"Bad" is a song by American song writer and recording artist Michael Jackson. "Bad" was released by Epic Records in September 1987, as the second single from Jackson's seventh studio album of the same name. The song was written, composed, and co-produced by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones. Jackson stated that the song was influenced by a real life story he'd read about.
"Bad" was generally well received by contemporary music critics, with some critics noting that "Bad" helped Jackson's image become edgier during the Bad-era. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and remained at the top position of the chart for two weeks, becoming Jackson's Bad album's second number one single, and Jackson's seventh number one entry on the chart. Internationally, the song was also commercially successful, charting within the top ten in eleven countries as well as charting within the top five in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Norwegian, Switzerland and Swedish charts. The song peaked at number one on the Netherlands and European charts.
A music video for "Bad", directed by Martin Scorsese and co-starring one of the first appearances of yet-undiscovered Wesley Snipes, was released in late 1987. In the video, Jackson and a group of background dancers are shown doing dance routines throughout a subway station. The music video's choreographer stated that the plot and video of the background was strongly influenced by the "Cool" scene in West Side Story. The music video received one nomination at the Video Music Awards in 1988. "Bad" has been covered and parodied by multiple artists since its release as well as becoming a frequent song used during tributes to Jackson after his death in June 2009.
"Bad" was generally well received by contemporary music critics. Some critics noted that the song helped Jackson's image become more edgy during the Bad-era. Davitt Sigerson, a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, commented that the track" needs no "defense" and he generally praised Jackson's vocal performance in the song. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic listed "Bad", along with two other songs from the album, as being top picks from the album's eleven tracks. In separate review of the song, Erlewine commented that Jackson's vocals "sounded like [he was] the love child of James Brown and Mavis Staples" and added that "musically speaking, in this case, 'Bad' is very good". He also noted that the track's "authority and boasting helped to humanize" Jackson and "changed his image", remarking that it was "fun hearing him talking trash and being his own bigger booster". Jennifer Clay of Yahoo Music noted that while Jackson's new edgier image was a "little hard to swallow", the image worked musically on the album's songs "Bad", "Man in the Mirror", and "Dirty Diana".
"Bad" charted within the top ten, at number eight, on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 10, 1987 and peaked at number one on October 24, 1987. "Bad" stayed at the top position for two consecutive weeks. "Bad" was Jackson's Bad album's second number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and Jackson's seventh number one entry on the chart. The track also charted on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles and Billboard Hot Dance Club Play at number one. "Bad" was commercially successful internationally, generally charting within the top ten, as well as reaching the top position, on music charts. "Bad" debuted at number five on the United Kingdom charts on September 26, 1987. The following week, the song charted at its peak position of number three, where it remained for two consecutive weeks. "Bad" remained within the chart's top ten positions for four weeks, and charted within the top 100 for a total of eleven weeks in 1987. "Bad" peaked at number five on Canadian music charts on November 7, 1987. "Bad" peaked at number four in Sweden on October 14, 1987. The song spent four weeks within the chart's top ten. On October 3, "Bad" debuted at number nine in France, and after six weeks of charting within the top ten, the song peaked at number four on November 14. "Bad" debuted on New Zealand music charts at number four on October 18, and the following week moved to its peak position of number two. The song then stayed within the top ten for the next five weeks. The track charted within the top fifty positions for fifteen weeks in 1987 and 1988.
The song also charted at number two in Norway in the thirty-ninth week of 1987, and charted within the top ten positions for eight weeks in 1987. The song was also very successful on the Australian music charts, peaking within the Top Five at number four. "Bad" debuted on Austrian charts at number ten on November 1, 1987. The following week the song charted out of the top ten and the next week returned to the top ten at number nine, which was its peak position. The song debuted at number eighty-seven in Dutch on September 9, 1987. The following week, the song moved up to number eleven, which was seventy-three positions higher than its previous week. The song peaked at number one, and remained at the top position for two consecutive weeks. In 2006, Jackson's music re-entered charts following his music being re-issued for his Visionary album. The track entered Spanish charts for the first time on April 4, 2006, and debuted at the top position. "Bad" remained within the top twenty positions for nine consecutive weeks. The song debuted at its peak position at number five in Italy on April 6. After Jackson's death in June 2009, his music re-entered charts again worldwide. In July, the track peaked at number eleven in Italy, number twenty in Spain, number twenty-five in Sweden, number thirty-seven in Denmark and number forty in the United Kingdom.
The full music video for "Bad" is an 18-minute short film written by novelist and screenwriter Richard Price. The video was directed by Martin Scorsese during a period of 6 weeks in the fall of 1986. The video has many references to the 1961 film West Side Story, especially the "Cool" sequence. Not only does it show a street gang dancing in an urban setting, but there are also some parts of the choreography that were influenced by it. The choreographer Jeffrey Daniel confirmed the influence, although they intended to do a more contemporary version of it. Daniel commented, "It's like a train coming across the screen and that's the effect I was looking for and it worked".
In the video, Jackson plays a high school student named Daryl, who has just completed a successful term at an expensive private school. He returns to the city by subway, arriving in a derelict neighborhood. Daryl arrives to find his house empty (his mother is played by Roberta Flack, albeit in voiceover), but is greeted by his old friends, led by Mini Max (an emerging Wesley Snipes) and spends an evening with them. At first relations are friendly, if slightly awkward, but the situation deteriorates once the rest of the gang realize how much Daryl has changed, and in particular how uncomfortable he has become with their tendencies towards petty crime. In an attempt to show his friends he is still "bad", Daryl takes the gang to a subway station (The Hoyt Schermerhorn Station in Brooklyn) where he attempts to mug an elderly man but changes his mind at the last minute. Mini Max berates Daryl and tells him that he's no longer bad. After more abuse from Mini Max, the video jumps from black and white to color and Daryl, now dressed head to foot in black leather and joined by a crowd of dancing punks, sings "Bad" and dances his moves. His insistences that Max is headed for a fall are nearly Daryl's undoing, but eventually his friend accepts that, and, after a final handshake, heads off leaving Daryl. The scene shifts back to black and white as Daryl, alone and back in his tracksuit, watches them leave.
The music video to the song used an audio track different from the original album recording, using another instrumental organ solo in the middle of the song. This version hasn't been commercially released.
The music video was included on the video albums: Video Greatest Hits - HIStory (long version on DVD and short version in VHS), Number Ones (short version), Michael Jackson's Vision (long version) and the Target version DVD of Bad 25 (short version).
The music video received one nomination at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards Ceremony. The video, alongside Jackson's '"The Way You Make Me Feel" video, was nominated for Best Choreography, but lost to Jackson's younger sister Janet's video "Pleasure Principle". After Jackson's death in June 2009, City Councilwoman Letitia James began trying to convince the agency to rename or co-name the station or to hang a plaque at the station in Jackson's honor, but her request was denied by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York in September 2009. James stated that she plans to organize a petition drive to pressure the agency into reconsidering their decision. She commented, "Having Michael Jackson visit and moonwalk at this station was a huge deal not only for Brooklyn, but all of New York in the '80s, and renaming this station in his honor would put it on the map and help ensure that people don't forget." A source from the MTA commented that no subway stations in the MTA system are named or co-named after individuals, mostly because it could confuse riders.
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