“Earth Song“ is the third single from Michael Jackson’s album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. It is the fifth song on the second disc of the album. It is a ballad that incorporates elements of blues, gospel and opera. Jackson had a long-standing history of releasing socially conscious material such as “We Are the World”, “Man in the Mirror” and “Heal the World”. However, “Earth Song” was the first that overtly dealt with the environment and animal welfare. “Earth Song” was made for the Dangerous album but it failed to make the final cut. The song was written and composed by Jackson; the task of production was split between Jackson, David Foster and Bill Bottrell.
“Earth Song” was accompanied by a lavish music video shot in four geographical regions. It centered on the destruction and rebirth of Earth and went on to receive a Grammy nomination in 1997. The song was a top five hit in most European countries. It remains Jackson’s best-selling single in the United Kingdom, and was the country’s number-one Christmas single in 1995. “Earth Song” was not released as a single in the United States. Jackson went on to receive recognition from various animal and environmental organizations.
In 2011 the song was paired-up with the poem “Planet Earth” (previously released on Michael Jackson’s This Is It, in 2009) and released as a song in the remix album Immortal. The song was the last song to be rehearsed by Jackson, shortly after midnight on June 25, 2009, making it the final song ever performed by Michael Jackson.
“Earth Song” was originally written and composed by Jackson in the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria under the title “What About Us”. A demo, which featured Jackson singing the ending in falsetto, was to be released as part of a bonus disc for the remastered Dangerous album in 2001 but the release was cancelled; the song along with other tracks were leaked on the internet.
Production of the song was a collaborative effort between Jackson, David Foster and Bill Bottrell. Andrae Crouch’s Choir and Jackson engage in a back and forth chant as the song reaches its climactic finale. Jackson’s intent was to create a song that was lyrically deep yet melodically simple, so the whole world, particularly non-English-speaking fans, could sing along. He conceptualized a song that had an emotional message. Not to forget the orchestral arrangements done by James Horner and Horn arrangements by Jerry Hey.
|Synthesizer (Programming)||Steve Porcaro|