BBC Radio 2 listeners were asked to vote for their favourite dance record of all time, and have chosen ‘Billie Jean’! Composed by Michael and co-produced by Quincy Jones, this song won two Grammy awards and went to the top of the charts when it was released in 1983.
Zoe Ball of Radio 2 said “I’m delighted that Billie Jean has been voted the greatest dance record ever made. This is Jackson at his best. This track is way up there for me – Jacko’s rendition of it at the Motown 25th anniversary show has got to be one of the great live performances of all time. The bassline is awesome, the production is killer. It’s just perfect.”
The beginning of ‘Billie Jean’ is instantly recognisable because of the first few drum beats in the introduction. Bruce Swedien, who was the sound engineer at the time, said that Michael had wanted “the greatest sonic personality that you can possible put on a track, starting with the drums”.
The list of 20 songs to be considered was drawn up by a panel of music experts, including at least 2 famous UK DJs. Then the public was asked to vote on those songs, and of course ‘Billie Jean’ was the best! Other songs in the list included Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’, James Brown’s ‘Get Up (Sex Machine)’, and Rhythm Is Rhythm’s ‘Strings Of Life’.