However, some have theorized that the song is based on Jackson's own experience with a crazed fan.
The song's spare, bass-driven arrangement helped to pioneer what one critic called "sleek, post-soul pop music".
The song was awarded numerous honors, including two Grammy Awards and an American Music Award."Billie Jean" also remains a critical favorite; in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine placed it at number 58 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.The song is about a woman, Billie Jean, who had spent a night of passion with the narrator and now claims that the narrator is the father of her newborn son; he insists that "the kid is not my son", although the song leaves open the possibility that he is indeed the father.Jackson stated that the song was based on girls who had made the same claim about his older brothers, when he toured with them as part of The Jackson 5.It also introduced a more paranoid lyrical style for Jackson, which would became a trademark of his later music.
The choreography and costume that Jackson adopted for performances of "Billie Jean" would become widely admired and imitated.He premiered them on the TV special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, which aired in May 1983; his performance of "Billie Jean" won great acclaim, and was nominated for an Emmy Award.That performance introduced a number of elements which would become indelibly associated with Jackson, including the moonwalk dance move and wearing a single white sequined glove.Also, the video, along with the two other videos produced for Thriller, helped to cement the channel's cultural importance, by establishing a well-crafted music video as an integral part of the marketing of any pop single. The girl in the song is a composite of people my brothers have been plagued with over the years. They used to call them groupies in the '60s." He added: "They would hang around backstage doors, and any band that would come to town they would have a relationship with, and I think I wrote this out of experience with my brothers when I was little. Every girl claimed that their son was related to one of my brothers." Jackson's biographer J.I could never understand how these girls could say they were carrying someone's child when it wasn't true. Randy Taraborrelli promoted the theory that "Billie Jean" was derived from a real life experience the singer faced in 1981."I said, 'Michael we've got to cut that intro'" Jones later recalled. "What I ended up doing was building a drum platform and designing some special little things, like a bass drum cover and a flat piece of wood that goes between the snare and the hi-hat" Swedien later wrote.