Today’s song comes from the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson with the song Smooth Criminal. This is a live version from the HIStory tour in Munich Germany in 1997.
It was on this date in 1993 Michael cancelled a world tour due to an addiction to painkillers. Jackson had been taking painkillers for his reconstructive scalp surgeries, administered due to the Pepsi commercial accident in 1984, and became dependent on them to cope with the stress of the sexual abuse allegations that happened in August of 1993.
Smooth Criminal was released on November 14, 1988, from his seventh album, Bad (1987). It was written by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. The lyrics address a woman who has been attacked in her apartment by a “smooth criminal”.
The music video for “Smooth Criminal”, which premiered internationally on MTV on October 13, 1988, is the centerpiece of the 1988 film Moonwalker. The 1930s setting and Jackson’s white suit and fedora pay tribute to the Fred Astaire musical comedy film The Band Wagon. In the video, Jackson and the dancers perform an apparently physically impossible “anti-gravity lean”.
“Smooth Criminal” reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the sixth top-10 single from Bad. It reached number two on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The song reached number one in Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Spain.
Retrospective reviews have described it as one of Jackson’s best songs. Rolling Stone wrote that it was “his best blend of R&B groove and rock edginess, and a turning point in his shift toward darker, harder-edged material”. It has appeared on numerous greatest hits albums and was performed on all of Jackson’s solo tours. “Smooth Criminal” was re-released in 2006 as a single as a part of Jackson’s Visionary: The Video Singles boxset.