Open main menu

"You Are Not Alone" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson from his ninth studio album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995). It was released on August 15, 1995 as the second single from the album. The song was re-released in 2006, as part of Jackson's Visionary: The Video Singles collection box set, where it re-entered at number 30 in the UK Singles Chart in 2006.[2] The R&B ballad was written by American R&B singer R. Kelly for Michael Jackson in response to difficult times in his own personal life. Kelly sent a bare demo tape to Jackson, who liked the song and decided to produce it with him in Chicago. Jackson's interest in the song was also linked to recent events in his personal life.

"You Are Not Alone"
You Are Not Alone.jpg
Standard artwork (U.S. CD single pictured)
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
B-side"Scream Louder"
ReleasedAugust 15, 1995
Format
RecordedNovember 1994
StudioChicago Recording Company
(Chicago, Illinois)[1]
GenreR&B
Length5:45 (album version)
4:34 (radio edit)
4:56 (single version)
5:35 (video version)
6:01 (extended version)
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)Robert Kelly
Producer(s)
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Scream/Childhood"
(1995)
"You Are Not Alone"
(1995)
"Earth Song"
(1995)
Music video
"You Are Not Alone" on YouTube
Audio sample
"You Are Not Alone"

The song's corresponding music video, which featured Jackson and his then-wife Lisa Marie Presley, featured scenes of semi-nudity. "You Are Not Alone" received a generally positive critical reception and was the recipient of Grammy and American Music Award nominations. The song was a commercial success. It holds a Guinness World Record as the first song in the 37-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to debut at number one, and was later certified platinum by the RIAA. The track also topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. "You Are Not Alone" was Michael Jackson's thirteenth and last number one single in the United States during his lifetime.

To posthumously pay tribute to Jackson who passed in June, 2009, Kelly included a version of the song on his studio album Love Letter (2010). In 2011, a clip of the song was remixed with the song "I Just Can't Stop Loving You"; the final "Immortal Version" was released on the Immortal album.

Contents

Production and compositionEdit

"You Are Not Alone" is an R&B ballad about love and isolation.[3][4] The song was written by R. Kelly and produced by Kelly and Jackson.[3] Kelly wrote the song after losing close people in his life.[5] Kelly was delighted to be able to work with his idol, explaining "I was psyched ... I feel I could have done his whole album. Not being selfish. I was just that geeked about it. It was an experience out of this world ... It's amazing to know that five years ago I was writing songs in a basement in the ghetto and now I'm writing for Michael Jackson ... I'd be a fool not to say it's a dream come true."[6] Jackson contacted Kelly to see if he had any material available. Kelly forwarded a tape recording of the song and Jackson then agreed to work with Kelly on the piece.[6] On the tape sent to Jackson, Kelly sung "You Are Not Alone" mimicking Jackson's vocal style, explaining, "I think I am him. I become him. I want him to feel that as well." Jackson found the interpretation amusing.[7] They spent the last week of November 1994 together in the studio working on the track.[6]

Jackson explained that he instantly liked the song, but listened to it twice before making his final decision. Although the song was written by Kelly, Jackson was adamant that the production should be a collaborative effort among the two musicians.[5] The tape sent to him had no harmony or modulations, so Jackson added a choir in the final portion and added a sense of climax and structure to the final piece.[8] The song is written in the key of B major. The song has a tempo of 60 beats per minute, making it one of Jackson's slowest songs.[9]

PlagiarismEdit

In 2007, a Belgian court ruled that Kelly had plagiarized the 1993 composition "If We Can Start All Over" by Eddy and Danny Van Passel. The court transferred rights track to the Van Passels, though the judgment is only recognized in Belgium.[10]

Critical reactionEdit

'You Are Not Alone' received positive views from music critics. James Hunter of Rolling Stone noted that, "the excellent current single 'Scream' or the first-rate R&B ballad 'You Are Not Alone' – manage to link the incidents of Jackson's infamous recent past to universal concepts, like injustice or isolation. When he bases his music in the bluntness of hip-hop, Jackson sketches funky scenarios denouncing greed, blanket unreliability and false accusation".[4] Jon Pareles of The New York Times said that it was the only conventional love song on the new material on HIStory. He compared it to Mariah Carey's song "Hero" and said it "sounds like a surefire hit".[3] In more recent years, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic expressed the opinion that "You Are Not Alone" was amongst some of the best songs Jackson ever released, calling the song seductive.[11] The R&B critic and journalist Nelson George described the song as lovely and supple.[12]

Writer and journalist J. Randy Taraborrelli wrote of the song in 2004, "[it] remains among Michael's best songs ... On listening to 'You Are Not Alone', one wonders how many times Michael tried to tell himself, during his most desperate and anguished times, that he did have support in his life, from a higher power, or even friends and family, whether he actually believed it or not".[13] Fred Shuster of the Daily News of Los Angeles described it as the best song on the album.[14] Conversely, while Steve Holsey of Michigan Chronicle gave the album a positive review, he described the song as the worst on the album, calling the Kelly penned lyrics "trite" and below the standard set by Jackson's own lyrical skills.[15] "You Are Not Alone" received an American Music Award nomination and a Grammy nomination both for "Best Pop Vocal Performance".[16][17]

Chart performanceEdit

Commercially, "You Are Not Alone" remains one of Jackson's best selling singles and it is also his 13th number one song. It holds the Guinness World Record for the first song ever to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[18] It was also Jackson's last number one single on the chart. It debuted at number one with first week sales of 120,000 copies. The song was certified platinum by the RIAA and sold one million copies domestically.[19][20][21][22] It broke the record set by his previous single "Scream/Childhood," which was the first song in the 37-year history of Billboard to debut at number five—where it peaked.[20] It peaked at number one in the UK after a debut at number three in the prior week.[20][23] The song also reached number one in Wallonia, France, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland. In Canada it peaked at number 2.[24] With the exception of Italy, it became a top ten hit in every major market.[20][24]

Music videoEdit

 
Presley leans down towards her husband in the temple scene of the music video.

The music video was directed by Wayne Isham on July 12, 1995 and begins with a large number of paparazzi taking photographs of Jackson. The plot then centers around two locations: a temple where Jackson appears in an affectionate semi-nude scene with his then-wife, Lisa Marie Presley, and a theater where Jackson performs the song to an empty hall. Jackson also appears alone in other locations such as deserts and along tide pools. The slightly extended version that appeared on HIStory on Film, Volume II was notable for scenes where special effects were used to give Jackson white, feathery, almost angelic wings. Several of these scenes included Michael's side having been pierced by an arrow. The other version of the video is included on Number Ones and Michael Jackson's Vision. The temple scenes were a homage to Maxfield Parrish's 1922 painting Daybreak.[25] The theater scenes were filmed at the Pantages Theatre, in Los Angeles.

Live performancesEdit

Michael first performed "You Are Not Alone" at the 1995 Soul Train Music Awards, then at the 1995 BET Awards and also at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. At the latter awards ceremony, the song was performed without the second verse. Jackson then performed the song at the Royal Brunei concert in 1996 where it was performed as a complete song. Jackson also performed it during the HIStory World Tour as a complete song, during which one lucky girl was allowed to dance with him on stage, similar to the Soul Train Music Awards performance. Michael's next performance of "You Are Not Alone" was at the MJ & Friends concert in Seoul on June 25, 1999; this also turned out to be the song's last performance by Jackson himself, occurring ten years to the day of his death. The song was performed without the second verse, similar to the "1995 MTV Awards" performance. The song was also due to be performed at the This Is It concert series, however the shows were cancelled due to his untimely death.

Diana Ross recorded a version of this song on her international-only released album, "Voice of Love" produced by Nick Martinelli. Diana would also close her successful 2010-12 "More Today Than Yesterday: The Greatest Hits Tour" with this song as a tribute to Jackson.

Track listingsEdit

CD Single [26]
  1. "You Are Not Alone" – 4:54
  2. "Scream Louder (Flyte Tyme Remix)" – 5:30
12" Single [27]
  1. "You Are Not Alone (R. Kelly Remix)" – 6:25
  2. "You Are Not Alone (Jon B. Main Remix)" – 6:55
  3. "You Are Not Alone (Franctified Club Mix)" – 10:09
  4. "Rock With You (Frankie's Favorite Club Mix)" – 7:45
  5. "Rock With You (Masters At Work Remix)" – 5:30

RemixesEdit

ChartsEdit

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[76] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[77] Gold 25,000*
Belgium (BEA)[78] Gold 25,000*
France (SNEP)[79] Gold 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[80] Gold 250,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[81] Gold 5,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[82] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[83] Platinum 724,000^
United States (RIAA)[21] Platinum 1,000,000[22]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

The X Factor UK 2009 finalists versionEdit

"You Are Not Alone"
 
Single by The X Factor Finalists 2009
ReleasedNovember 15, 2009 (2009-11-15)
FormatCD single, digital single
GenrePop, R&B
LabelSyco
Songwriter(s)R. Kelly
The X Factor finalists singles chronology
"Hero"
(2008)
"You Are Not Alone"
(2009)
"Heroes"
(2010)

The final twelve acts from the sixth series of TV talent show The X Factor in the United Kingdom released a cover version of the song on November 15, 2009 in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital.[84] The finalists premiered the song live on the November 15 edition of the programme; the single was available for digital download that day and a physical release followed the day after.[84] The release of the song follows a similar occurrence a year earlier, when the final twelve acts from the fifth series released a cover version of Mariah Carey's "Hero" in aid of Help for Heroes and raised over £1 million.[85] It has been confirmed to have sold over 400,000 copies, therefore achieving a Gold single certification.

Music videoEdit

The video is very similar to the video of the cover version of the charity single of the year before. It shows various contestants performing their part in front of a plain black background, then shows the 12 finalists together performing the song in front of a screen of photos. Photos and video footage of the finalists at the Great Ormond Street Hospital are shown throughout the video.

ChartsEdit

Chart (2009) Peak
position
Ireland (IRMA)[86] 1
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[87] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[88] 1

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2009) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[89] 28

R. Kelly versionEdit

"You Are Not Alone"
Song by R. Kelly
from the album Love Letter
ReleasedDecember 14, 2010 (2010-12-14)
Formatdigital single
Recorded2009
GenreR&B, Soul
Length4:29
LabelRCA
Songwriter(s)R. Kelly
Producer(s)R. Kelly

R. Kelly recorded his own version of the song and put it on his critically acclaimed 2010 album Love Letter, he recorded it as a tribute to Jackson following his death. The song was a hidden bonus song on the album, shown as the final song on the album's track list. The song starts with Kelly paying tribute to Jackson, saying "In loving memories of my hero... MJ".

Track listingEdit

Digital single from Love Letter
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
15."You Are Not Alone"R. KellyR. Kelly4:29

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (December 2, 1994). "Making `HIStory' Jackson Teams With R. Kelly on Album Here". Chicago Sun Times. News Bank. Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Michael Jackson". Official Charts Company.
  3. ^ a b c Pareles, Jon (June 18, 1995). "Pop View; Michael Jackson Is Angry, Understand?". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Hunter, James (August 10, 1995). "Michael Jackson HIStory". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. Retrieved July 23, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Screamin' Siblings: Michael & Janet (Televised interview/press conference). Bryant Park, Manhattan: MTV. June 1995. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c Brown, p. 56
  7. ^ Brown, p. 57
  8. ^ Grant, Adrian (1998). Michael Jackson : Making History. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-6723-7.
  9. ^ The Complete Michael Jackson, International Music Publications Ltd, 1997, ISBN 1859094473, p104
  10. ^ "Belgian court rules Michael Jackson hit was plagiarized". CBC news. September 12, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "Michael Jackson HIStory Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
  12. ^ George, p. 24
  13. ^ Taraborrelli, p. 609–610
  14. ^ Shuster, Fred (June 18, 1995). "Jackson attempts to rewrite 'history'". Daily News of Los Angeles. Retrieved November 7, 2008.
  15. ^ Holsey, Steve (July 4, 1995). "Jackson's 'HIStory' is an impressive one". Michigan Chronicle. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2008.
  16. ^ "Song of the Year - 38th Grammy Awards (1996)". rockonthenet.com. Archived from the original on June 28, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  17. ^ George, p. 49
  18. ^ "Jackson receives his World Records". Yahoo!. November 14, 2006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2006.
  19. ^ Hochman, Steve (September 3, 1995). "Rewriting Pop HIStory; Michael Jackson's publicists are crowing about new single's unprecedented success, but skeptics abound". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  20. ^ a b c d e George, p. 48
  21. ^ a b "American single certifications – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 3, 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  22. ^ a b "Best-Selling Records of 1995". Billboard. BPI Communications. 108 (3): 56. January 20, 1996. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  23. ^ Pinkerton, Lee (1997). The Many Faces of Michael Jackson. Music Sales Distribution. ISBN 0-7119-6783-0.
  24. ^ a b "M. Jackson & J. Jackson – You Are Not Alone (nummer)". ultratop.be. Retrieved November 9, 2008.
  25. ^ "Famous Art inspired You are Not Alone". Archived from the original on March 8, 2013.
  26. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Michael-Jackson-You-Are-Not-Alone/release/2202638
  27. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Michael-Jackson-You-Are-Not-Alone/release/1219593
  28. ^ a b "Australian-charts.com – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  29. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  30. ^ "Ultratop.be – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  31. ^ "Ultratop.be – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  32. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2794." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  33. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles Week 38/95" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  34. ^ "Michael Jackson: You Are Not Alone" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  35. ^ a b "Lescharts.com – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone" (in French). Les classement single.
  36. ^ "Musicline.de – Michael Jackson Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  37. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (16.9.1995 - 22.9.1995)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  38. ^ Irish Recording Music Association (August 24, 1995). "Irish Singles Chart (searchable database)". irishcharts.ie. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  39. ^ "Michael Jackson Italian Singles". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  40. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 41, 1995" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  41. ^ a b c "Dutchcharts.nl – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  42. ^ "Charts.nz – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". Top 40 Singles.
  43. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". VG-lista.
  44. ^ "Notowanie nr716". Nowe Media, Polskie Radio S.A. LP3.polskieradio.pl. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  45. ^ Romanian peak
  46. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  47. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". Singles Top 100.
  48. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". Swiss Singles Chart.
  49. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 5, 2008.
  50. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard.
  51. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  52. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  53. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  54. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Latin Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  55. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Tropical Songs)". Billboard.
  56. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  57. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – You Are Not Alone". Irish Singles Chart.
  58. ^ a b "Italiancharts.com – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". Top Digital Download.
  59. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone" Canciones Top 50.
  60. ^ "M. Jackson & J. Jackson – You Are Not Alone (nummer)". allmusic.com. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  61. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". Tracklisten.
  62. ^ "Download French Single Top 50". France. lescharts. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2009.
  63. ^ "New Zealand Singles Chart". RIANZ. Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
  64. ^ Steffen Hung. "Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  65. ^ "Swiss Singles Chart Archives". hitparade.ch. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  66. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 05 July 2009 - 11 July 2009". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  67. ^ "U.S. Billboard Hot Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  68. ^ http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-end-of-year-charts-top-50-singles-1995.htm
  69. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1995". RPM. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  70. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts 1995" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  71. ^ "Top Annuali Single: 1995". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  72. ^ "End of Year Charts 1995". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  73. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1995". Swiss Charts. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  74. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1995". Music Week: 9. January 13, 1996.
  75. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1995". Archived from the original on August 15, 2009. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  76. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2009 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  77. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  78. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 1995". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  79. ^ "French single certifications – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved December 3, 2012. Select MICHAEL JACKSON and click OK. 
  80. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Michael Jackson; 'You Are Not Alone')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  81. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  82. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Michael Jackson; 'You Are Not Alone')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  83. ^ "British single certifications – Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 3, 2012. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type You Are Not Alone in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  84. ^ a b "First look at The X Factor contestants' charity single!". Heatworld.com. October 30, 2009. Archived from the original on November 1, 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  85. ^ Routledge, Rebecca (October 25, 2009). "'X Factor' stars record charity single". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  86. ^ "Chart Track: Week 47, 2009". Irish Singles Chart.
  87. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  88. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  89. ^ "Charts Plus Year end 2009" (PDF). Charts Plus. Retrieved July 19, 2010.

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit