Michael Jackson – Bad
Released on August 31, 1987, “Michael Jackson – Bad” marked a groundbreaking shift in Michael Jackson’s musical journey. As the seventh studio album by the King of Pop, “Bad” arrived nearly five years after his record-smashing “Thriller” (1982). The anticipation for this album was immense, as fans eagerly awaited Jackson’s latest creative offering.
For “Bad,” Jackson teamed up once again with the legendary producer Quincy Jones, resulting in their third and final collaboration. Jackson took a bold step in reinventing his image and sound. Departing from his signature groove-based style and high-pitched vocals, he embraced an edgier, harder sound with a sleeker and more aggressive production. The album became a melting pot of genres, seamlessly blending pop, rock, funk, R&B, dance, soul, and even hard rock elements.
Michael Jackson’s artistic vision was evident in his writing and recording process for “Bad.” He penned nine of the eleven tracks on the album, showcasing his lyrical depth and addressing various themes. These themes ranged from media bias, paranoia, and racial profiling to romance, self-improvement, and world peace. “Bad” also featured guest appearances from acclaimed artists like Siedah Garrett and Stevie Wonder, adding their unique touches to the album.
Upon its release, “Bad” skyrocketed to the top of the charts, debuting at number one on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. In the United States alone, it sold an astounding 2.25 million copies in its first week and held the number one position for six consecutive weeks. The album’s popularity spread like wildfire worldwide, reaching number one in 24 other countries, including the UK, where it sold 350,000 copies in its first week, becoming the best-selling album of 1987 in the country.
The album spawned an impressive array of hit singles, with nine official singles released and six reaching the top ten of the US Billboard Hot 100. The record-breaking five number one hits from “Bad” were “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “Dirty Diana.” The accompanying film “Moonwalker” (1988) promoted the album and featured music videos for several songs from the album.
“Bad” received widespread critical acclaim, with reviewers lauding Jackson’s vocal prowess and the album’s rich, polished production. It has been recognized as a defining album of 1980s pop music and a testament to Jackson’s profound influence on the music industry of the 21st century.
The commercial success of “Bad” was nothing short of historic. By 1991, it had sold a staggering 25 million copies worldwide, making it the second-best-selling album of all time, second only to “Thriller.” This feat also marked a significant milestone for Jackson, as he became the first artist to hold the top-two selling albums simultaneously.
The “Bad” tour, Jackson’s first solo world tour, was equally iconic. It grossed a remarkable $125 million, becoming the highest-grossing solo concert tour of the 1980s. Jackson performed 123 concerts in 15 countries, captivating an audience of 4.4 million. The tour concluded on a high note with Jackson’s final performances on the mainland United States.
Over the years, “Bad” has maintained its status as one of the best-selling albums of all time, selling over 35 million copies worldwide. In 2021, it received an 11× Platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the United States, attesting to its enduring popularity.
“Bad” also earned critical acclaim and accolades. The album received six Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year, and won awards for Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical and Best Music Video for the captivating “Leave Me Alone” video.
In retrospect, “Bad” stands as a testament to Michael Jackson’s unparalleled artistry and his ability to push boundaries and evolve as an artist. It remains a staple of 1980s pop music, continuing to inspire and influence generations of musicians.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Bad,” a documentary film titled “Bad 25” and an anniversary edition of the album were released in 2012, further cementing the album’s place in music history.
“Bad” showcased Michael Jackson at the height of his creative powers, forever leaving an indelible mark on the world of music and pop culture. With its timeless tracks and iconic performances, “Bad” will forever be remembered as a masterpiece of the King of Pop’s illustrious career.