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

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 -
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
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 dancing on light up surface in the music video for "Billie Jean". Courtesy MJJ Productions Inc./ Vevo

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 -
Michael Jackson - "Beat It". Courtesy Epic Records
West Side Story
Dreamgirls

, provided choreography.

1983 - "Say Say Say" with Paul McCartney

Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney - Say Say Say
Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney - Say Say Say. Courtesy Epic Records

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
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
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
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 -
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
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.

1988 - "Man In the Mirror"

Michael Jackson -
Michael Jackson - "Man In the Mirror". Courtesy Epic Records

The video for Michael Jackson's "Man In the Mirror" is a departure from previous videos by not featuring Jackson himself. Instead the clip focuses on historical events, figures, and footage of social problems to illustrate the message of making a change in the world by looking first at oneself.

1988 - "Another Part of Me"

Michael Jackson - Another Part of Me
Michael Jackson - Another Part of Me. Courtesy Epic Records

The video to accompany Michael Jackson's "Another Part of Me" features Jackson performing live. It also begins with footage of fans at concerts and various events in Michael Jackson's live including famous friends Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana. The live footage is from the Bad concert tour. Patrick Kelly directed the clip.

1988 - "Smooth Criminal"

Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal
Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal. Courtesy Epic Records

For those who are fans of Michael Jackson's dance contributions, "Smooth Criminal" is a favorite. Jeffrey Daniels of the R&B group Shalamar provided the choreography. Stylistically the clothing is vaguely 20's gangster. Among the dance effects included are the anti-gravity lean, an achievement created using wire harnesses and magnets. A stripped down, chanted interlude added a new dimension to both song and video.

1989 - "Leave Me Alone"

Michael Jackson - Leave Me Alone
Michael Jackson - Leave Me Alone. Courtesy Epic Records

The video for "Leave Me Alone" was the first of Michael Jackson's to directly take on tabloid reports of bizarre events in his personal life. Director Jim Blashfield put together imagery ranging from Jackson's pet chimp Bubbles to a stop action dance with the Elephant Man's skeleton. At the end of the video a gigantic Michael Jackson breaks out of bondage to destroy the amusement park set of the video. This video took home the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Video.

1989 - "Liberian Girl"

Michael Jackson - Liberian Girl
Michael Jackson - Liberian Girl. Courtesy Epic Records

The video to accompany "Liberian Girl," Michael Jackson's last single release from the album Bad, possibly has the biggest star list of any music video ever created. Celebrities featured include Paul Abdul, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Spielberg, and John Travolta among many many others. The clip was directed by Jim Yukich.

1991 - "Black or White"

Michael Jackson -
Michael Jackson - "Black Or White". Courtesy Epic Records

The original full-length version of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" is one of his most ambitious and at the same time controversial video efforts. The opening depicts a battle between a rock music loving Macaulay Culkin and his father depicted by George Wendt. Michael Jackson performs with African dancers. There is a segment of people of a wide range of races and ethnicities morphing into each other using state of the art computer technology. The last minutes of the video startled audiences with a dance sequence that included Michael Jackson's most sexually explicit and violent material yet presented in a video with extensive crotch grabbing and smashing windows with a baseball bat.

1992 - "Remember the Time"

Michael Jackson -
Michael Jackson - "Remember the Time". Courtesy Epic Records

utilized the talents of celebrated African-American film director John Singleton to put together the video accompanying "Remember the Time." It is set in ancient Egypt and includes appearances by Eddie Murphy, Magic Johnson and Iman. Once again complicated, innovative dance routines were included.

1992 - "In the Closet"

Michael Jackson - In the Closet
Michael Jackson - In the Closet. Courtesy Epic Records

Fashion and celebrity photographer Herb Ritts directed Michael Jackson's video for "In the Closet." He also gained acclaim for directing the video for Janet Jackson's "Love Will Never Do (Without You)." Much of the video consists of dance routines performed with supermodel Naomi Campbell. She mimes the female vocals that were contributed by Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

1992 - "Who Is It"

Michael Jackson - Who Is It
Michael Jackson - Who Is It. Courtesy Epic Records

Before becoming an acclaimed film director through his work on Seven and Fight Club, David Fincher was one of the top music video directors in the business. The video is a highly stylish clip depicting the despair of Michael Jackson's character slowly realizing how his girlfriend is cheating on him as a highly priced escort.

1992 - "Jam"

Michael Jackson - Jam
Michael Jackson - Jam. Courtesy Epic Records

plays basketball! In exchange for dancing lessons, Michael Jordan teaches Jackson how to play basketball. Don't miss cameos from Heavy D and Kris Kross.

1992 - "Heal the World"

Michael Jackson - Heal the World
Michael Jackson - Heal the World. Courtesy Epic Records

Joe Pytka's third and final video for Michael Jackson is one of the few to not feature Michael Jackson himself. Matching the themes of the song, it shows children living in areas of the world suffering from unrest.

1993 - "Give In to Me" with Slash

Michael Jackson - Give In to Me
Michael Jackson - Give In to Me. Courtesy Epic Records

The song "Give In To Me" features the guitar pyrotechnics of Guns 'n Roses' Slash. Michael Jackson's video is a performance clip with Slash.

1993 - "Will You Be There"

Michael Jackson - Will You Be There
Michael Jackson - Will You Be There. Courtesy Epic Records

The song "Will You Be There" was featured in the soundtrack for the film Free Willy. The accompanying video is a phenomenal collection of footage from Michael Jackson's Dangerous tour.

1993 - "Gone Too Soon"

Michael Jackson - Gone Too Soon
Michael Jackson - Gone Too Soon. Courtesy Epic Records

dedicated "Gone Too Soon" to the memory of Ryan White, the 18 year old boy who died a victim of AIDS after much publicized efforts to exclude him from public school in his home of Kokomo, Indiana.

1995 - "Scream" with Janet Jackson

Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson - Scream
Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson - Scream. Courtesy Epic Records

Director Mark Romanek first gained acclaim as a music video director by directing Nine Inch Nails' "Closer." He gave Michael Jackson's rant against tabloid sensationalism a futuristic, 2001: A Space Odyssey style setting. "Scream" took home the Grammy Award for Best Short Form video. Many saw Janet Jackson as taking on a darker image than that depicted in her own music videos.

1995 - "Childhood"

Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson - Scream
Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson - Scream. Courtesy Epic Records

"Childhood" was the B-side to the "Scream" single. The song was used as the main theme for the movie

Free Willy 2

. The video itself is a fantasy similar to the styles of picture books created for children.

1995 - "You Are Not Alone"

Michael Jackson - You Are Not Alone
Michael Jackson - You Are Not Alone. Courtesy Epic Records

video for "You Are Not Alone" gained notoriety due to the semi-naked scenes filmed with his wife Lisa Marie Presley. The clip was directed by Wayne Isham and later Presley indicated some measure of regret at appearing in the video.

1995 - "Earth Song"

Michael Jackson - Earth Song
Michael Jackson - Earth Song. Courtesy Epic Records

Photographer Nick Brandt directed Michael Jackson's video for "Earth Song." It is a moving creation that depicts destruction on the earth due to forces such as animal cruelty, pollution and war. However a healing force is summoned that repairs the world.

1996 - "They Don't Care About Us"

Michael Jackson - They Don't Care About Us
Michael Jackson - They Don't Care About Us. Courtesy Epic Records

Watch second version

The making of Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us" video was surrounded by considerable controversy. Film director Spike Lee was hired to direct the clip. Local officials in Rio de Janeiro unsuccessfully attempted to ban filming of the video in their city. They feared that depictions of poverty would damage the city's image internationally. A second video filmed in a prison was also created. It depicted abuses perpetrated by police and misdirected governments.

1996 - "Stranger In Moscow"

Michael Jackson - Stranger in Moscow
Michael Jackson - Stranger in Moscow. Courtesy Epic Records

Nicholas Brandt's second video directed for Michael Jackson is a meditation on loneliness and disconnection. Reportedly it is closely tied to Jackson's real life in which he would head out on to the streets to look for connections with people motivated by an intense loneliness he felt in life.

1997 - "Blood On the Dance Floor"

Michael Jackson - Blood On the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix
Michael Jackson - Blood On the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. Courtesy Epic

"Blood On the Dance Floor" was the title single form his collection that included a number of dance remixes. The video is a seduction story filled with vibrant reds and bright colors. The video begins and ends with a switchblade through a heart stating "Susie + Me."

1997 - "Ghost"

Michael Jackson - Ghosts
Michael Jackson - Ghosts. Courtesy Epic Records

The individual video for the song "Ghosts" is a segment from Michael Jackson's long-form music video Ghosts directed by Stan Winston. The film is the story of the Maestro who has supernatural powers that find him at odds with a small town and its mayor.

2001 - "You Rock My World"

Michael Jackson - You Rock My World
Michael Jackson - You Rock My World. Courtesy Epic Records

"You Rock My World" is the final video from Michael Jackson to prominently feature Jackson himself. In a fashion similar to previous videos, the story involves Michael Jackson attempting to meet a woman, and he gets into a fight that involves complex dance sequences. Paul Hunter, director of over 100 music videos, co-directed "You Rock My World."

2001 - "Cry"

Michael Jackson - Cry
Michael Jackson - Cry. Courtesy Epic Records

"Cry" was the fourth Michael Jackson video directed by Nicholas Brandt. The clip primarily features long lines of people holding hands in various places around the world.