There are exactly three movies I remember seeing in the movie theater during the summer of 1985: “Back to the Future”, “Pale
Rider” (who takes a 9-year old to see a Western??), and a little film called “The Legend of Billie Jean”, which, despite the time period of it’s release, was not about a woman who said Michael Jackson was the father of the kid.
While I’ll leave the specifics of the plot to the folks at “I Love The 80s” (ahhh…it involved a stolen bike…thanks Wikipedia), I do remember that it starred Helen Slater (of “Supergirl” fame) and a very young Christian Slater (no, the two are not related, although I thought they were for years). Somewhere along the line, Helen (as Billie Jean) chopped off her long tresses in favor of a blond Joan Jett-esque look and started screaming “fair is fair!” at everyone within a 50-foot radius. To support this sudden lunge into badassitude, the writers of the movie needed a badass theme song, and they knew just who to call: Pat Motherfuckin’ Benatar.
Benatar spends this aggressive rocker emoting like the opera student she once was, snarling lines like “We can’t af-FORD to be innocent! Stand up and FACE the enemy!” with some serious ‘tude. It’s the type of spit-in-the-face-of-authority that attracts every mousy kid who dreams of being a badass. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much.
“Invincible” marked the end of a killer run for Benatar. During the years 1980-1985, she sold millions of albums, scored a handful of Top 10 hits (with “Invincible”‘s #10 placing marking the last of those), and won four Grammy Awards (all for Best Female Rock Performance). This song was pretty much the last gasp for her as an icon, and she quickly lost traction to the likes of Madonna, Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson (and Tina Turner, who owned the Female Rock Grammy for the next several years).
According to Wikipedia (man, I love those guys), “The Legend of Billie Jean” has never been released on DVD. Someone needs to fix that one stat. I’d buy a copy.
One thing I didn’t realize until I was watching one of VH-1’s 80s retrospectives is that Yeardley Smith plays a fairly major role in this movie. Who’s Yeardley Smith, you may ask? Most folks know her better as the voice of Lisa Simpson.
Finally, anyone notice that the bridge of this song sounds almost exactly like the beginning of U2’s “Two Hearts Beat As One”?? Check it out for yourself.