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Bad is the seventh studio album by American singer Michael Jackson. The album was released on August 31, 1987[1] byEpic Records, nearly five years after Jackson's previous studio album, Thriller, which went on to become the world's best-selling albumBad itself has sold between 30-45 million copies worldwide, certified 9 times Platinum in the United States alone, and has been cited as one of the 30 best-selling albums of all time. The album produced a record five Billboard Hot 100 number one singles, the first and one of only two albums to do so, the second being Katy Perry's 2010 albumTeenage Dream. Similar to Jackson's previous music material, the album's music features elements of R&B, pop and rock.

Bad was recorded during the first half of 1987. The lyrical themes on the record relate to paranoia, romance and self-improvementBad is widely regarded as having cemented Jackson's status as one of the most successful artists of the 1980s, as well as enhancing his solo career and being one of the best musical projects of his career. Nine of the eleven songs on Bad were released as singles; one was a promotional single and another was released outside of the United States and Canada. Five of the singles hit number one in the United States, while a sixth charted within the top-ten, and a seventh charted within the top-twenty on the Hot 100. The single that was released outside of the United States and Canada was commercially successful, charting within the top ten and top twenty in multiple territories. Bad peaked at number one in seven countries, as well as charting within the top twenty in other territories. The only songs on the album which were not released as a single were "Speed Demon" and "Just Good Friends", the latter being the only song on the album to also not have a music video accompanying it.

Bad saw Jackson exercise even more artistic freedom than he did with his two previous Epic releases (Off the Wall andThriller). On Bad, Jackson composed nine of the album's eleven tracks and received co-producer credit for the entire album. The album continued Jackson's commercial success in the late 1980s and garnered six Grammy Awardnominations, winning two. Aside from commercial success the album also received critical acclaim from contemporary critics. Bad was ranked number 43 in the 100 Greatest Albums of All Time of the MTV Generation in 2009 by VH1 and number 202 in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album marked the final collaboration between Jackson and producer Quincy Jones.


 [hide*1 Production


[1]Jackson in 1988

Jackson's previous albums, Off the Wall and Thriller, were critically and commercially successful,[2][3] eventually selling over 20 million and 65 million units worldwide, respectively.[4][5] Jackson's aim for Bad was that it would sell 100 million copies.[6]

Bad was the first studio album Jackson released in almost five years since the release of ThrillerBad was the third, and final, musical collaboration between Jackson and Quincy Jones. The album was produced by Jones, with co-production credit given to Jackson.[7]Jackson began recording demos for the anticipated follow-up to Thriller a few months after the 1984 Victory Tour with The Jacksons. Development began in November 1986[8] and recording took place between January 5, 1987, and July 9, 1987,[7][9] at Westlake Audio, where a special wooden stage was built to allow Jackson to dance while recording.[10] Jackson wrote a reported sixty songs for the new album and recorded thirty, wanting to use them all on a three-disc set.[8] Jones had suggested that the album be cut down to a ten-track single LP.[8] When the album was released on CD, a bonus 11th track, "Leave Me Alone" was included.[7] It was later released as a single. Later reissues of the LP also include this song. Jackson was credited for writing nine out of eleven of the songs on the album.[8] Other writing credits included Terry Britten and Graham Lyle for "Just Good Friends" and Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard for "Man in the Mirror".[7]


Bad (1987)MENU   0:00 A 25-second sample of Jackson's "Bad" song where the chorus is played. The song's lyrics pertain to boasting, which was viewed by some music critics as Jackson referring to his stardom.----
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"Bad" was originally intended as a duet between Jackson and musician Prince.[8] Other artists that were supposed to be featured on the album included Diana RossWhitney HoustonAretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand, but none of those collaborations ended up happening.[8] The album's song lyrics relate to romance and paranoia; paranoia was a recurring theme of Jackson's albums.[2] Allmusic noted that Bad moved Jackson "deeper into hard rock, deeper into schmaltzy adult contemporary, deeper into hard dance – essentially taking each portion of Thriller to an extreme, while increasing the quotient of immaculate studiocraft."[2]

Dirty DianaMENU   0:00 The lyrics to "Dirty Diana" pertain to a sexual predator, but unlike "Billie Jean", the sexual challenge is optional.[11]----
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"Dirty Diana" was viewed by critics as "misogynistic",[2] and its lyrics, describing a sexual predator, do not aim for the "darkness" of "Billie Jean", instead sounding equally intrigued by and apprehensive of a sexual challenge, while having the opportunity to accept or resist it.[11] "Leave Me Alone" was described as being a "paranoid anthem".[2] "Man in the Mirror" was described as Jackson going "a step further" and offering "a straightforward homily of personal commitment", which can be seen in the lyrics, "I'm starting with the man in the mirror/I'm asking him to change his ways/And no message could have been any clearer/If you wanna make the world a better place/Take a look at yourself and then make a change."[11] The lyrics to "Speed Demon" are about driving fast.[12] "Bad" was viewed as a rived "Hit the Road, Jack" progression with lyrics that pertain to 'boasting'.[11]

"The Way You Make Me Feel (1987)"MENU   0:00 The Way You Make Me Feel is the albums token love song which was written by Jackson.----
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"Liberian Girl"'s lyrics were viewed as "glistening" with "gratitude" for the "existence of a loved one".[11] "Smooth Criminal"'s recalled "the popcorn-chomping manner" of "Thriller".[11] "Smooth Criminal" was thought of as an example of "Jackson's free-form language" that keeps people "aware that we are on the edge of several realities: the film, the dream it inspires, the waking world it illuminates".[11] The music in "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", a duet with Siedah Garrett, consisted mainly of finger snaps and timpani.[11] "Just Good Friends", a duet with Stevie Wonder, was viewed by critics as sounding good at the beginning of the song, ending with a "chin-bobbing cheerfulness".[11] "The Way You Make Me Feel"'s music consisted of blues harmonies.[13] The lyrics of "Another Part of Me" deal with being united, as "we".[13]


[2]Jackson performing "The Way You Make Me Feel" during the Bad world tour

The album was released August 31, 1987.[14] By September 26, it had debuted at number one on the Billboard 200,[15] remaining there for the next six consecutive weeks.[16] The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified Bad eight time platinum for having shipped nine million copies in the United States alone.[17] Though Jackson furthered his stance as a global pop superstar, in the United States Bad failed to match the sales of Thriller, causing some in the media to label the album a "disappointment" in comparison.[8][18]

Internationally, Bad was commercially successful. In the United Kingdom, the album sold 500,000 copies in its first five days of release, and as of 2008 is certified 13× platinum, for sales of 3.9 million, making it Jackson's second biggest-selling album in the United Kingdom.[19] Bad peaked at number one in 25 countries[20] including Canada,[21] Japan,[22] the United Kingdom,[23] Switzerland,[24]New Zealand, Austria, Sweden and Norway.[25] The album charted at number three in Italy and number thirteen in Spain, Mexico and Australia, as well as number twenty two in Portugal.[25] Bad has received various certifications worldwide. Bad was certified 7× platinum for the shipment of over 700,000 units in Canada by the Canadian Recording Industry Association.[26] In Europe, the 2001 reissue was certified platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for the sales of one million units.[27] The album was also certified platinum by the IFPI for the shipment of over 20,000 units in Hong Kong.[28] Globally, Bad is Jackson's overall second best-selling album, behind Thriller, with a reported sales between 30 to 45 million units as of 2012.[29][30][31][32][33][34][35]


Main articles: Moonwalker and Bad (tour)

By the time Bad was released, Thriller had already sold millions, raising expectations for the new album. A commemorative special on Jackson's life, The Magic Returns, was aired on CBS around the time of the release of Bad.[13] At the end of the documentary, the channel debuted the video of the title song from the album, "Bad", which was directed by Martin Scorsese and featured then up-and-coming actor Wesley Snipes.[13] The marketing strategy, mastered by Frank DiLeo among others, also included Jackson producing another mini-movie around the time of the Bad world tour. That film, Moonwalker, included performances of songs from Bad, including "Speed Demon", "Leave Me Alone", "Man in the Mirror" and "Smooth Criminal", the latter two released as sole videos at the end of the film.[36][37] Jackson's tour for Bad was a major financial success, grossing $125 million by the conclusion.[38][39]


The lead single "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" became the first of five of the album's singles to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The song reached number one on September 19, 1987, and also charted on Billboard '​s R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart and the Adult Contemporary chart, peaking at number one and number two respectively.[40] Internationally, the song also peaked at number one, in three territories, United Kingdom, for two weeks,[41] and nine weeks in both Norway and New Zealand.[42] The album's second single, "Bad", peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 16, 1987.[43] The song topped the Spanish charts, as well as charting within the top-ten internationally.[44] "The Way You Make Me Feel" became the album's third consecutive single to peak at number one on Billboard '​s Hot 100.[45] The song primarily charted within the top ten and twenty internationally.[46] "Man in the Mirror" charted at number one on Billboard '​s Hot 100,[47] and charted at number four, eight, and ten in New Zealand, Australia, and Austria.[48] On July 2, 1988, "Dirty Diana" became the fifth consecutive, and final, single to peak at number one on the Hot 100.[49] "Dirty Diana" was successful internationally, charting within the top ten in eight territories.[50]

"Another Part of Me" charted at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100, while topping the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.[51] Internationally, "Another Part Of Me" was a mid success compared to its previous singles, peaking at number five, fourteen and thirty two in the Netherlands, New Zealand and France.[52] "Smooth Criminal" became the sixth top ten single on the Billboard 100,[53] and saw similar success internationally, charting within the top ten in five territories, and within the top forty in all its international countries.[54] Released outside the United States and Canada, "Leave Me Alone" topped the Spanish charts, as well as peaking within the top ten in five other countries.[55] The album's last official single was "Liberian Girl", which did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but was generally successful internationally, charting mainly within the top twenty.[56]

The singles success of Bad was extremely successful in the UK, where seven of the singles from the album all reached the UK top ten by 2009 (six initially, until Man in the Mirror jumped from position 21 to 2 in 2009), just like Dangerous achieved in 1991-1993. This was a record for any studio album in the UK until Calvin Harris broke this in 2013.

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [2]
Robert Christgau B+[57]
New York Times favorable[13]
Rolling Stone [11]
Rolling Stone [58]
Yahoo! Music favorable[59]

Bad was generally well received although some critics noted that Bad did not measure up to Thriller's success. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, of Allmusic, a publication launched in 1991, stated that Jackson "approached" Bad much the same way he approached Thriller, which was to "take the basic formula of the predecessor, expand it slightly, and move it outward."[2] Erlewine, who gave the album four and a half out of five stars, commented that while the album "rebounds with songs that prove mechanical can be tolerable if delivered with hooks and panache," it still made Bad feel like an artifact of its time instead a piece of music that transcends it."[2] Davitt Sigerson, of Rolling Stone, stated that "even without a milestone recording like "Billie Jean", Bad is still a better record than Thriller."[11] Sigerson commented that "filler" songs inBad such as "Speed Demon", "Dirty Diana" and "Liberian Girl" made Bad "richer, sexier and better than Thriller'sforgettables."[11]

Music critic Robert Christgau gave Bad a "B+" grade, remarking the "closest thing to genius" is the album's song "Leave Me Alone," and that the record "damn near wrecks perfectly good dancin' and singin' with subtext."[57] Jon Pareles of The New York Times described Bad as being a "gleaming, high-tech dance record that's just a little eccentric at the edges".[13] Parales also noted that Bad "sounds up-to-the-minute" and that the album also has a "concocted synthesizer-driven arrangements" that are "clear" and can "carry a solid kick."[13] Richard Cromelin of The Los Angeles Times commented that the record was "not bad" and was more "reminiscent of Off the Wall '​s uniform strength than Thriller '​s peaks and valleys."[60] Cromelin felt that it would be "disappointing" if this album's "creative level" is where Jackson wants to stay.[60]

Richard Harrington of The Washington Post commented on the expectations of Bad to Thriller that, "splashy though its prime-time introduction may be, the album begs to be judged by its music, not by its sales figures."[61] Harrington felt that while the album could not live up to post-Thriller expectations, it would be "considerably fairer to compare" Bad with Off the Wall.[61] His overall opinion on Bad was that it was "a very good record" that is "immaculately produced and with some scintillating vocal performances from Jackson".[61] Edna Gundersen of USA Today described Bad as being Jackson's "most polished effort to date," that is "calculated but not sterile."[62]Thom Duffy of The Orlando Sentinel noted that some of the album's material "draws on even older musical roots".[63] Bad was the recipient of six Grammy Awardnominations, winning two. In 1988, Bad was nominated for Album of the YearBest Pop Vocal Performance – MaleBest R&B Vocal Performance – Male[64] andRecord of the Year for "Man in the Mirror" the following year.[65] Bad won Best Engineered Recording – Non Classical in 1988,[64] and Best Music Video – Short Formfor "Leave Me Alone" in 1990.[66]


[3]Jackson wore a gold-plated military styled jacket with a belt during the Badera to give himself an edgier look.[8]

Bad made history as being the first album to have five of its singles peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 consecutively; "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana" all charted at number one on the music chart. To date, only one other album has achieved this milestone: Teenage Dream byKaty Perry, in 2010. The record has still not been surpassed.[8] Jayson Rodriguez of MTV, noted that "following the twin cannons that were Off the Wall and Thriller wouldn't be an easy task for most, but Jackson's follow-up, 1987's Bad, was formidable by all accounts."[18] Rodriguez commented that the album was "wrongfully dismissed by critics because it wasn't the sales blockbuster that Thriller was" and that during the Bad era, Jackson's vocal hiccups and stammered "shamone" would become staples in his music that were "heightening and highlighting the emotion of his lyrics."[18] Rolling Stone commented that "the best way to view" Bad was not as "the sequel to Thriller.[11] In 2009, VH1 said of the album,

Understandably, the expectations for the album were ridiculously high, and grew even higher after Jackson planned duets with the likes of Prince (on the title track) and Whitney Houston (and Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand). None of those collaborations ended up happening, but they only increased the hype for the album. Bad was a deeply personal project for Jackson – he wrote nine of the 11 songs – one that saw him gain further independence and debut a harder-edged look and sound.[8]

In 2009, Jim Farber of The New York Daily News wrote that Bad "streamlined the quirks" of Jackson's two previous albums to "create his most smooth work of pop to date."[67] A writer for The Daily Telegraph commented that while Bad was another worldwide commercial success, the album "inevitably failed to match the success ofThriller despite Jackson's massive and grueling world tour".[68] In 2009, a writer for The Miami Herald reflected back on the anticipation for Bad, describing the album's release as being the "most hotly anticipated album in history".[69] That same year, Stephen M. Silverman, a writer for People magazine, viewed Bad as being "when some slippage" in Jackson's "popularity began to show".[70]

In February 2012, it was announced by The Official UK Charts Company that Bad was the ninth best-selling album in British history with sales of 3.96 million units; Badcharted behind Jackson's Thriller.[71] Bad, along with other studio albums released by Jackson, are among the best-selling albums of all-time.[72] In 2003, the album was ranked number 202 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[73] The album is included in the book entitled 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[74] In 2009, VH1 listed the album at number 43 on their list of "100 Greatest Albums of All Time of the MTV Generation", in 2009.[75] In 2012,Slant Magazine listed the album at No. 48 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[76]

The album's songs have been covered and parodied by multiple recording artists since its release in the late 1980s. Notable cover versions include Alien Ant Farm's cover of "Smooth Criminal" and Shakaya's cover of "The Way You Make Me Feel". Notable parody versions include "Weird Al" Yankovic, who had previously recorded a parody of Jackson's song "Beat It".[77] Yankovic parodied "Bad", entitling his version "Fat" in 1988; the song won a Grammy Award the same year for Best Concept Music Video.[77]


Organization Country Accolade Year Source
Grammy Awards United States Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical (Bad) 1988 [64]
Grammy Awards United States Best Music Video – Short Form ("Leave Me Alone") 1990 [66]
Quintessence Editions Ltd. United Kingdom 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (No rank) 2003 [74]
Rolling Stone United States 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (Ranked #202) 2003 [73]
VH1 United States 100 Greatest Albums of All Time of the MTV Generation (Ranked #43) 2009 [75]

Bad 25[edit]Edit

Main article: Bad 25

It was announced on May 3, 2012 that the Estate of Michael Jackson and Epic Records would be releasing a 25th anniversary album of Bad. The album was namedBad 25 and was released on September 18, 2012.[78] Since the release of Bad 25, there has been a discontinuation of the special edition of Bad.

Track listing[edit]Edit

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Bad"   Jackson 4:07
2. "The Way You Make Me Feel"   Jackson 4:59
3. "Speed Demon"   Jackson 4:01
4. "Liberian Girl"   Jackson 3:53
5. "Just Good Friends(featuring Stevie Wonder) Terry BrittenGraham Lyle 4:08
6. "Another Part of Me"   Jackson 3:54
7. "Man in the Mirror"   Siedah GarrettGlen Ballard 5:19
8. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You(featuring Siedah Garrett) Jackson 4:14
9. "Dirty Diana"   Jackson 4:41
10. "Smooth Criminal"   Jackson 4:19
11. "Leave Me Alone(Available only in the CD and digital download editions) Jackson 4:40

Re-issues of Bad feature a number of changes when compared to the original 1987 release:

  • "Bad" – The original mix was replaced with the 7" single mix. The most notable difference is the lack of horns in all the choruses except for the last two. Horns are also missing from the second and third pre-choruses. The rhythm guitar during the choruses is also turned up along with the hi-hats.
  • "The Way You Make Me Feel" – The full-length remix used for the single with louder vocals and ad libs added to the end replaced the original album mix.
  • "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" omits Michael Jackson's spoken intro.
  • "Dirty Diana" is replaced with the single edit of the song.
  • "Smooth Criminal" went through two changes on the album. It was remixed to make the kick drum heavier and the bass synth fatter. The quick-sequenced synclavier behind the bass has been rendered mono as well. The first version of this mix left the breathing intact, but was later removed after some time.
  • "Leave Me Alone" wasn't included on the original vinyl release but was included on the CD release and now is included in all releases.


Personnel as listed in the album's liner notes are:[7]

  • Sounds engineered: Ken Caillat and Tom Jones
  • Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa, Ollie E. Brown
  • Keyboards: Stefan Stefanovic
  • Saxophones: Kim Hutchcroft, Larry Williams
  • Synclavier keyboards, digital guitar and rubboard: Christopher Currell
  • Synthesizers: John Barnes, Michael Boddicker, Greg Phillinganes, Christopher Currell, Rhett Lawrence, David Paich
  • Piano: John Barnes
  • Rhythm arrangement: Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and Christopher Currell
  • Horn arrangement: Jerry Hey
  • Synthesizer programming: Larry Williams, Eric Persing, Steve Porcaro
  • Midi saxophone solo: Larry Williams

Commercial performance[edit]Edit


Chart (1987/1988/2009) Peak


Australian Albums Chart[79] 2
Austrian Albums Chart[25] 1
Brazilian Top 10 Chart[80] 3
Canadian Albums Chart[21] 1
Czech Albums Chart[25] 3
Dutch Albums Chart[25] 1
Italian S&C Albums Chart[81] 1
Japanese Albums Chart[22] 1
Mexican Albums Chart[25] 13
New Zealand Albums Chart[25] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[25] 1
Polish Albums Chart[82] 1
Swedish Albums Chart[25] 1
Swiss Albums Chart[24] 1
UK Albums Chart[23] 1
US Billboard 200[15] 1
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[83] 1

Decade-end charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1980–1989) Position
Austrian Albums Chart[84] 4
UK Albums Chart[85] 2


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[86] 6× Platinum 420,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[87] 4× Platinum 200,000x
Canada (Music Canada)[88] 7× Platinum 700,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark) 100,000[89]
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[90] Gold 51,287[90]
France (SNEP)[91] Diamond 1,289,400
Germany (BVMI)[92] 4× Platinum 2,000,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[28] Platinum 20,000
India (IMI) 200,000[93]
Italy (FIMI) 1,000,000[94]
Japan (RIAJ) 1,000,000[95]
Mexico (AMPROFON)[96] Platinum+Gold 350,000^
Netherlands (NVPI) 500,000[97]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[98] 9× Platinum 135,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[99] 5× Platinum 500,000^
Sweden (GLF)[100] 2× Platinum 200,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[101] 13× Platinum 3,959,000[102]
United States (RIAA)[103] 9× Platinum 9,000,000^

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

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