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Michael Jackson Videos

A Comprehensive Guide to Michael Jackson Music Videos


In addition to his phenomenal impact on the world of pop music, Michael Jackson was also one of the top music video artists of all time. Working with a wide range of top talent, he created innovative video after video. This is a guide to Michael Jackson's music video achievement.

1979 - "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"

Courtesy Epic Records
Michael Jackson's first solo music video presented him as an adult pop and R&B star. He is sharply dressed with impeccable dance moves. The triple image of him dancing was an innovation in music video for the time. The video was directed by Nick Saxton.

1979 - "Rock With You"

Michael Jackson - "Rock With You"
Courtesy Epic Records
Bruce Gowers, the man behind Queen's celebrated video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the Jacksons' larger than life "Can You Feel It," directed Michael Jackson's clip for "Rock With You." This is Michael Jackson glittering with sequins in front of a disco era laser.

1980 - "She's Out Of My Life"

Michael Jackson - She's Out of My Life
Courtesy Epic Records
"She's Out of My Life" is one of the most emotional songs Michael Jackson ever recorded. The simple and beautifully filmed video conveys all of the pain of the song's words.

1983 - "Billie Jean"

Michael Jackson - "Billie Jean"
Courtesy Epic Records
Like the song it illustrates, Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" video is a landmark in music video history. Whether it's Jackson's dancing on the sidewalk whose sections light up as he touches them, his pink shirt and black leather jacket, or the coin toss to the homeless man on the street. Every element of this short film by Steve Barron, the director behind a-ha's classic "Take on Me" as well, is classic. "Billie Jean" was the first video by a black artist played in heavy rotation on MTV.

1983 - "Beat It"

Michael Jackson - "Beat It"
Courtesy Epic Records
Michael Jackson takes a cue from the classic musical West Side Story and shows us that maybe gangs can settle issues by dancing instead of fighting. As a follow up to "Billie Jean," this video cemented Jackson's status as on of the most innovative of video artists. Television commercial veteran Bob Giraldi directed and Michael Peters, Tony Award winner for work on Dreamgirls, provided choreography.

1983 - "Say Say Say" with Paul McCartney

Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney - Say Say Say
Courtesy Epic Records
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson cavorted their way through the video that accompanied their massive hit "Say Say Say." Bob Giraldi once again directed and the pair appear as conmen and vaudeville performers. Linda McCartney and LaToya Jackson make cameo appearances.

1983 - "Thriller"

Michael Jackson - Thriller
Courtesy Epic Records
The 14-minute longer "Thriller" short film was one of the most ambitious undertakings in music video yet. Successful film director John Landis (Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London) directed the video co-wrote the screenplay. The film featured dancing zombies, Michael Jackson morphing into a werecat and Vincent Price's spoken word performance. "Thriller" has maintained a reputation as one of the greatest achievements in music video of all time.

1987 - "Bad"

Michael Jackson - Bad
Courtesy Epic Records
It had been four years since Michael Jackson's groundbreaking success with the "Thriller" video. He pulled out all the stops for his return with "Bad." The full length video runs 18 minutes and was directed by legendary film director Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas). It tells the story of Daryl who returns home from an expensive private school and wants to show his gang buddies he's still "bad." Novelist Richard Price wrote the screenplay and based it on the real life story of Edmund Price, a Harlem resident who was a prep school honor student shot dead by a New York City policeman on suspicion he was trying to mug the officer.

1987 - "The Way You Make Me Feel"

Michael Jackson - "The Way You Make Me Feel"
Courtesy Epic Records

The first of three Michael Jackson videos directed by Joe Pytka depicts him following a woman around attempting to seduce her with his dancing. It seems there is a fine line between romantic pursuit and stalking and different viewers have different reactions to this video.

1988 - "Dirty Diana"

Michael Jackson - Dirty Diana
Courtesy Epic Records
The video to accompany Michael Jackson's fifth #1 single from the album Bad was filmed live. It is the second directed by Joe Pytkac. "Dirty Diana" includes footage of Jackson tearing his shirt from his chest. The guitar pyrotechnics are provided by former Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens.
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