The biggest surprise of the BAD 25 campaign should be the special documentary directed by Spike Lee … And, well, here is why:

A reel of the documentary (20 minutes approx) was recently sent to TV stations as a teaser of the full length version (that lasts 90 minutes).
This reel tells more about the content of this film. If the final product is of the same caliber, then the whole project should be considered serious business. Spike Lee, backed by Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson, called in MJ’s very close collaborators that helped him craft Thriller’s legendary follow-up: BAD. Thus, Glen Ballard and Greg Phillinganes go back to the making of Man In The Mirror. Siedah Garrett of course also tells her side of the story and also remembers the recording session of I Just Can’t Stop Loving You. But along with these cult members of the BAD gang, other key people, sometimes not that much known and exposed to the public, also share their memories: Walter Yetnikoff, former CEO of CBS Records, and Larry Stessel, former manager at Epic during the BAD era, speak about the behind the scenes of BAD. Yetnikoff tells the story of the album cover. If you are into even more in-depth comments, you should not disapointed by drummers John Robinson and Ollie E. Brown interviews.

Just like the documentary series « Classic Albums » produced in the 90s, the one geared by Lee seems to focus on the creation of each song and also documents the making of the corresponding short films. All these stories are brilliantly illustrated with rare footage from Michael Jackson’s personal archives. These rare clips show how the singer managed to come down the ceiling as seen in the legendary BAD music video. He is also shown rehearsing his part with then up and coming actor Wesley Snipes. Director Jim Blashfield unveils details on the creation of the Leave Me Alone short film (a Grammy Award winner). The documentary shows how the final scene in which the King of Pop rises and escapes from the fantasy island that built its roller coasters around him.

 

Jackson is also known for having filmed and documented a lot of his recording sessions. Clips of these rare moments are also part of the documentary, including one of Michael Jackson’s personal home video he shot himself with Sieddah Garrett rehearsing the song Man In The Mirror in his presence …

To help tell the story within the story, Lee also interviewed several of today’s most popular artists such as Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Chris Brown. Even if the impacts of many of these special guests on pop culture remains unsure, their presence help showcase the deep and transgenerational force of Jackson’s work.

If understandable questions about the final quality of the BAD Tour DVD remains yet unanswered (they will be when the DVD is available), the BAD 25 documentary directed by Spike Lee definitely stands out as a luxurious island on which it will be nice to land to relive and discover new things about this sacred BAD era. Stay tuned …

Richard Lecocq