Michael Jackson Wanted Bad To Outsell Thriller

MJ was determined 'even though it was an impossible task,' Spike Lee tells MTV News ahead of his 'Bad 25' documentary.

There was no one who could compete with the King of Pop, so Michael Jackson looked to best himself. That’s one of the things that Spike Lee learned about his friend MJ when putting together “Bad 25,” a documentary centered on the making of Jackson’s top-selling 1987 LP.

“I learned that, number one, he was very self-motivated,” Spike recently told MTV News. “Even though it was an impossible task, Michael wanted Bad to outsell Thriller. And everywhere he’d go, he’d put up signs, write on mirrors in bathrooms: ’100 million.’ ”

No doubt, Thriller was the crowning jewel in Jackson’s awe-inspiring catalog, recognized as the best-selling album of all time. After Jackson’s death in 2009, his album sales shot through the roof, with the RIAA estimating that Thriller had moved 29 million additional copies, not counting international sales. Since its 1982 release, it’s estimated that Thriller has sold more than 110 million copies across the globe. Not that Bad was a slouch on the charts: The Thriller follow-up lands at #5 on the all-time list, believed to have sold at least 30 million copies worldwide .

“He always wanted to surpass what he had done previously and 100 million albums sold,” Lee said. “He was determined to do that.”

August 31 will mark the 25-year anniversary of Mike’s Bad, and to celebrate, Epic Records will release Bad 25, a repackaged version of the album, on September 18. The collection will include Lee’s documentary, unreleased demo songs, remixes, concert footage and, of course, the original LP.

What’s your favorite song from Michael Jackson’s Bad album? Sound off in the comments!

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