Written and Composed by Michael Jackson
Produced by Michael Jackson for MJJ Productions, Inc. and David Foster for Chartmaker, Inc.
Co-Produced by Bill Bottrell
From the album HIStory: Past, Present and Future—Book I, released June 20, 1995
Released as a single November 27, 1995
THE SHORT FILM:
Director: Nicholas Brandt
Primary Production Locations: Warwick, New York; California; Croatia; Brazil; Tanzania
Michael Jackson’s short film for “Earth Song” was the fourth of seven short films produced for recordings from HIStory: Past, Present and Future—Book I, Michael’s fifth album as an adult solo performer. While the “Earth Song” single was not released in the United States, it reached No. 1 in seven countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy and Norway. In the United Kingdom, “Earth Song” became Michael’s best-selling single ever, selling more than one million copies, earning the coveted Christmas No. 1 spot in 1995 over The Beatles and U2 and spending six weeks atop the U.K. Singles Chart—his longest stay at No. 1 in that country.
Written in a hotel in Austria while on tour, “Earth Song” was a passionate plea for environmental awareness in the face of unchecked global development. “I was feeling so much pain and so much suffering of the plight of the Planet Earth. And for me, this is Earth’s Song, because I think nature is trying so hard to compensate for man’s mismanagement of the Earth,” Jackson said of the song. “And with the ecological unbalance going on, and a lot of the problems in the environment, I think earth feels the pain, and she has wounds, and it’s about some of the joys of the planet as well. But this is my chance to pretty much let people hear the voice of the planet.”
The “Earth Song” short film features stark footage of Michael and native people around the world witnessing acts of natural devastation. Burnt-out forests, dead animals on the African savannah and war-torn neighborhoods are shown as Michael and other citizens of the world drop to their knees and grab the earth beneath them. Suddenly, the earth shakes and violent winds blow as Michael sings the final verse of the song, and the planet is magically restored.
The short film earned Michael Jackson the Doris Day Music Award from the Humane Society’s Genesis Awards in 1996. One year later, it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. It is one of 12 of Michael’s short films to be VEVO Certified for more than 100 million views.