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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Scream"/"Childhood" is the lead single from Michael Jackson's HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I album—where "Scream" is track one and "Childhood" is track ten. "Scream" is the A-side release and "Childhood" is the corresponding B-side. The former is a duet with his younger sister Janet Jackson, whereas the latter is a solo piece.

"Scream" is cited primarily as an aggressive, retaliatory song directed at the tabloid media and their coverage of the child sexual abuse accusations made against Michael Jackson in 1993. "Scream" was written, composed and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis; Jackson played many of the instruments. It incorporates elements of pop, R&B, hip hop, funk and rock. The song was leaked to radio stations early, despite Epic Records attempt to keep it off air until the official release date. Generally well received amongst critics, it has been compared favorably to other accomplished pieces by Jackson. It went on to be nominated for a Grammy Award and an American Music Award. The corresponding music video remains one of Jackson's most critically acclaimed pieces; it won numerous MTV Video Music Awards and a Grammy. At a cost of $ 7 million, it is listed in the Guinness World Records as the most expensive music video ever made. The imagery in "Scream" has been replicated in several contemporary pieces, including "No Scrubs" by TLC and "Shawty Get Loose" by Lil Mama.

"Childhood", the corresponding B-side, is a biographical song written and composed by Michael Jackson solely. The theme of the track centers around his difficult childhood experiences. It would become the main theme song for Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, continuing his association with the Free Willy series. The track appeared on several compilation albums, but was met with a mixed reception amongst critics. The song's music video, which had little in common with the supporting film, has been critically praised.

"Scream"/"Childhood" would become the first single in the 37 year history of Billboard to debut at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked. It was a worldwide hit, reaching the top five in the vast majority of major music markets.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Scream/Childhood" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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