Bob Fosse original "Billie Jean" pose

Did Michael Jackson Steal from Bob Fosse?

I’m pretty distraught right now. As anyone who personally knows me, or been following this site for a while knows, I’ve been a huge Michael Jackson fan for most of my life. I’ve always thought that he was a super talented genius, and completely original.

I know that many artists inspire others, so of course they are going to copy some dance or even singing styles, but in this particular situation, it seems a bit more of a blatant rip off maybe? Michael has many times stated who his idols and inspirations were, such as James Brown, Fred Astaire, but he has never really mentioned Bob Fosse.

Turns out in 1974, Bob Fosse performed a dance scene, called “The Snake”, here he does many of the iconic and symbolic dance moves that Michael did almost a decade later. Moves such as the snapping leg kick (which is probably the most famous MJ dance move after the moonwalk), and even the moonwalk itself.

The most obvious to me though is the pose that Michael used in the photoshoot for “Off The Wall”, which he later enhanced more for the starting post for his performances of Billie Jean. Not to mention the outfit and look is almost identical to what Michael would later on use for his performances of Billie Jean, and many others.

Now, I know that most artists aren’t original, and they get influenced by other artists, but they usually give them credit. Has Michael ever even mumbled the name “Bob Fosse” in public? Being a huge Michael Jackson fan, I don’t remember hearing it, and I used to watch Michael’s interviews over and over and over again, I remember James Brown, Gene Kelly, and Fred Astaire being mentioned several times as huge heroes to Michael.

Perhaps the influence, and copying was so obvious in this scenario that Michael didn’t want to bring any attention to it? I don’t know. I’m just sad that the copying is obvious, and Michael never gave Bob credit.

It’s always sad when we discover that our life long heroes and idols aren’t as big of magical genius’ as we assumed for so long.


Bob Fosse original “Billie Jean” pose
Michael doing the post during the Off The Wall photoshoot shows how similar the post was, not yet to the complete Billie Jean style.


Fosse doing the “leg snap” kick dance move.

There are just many examples, and if you watch the video yourself, you will see alot of similarities.

I’m still a huge Michael Jackson fan, but I’m just amazed by this, and saddened that he never gave true credit to Bob Fosse.

I’m going to watch more Bob Fosse videos, to see if there are any other similarities, and also just for entertainment, the guy seemed pretty amazing.

Here is a clip someone put together a while back, because they too saw the copying and similarities.


The original unedited video can be seen here:

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