Epic/Legacy RecordingsMichael Jackson's Thriller was the biggest album in music history, but the late King of Pop -- though he wasn't known by that nickname at the time -- managed to follow it up in grand style. Twenty-five years ago today -- on August 31, 1987 -- his album Bad was released.
In a statement on Michael Jackson's official website, the co-executors of his estate say of the album, "The era of Bad represented Michael's creative 'coming of age' as a solo artist in charge of every aspect of his career -- from recording to touring to endorsements to merchandising."
Bad was the first album on which nearly all of the songs were written by Michael -- he co-wrote nine of the 11 tracks -- and he was listed as a co-producer for the entire project. It was also the first album that Michael ****** behind as a solo artist; that tour cemented his status as a global superstar.
Bad was the first album ever to spin off five #1 singles: the title track, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Dirty Diana" and one of MJ's best-loved songs, "Man in the Mirror." It took more than 20 years for another artist to match that record, when Katy Perry did it with her album Teenage Dream. Worldwide, Bad has sold somewhere between 35 and 40 million copies, including eight million in the U.S. alone. It was nominated for six Grammys, and won two.
"In many ways, I think that it was kind of the quintessential Michael Jackson album," says Billboard.com editor Tye Comer [COMBE-er]. "It showed all the different facets of his personality as a performer in a way that the records preceding it didn't."
In addition to ballads and dance tunes, Comer points out that Bad also showed us Michael the humanitarian, through "Man in the Mirror," and gave us our first glimpse of Michael's feelings of persecution, with the song "Leave Me Alone."
Comer also says that Bad was a worthy successor to the juggernaut that was Thriller. "I think it would have been impossible, very difficult for any artist to follow that up," he says. "And the anticipation for his next record was so high, but I think that it's a record that he really delivered on."
A 25th anniversary edition of Bad will hit stores September 18. It's a three-CD/one-DVD package featuring the remastered original album, previously-unreleased demo recordings, unfinished tracks, bonus cuts and both the audio and film footage of Michael's 1988 concert at Wembley Stadium in London during the Bad tour.
In addition, Spike Lee has created a documentary about the making of, and the influence of, Bad which will premiere at the Venice International Film Festival on Friday. The in-depth film project includes one-on-one interviews that Spike did with the late King of Pop's confidants, collaborators, choreographers and famous fans, including director Martin Scorsese, Mariah Carey, Cee Lo Green, Sheryl Crow and more.
"This film was done with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson estate so they opened up the archives," Lee tells ABC News Radio. "We have stuff in this documentary that no one has ever seen. So it was amazing to me to look at this, to see this stuff." In September, the movie will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival and will air on ABC around Thanksgiving.
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