Leave Me Alone

Album: Bad (1987)
Charted: 2

Songfacts®:

  • This was the eighth single released from Bad in all territories apart from the US.

    The song began life as the bonus track on the CD release. In the early days of CDs, such tracks were an afterthought of B-side quality - the leftover track from the sessions that didn't merit inclusion on the album itself. Jackson turned that convention on its head by not only releasing the song as a single, but seeing it become one of his biggest hits.
  • Jackson wrote this song, which is a kiss-off to a girl he wants no part of (Billie Jean, perhaps?). The song could also apply to the parasitic press that shadowed him around the globe, with Jackson imploring them for privacy. This was the inspiration for the video, which showed some of the totems that kept coming up in stories and jokes about Jackson, including Elizabeth Taylor, The Elephant Man's bones, and his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles.
  • The tongue-in-cheek animated video music video, which was a dig at the tabloids' fascination with Jackson, won the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Music Video Short Form, and the MTV Video Music Award for Best Special Effects. Jim Blashfield and Paul Diener directed the clip, with Blashfield doing the animation. Blashfield won the same MTV award the following year for his work on "Sowing the Seeds of Love" by Tears For Fears.

    The animating process for Jackson's clip took nine months. "Each and every bit of it is made up of still images that are all stacked on top of one another on a piece of glass," Blashfield explained to Rolling Stone. "Look in any one scene and look how many different things there are going on, so each one of those had to have its own shoot. There's a splash that shows up throughout the entire video, and that was so time consuming to cut out that we just had one and it was passed around. Whoever was doing the scene and needed the splash would get to use it for a while. There was a guy, he specialized in that splash, and I think he worked on it for weeks. He also was responsible for hair. So he looked like somebody out of Dickens. He sat on this tall stool kind of hunched over, with these odd glasses that jewelers or somebody wears. Just cutting one 32nd of an inch after another."
  • In the UK this was kept off the UK #1 spot by The Simple Minds "Belfast Child."
  • The song featured as a segment in Jackson's 1988 movie Moonwalker.

Comments: 2

  • Clubber Lange from Ocean Gate, NjLook for the remains of the Elephant Man in the video....
  • Linc from Beaumont, TxThis song and video are great. It's Michael actually making fun of himself!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks

Ron and Russell Mael of SparksSongwriter Interviews

The men of Sparks on their album Hippopotamus, and how Morrissey handled it when they suggested he lighten up.

Rick Springfield

Rick SpringfieldSongwriter Interviews

Rick has a surprising dark side, a strong feminine side and, in a certain TV show, a naked backside. But he still hasn't found Jessie's Girl.

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss): A History Of Abuse Pop

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss): A History Of Abuse PopSong Writing

Songs that seem to glorify violence against women are often misinterpreted - but not always.

Philip Cody

Philip CodySongwriter Interviews

A talented lyricist, Philip helped revive Neil Sedaka's career with the words to "Laughter In The Rain" and "Bad Blood."

Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins

Tom Bailey of Thompson TwinsSongwriter Interviews

Tom stopped performing Thompson Twins songs in 1987, in part because of their personal nature: "Hold Me Now" came after an argument with his bandmate/girlfriend Alannah Currie.

Paul Williams

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."