Album: Bad (1987)
Charted: 3 1
  • Jackson wrote this song, which crafted a new image for the singer, who now wore leather and chains and acted tough. The title was hip with the times as well, as teenagers were using the word "bad" to mean "seriously cool." It was rebellious without being controversial, and it worked well for Jackson despite the ludicrous album cover. Barney Hoskyns may have written it best in his review of the album: "With his gossamer-delicate, surgically sculpted features, he looks like a beautiful Latin girl trapped inside an outfit from Mad Max II."
  • This song was conceived as a duet with Prince. As Jackson's producer Quincy Jones explained in an interview for the 2001 special edition of Bad, he liked the idea of drama between the two artists, and pictured them battling it out in the video. Jones, who helped organize the "We Are The World" project, may have been the only person alive who could arrange a meeting between the two superstars, and that's what he did. When Prince heard the song, he told Jones that it would be a hit without him, and turned down the project. Prince isn't big on collaborations he doesn't control, and appearing on Jackson's album would have been out of character for him.
  • Martin Scorsese directed the video, and Wesley Snipes played the rival gang leader. The long version runs 17 minutes.
    Not only did Martin Scorsese direct this music video, but many of his top collaborators also worked on the project, including cinematographer Michael Chapman (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver), writer Richard Price (The Color of Money), producer Barbara De Fina (The Color of Money) and Scorsese's lifelong editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Darryl (Michael Jackson)'s mom is played by singer Roberta Flack.

    Scorsese was working on The Color of Money when Jones called him and asked for four days of his time to shoot the video. Scorsese agreed, and took his crew around New York City to do the shoot during a break in filming. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    John - Dublin, Ireland
  • Hey, remember Toni Basil from "Mickey"? Well, in the book MTV Ruled the World - The Early Years of Music Video, she swears: "...if you look at 'Bad,' that's taken straight out of West Side Story. If you interview any of those choreographers, you'll see that Michael looked at West Side Story over and over and over again. If you put the song 'Cool' from West Side Story up against that, you'll see hunks taken. Not that it wasn't great, but Michael would never say where he was inspired from."

    Oh, OK. Let's take the Pepsi Challenge on Toni Basil's statement! Here's Michael Jackson's "Bad", and here's West Side Story's "Cool". You be the jury. Is Toni bad... or cool?
  • This was the second of a record five consecutive US #1 singles from the Bad album. The album sold over 25 million copies, which is great, but still less than half of what Thriller sold. Bad, however, is the only studio album to have spawned five #1 singles. The other chart-toppers are "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man In The Mirror" and "Dirty Diana."
  • Bad was Jackson's last album produced by Quincy Jones.
  • Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this called "Fat" for his album Even Worse. Michael Jackson gave his blessing, just as he had done for Al's breakout hit, "Eat It."

    Yankovic's "Fat" video used the same subway set that appears in "Bad."
  • The Bad album took the record in the UK for the most hit singles mined from one long player (excluding Greatest Hit compilations). Between 1987 and 1989 nine of this record's eleven tracks were released as singles with all but one reaching the Top 20. Jackson later equaled his record with his Dangerous album spawning 9 UK Top 40 singles between 1991 and 1993.
  • Sheryl Crow was a backup singer on the Bad tour. She had just moved to Los Angeles and got the job when she crashed an audition. In an interview with National Public Radio, she explained that her innocent look helped get her the gig.
  • Jackson started a new tradition while recording the Bad album. Every Friday, he brought in his two personal chefs to prepare a meal for the entire studio crew.
  • Scorsese on the challenge of directing the music video: "It was a different form for me. The big issue really was the temptation to do this really major dance piece with camera moves and cutting which we had planned on page based on his choreography. And working with Michael Chapman, who choreographed the fight scenes in Raging Bull. Shooting the big dance scene was the allure of it. Michael was never a person who was overly enthusiastic. He was quiet. Accepting. How should I put it? He was very precise about what he wanted in the choreography. He was concerned, like with any great dancer, they like to be seen full figure. But that wasn't the case because I'd planned other things. The use of close-ups, and tracking him. Eventually he understood that. There was never any resistance, but questions. He was open to everything."

    Some of the clip's scenes were shot in Harlem, where Jackson was shaken by sights in a poverty-stricken neighborhood. "I think he was overwhelmed by what he saw," Scorsese said. "These tenements had, when you come in the front hall, there's an apartment in the back on the ground floor. There was an unfortunate person in there, in bed pretty much, coughing and seemed like on his last days. Michael said, 'Do you see what's in there?' And I said, 'Yeah I know.' He was in the place and it worked for him. It worked for him as a performance, but his compassion for the people came through. It was very moving."
  • According to a 1997 VH1 interview with Prince, the purple maestro was never onboard with the song due to its lyrical contest. He stated, "The first line in that song is, 'your butt is mine' so I was saying, 'Who gonna sing that to whom? Because you sure ain't singing it to me, and I sure ain't singing it to you.' So right there we got a problem."
  • Speaking during a 2017 appearance on Conan, Wesley Snipes stated that Prince was earmarked to play the lead role in the video, but after he auditioned for Jackson, the King of Pop changed his mind.

    "Me and Prince were auditioning together, and I blew Prince out of the water," Snipes explained. "Michael had told Prince that he had the role, and then he met me and kicked Prince to the curb. Imagine that."

Comments: 20

  • Krista from Crestview, FlJesus and Ash..your perception on Michael Jackson is twisted. Innocent until proven guilty...which he has been through all the searches for the past 10+ years...if he really did anything of it...I'm sure physical proof could have been found. Plus must we forget the infamous Chandlers...right after Michael passed admitted they sued for money...go figure.
  • Josh from Leroy, NyI hate the BAH he does in between lines it annoys me.
  • John from Dublin, IrelandNot only did Martin Scorsese direct this music video, but many of the his top collaborators also worked on the project including, cinematographer Michael Chapman (Raging Bull / Taxi Driver), writer Richard Price (The Color of Money), producer Barbara De Fina (The Color of Money) (Scorsese's ex-wife) and editor Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull). Darryl (Michael Jackson)'s mom is played by Roberta Flack.
  • Rhi from Kathmandu, Nepaluh lets not charge him with something he was acquitted for..
    he was the best entertainer ever. period.
    MJ said that the video for this song is inspired by a true story where a ghetto kid who attended a fancy school was murdered by his friends because he wasnt "bad" enough...
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesAs concerned as Michael was about his weight, "Fat" and "Eat It" were perfect send-ups. Weird Al is always careful to get permission from artists he was going to make fun of, and I bet Michael watched those videos when they came out and laughed his head off.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnI don't care for the song but the video is cool.
  • Micky from Los Angeles, CaEven though alot of controversy surrounded him, i still tend to think positively about Michael. He was an incredible vocalist with superior control.
  • Michaela from Brooklyn, NyI want Prince and Lady T to do a duet together...that would be hot... and Mariah Carey and Prince,Lady T and Mariah carey..aw man that would be hot!i was surprised to find a duet from Prince and Maddona...the song was rare and nice.
  • Farrah from Elon, NcI loved how Weird Al Yankvic parodied the video to "Bad" It was so hilarious.
  • Matthew from Dalton, PaJackson did not perform those lyrics to create those pedophilic,perverted acts,Jesus. He was only crafting a new image of himself. Michael Jackson does not liqour helpless children. HE IS INNOCENT !!
  • Sarah Floyd from Bloomingdale, Ili like the way he dances in this video! i also like what he wears in this song video. michael jackson is the bomb. good thing he is the king of pop!
  • Jesus from Halifax, MeThis song is an autobiographical account of Michael Jackson's insatiable appetite for pedophilia. The overt references to his preference for sodomy ("your butt is mine"), his preference for light bd/sm ("just slap my face"), etc. Truly a sick, twisted man, Jackson saw no reason to disguise his perversions in the recording studio.
  • Ash from Charleston, WvYeah, you're REAL bad, Michael. Liquoring up helpless children (one of whom was a cancer survivor!) so you can do as you please with them. Dude, that's like the very definition of cool.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhYes that was Wesley Snipes. I know he is a huge freak now, but I still think Jacko is one of the most important figures in music history.
  • Rhedyn Williams from Bristol, EnglandHave you seen the video? Michael looks anything but "bad"...the word "camp" springs to mind...
  • Joshua from Niagara Falls, CanadaI think that Michael became the king of pop because of this song and because of thriller. MJ is still the undisputed king of pop and you have to admit that. I know that someone is going to write otherwise about this but think about it, who else had another album that sold 59 million records worldwide and al together he sold 180 million records. He's a legend and you can't refuse that.
  • Taylor from Austin, TxAll three of you are right.
  • Jade from Chippewa Falls, Wi I always laugh at this song. It sounds like he saying, 'I'm fat' instead of 'I'm bad'. I love the Wierd Al version of this song. So funny.
  • Paul from Malibu, Cawas sheryl the blonde mohican babe ?
  • Ari from Elizabeth, NjI hear Wesley Snipes made his acting debut in the video.
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