Leave Me Alone (Michael Jackson song)

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"Leave Me Alone"
Leave Me Alone (Micheal Jackson single) coverart.jpg
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Bad
ReleasedFebruary 1989
Format
Recorded1985-1986 [1]
Studio Westlake Recording Studios (studio D), Los Angeles [1]
Genre Funk
Length4:40
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) Michael Jackson
Producer(s)
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Smooth Criminal"
(1988)
"Leave Me Alone"
(1989)
"2300 Jackson Street"
(1989)
Music video
"Leave Me Alone" on YouTube
Audio sample
"Leave Me Alone"

"Leave Me Alone" is a song by American artist Michael Jackson from his seventh studio album, Bad (1987). In February 1989, it was released as the eighth single from the album, though only outside the United States and Canada. It only appears on the CD and 2001 cassette editions of Bad as a bonus track. It was written and composed by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones.

Michael Jackson American singer, songwriter and dancer

Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Jackson's contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

<i>Bad</i> (album) album by Michael Jackson

Bad is the seventh studio album by American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson. It was released on August 31, 1987 in the United States by Epic Records and internationally by CBS Records, nearly five years after Jackson's previous album, Thriller. Bad was written and recorded over more than three and a half years, and was the final collaboration between Jackson and producer Quincy Jones. The lyrical themes include media bias, paranoia, racial profiling, romance, self-improvement and world peace.

Compact disc Optical disc for storage and playback of digital audio

Compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings (CD-DA) but was later adapted for storage of data (CD-ROM). Several other formats were further derived from these, including write-once audio and data storage (CD-R), rewritable media (CD-RW), Video Compact Disc (VCD), Super Video Compact Disc (SVCD), Photo CD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced Music CD. The first commercially available audio CD player, the Sony CDP-101, was released October 1982 in Japan.

Contents

"Leave Me Alone" peaked at number one and two in Ireland and the United Kingdom respectively and reached the top ten in Belgium, New Zealand and Spain. "Leave Me Alone" was generally well received by critics. In the music video, Jackson pokes fun at the rumors about him. The video was the recipient of a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best Music Video. The song was never performed on any of Jackson's tours.

Grammy Award accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

Background

"Leave Me Alone" was a response to negative rumours about Jackson that frequently appeared in the media and tabloids post-1985 after the success of Thriller. [2] Beginning in 1986, the tabloids began to publish rumours about Jackson, one of the first being a story claiming that Jackson slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to slow the aging process. A picture leaked out to the media of him lying down in a hyberbaric chamber at a hospital he visited. An unknown person took the picture of Jackson while he was testing out the chamber out of curiosity.

Tabloid (newspaper format) type of newspaper format

A tabloid is a newspaper with a compact page size smaller than broadsheet. There is no standard size for this newspaper format.

<i>Thriller</i> (Michael Jackson album) 1982 album by Michael Jackson

Thriller is the sixth studio album by American singer Michael Jackson, released on November 30, 1982, in the United States by Epic Records and internationally by CBS Records. It explores genres similar to Jackson's previous album, Off the Wall (1979), including pop, post-disco, rock and funk. Recording took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, with a production budget of $750,000.

Hyperbaric medicine Medical treatment in which an ambient pressure greater than sea level atmospheric pressure is a necessary component

Hyperbaric medicine is medical treatment in which an ambient pressure greater than sea level atmospheric pressure is a necessary component. The treatment comprises hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), the medical use of oxygen at an ambient pressure higher than atmospheric pressure, and therapeutic recompression for decompression illness, intended to reduce the injurious effects of systemic gas bubbles by physically reducing their size and providing improved conditions for elimination of bubbles and excess dissolved gas.

When Jackson bought a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles, the media viewed it as evidence of Jackson's increasing detachment from reality. [3] It was also reported that Jackson had offered to buy the bones of Joseph Merrick, the "Elephant Man"; Jackson stated that the story was "a complete lie." [3] [4] These stories inspired the derogatory nickname "Wacko Jacko", which Jackson acquired the following year, and would come to despise. Another frequent response from the media was about Jackson's plastic surgery. Jackson's manager said of the media's criticism towards the topic, "So many terrible things have been written. Okay, so he had his nose fixed, and the cleft — big deal. I got news for you, my nose has broke five times. It's been fixed twice. Who gives a shit? Who cares? Elvis had his nose done. Marilyn Monroe had her nose done, had her breasts done? Everybody's had it done." [5]

Common chimpanzee species of mammal

The chimpanzee, also known as the common chimpanzee, robust chimpanzee, or simply "chimp," is a species of great ape. The chimpanzee, along with the closely related bonobo, is a species in the genus Pan. Evidence from fossils and DNA sequencing shows both species of the genus Pan constitute a sister taxon to the modern human lineage.

Bubbles (chimpanzee) chimpanzee famous for being Michael Jacksons pet

Bubbles is a common chimpanzee once kept as a pet by American recording artist Michael Jackson, who bought him from a Texas research facility in the early 1980s. Bubbles frequently traveled with Jackson, leading to media mockery and a public perception of Jackson as eccentric. During the Bad world tour, for example, Jackson brought Bubbles to Japan, where they drank tea with the mayor of Osaka.

Joseph Merrick English man with severe deformities

Joseph Carey Merrick, often incorrectly called John Merrick, was an English man with severe deformities. He was first exhibited at a freak show as the "Elephant Man", and then went to live at the London Hospital after he met Frederick Treves, subsequently becoming well known in London society.

The song has been viewed as having a "paranoia theme", a theme that Jackson had frequently used on previous studio albums. [6] The Atlantic felt that Jackson showed "obvious expressions of distrust" in the song and that the song was one of multiple songs where Jackson's "persistent loneliness in his music" was "prominent". [7] In 2009, J. Edward Keyes, of Rolling Stone , described "Leave Me Alone" as sounding like "vintage Michael" and the song works because of its music, "a batch of thick chords for Jackson to vamp over". [8] Keyes noted that the song was a "kind of darker inversion" of "The Way You Make Me Feel", and that "Leave Me Alone" was "worked-up and angry, and Jackson's aggressive scraping of the high notes makes plain his frustration." [8]

<i>The Atlantic</i> Magazine and multi-platform publisher based in Washington, D.C.

The Atlantic is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.

The Way You Make Me Feel Michael Jackson song

"The Way You Make Me Feel" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was released by Epic Records on November 9, 1987 as the third single from his seventh studio album, Bad (1987). It was written and composed by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones and Jackson.

Composition

"Leave Me Alone" is a funk song [9] played with a synthesizer and a guitar. [10] According to MusicNotes.com, the song is set in the key of Eb minor with Jackson's voice range being sung from Bb3 to Ab5. [11] The song's tempo is moderate and its metronome is 112 beats per minute. [11]

In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. In classical music, tempo is typically indicated with an instruction at the start of a piece and is usually measured in beats per minute. In modern classical compositions, a "metronome mark" in beats per minute may supplement or replace the normal tempo marking, while in modern genres like electronic dance music, tempo will typically simply be stated in bpm.

Critical and commercial reception

"Leave Me Alone has the angry edge that is lacking in much of the song 'Bad'."

Richard Harrington, a writer for The Washington Post [12]

"Leave Me Alone" was generally well received by contemporary music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, a writer for AllMusic, stated he felt that "Leave Me Alone" was the best track on Bad, commenting "why are all of his best songs paranoid anthems?" [6] Steve Morse, a writer for The Boston Globe , described "Leave Me Alone" as a "send-up" of Jackson's feuds with the "paparazzi-filled tabloids." [13] Jon Pareles, of The New York Times , commented that "Leave Me Alone" had an "unmistakable message". [14] After Jackson's death in June 2009, Rolling Stone listed "Leave Me Alone" as being one of Jackson's most monumental work, and the song's composition was generally praised. [8]

"Leave Me Alone" performed well on various charts. It was released as a single outside the United States and Canada. The song, similar to Bad's previous singles, proved to be a commercial success internationally. "Leave Me Alone"'s most successful territory was Ireland, where the song peaked at No. 1. [15] The song saw similar chart success on the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norwegian and Switzerland charts, peaking within the top 10 at Nos. 2, 5, 6 and 10, respectively. [16] [17] "Leave Me Alone" also peaked within the top 20 in Austria, France and Sweden, peaking at Nos. 15, 17 and 19, respectively. [16] The single was least successful in Australia, where the song peaked at number 37. [18]

Music video

A newspaper with the headline reading "Michael Sleeps In Hyperbaric Chamber". The headline is a reference to a frequent rumor (which Jackson said was false) that he slept in a hyperbaric chamber, with an identical photo shown to the one that was attached to the stories, which showed Jackson lying in a glass box. A male Indian peafowl is shown looking at the camera. Leave me alone 140x105.jpg
A newspaper with the headline reading "Michael Sleeps In Hyperbaric Chamber". The headline is a reference to a frequent rumor (which Jackson said was false) that he slept in a hyperbaric chamber, with an identical photo shown to the one that was attached to the stories, which showed Jackson lying in a glass box. A male Indian peafowl is shown looking at the camera.

The music video for "Leave Me Alone" was directed by Jim Blashfield, produced by Jim Blashfield and Paul Diener and released on January 2, 1989. The video also appeared in the 1988 film Moonwalker . [19] In essence, the video is an amusement park consisting of stylistically crude images based around Jackson's successful career since 1982's Thriller . There is an emphasis on the tabloid view of Jackson's personal life and public image, referring to the nickname "Wacko Jacko" given to him by the press, and the various headlines associated with him in the 1980s. [20] Lampooning rumours that he tried to purchase Joseph Merrick's bones, Jackson dances with stop motion "Elephant Man" bones in the video. [20]

In the video, there are images of shrines to actress Elizabeth Taylor, a real life close friend of Jackson. Throughout the video newspaper headlines, published by "National Intruder", with bizarre titles are shown, such as "Michael's Space-Age Diet" and "Michael Proposes to Liz". Another notable scene in the music video was a nose being chased by a surgical scalpel, which was reference to Jackson's plastic surgery being criticized by the media. At the end of the video, it is revealed that a gigantic Jackson himself is the amusement park. He breaks free, tearing the park to pieces. That scene is somewhat reminiscent of Gulliver's Travels , where Gulliver eventually breaks free from the Lilliputians' bonds. [21]

"Leave Me Alone" was the recipient of multiple nominations for its music video. The video won a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best Short Form Music Video at the 32nd Grammy Awards. [22] Also "Leave Me Alone" video won the Cannes Gold Lion Award for Best Special Effects (http://www.blashfieldstudio.com/musicvideos.html) The video also received six nominations at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards for Video of the Year, Viewers' Choice, Breakthrough Video, Best Editing and Best Art Direction; the video won Best Special Effects. [23] The video lost its six nominations to Neil Young's "This Note Is for You" ("Video of the Year"), Art of Noise ("Breakthrough Video"), Paula Abdul ("Best Editing"), and Madonna's "Express Yourself" ("Best Cinematography", "Best Art Direction") and "Like a Prayer" ("Viewers' Choice"). [23] Erlewine described the music video as being "weirdly claustrophobic" and felt that, "not coincidentally," it was the "best video from the album." [6]

Track listing

Chart performance

Personnel

Credits adapted from Bad: Special Edition's liner notes: [10]

See also

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