Wednesday, June 2, 2021

"Dirty Diana" by Michael Jackson

#1 Alert!
Song#:  3512
Date:  05/07/1988
Debut:  53
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Since Jackson's 1982 album Thriller bore seven Pop Top 10 hits, his follow-up LP, Bad, was created with an eye towards replicating or even surpass that record-making run. It was certainly headed in that direction with the album's first four singles all getting to #1. That in itself surpassed the two #1s that Thriller had generated. Could a fifth #1 happen? Jackson gave it a go with this next single. Indeed, it would reach #1 on the Pop chart (#8 R&B). In doing so, it gave Jackson a new music milestone/record. Bad became the first album in history to have five singles reach #1 on the Pop chart. The hit would continue to help album sales and by June of '88 it would reach the 6 million mark. Although at the time of its run on the Pop chart, the single did not sell enough to reach gold level sales. However, in 2018 the digital version would be certified platinum.

ReduxReview:  Since Thriller had the rock track "Beat It," it was inevitable that Bad was going to have one as well and this tune about a groupie filled that requirement. The problem was that it wasn't nearly as good. There were positive things about the track such as its mysterious feel, the soft/loud aspects, and Steve Stevens' work (see below). However, there were slight failures as well including the repetitive palindromic verse, which got annoying, the painfully slight chorus, and the fact that he had sort of trod the groupie storyline already with "Billie Jean," just in a more misogynistic way. In the end, this song was more about sound/tone/feel rather than melodic/lyric content. That's not necessarily a bad thing (it was a Bad thing, so to speak...), but there has to be some good bones to the tune regardless and I don't think this song had them. I really liked the track when it first came out, but over time it hasn't held up well in a lot of ways and it has definitely descended on my list of favorite Jackson songs.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) From 1987 to 1990, six albums would spawn four #1 hits. In addition to Bad, albums by his sister Janet, Whitney Houston, George Michael, Paula Abdul, and Mariah Carey would all reach that mark. None were the first though. The soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever would be the first in 1977, however, it took two artists to do it; three were by the Bee Gees and one by Yvonne Elliman. Jackson would solely hold the new record of five #1s for over twenty years. Then in 2010, Katy Perry came along and scored five #1s from her album Teenage Dream. She tried to break Jackson's record with a sixth single, but it stalled just shy at #3. Oddly enough, that single was titled "The One That Got Away." In 2012, Perry added new tracks to the album and reissued it as Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection. Two further singles were released with "Part of Me" hitting #1. However, since the album was repackaged and given a new title, that #1 did not count towards her record-tying total.  2) Since Jackson's rock-oriented "Beat It" featured a guitar solo by a special guest, Eddie Van Halen, Jackson and Quincy Jones sought to get another hot guitarist for "Dirty Diana." Songwriter/producer Ted Templeman, who had earlier recommended Van Halen for "Beat It," suggested Jones use Steve Stevens. Stevens had been working with Billy Idol since '82 and had just been signed to a solo deal with Warner Bros. Templeman just happened to be producing tracks for Stevens' debut LP (1989's Atomic Playboys). Jones and Jackson got Stevens in the studio and he was able to rip out a hot guitar solo for the track.


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