a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics Jamming Chart

Billie Jean

Music/Lyrics: Michael Jackson

Vocals: Trey

Original Artist: Michael Jackson

Original Album: Thriller (1982)

Debut: 2010-06-25

Historian: David Steinberg (zzyzx)

Phish have had a long history with Michael Jackson's Thriller. Their first gig was cut off by a DJ playing this album. They used it as a misdirection on Halloween 1995 and it was one of the 99 albums on the wall for Festival 8. Some people noticed that the backing XML for that game said, "Michael Jackson is Alive," for Thriller and wondered if that was some sort of clue.

Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean”

On 6/25/10 in Camden – one year after Jackson's death – the band finally officially played homage. In a "Also Sprach Zarathustra" that also had "Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’" and "Thriller" teases, Phish played on the "Billie Jean" theme for two minutes. Trey sang the first verse - sans any of the backing vocals - near but not into the microphone. Is this a jam or a tease? We’ll go with a “jam” for now, but it remains as much of an open question as what happened between the protagonist and Billie Jean.

Phish, “2001” – 6/25/10, Camden, NJ

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