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Michael Jackson‘s Bad has more great songs on it than most singers will produce over their entire careers. Quincy Jones revealed which track from Bad became the most prominent. He gave fans some insight into the creation of the song. Notably, the song was part of a major musical movement from the time period.

What Quincy Jones told Michael Jackson to do with ‘Bad’

In 1982, Jackson released Thriller, the defining album of his career and one of the most popular albums of all time. The record included classic tracks such as “Thriller,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Human Nature,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” and “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).” Following up an album like that would be difficult for anyone, even someone as talented as the King of Pop. Jackson took five years to release his next album, Bad. Bad became a blockbuster in its own right and some fans and critics even prefer it to Thriller.

During a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Jones discussed working with Jackson on Bad. “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,” he recalled. “I suggested that for Bad. He did all but two songs. I made a mistake on the duet with him and Stevie [Wonder’s ‘Just Good Friends,’ written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle]. That didn’t work. But ‘Man in the Mirror’ sure worked.”

Michael Jackson capitalized on a musical trend

Jones discussed the writing of “Man in the Mirror.” “Siedah [Garrett] was one of my 13 songwriters,” he said. “I had a meeting to ask them for an international kind of anthem to make yourself a better person. And she wrote ‘Man in the Mirror’ with [Glen] Ballard. That did not stop. That baby did it. It was the biggest song from the album. And they were all big — we had five No. 1 records.”

The success of “Man in the Mirror” is not surprising. It has a timeless message that can reach people of all races, religions, creeds, and nationalities. In addition, it’s an easy-listening song. While the easy-listening subgenre has largely died out, it was a huge commercial force when “Man in the Mirror” was released as a single in 1988. Furthermore, by 1988, Jackson had shown that he knew how to write and/or perform popular easy-listening songs, such as “Human Nature,” “She’s Out of My Life,” “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” and “Ben.”


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‘Man in the Mirror’ topped the charts

“Man in the Mirror” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. It stayed on the chart for a total of 17 weeks. The song’s parent album, Bad, became even more popular. It was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for six weeks and remained on the chart for 171 weeks in total. Aside from Thriller and Off the Wall, Bad became Jackson’s most popular studio album in the United States. It remains one of the most acclaimed albums ever.

“Man in the Mirror” was the most popular song from Bad but the album produced numerous songs that have stood the test of time.