Smooth Criminal is the seventh single from Michael Jackson’s 1987 Bad album. The song contains a fast-paced beat intertwined with Jackson’s lyrics. It was released as a single on October 24, 1988, and peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100.
The dance sequence of the video in the 1930s style lounge (and Michael’s white suit and fedora) pays tribute to the Fred Astaire musical comedy film The Band Wagon. Currently there are four different versions of the video for Smooth Criminal, as well as an additional vignette created for the 2009 This Is It. The video won Best Music Video at the 1989 Brit Awards and the Critic’s Choice awarded Jackson the Best Video award and the People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Music Video for that same year.
In the video, Michael Jackson performs a seemingly impossible forward lean by using hidden cables. To accomplish this maneuver for stage performances, though, Jackson patented a hitching mechanism which was built into the floor of the stage and the performer’s shoes. The pair of shoes used during the Moscow show were displayed at the Hard Rock Cafe in Moscow for several years; later they were sold at auction for $600,000 after Jackson’s death in the summer of 2009.
Jeffrey Daniel of the soul music group Shalamar co-choreographed the Smooth Criminal video with Jackson and Vincent Patterson, who was a back-up dancer in Beat It and Thriller. It was directed by special effects coordinator Colin Chilvers. The dance sequence of the video in the 1930s style lounge pays tribute to the Fred Astaire musical comedy film The Band Wagon. The Band Wagon‘s finale, The Girl Hunt Ballet starring Astaire and Cyd Charisse with choreography and staging by Michael Kidd was featured in Monday, September 15th Out and About NYC Magazine Hollywood Monday.
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