Monday, September 28, 2020

"Bad" by Michael Jackson

#1 Alert!
Song#:  3271
Date:  09/19/1987
Debut:  40
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, R&B, Dance

Pop Bits:  Jackson's follow-up to his massive Thriller album, Bad, got off to a good start with the #1 "I Just Can't Stop Loving You." Since it was released a few weeks prior to the album, the single sold well and reached gold level sales. The LP would finally reach the public on September 1st and not long after this second title-track single would be issued out. Just like his previous single, this song debuted in the Top 40. It took a short 6-weeks for it to reach the top of the Pop chart. It also reached #1 at R&B and Dance while getting to #33 at AC. Although it would only stay at #1 for a couple weeks and quickly descend (14 weeks on the chart is fairly short for a #1), it was still another major hit for the King of Pop. The single was unable to reach gold-level sales at the time, but in 2018, the digital version of the song was certified for platinum sales.

ReduxReview:  This has never been one of my favorite Jackson songs, but I do appreciate it. The track had a tougher sound than anything he had done before and being the first track on the album it really set a tone. The production was excellent with the opening beat and keyboard/bass lick quickly becoming indelible. It was kind of an extension of "Beat It," but the song wasn't nearly as captivating. I wasn't a big fan of the video either. It was just a bit overblown and I didn't buy Jackson in a tough guy role. It's not a Jackson song that I ever long to hear, but I don't mind listening to it.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Jackson originally intended this song to be a duet with Prince. But when he asked Prince to join him on the track, the Purple One declined. Later on in a 1997 interview conducted by comedian Chris Rock, Prince talked about turning down "Bad." Prince said that he would have been the character in the video that was eventually played by Wesley Snipes and the role didn't fit him. Then there was the first line of the song, "you're butt is mine." Prince said the lyrics were a big problem because he wasn't going to say that to Jackson, and Jackson certainly wasn't going to say that to him. In other words, it just wasn't the right song/vibe for Prince and he bowed out.  2) With the new album came expectations for another epic video a la "Thriller." Jackson chose "Bad" to be the song that would get the mini-movie treatment. The video was shot over a six-week period with the legendary Martin Scorsese in the director's seat. The storyline basically follows the lyrics of the song in which a kid from a rough neighborhood returns after attending an expensive private school. He encounters his old friends and things seem fine at first, but after they sense the kid has changed, things take a turn with the "leader" of his friends calling him out and a sort of dance duel ensues. That leader was played by a then-unknown Wesley Snipes. The video ends with Jackson and Snipes coming to mutual ground and shaking hands. Jackson's inspiration for the song came from an article he read that had a similar story, however in the real story the kid was killed. Of course, Jackson didn't want that for the video and altered it in a more positive way. The final 18-minute film was a hit on MTV and it really kicked off the promotion of Bad. However, unlike "Thriller," the video didn't snare a bunch of awards or nominations. It only received one MTV Music Video award nomination and that was for Best Choreography. He was beaten out in that category by his sister Janet (for "The Pleasure Principle").


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