to the writing of the episode.[150] In 2017, archival recordings of Jackson were in the TV special Michael Jackson's Halloween.[151][152][153][154]


  1. ^ a b c Jackson recorded this as part of his group, The Jacksons.



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