In keeping with the lyrical message of “Man in the Mirror,” which was strongly identified with Michael Jackson and reflective of his own philosophies, the short film features powerful images of events and leaders whose work embodies the song’s message to “make that change.” Rolling Stone praised the short film in 2014 as “a powerful statement to deliver to personality-driven MTV.”
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Written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard
Produced by Quincy Jones for Quincy Jones Productions
Co-Produced by Michael Jackson for MJJ Productions, Inc.
From the album Bad, released August 31, 1987
Released as a single January 16, 1988
THE SHORT FILM
Director: Don Wilson
Michael Jackson’s short film for “Man in the Mirror” was the third of nine short films produced for recordings from Bad, one of the best selling albums of all time. The “Man in the Mirror” single hit No. 1 in four countries in 1988, topping the charts in the United States, Italy, Belgium and Poland and reaching Top 5 in Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. In the U.S., “Man in the Mirror” was the fourth of five consecutive No. 1 singles from one album on the Billboard Hot 100-making Michael the first artist to achieve this milestone.
“Man in the Mirror,” written by Siedah Garrett (Michael’s duet partner on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”) and Glen Ballard, is one of only two songs on Bad not written by Michael Jackson and, even though it wasn’t a song he wrote himself, it was a message that was strongly identified with him and reflective of his own philosophies, as demonstrated through his actions and expressed in some of his own lyrics. “‘Man in the Mirror’ has a great message,” he wrote in his 1988 memoir Moonwalk. “I love that song. ..Start with yourself. Don’t be looking at all the other things. Start with you. That’s the truth.” A review of Bad in Rolling Stone in 1987 called the song “among the half dozen best things Jackson has done.”
In contrast to Michael’s other short films of the Bad era, “Man of the Mirror” tells a story not through performance, but through powerful images of oppression, homelessness, hunger, police brutality and other ills of the world, as well as events and leaders of the 20th century whose work is reflective of the song’s message to “make that change.”
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