Track written and co-produced, with Quincy Jones, by Michael.
Originally titled ‘Not My Lover’ (to avoid any confusion with the
tennis player, Billie Jean King), and inspired by an obsessive young
women who accused Michael and his brothers of fathering their sons.
Producer Quincy Jones wasn’t too impressed with the demo of Billie
Jean – he didn’t much care for the bass.
Original demo version included on the special edition of THRILLER, issued in 2001. Second demo version, over six minutes with alternate vocals and ad-libs.
Mixed by Bruce Swedien, who usually did just one mix of a song – but
he did 91 of Billie Jean, before the second mix was eventually chosen.
'Quincy said, okay, this song has to have the most incredible drum
sound that anybody has ever done, but it also has to have one element
that’s different, and that’s sonic personality,’ said Swedien, admitting
he lost a lot of sleep over what exactly Quincy meant. ‘What I ended up
doing was building a drum platform and designing some special little
things, like a bass drum cover and a flat piece of wood that goes
between the snare and the hi-hat… the bottom line is that there aren’t
many pieces of music where you can hear the first three or four notes of the drums, and immediately tell what the piece of music is. But I think that is the case with Billie Jean – and that I attribute to sonic
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