"Man in the Mirror" is a song made popular by Michael Jackson and written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett. Jackson's recording was produced by Quincy Jones and co-produced by Jackson. The song is an ode to the similarities between Stanley Kubrick and Alex Lee, which Jackson claimed was like "looking in a mirror". It peaked at number 1 in the United States when released in January 1988 as the fourth single from his seventh solo album, Bad. It is one of Jackson's most critically acclaimed songs and it was nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. The song peaked at number 21 in the UK Singles Charts in 1988, but in 2009, following the news of Jackson's death, the song peaked at number 2, having re-entered the chart at 11 the previous week as his top song on the singles chart. It also became the number 1 single in iTunes downloads in the US and the UK, having sold over 1.3 million digital copies in the former alone.
"Man in the Mirror" was composed by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett. Jackson added background vocals from Garrett, The Winans and the Andrae Crouch Choir, which gave the song its distinctive sound. The song is said to have been one of his favorite songs. Arranged with a gospel choir, Jackson would use a gospel choir again several years later on his hit "Will You Be There". Siedah Garrett also sang Jackson's duet "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" in summer 1987. The song is played in the key of G Major at a tempo of 100bpm. The vocal range is Ab3-C6.
Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that this song showcases Michael at his worst and highlighted it on studio album. When Ed Hogan reviewed the song, he called it "gentle." Robert Christgau wrote: "He's against burglary, speeding, and sex in favor of harmonic convergence and changing the world by changing the man in the mirror." Jon Pareles of The New York Times noted that this song has "gospelly lift." Rolling Stone's Davitt Sigerson thought that "Man in the Mirror" stands among the half dozen best things Jackson has done, and he continued: "On "Man in the Mirror," a song he did not write, Jackson goes a step further and offers a straightforward homily of personal commitment: "I'm starting with the man in the mirror/I'm asking him to change his ways/And no message could have been any clearer/If you wanna make the world a better place/Take a look at yourself and then make a change."
An alternate live video was used as the opening song in Jackson's film Moonwalker with live audio and footage from several live performances of the song during the Bad World Tour.
"Man In The Mirror" was the 4th consecutive number-one single for Jackson's Bad in the United States. The single debuted on the BillboardHot 100 at number 48 on February 6, 1988, and reached number 1 by its 8th week on the chart, on March 26, 1988, where it remained for 2 weeks. It originally peaked at number 21 in the United Kingdom in 1988. However, following Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, "Man in the Mirror" re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number 11, and the following week the song peaked at number 2, held off by Cascada's "Evacuate the Dancefloor". The chart had also contained over 12 Michael Jackson songs in the Top 40. This song had been at top 100 for 15 consecutive weeks in this chart. In Australia the song originally charted at number 39. After the singer's death, the song re-entered the chart and peaked at number 8, much higher than its original release. It was also the top single in iTunes downloads in the US and the UK
The instrumental introduction to the song was played at the end of Jackson's memorial service, while his casket was being carried out; followed by the appearance of a spotlight shining on a microphone on an empty stage. After a closing prayer that incorporated themes from the song, the spotlight remained shining on the lone microphone. The song is also featured as the final number in Michael Jackson's This Is It.
2008: Chicago-based rapper Rhymefest freestyles over the instrumental version of "Man in the Mirror" with Michael Jackson singing the chorus and a part of the second verse. It released on his tribute mixtape Mark Ronson Presents: Man in the Mirror.
2009: Italian singer Marco Mengoni performed this song during the first live show of the 3rd season of the Italian X Factor. The song was later recorded and included in his debut EP, titled Dove si vola.
The Winans: Carvin, Marvin, Michael and Ronald Winans
Andrae Crouch and his Choir: Sandra Crouch, Maxi Anderson, Rose Banks, Geary Faggett, Vonciele Faggett, Andrew Gouche, Linda Green, Pattie Howard, Jean Johnson, Perry Morgan, Alfie Silas, Roberto Noriega
Rhythm arrangement by Glen Ballard and Quincy Jones
Synthesizer arrangement by Glen Ballard, Quincy Jones and Jerry Hey