137. Michael Jackson – ‘HIStory’ (1995)

“Every day create your history
Every path you take you’re leaving your legacy”

Taken from the album HIStory: Past, Present & Future – Book 1

Also released on Blood On The Dance Floor: HIStory In The Mix and King Of Pop

UK #5, AUS #43

‘HIStory’ begins with some important quotes from, well, history. It’s an obvious opening but a stunning one, and it leads into a slamming dance beat and some harsh vocals from Michael about staying motivated to succeed, before leading into a completely disjointed social justice song, leading into a handclap-heavy inspirational chorus. It sounds like an absolute mess, and it is, overproduced, pompous, egotistical and fucking brilliant.

Michael Jackson put so much inspirational crap into his lyrics that he was almost a gospel artist, but it totally worked and served it’s purpose because it came from someone with phenomenal self-belief, and he made it sound as though he could transfer some of his talent, some of his legend, some of his history, to you. ‘HIStory’ reaches a rousing climax that feels like it lifts your feet off the ground, and in the wake of Michael’s death and all the reminiscing and compiling and looking back that came with it, you feel the power of these words more than ever before.

The song is like an amalgamation of all the different sides of Michael Jackson, the cheesy balladeer, the semi-gospel guy, the dance artist, the performer, the introvert, the attention whore. No stone is left unturned, and ‘HIStory’ feels like a summation of everything Michael wanted to be remembered for. The incredible Tony Moran Mix of ‘HIStory’, which takes that “feet off the ground” feeling and elevates it to “launched into space”, was released as the single version in 1997, but as great as that remix is, the song needs to be felt in all it’s megalomaniac album version glory.

Fanmade video for album version (some graphic images):

Tony Moran single mix, official music video:

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