Michael Jackson


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Bad brought the world a new, improved Michael Jackson. Throughout this track, Jackson displayed a newer, percussive, and unabashedly soulful vocal approach. On this song, Jackson sounded like the love child of James Brown and Mavis Staples. This track's authority and boasting helped to humanize Jackson, changed his image, and it was fun hearing him talking trash and being his own bigger booster. That said, the song does veer wildly from taunts like "Gonna shoot to kill/Chom' on" and "Better watch your mouth" to "We can save the world tomorrow." Right there Jackson was unwittingly juggling his dueling personas of sticky sweet entertainer to that of self-possessed if not nasty guy. Of course the duality is what makes "Bad" interesting, like the best of his post-Off The Wall work. Although many scoffed at Jackson's declarations, it was a statement of fact. Few performers could pull off the vocal. It's made better by Jerry Hey's fulfilling, truly L.A., horn chart. The video of this didn't stick to this script. It featured a then-29-year-old Jackson as a schoolboy being taunted by film star Wesley Snipes in an early role. Martin Scorsese directed the video. Arguably the video wasn't all it could have been so "Bad" still works best in its strictly aural representation. The song features an extremely rare cameo solo from Hammond B-3 organ legend Jimmy Smith. It's seamlessly followed by one of the synth from then-Jackson bandmember Greg Phillinganes. "Bad was the second release from the album of the same name and it was second in a string of five straight number one pop hits from the multi-platinum effort. Musically speaking, in this case, "Bad" is very good.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Bad 1987
Epic 4:06
Dangerous: The Short Films 1993 Sony Music Distribution
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I 1995 Epic 4:07
Video Greatest Hits: HIStory [Video] 1995 Sony Music Entertainment
Greatest Hits: HIStory, Vol. 1 2001 Epic 4:07
Number Ones 2003 Epic 4:06
Number Ones [DVD] 2003 Epic 4:20
Bad/Dangerous 2004 Sony Music Distribution 4:07
The Ultimate Collection [Sony/Epic] 2004 Legacy / Epic 4:08
The Essential Michael Jackson 2005 Legacy / Epic 4:07
Bad 2006
EPC / Sony BMG 5:27
No Image 2006 Epic 8:23
King of Pop 2008 Epic 4:07
The Collection 2009 Sony BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 4:07
Despicable Me 3 [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2017
Various Artists
Columbia / Sony Music 4:07
The Broadcast Archives 2018 The Broadcast Archive 6:36