Michael Jackson

Man in the Mirror

Composed by Glen Ballard / Siedah Garrett

Song Review by

Some have to "claw" their way to success while others seem to stumble into it. Siedah Garrett didn't start writing songs until she was picked to be a member of Deco, a group assembled by producer Quincy Jones. Her groupmates wanted a publishing deal, so she was essentially pushed into songwriting. During the spring of 1987, Garrett was invited to Jones' home for a songwriters meeting. After getting lost, she arrived an hour late.Jones stressed that Michael Jackson needed hit songs for his upcoming album. The following day, Garrett, who'd been signed as a solo artist to Jones' Warner Bros-distributed Qwest label, met with her songwriting partner, Glen Ballard. She told him that Jones was looking for songs for Jackson. Ballard suggested that they try to come up with something for him. Initially disappointed, Garrett agreed. While brainstorming, Garrett begin singing a melody about "a man in a mirror." Ballard heard the beginnings of a great song. After completing a demo of the song, Garrett hurriedly called Jones and told him that she thought that she had a hit song for Jackson. Jones liked the song but tempered Garrett's enthusiasm with the warning that he'd been trying to find songs for Jackson for two years. Then he added that if Jackson took a pass on the song that they'd record for Garrett's Qwest debut. A couple of days later, Jones told her that Jackson had OK'd it. During the recording session for the song, which included the Andre Crouch Choir and the Winans, Jackson kissed Garrett on the cheek. From his Bad LP, the gentle "Man in the Mirror" went to number one R&B and had a two-week run at number one pop in early 1988. Garrett shared co-billing with Jackson on the number one pop/R&B gold single "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," another single from Bad.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Bad 1987
Moonwalker 1988 Sony Music Distribution
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I 1995 Epic 5:19
Greatest Hits: HIStory, Vol. 1 2001 Epic 5:19
Number Ones [DVD] 2003 Epic 5:00
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Bad/Dangerous 2004 Sony Music Distribution 5:19
The Ultimate Collection [Sony/Epic] 2004 Epic
The Essential Michael Jackson 2005 Epic / Legacy 5:18
No Image 2005 Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution
King of Pop 2008 Sony BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 5:19
The Collection 2009 Sony BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 5:19
Michael Jackson's This Is It 2009 Epic / Sony Music Entertainment 5:19
The Big Top 40 2010
Various Artists
UMTV / Universal Music 5:17
Voices: The Greatest Voices of All Time 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 5:21
No Image 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 5:20
blue highlight denotes editor's pick