When the redoubtable Tim Heidecker sent out a Tweet earlier today about a Michael Jackson video featuring Steve Guttenberg I found myself racking my brain to no avail. Such a thing exists? I followed the link to a clip for "Liberian Girl." Apparently this track, the last single from Bad, was only released as a single in Europe and Australia. I can't remember it getting any MTV play, and unlike most videos from Bad, it was not included on the compellingly weird Moonwalker home video. (Seriously weird: Joe Pesci as a child-corrupting pusher. Jackson as a messianic… I'm not sure what he is.)
It's a weird time capsule of a clip, directed not by Steven Spielberg or Michael Jackson, as the video implies, but by music video veteran James Yukich. But it's not the direction that matters so much as its misty landscape of late-'80s fame. The video's filled with Jackson's "friends," some of them truly famous and friendly with Jackson (Spielberg, Quincy Jones) some of them now fairly obscure and presumably roped in because they were hot at the time (Jasmine Guy, Brigitte Nielsen) and some of them just there (Sherman Hemsley). (The longer, unembeddable version on YouTube has a full breakdown of who's who.) It even features a John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John reunion.
Anyway, here it is in all its moment-out-of-time strangeness.