The King of Pop strikes again… and you don’t become the King of Pop by chance! (Part 1/3)
It was Aug 31, 1987, when Michael Jackson released an album that made history. Bad soon became the second best-selling album at the times (the first was and still is Thriller, always by… Michael Jackson!). After Off the wall and Thriller the King leveraged for the third and last time the collaboration of Quincy Jones. Hard to say whether it’s better Thriller or this new album; the albums are quite different, Michael himself was a different person after 5 years, grown and changed both from an artistical and personal perspective, in a pop world that he contributed to create with Thriller, and that now featured new stars like Madonna and Prince, in the US, and with all the Brit pop of Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, and others.
Moreover, in 1982 Thriller just needed to fill the 40 minutes of a vinyl record, while this album had to fill also the 70 minutes of a cd. Anyway, it’s a fact that Bad entered in history as well, and it’s still one of the key albums (and videos) of the 80s
The only time when the word “Bad” can be together with the name “Michael Jackson”
Really the King of Pop can sound bad? Absolutely not. The song “Bad” was actually released as the second single from the album, but we need to talk about it absolutely first. In fact, the single “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” was released about one month before the album, but when the album reached the market, “Bad” was really the one song everybody was waiting for!
You know, five years after the greatest album of history, Thriller, it’s not easy to set the bar even higher and to fulfil expectations. Michael Jackson always stated that videoclips had to be some sort of short movies, and he showed us how to do it, for example, with “Thriller”. Five years later he did not change his mind, and for “Bad” he produced a short movie that ran for more than 18 minutes – and by the way it was directed by no less than Martin Scorsese! The movie also features a very young Wesley Snipes, as the gang leader that challenges the young Darryl (Michael Jackson) after coming back from the college.
In other words, no doubt that Michael Jackson really was and will always be the King of Pop and the King of the 80s. Bad is one of his greatest albums, this song is really a milestone and the video is always a must see for all those who lived and loved the 80s. Enjoy the video, oh sorry, the short movie of “Bad” 😊
After five years, the King is back, greater than ever
Probably few people would mention “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” among the greatest hits of Michael Jackson. Yet, this hit played a very important role. In fact, five years after the worldwide success of Thriller, Michael Jackson was ready with his new album Bad. And he released this hit as a teasing track for his new album, bound to reach the market in about one month.
“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” tells a strange story of proposals and refusals. Imagine that you are Michael Jackson and you search for a partner for a duet, and the first lady refuses, and she is Barbra Streisand. You search again and the second declines, and she is Whitney Houston. Maybe you are not so good! But it’s strange, if you are Michael Jackson. But you are producing this song with Quincy Jones, so finally he ends up calling this girl, a friend of his, Siedah Garret – a good voice but not really a worldwide celebrity.
And it happens. The hit actually lives a strange history: it takes about seven weeks to reach number one, and after few weeks basically it gets off the chart, literally overwritten by the track and the album Bad. But what was really important, is that this hit fulfilled its task: to announce the world the incoming release of the King’s new album, and help fans spend the last month prior to the release of Bad!
Another hit, another success: the King was never wrong!
And actually, he could not be wrong: his style was so pure and his genius was in the peak of creativity. In November 1987 Michael Jackson released as a single this fantastic song, the third single from Bad. And it was immediately a great success, one of those the fans really loved. The videoclip in is pure Michael Jackson’s style: first of all, again we should talk about a short movie, rather than a videoclip, because it runs for more than 9 minutes in the full version (although the directors made also a 6-minute short cut). Then, we can see again the real trademark of Michael Jackson’s videos: the dance routines and choreographies! Like in “Thriller”, “Billie Jean”, “Bad”, and in many other songs! A nice funny video overall, with some easter egg as well! Do you know who performed as chorus line in the song? The fantastic Jackson 5, that is, Michael himself with his brothers! And one of his sisters, LaToya Jackson, also appears briefly in the clip.
This video was nominated to win a MTV Video Music Award in 1988, but it closed at second place. The winner that year was… another Jackson, his younger sister Janet Jackson 😊. Life is strange!