It has been five years since Michael Jackson died of an overdose of propofol while trying to get some sleep on the eve of his comeback tour This Is It — but no passage of years will ever take away from the genius of his music and videos.
The special effects may be dated, but the classic horror story of the werewolf is timeless — and this is the video that catapulted Jackson to a previously unknown level of stardom.
Not exactly known for being a tough guy, Jackson brought in real gang members and filmed in Los Angeles’ infamous Skid Row to give this video a tough edge — and introduced the world to that awesome red leather zippered jacket. Of course, through the power of dance, MJ shows them how funky strong his fight is and brings peace to the ‘hood.
From ’80s-era gangs to ’30s-era gangsters, Jackson’s later take on criminal violence featured one of his most famous dance moves: that incredible, gravity-defying lean.
You can thank “Billy Jean” for making MTV what it is (or what it was when they actually played videos), as it brought the fledgling cable channel to national attention. The video also touches on a subject that plagued Jackson in his later years: intrusive paparazzi.
“Man in the Mirror”
Not a single social issue illustrated in this heartbreaking video has been solved in the nearly 30 years since its 1987 release: not poverty, not homelessness, not racism, not war. Maybe it’s because not enough people are listening to the song’s message: “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, then make that change.”