Michael Jackson Dangerous: 30 years of pure King of Pop
November 26, 2021
Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS album is turning 30 today and it is one of the most important Michael Jackson album of his career!
As we all know Michael Jackson, he always wanted to go bigger and better and this is what happened in 1991. After the worldwide success of Thriller and Bad, the first single of Michael Jackson new album needed to make more noise and be something that the world will remember. To do that, Sony organised a simultaneous premiere of the new Michael Jackson short film: “Black or White”.
500 million people turned their TV on to watch the 11 minute long short film staring the Simpsons, Macaulay Culkin and produced by John Landis, the man behind “Thriller” short film.
This time, the world saw a new, never seen before FX: the morphing. Well, we saw it a couple month before with “Terminator 2” but back then, if you did not go to the cinema to see it, you were not aware of this new FX. Michael did bring this to the masses in one night with 2 sequences where people of all colours morphing to each other and of course the famous “Black Panther” section where Michael Jackson transformed to a black panther.
Fans had to wait until November 26 to finally get the new album “Dangerous” and they were for a surprise!
The album cover was an event on itself! Created by Mark Ryden, the painting included only Michael’s eyes surrounded by animals, PT Barnum, Michael as a child, the Elephant man, Bubbles, and many more mysterious parts that the fans have been analysing for 3 decades! It is now one of the most iconic album cover of all time side by side with the Beatles “Abbey Road” and Nirvana’s “Nevermind”.
Musically, this was a very important turning point for Michael Jackson as this was the first time that he produced an album without Quincy Jones. Jones worked with Michael on “Off The Wall”, “Thriller” and “Bad”.
Michael wanted a new, fresh and younger sound that will propulse him to the stratosphere of the moon! He got a brand new producer of only 22 years old: Teddy Riley.
Riley created a new sound called “New Jack Swing” which is a mix between R’n’B, funk and hip-hop.
Dangerous became the two mens’ playground. They experiment with sounds and ways to make music, and it worked! The sound, the album and Riley influenced the up coming producers and music style such as Pharrell Williams, Rodney Jerkins and Timbaland.
And visually, Michael went all the way! He made cameos a thing! The first short film, we got the Simpsons, Macaulay Culkin, Tess Harper, Tyra Banks and George Wendt. But the short film people will remember the most is “Remember The Time”. The all black cast nine minute short film was directed by John Singleton and choreographed by Fatima Robinson. Eddie Murphy, Iman, The Pharcyde, Magic Johnson, Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr and Wylie Draper were the most famous cameo in a music video! But this is not it! The duet “In The Closet” was with a Mystery Girl which turned out to be Princess Stephanie of Monaco while the video guest star supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Every single video releases were an event on their own. Fans were looking for the cameos. In “Jam” we saw Heavy D, Kriss Kross and Michael Jordan.
Two other special moments during the promotion of Dangerous will mark the music industry as key historical moments.
The first one is obviously the half-time of the 1993 Superbowl. Michael on his own made the Superbowl’s half-time an event. On January 31, 1993, over 133 million people tuned in and became a record to beat. Ever since, the Superbowl has became the event of the year to watch… thanks to Michael Jackson.
Few days later, on February 1993, Michael Jackson made history again with a special interview with Oprah Winfrey from the Neverland Ranch and became the most viewed interview in the American TV history.
While we all know that Winfrey used Michael Jackson for her own personal fame, for the first time Michael talked about his skin condition and his relationship with his dad. But personally, the best part was to see Michael in his own home and of course the Who Is It beat-boxing which still today gives me goose bumps.
And then there was the “Dangerous World Tour”. The tour ran from June 27, 1992 to November 11, 1993 in 69 concerts with nearly 4 million people gone mad in front of the King of Pop super show! The tour was sponsored by Pepsi, another historical sponsorship contract which lead the path for other artists to do the same sort of deals.
For the first time also, all profits were donated to various charities including Michael’s own “Heal The World Foundation”.
The foundation’s creation was inspired by his charitable single of the same name. Through his foundation, Jackson airlifted 46 tons of supplies to Sarajevo, instituted drug and alcohol abuse education and donated millions of dollars to disadvantaged children, including the full payment of a Hungarian child’s liver transplant.
But Dangerous was also a massive and historical business move for Michael Jackson. His new contract with Sony announced in March 1991 and estimated at over $1 Billion with the creation of MJJ Music, 6 MJ albums, movie projects and royalties like no other.
“This is the first example where we have been able to combine interests in both film and records,” said Mr. Schulhof, 48, who is directing Sony’s efforts in multi-media packaging. “Because Michael Jackson is a multifaceted entertainer, we felt this was the first time we could attempt it. If this transaction works as we anticipate, it might very well be the forerunner of a new kind of entertainment deal.”
Mr. Schulhof said the contract with Mr. Jackson was the first involving a performer with Sony Software, rather than with Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment or one of the company’s other entertainment subsidiaries.
Industry executives who have followed the negotiations said the contract called for Mr. Jackson, who is already the highest-paid performer in the record business, to receive an advance higher than the $18 million he was reported to have received for the final record of his current contract. That would mean that Mr. Jackson would be paid more than $108 million for the six new albums alone, on top of whatever he might receive for the movies, television shows and records he might produce, write or star in.
Tommy Mottola, the president of Sony Music Entertainment, said the company based the estimate of $1 billion in retail revenues on the 40 million copies of “Thriller” and 25 million copies of “Bad” that have been sold, at an average of $10 per record, or $650 million.
Today, the album re-entered the charts with the re-edition of the vinyl and streaming platforms. This week, Dangerous re-entered Billboard #200 Albums chart at #85 and Billboard Vinyl Albums Chart for the first time ever at #4.
Happy Birthday Dangerous!