Michael Jackson‘s Thriller was the biggest-selling album in music history, but MJ managed to follow it up in grand style. Thirty years ago today — on August 31, 1987 — his album Bad was released.
Bad was Jackson’s first album on which he had in writing nearly all of the songs — nine of the 11 tracks, to be exact — and he was listed as a co-producer for the entire project. It also was the first album that Michael toured behind as a solo artist, cementing his status as a global superstar.
Quincy Jones, who co-produced Bad, says he encouraged Michael to take a bigger role in writing material for the record.
“All the turmoil [in his life] was starting to mount up, so I said I thought it was time for him to do a very honest album writing all the songs,” Jones tells Rolling Stone. “He did all but two songs.”
The record spent an impressive six consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, and became the first album in history to spin off five singles that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It took more than 20 years for another artist to match that record, when Katy Perry did it with her album Teenage Dream.
The five Bad number ones were 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 and most-enduring songs, “Man in the Mirror.”
Bad is estimated to have sold about 35 million copies worldwide; earlier this year it was certified Diamond for sales of 10 million in the U.S. alone. It was nominated for six Grammys, and won two.
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