Do the Bartman

"Do the Bartman"

An animated image showing a yellow child with a short sleeved red shirt and blue pants opening his mouth. On the green coloring there is the writing "Do the Bartman" sideways in large capital letters and "the Simpsons" written on the top of the song title.

Artwork for commercial European releases
Single by The Simpsons
from the album The Simpsons Sing the Blues
Released November 20, 1990
Format CD single, 7" single, 12 single, Compact Cassette
Recorded September 1990
Genre New jack swing[1]
Length 5:10 (album version)
3:59 (single version)
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Bryan Loren
Producer(s) Michael Jackson
Certification Gold (United Kingdom)
The Simpsons singles chronology
"Do the Bartman"
"Deep, Deep Trouble"
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Liberian Girl"
"Do the Bartman"
"Black or White"

"Do the Bartman" is a song from the 1990 Simpsons album The Simpsons Sing the Blues. It was performed by The Simpsons cast member Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), with backing vocals from Michael Jackson, alongside additional vocals from Dan Castellaneta (voice of Homer Simpson). It was produced and written by American recording artist Bryan Loren, and released as a single on November 20, 1990. The song was referenced in the 2005 episode, The Heartbroke Kid, when Homer tells Bart to "do the Bartman" to prevent a heart attack caused by his overeating.

Even though it received a lot of radio airplay in the United States, "Do the Bartman" was never officially released as a single in the United States. It topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, it reached the top 10 in Sweden and the Netherlands, and was certified gold in the United Kingdom. A music video, which was directed by Brad Bird, was released for the song in 1991. The video became a hit on the American network MTV and received a nomination at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.


A mid-twenties African American man wearing a sequined military jacket and dark sunglasses. He is walking while waving his right hand, which is adorned with a white glove. His left hand is bare.
Michael Jackson provided back up vocals for "Do the Bartman".

The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues was released in September 1990. The first single from it was the rap song "Do the Bartman", performed by Bart Simpson's voice actor Nancy Cartwright and released on November 20, 1990.[2] Rumors began spreading in the summer of 1990 that Michael Jackson would write a song for Bart on the album. This song was reported early on to be "Do the Bartman", but executive producer James L. Brooks issued a press release in September 1990 apologizing for the misunderstanding and stating that song was actually written by one of Jackson's friends, Bryan Loren.[3]

However, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening later stated during an appearance at the 1998 World Animation Celebration convention in Pasadena, California that "Do the Bartman" was actually co-written and co-produced by Jackson,[2][4][5] but he could not receive credit for it because he was under contract to another record label.[6] Groening told a crowd at the convention that had gathered for a "The Simpsons tribute" that it had "always [been] amazing to me that no one ever found out that Michael Jackson wrote that song. [...] He was a big fan of the show."[7]

Jackson was a fan of The Simpsons, especially Bart,[8] and had called the producers one night offering to write Bart a number one single and do a guest spot on the show, which is how "Do the Bartman" came about.[9] Jackson eventually guest-starred in the episode "Stark Raving Dad" (season three, 1991) under the pseudonym John Jay Smith.[10] He also wrote a song for that episode called "Happy Birthday Lisa", which was later included in the album Songs in the Key of Springfield.[11] Bryan Loren has stated that Jackson had provided background vocals for "Do the Bartman".[12][5]

In July 2015, when Bryan Loren was selling the publishing and songwriting rights for the song, Loren stated that "despite Matt Groening's repeated confessions, I am the sole writer of the song".[5] Loren stated that Jackson's contributions included back up vocals, providing the title "Do the Bartman" and that Jackson insisted his own name to be mentioned in the lyrics.[5]

Critical reception

Critical reviews of the song were mostly positive. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly described it as "not bad," and commented that Bart's high voice "echoes the beats nicely."[13] The Daily Vault's Benny Balneg liked that the song disengaged itself from the album's "blues tag" and incorporated more "contemporary elements" into its sound.[14] He added that he thought the song had a "catchy beat" and an "infectious chorus."[14] The Long Beach Press-Telegram's Patricia Smith called "Do the Bartman" a "surprisingly funky tune."[15] Monika Bartyzel of Cinematical, however, thought the song was a "cheesy number."[16]

"Do the Bartman" and its music video have become study material for sociology courses at the University of California Berkeley, where it is used to "examine issues of the production and reception of cultural objects, in this case, a satirical cartoon show", and to figure out what it is "trying to tell audiences about aspects primarily of American society, and, to a lesser extent, about other societies."[17]

Chart performance

While the song was never officially released as a single in the United States, it did top the charts in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom. In the latter country, the song spent three weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart, and became Britain's seventh best-selling song of 1991.[18] "Do The Bartman" has shipped at least 400,000 units in the United Kingdom and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry on February 1, 1991.[19][20] The song's success in the United Kingdom was remarkable, given that at that time The Simpsons was airing only on British satellite television station Sky One. It would be five years before it was first on terrestrial television in Britain, airing on BBC One and later BBC Two.[21][22]

In Ireland, "Do The Bartman" spent nine weeks at number one on the Irish Singles Chart from January 24, 1991 to March 24, 1991.[23] Only seven singles have ever managed a longer run at number one in that country.[24] The song also charted at number-one on New Zealands RIANZ Singles Chart on the issue date of January 25, 1991, and peaked at number-one on the chart again, for a total of two weeks, from February 8, 1991 to February 15, 1991.[25]

In March 1991, "Do the Bartman" became the first single to reach number one in Australia that was not available on 7 inch vinyl.[26]

Music video

The music video features the typical plot of Bart rebelling against authority when he decides to put his own spin on a rigidly choreographed dance presentation at Springfield Elementary School. The music video for "Do the Bartman" was directed by Brad Bird, with dance choreography by Michael Chambers. Nobody from the staff of The Simpsons wanted to direct it because they were busy doing the show, but Bird finally agreed to do it after having been asked four times. He had a very short amount of time to finish the video because it was supposed to coincide with the release of The Simpsons Sing the Blues.[4]

The entire music video was storyboarded in only two days in the United States. Bird then got on a plane to Budapest, Hungary, where the video was animated by Varga Studio. They thought the video was going to be animated as simply as the original The Simpsons shorts, shown on The Tracey Ullman Show, so when Bird told them that it was going to be done in full animation with no repeated scenes, they "went into deep shock".[4] The animators added the wraparound at the beginning to set Bart against the crowd and put the video in "some sort of context."[4]

The video was nominated for Best Special Effects at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.[27][28] It was the number one music video on rotation on American MTV network between January and March 1991.[29] Following the death of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009, the music video was broadcast by the Fox network on June 28, 2009—ahead of a rerun of the episode "Wedding for Disaster"—and featured a title card paying tribute to Jackson.[30]



Chart (1991) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[31] 17
Australia (ARIA)[32] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[33] 4
Canada (RPM)[34] 14
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[35] 5
Ireland (IRMA)[23] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[36] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[37] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[38] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[39] 12
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[40] 3
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[18] 1
US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay[41] 11

Shipments and certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[42] Gold 35,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[43] Gold 5,000*
Sweden (GLF)[44] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[45] Gold 400,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Track listing

  1. "Do the Bartman" (7" House Mix/Edit) – 3:54
  2. "Do the Bartman" (LP edit) – 3:59
  1. "Do the Bartman" (7" House Mix/Edit) – 3:54
  2. "Do the Bartman" (LP edit) – 3:59
  3. "Do the Bartman" (Bad Bart House Mix) – 4:49
  4. "Do the Bartman" (a cappella) – 3:44

See also


  1. Greene, Andy (August 21, 2014). "Flashback: Bart Simpson Does 'The Bartman' With Help From Michael Jackson". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Michael Jackson Update: News From Korea, Poland And Groening". Viacom. 1998-02-23. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  3. Deborah Hastings (1990-09-26). "'Simpsons' head to recording studio". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Season 2 DVD commentary for the special feature "Do the Bartman".
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Michael Jackson Didn't Write 'Do The Bartman' After All". Fact. July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  6. "Bart Simpson's secrets revealed". Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  7. Ray Richmond (1998-02-20). "Gloved one secret 'Simpsons' fan". Reed Elsevier Inc. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  8. Cartwright, Nancy (2000). My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy. New York City: Hyperion. pp. 115–117. ISBN 0-7868-8600-5.
  9. Brooks, James L. (2003). Commentary for "Stark Raving Dad", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  10. Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood (2000). "Stark Raving Dad". BBC News. BBC Online. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  11. Jean, Al. (2003). Commentary for "Stark Raving Dad", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  12. Michael Schneider and Andrew Stewart (2009-06-28). "Michael Jackson tributes across TV". Reed Elsevier Inc. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  13. Ken Tucker (1990-12-14). "The Simpsons Sing the Blues". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner, Inc. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  14. 1 2 "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : The Simpsons Sing The Blues". David Geffen Co. 2007-05-21. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  15. Patricia Smith (1990-12-11). "Funky Bart". Long Beach Press-Telegram. pp. D7.
  16. Monika Bartyzel (2007-08-10). "'Powder Blue' Adds The Swayze". Weblogs, Inc. Network. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  17. Thomas B. Gold (2008) "The Simpsons Global Mirror" University of California Berkeley.
  18. 1 2 "All the Number 1 Singles–1990s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  19. "Certified awards". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on May 25, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  20. "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  21. "Simpsons celebrate 10 years". BBC News. BBC Online. 2000-01-13. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  22. Kate Whiting (2008-05-05). "Telly's first family". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  23. 1 2 "The Simpsons - Do The Bartman (song)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  24. "Facts and Figures Most Weeks at No.1". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  25. 1 2 "The Simpsons - Do The Bartman (song)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  26. "Chartifacts – Week Ending: 17 March 1991 (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 60)". Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  27. "1991 Video Music Awards". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  28. Hastings, Deborah (1991-07-29). "R.E.M. leads nominations for Video Music Awards". The Deseret News.
  29. Chuck Barney (2007-07-23). "The evolution of 'The Simpsons'". Pop Matters. PopMatters Media, Inc. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  30. Dan Snierson (2009-06-27). "Michael Jackson: 'The Simpsons' to re-air 'Do the Fatman' video in tribute on Sunday". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner Inc. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  31. " – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  32. " – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  33. " – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  34. "The Simpsons - Do The Bartman (song)". Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  35. Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  36. " – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  37. " – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". Top 40 Singles.
  38. " – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". VG-lista.
  39. " – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". Swiss Singles Chart.
  40. " – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". Singles Top 100.
  41. Whitburn, Joel (2009). Top Pop Singles (12th ed.). Menonomee Falls, WI:Record Research Books. ISBN 0-89820-180-2.
  42. "Australian single certifications – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  43. "New Zealand single certifications – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  44. "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.
  45. "British single certifications – The Simpsons – Do the Bartman". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 17, 2015. Enter Do the Bartman in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search

External links

Preceded by
"3 a.m. Eternal" by The KLF
UK number-one single
16 February 1991
(three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash

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