Liberian Girl

Album: Bad (1987)
Charted: 13

Songfacts®:

  • This song of gratitude for the existence of a loved one was written and composed by Michael Jackson. His producer Quincy Jones wanted him to write most of the songs for the Bad album, and he did, composing 8 of the 10 tracks. Jones was amazed at the range of Jackson's songwriting, and was very impressed that he came up with this unusual track. The song finds Jackson singing about a special girl from the African nation of Liberia, and it opens with the South African female singer Letta Mbulu saying the Swahili phrase "Naku penda piya-naku taka piya-mpenziwe," which translates to "Love you too. I want you too, my love." There was some geographic liberty here, as Swahili is not spoken in Liberia.
  • This wasn't released in the United States, but was the ninth single released from the Bad album in Europe and Australia.
  • It was widely reported that this song was dedicated to Jackson's close friend Elizabeth Taylor, although Taylor is certainly not Liberian and such a dedication wouldn't make much sense. Jackson did write a more obviously dedicated song for Taylor called "Elizabeth I Love You," which he performed at her 65th birthday celebration, which aired on ABC on February 25, 1997.
  • The World première of the video took place in July 1989. It starred Michael Jackson, Brigitte Nielsen, Paula Abdul, Whoopie Goldberg, Quincy Jones, Jackie Collins, Rosanna Arquette, Lou Diamond Phillips, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Steven Spielberg, Debbie Gibson, Weird Al Yankovic, Bubbles the chimp, Suzanne Somers, Lou Ferrigno, Don King and "Son", David Copperfield, Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Glover, Olivia Hussey, Dan Aykroyd and Steve Guttenberg.
  • The rapper Tupac Skakur sampled the instrumentation of this song on "Letter 2 My Unborn," a track from his posthumous album Until the End of Time.

Comments: 3

  • Matt from AustraliaI agree with the comment below, such a good song but the video just does not suit it at all. When I listen to the track it has a paradise almost tropical theme to it and yet the video shows nothing of that. ‘Keep it in the closet’ or ‘remember the time’ video has themes that would of suit this song.
  • Luke Lee from London, UkThis is a great song. Quite possibly Michael's best ballad, and that's saying something. It's also a perfect tune for the slow dance of the night. What I don't like is the video, and when I was younger I thought it was the coolest thing ever, with all those famous people. I don't recognise half of them now. I really think a heartfelt, sensual song should have had a more African themed video. It would have been groundbreaking.
  • Kaz from C, OhThis song is smooth.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Joe ElySongwriter Interviews

The renown Texas songwriter has been at it for 40 years, with tales to tell about The Flatlanders and The Clash - that's Joe's Tex-Mex on "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

Lita FordSongwriter Interviews

Lita talks about how they wrote songs in The Runaways, and how she feels about her biggest hit being written by somebody else.

Real or Spinal TapMusic Quiz

They sang about pink torpedoes and rocking you tonight tonight, but some real lyrics are just as ridiculous. See if you can tell which lyrics are real and which are Spinal Tap in this lyrics quiz.

Band NamesFact or Fiction

Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?

Amanda PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Call us crazy, but we like it when an artist comes around who doesn't mesh with the status quo.

Yacht Rock QuizFact or Fiction

Christopher Cross with Deep Purple? Kenny Loggins in Caddyshack? A Fact or Fiction all about yacht rock and those who made it.