History of the song "Smooth Criminal" (1988)
Have you ever wondered how the idol of generations, Michael Jackson, could make the legendary "anti-gravity tilt"? Naturally, the laws of physics cannot be repealed even by a star of this magnitude, but many Jackson fans around the world were sure that he had unique physical abilities and potential. Then it became known that Michael managed to mislead thousands of people using a special mechanism, which he even patented. One way or another, the famous trick has become a real hallmark of the singer.
The first time it was demonstrated in the video for the song "Smooth Criminal". And here it is appropriate to recall a little history of the creation of the song. And at the same time it is useful to think about how exactly the singer was able to keep his body under a clear slope to the surface of the earth.
How was the song "Smooth Criminal" created?
In the early 80s, Michael Jackson wanted to create a composition about a gangster. A demo version of "Chicago 1945" was created, in memory of the criminal atmosphere of Chicago in the 40s.
Having got the taste, the singer wrote the song "Al Capone", which was subsequently included in the anniversary release of the album "Bad 25" and the collection "The Ultimate Fan Extras Collection".
The composition, which sang about the famous bandit, became the basis for the creation of "Smooth Criminal". For some time they wanted to make it the main one in the album edition, but Quincy Jones still insisted on choosing "Bad".
What is "Smooth Criminal" about?
Jackson's biographers are unanimous that the text has no direct connection with the life circumstances of the musician, that it is completely fictional. It talks about some Annie, whose bloodied body is found by the hero. It is characteristic that in the verses it is spoken in the third person, and in the chorus - already in the first. This gives the listener and viewer a sense of direct involvement, being at the scene of a murder.
It is further enhanced by the sounds of the musician's heartbeats and breathing, which are clearly audible at the beginning of the song.
Annie's enigmatic name comes from the Resusci Anne manikin, a beginner's manual for cardiopulmonary recovery. Matt Forger later noted that the mannequin was at Westlake Studios when Jackson was recording Bad. Appeal: "Annie, are you okay?" doctors usually say, honing their technique in practice.
Release and achievements
On October 21, 1988, "Smooth Criminal" was released as a single. And took the 7th position on the Billboard Hot 100, and in the American version of the R&B / Hip-Hop rating, it was already on the 2nd position. The song topped the charts in Iceland, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Jackson included this composition in the program of each solo performance.
The musician planned to shoot a clip in the form of a "western", but after watching the famous film "The Godfather" he leaned towards the style of gangsters.
The video was filmed at the end of winter - in early March 1987, while they were working on the musical film "Moonwalker" ("Moonwalker"). The director was Colin Chilvers, and the main choreographer of the project was Vincent Paterson.
Subsequently, the director admitted that, having shown Jackson the film "The Third Man", he counted on its compliance with the theme of the clip. Michael liked the noir style and decided to create similar lighting.
“The dance is a tribute to Fred Astaire,” Chilvers noted, “he wears a costume very similar to the one Fred was wearing in The Theater Van.”
The video for "Smooth Criminal" was first shown on MTV on October 13, 1988, after which it received the People's Choice Awards and Brit Awards.
So what about antigravity, Michael Jackson?
In the video, the singer demonstrates a trick that fans and critics called anti-gravity tilt (anti-gravity lean). Both Michael himself and the dancers who accompanied him deviated from the vertical position by 45 degrees, with a straight back and legs. This completely breaks the stereotype: physical laws speak of the impossibility of such a technique.
Colin Chilvers then explained the whole "sense" of the trick:
“This technique is quite acceptable to attribute to the consequences of the time when I was filming Superman (Superman). Our team held Michael on the straps, fixing his feet on the ground. The heels were fixed in the slots in the floor. In the video, it is noticeable that when they rise, they shuffle back a little, releasing themselves from the clamps on the floor.
Performing this anti-gravity tilt meant that the dancers were in very good physical shape.
In 2001, the Alien Ant Farm version of the song turned out to be a very noticeable and popular hit. It was this version that was included in the soundtrack for the film "American Pie 2" (American Pie 2), and a video for this song was shot a little later.
A mesmerizing instrumental variation of the song was performed by 2CELLOS cellists.
Among other things, the composition "Smooth Criminal" was performed by Nye River and Grant Gustin.
- The song imitates a policeman's line - this is the voice of sound engineer Bruce Swedien.
- When they finished shooting the video for "Smooth Criminal", Jackson was removed from the Jehovah's Witnesses. The fact is that, according to the norms of this sect, its members are forbidden to hold weapons, and Jackson starred with a gun in his hands.
- The composition became an important event: it was also reflected in the fact that it was used as the soundtrack for the video game "Michael Jackson's Moonwalker".