Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson Hits: Smooth Criminal

Smooth Criminal is a Funk and Pop rock single by Michael Jackson from the album Bad (1988, the seventh single). It ran at 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became one of Jackson's most popular songs.

Smooth Criminal was also the centerpiece in Jackson's short film Moonwalker. It was presented in a ten-minute long clip in which Jackson dances through a 1930s-style nightclub.

Initially Smooth Criminal almost didn't make into the Bad album, but finally included. Though the original title was Al Capone, the Italian-American gangster, it was re-written as "Smooth Criminal". The song was performed live during the second leg of Michael Jackson's Bad World Tour of 1987-88. The performance featured a dance routine modeled after the scene from Moonwalker.

In the 1992 Dangerous World Tour, Smooth Criminal became a regular feature on Jackson’s tours. By this time Jackson had devised a way to perform the anti-gravity lean, which was featured in the Moonwalker video, on stage. Much like the robot move from "Dancing Machine" to the Moonwalk from "Billie Jean", this showcased Michael Jackson's talent for creating unique moves to enhance stage performances.

Anti-gravity lean

Anti-gravity lean effect in the video, when Jackson and other dancers lean forward to an impossible angle, was achieved using special harnesses like wires and magnets. But for the stage show, the props and wires would have been visible to the audience and difficult to use. So, Jackson devised an alternative way to achieve the anti-gravity lean effect on stage, consisting of pegs that rise from the stage and special shoes with ankle supports and cutouts in the heels which can slide over the pegs and be, thereby, attached to the stage temporarily. These allow the performers to lean without needing to keep their centers of gravity directly over their feet.

The instantly recognizable “Anti-gravity lean” was later recreated by dance group Diversity in the third series of Britain's Got Talent.

No comments: