"You Are Not Alone", released in August 1995, is the second single from Michael Jackson's album HIStory. The R&B ballad was written by R. Kelly in response to difficult times in his personal life. He then forwarded a bare demo tape to Jackson, who liked the song and decided to produce it with Kelly. Jackson's interest in the song was also linked to recent events in his personal life.
In "You Are Not Alone", Michael tried many times, to tell himself, during his most desperate and anguished times, that he did have support in his life, from a higher power, friends and family and he sure did.
The song was the recipient of Grammy and American Music Award nominations. The corresponding music video, which featured Jackson and his wife was also notable for its scenes of semi-nudity.
Commercially, the song was a significant 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; it was later certified platinum by the RIAA. The song peaked highly in all major markets. "You Are Not Alone" was Michael Jackson's last number one hit song in the United States during his lifetime.
"You Are Not Alone" received an American Music Award nomination and a Grammy nomination both for "Best Pop Vocal Performance"
The music short film was directed by Wayne Isham on July 2, 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-naked 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 mountain tops. The slightly extended version that appeared on HIStory on Film, Volume II was notable for a scene where special effects were used to give Jackson white feathery wings. The temple scenes were a homage to Maxfield Parrish's 1922 painting, "Daybreak".
In one scene, Jackson originally appeared in complete nudity, but just before the short film aired a decision was made to use special effects to remove or cover these aspects. Afterward Presley expressed regret about doing the video, saying she was "sucked up in the moment. It was kind of cool being in a Michael Jackson video.
In 2007, a Belgium court ruled that R. Kelly had plagiarized the 1993 song "If We Can Start All Over" when composing "You Are Not Alone". The court transferred rights of Jackson's hit to the twin composer brothers, Eddy and Danny Van Passel. The judgment is only recognized in Belgium and airplay of the hit has been banned in that nation. Most people felt Kelly's lyric was below the standard set by Jackson's own lyrical skills.