Michael Jackson wrote many of his hit song by himself, including "Billie Jean" and "Beat It." This is another example one he wrote, although it's not nearly as personal as many of his compositions. According to the book Jacksons Number Ones, he wrote this song after his mother Katherine asked him to write a song with "a shuffling kind of rhythm."
Jackson had sung about girls in songs like "Rock With You" and "P.Y.T.," but this was the first song that featured a love interest in the video. She was played by a dancer/actress named Tatiana Thumbtzen, and in the video, Jackson seduces her with his dancing. Their real-life relationship is a little murky: a tearful Thumbtzen claimed in the VH1 special Michael Jackson's Secret Childhood that they had an affair, but she was fired from public performances of this song when their relationship started becoming public. When Jackson needed a love interest in later videos, he went with high-profile models: Iman in "Remember The Time" and Naomi Campbell in "In The Closet."
This was the third of 5 US #1 hits from Bad, following up the title track.
On the Bad tour, Jackson needed a female singer to perform on this song and "I Just Can't Stop Loving You." An unknown Sheryl Crow was picked for the role. She told Rolling Stone in 2010: "There'd be some nights where he was checked out, but some shows he'd pull me in really tight, and it was overwhelming. Not in a sexual sense, but because of the metaphysical energy he possessed."
Jackson performed this at the 1988 Grammy Awards, and at a 2001 concert special that aired on CBS where he was joined onstage by Britney Spears, who sang on this with Michael. Britney's appearance was originally cut from the broadcast because of her contract with HBO, but was inserted for a reair of the special.
Jackson produced the songs on the Bad album with Quincy Jones, who helmed his Thriller album. Jones has mentioned this song as one of his favorite orchestrations on the album; he added lots of little rhythms and sounds to the track to give it texture.
Chi Girl from NigeriaThe song makes me feel so wanted!
Brother from New York, NyThis is one of the best music videos I've seen
Pete from Nowra, AustraliaI heard Jackson wasn't overly interested in the girl in the video , she was, and made it known , Michael just didn't care
Maki from Moses Lake, WaI love this song! It is my favorite, and I adore the video! He's just so sexy in it, the way he pursues that girl so aggressively in that video, and the way she so coyly tries to dodge him. I love the synth in it too, I just picture the girl as she's walkin away, swingin her hips to the rythm...as they seem to in the video. Any does anyone notice the particularly lewd guestures Michael makes when he sings about "keeping you satisfied"?? LOL
Mercedies from Soldotna, AkI love his music. He is such a genius!
Brooke from London, United KingdomThe opening in this song is great, Michael Jackson knows how to keep you listening to his songs. They are wicked!