Few albums have stood the test of time as valiantly as Michael Jackson’s Bad, thanks to classics like “Man In The Mirror,” “Dirty Diana” and “The Way You Make Me Feel”, which sound as engaging today as they were in 1987. Given the creative and commercial success Michael enjoyed in this era of his career, it’s no wonder the material on Bad has been re-interpreted by a multitude of different artists ever since (and remains the fodder of talent shows to this very day).
To celebrate the imminent 25th anniversary re-release of Bad on September 18 (enter to win a copy here), we’ve rounded up a selection of our favorite covers of songs from MJ’s seventh studio album. Let the “Eeee-Heeeee-ing” commence below!
One Direction, “Man In The Mirror”: The all-conquering British-Irish boy band first covered “Man In The Mirror” in their X Factor boot camp, and have been known to dust it off in live shows, such as the one below. A studio version would be greatly appreciated, lads!
Weird Al Yankovic, “Fat”: Not so much a cover, Weird Al’s “Fat” was a typically comical re-imagining of “Bad” that became a minor hit in its own right in 1988. The song charted on the the Hot 100 — granted, it was at #99 — and won a Grammy for Best Concept Video. Music buyers definitely had an appetite for “Fat,” which helped the musical comedian’s Even Worse album go Platinum.
Britney Spears, “The Way You Make Me Feel”: Brit joined the King Of Pop onstage for his televised 30th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden in 2001. Sadly, Spears’ vocal is underwhelming and she looks awkward as Michael dances rings around her butt. At least this is a cute piece of turn-of-the-millennium pop nostalgia.
James Morrison, “Man In The Mirror”: James Morrison delivered a stripped back, acoustic version of “Man In The Mirror” in 2009. The UK crooner’s rendition, performed here at London’s Tower Bridge, is heartfelt and reminds you just how truly powerful the lyrics to this classic ballad are.
Christina Aguilera, “Dirty Diana”: Leave it to pop’s dirrtiest diva to take on MJ’s sexy rock anthem at the Michael Forever Tribute concert in 2011. Christina’s choice of outfit is a clear homage to the titular groupie, and her powerful voice — particularly her trademark vocal gymnastics toward the end — makes this a cover to remember.
Alien Ant Farm, “Smooth Criminal”: These Los Angeles-based hard rockers scored an unexpected hit with their version of “Smooth Criminal” in 2001. It climbed all the way to #24 on the Hot 100 and became a staple on MTV’s Total Request Live (remember that?). The cover also went Top 10 in several European countries, and topped the chart in Australia.
Shakaya, “The Way You Make Me Feel”: Shakaya ruffled feathers when their urban-dance version of “The Way You Make Me Feel” was released in 2003. A more faithful rendition might have been better received, but, if nothing else, the Australian duo’s daring take on the Jackson classic demonstrates the song’s versatility.
Bruno Mars, “Dirty Diana”: The “Lazy Song” singer delivered an excellent live version of “Dirty Diana” in 2010. His tribute to the late, great King Of Pop is superb. That said, much to the chagrin of Bruno’s fans, his choice of wardrobe here is far less attention-grabbing than Xtina’s was when she covered the song.