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Dangerous (Michael Jackson album)


Dangerous (Michael Jackson album)

Studio album by Michael Jackson
Released November 26, 1991
Recorded June 25, 1990 – October 29, 1991
Ocean Way Studios and Record One Studios
Genre R&B, pop, rock, new jack swing[1]
Length 76:58
Label Epic
Producer Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley, Bill Bottrell, Bruce Swedien
Michael Jackson chronology
The Original Soul of Michael Jackson
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
Singles from Dangerous
  1. "Black or White"
    Released: November 11, 1991
  2. "Remember the Time"
    Released: January 14, 1992
  3. "In the Closet"
    Released: May 8, 1992
  4. "Jam"
    Released: July 13, 1992
  5. "Who Is It"
    Released: August 31, 1992
  6. "Heal the World"
    Released: November 23, 1992
  7. "Give In to Me"
    Released: February 15, 1993
  8. "Will You Be There"
    Released: June 28, 1993
  9. "Gone Too Soon"
    Released: December 1, 1993

Dangerous is the eighth studio album by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was released on November 26, 1991 by Epic Records. His first album under his new contract with Sony Music, it was also Jackson's first album since 1975's Forever, Michael not to be produced by longtime collaborator Quincy Jones, who had agreed to split after the final recording sessions for Jackson's 1987 album, Bad. Dangerous has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, 7 million albums were shipped in the United States alone, and has been cited as one of the best-selling albums of all time.[2][3][4] The album produced four top ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 including one number-one. Similar to the musician's previous material, the album's music features elements of R&B, pop and rock while also incorporating a newer genre, new jack swing, after the inclusion of producer Teddy Riley to the project in a bid to present Jackson to a younger urban audience.

Dangerous took over a year in production. Lyrical themes expressed in the album included racism, poverty, paranoia, romance, the welfare of children and the world and self-improvement, topics Jackson had covered before. Nine singles were released from Dangerous between November 1991 and December 1993, with seven singles issued in the United States, and two others released only outside the US. The two singles released outside the United States were successful, charting within the top ten and top forty respectively. Dangerous peaked at number one in nine countries, while charting at the top ten in four other territories. The only songs not released were "Why You Wanna Trip on Me", "She Drives Me Wild", "Can't Let Her Get Away", "Keep the Faith" and "Dangerous;" a video and a single release for the latter song was said to have been planned but was postponed indefinitely due to the musician's tour and later personal problems.

Dangerous was the first album to be produced fully by Jackson, with additional production from his friend, Bill Bottrell, and Teddy Riley. Jackson earned writing credits on all but two tracks on the album. Dangerous received several Grammy nominations, winning only for Best Engineered Album (Non Classical) by Bruce Swedien and Riley.[5] In addition to commercial success, the album received critical acclaim from contemporary critics. It has been listed as the most successful album of all time in the new jack swing style.[6]


  • Background 1
  • Recording 2
  • Composition 3
  • Release 4
  • Marketing 5
  • Singles 6
  • Critical reception 7
    • Accolades 7.1
  • Track listing 8
  • Chart positions 9
    • End-of-decade charts 9.1
  • Sales and certifications 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12


Jackson in 1988

Following the end of his successful but grueling world tour to support his successful Bad album in January 1989, Jackson had decided to focus on outside works including a deal with L.A. Gear to promote their brand of sneakers. He had also planned on the release of two greatest-hits packages, Decade 1979-1989 and Decade 1980-1990. Each was supposed to compose of hits spanning from his three previous studio albums, Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad, as well as unheard demos and new songs (one of which was a cover of The Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever").

In 1988, CBS Records was acquired by Sony Music. As a result all of the artists who recorded for the CBS subsidiaries including Epic and Columbia would now see their records distributed by Sony Music. In March 1991, days after his sister Janet Jackson had signed a $32 million deal with Virgin Records, the musician topped her by signing with Sony Music for a reported $50 million, making it the most lucrative contract in music history. Jackson's stipulations for the contract was that he must release at least three studio albums (Dangerous, the second disc of HIStory and Invincible respectively), a remix album (Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix), two greatest hits collections (the first disc of HIStory and Number Ones) and a box set (The Ultimate Collection).


Recording sessions for Dangerous took place at Ocean Way/Record One's Studio 2 in Los Angeles, starting on June 25, 1990, and ended at both Larrabee North and Ocean Way Studios on October 29, 1991, making it, at sixteen months, the most extensive recording of Jackson's career at the time, where before he usually took six months.

After Jackson and Bottrell began work on some songs including an early version of "Dangerous", he decided to recruit Teddy Riley to overlook some of the album's production. For the first time since 1979, Jackson was without longtime producer Quincy Jones, who had produced Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. According to Jones, he convinced Jackson to have Riley replace him in the production of Dangerous.

Some album sessions were put on hold due to Jackson's health problems as he had spent time in a L.A. hospital for weeks after complaining of chest pains. When he was released, he continued work on the album, desiring to take his music to a harder sound than in previous albums, inspired by his sister Janet's edgy sound in her album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. Prior to working with Riley, Jackson had desired to work with producers Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antonio "L.A." Reid. Around the same time, his brother Jermaine Jackson, who had signed with La Face Records, was set to work with them and since Jackson didn't tell his brother about it before, considered it as an act of betrayal, though he later dismissed that notion in years since. Jermaine's song, "Word to the Badd", was composed with lyrics aimed negatively at his brother, and were later revised to lyrics aimed at a bad relationship.

Songs that were recorded for the Dangerous album but were eventually left out included "Monkey Business", "She Got It", "Work That Body", "Serious Effect" (which included rapper LL Cool J), "If You Don't Love Me", the ballad "For All Time", "Earth Song" was initially recorded for the album but was later included on HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, "Superfly Sister" and "Blood on the Dance Floor", the latter two later issued on Jackson's remix compilation, Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix.


The lead single from Dangerous, the danceable hard rock song "Black or White" was one of Jackson's most successful recordings.[7][8][9] It contains many features of Jackson's vocal style, including the vocal hiccup he is known for.

With Riley, Jackson recorded under the new jack swing genre, a genre Riley has been often credited with inventing. It was also the first album in which Jackson began rapping. The inclusion of the rap group Wreckx-n-Effect, Jackson's embrace of hip-hop rhythms and new jack swing were designed to give Jackson a new younger urban audience. In other recordings, with Bottrell, Jackson's sounds were more diverse as it had been in other albums with "Black or White" recorded under the pop rock genre while the Slash-featured "Give In to Me" was recorded as a hard rock ballad. The ballads, "Keep the Faith", composed by Jackson and his "Man in the Mirror" collaborators Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard, and the self-composed "Will You Be There" both featured strong elements of gospel music while the other ballads "Heal the World" and "Gone Too Soon" were softer pop ballads. The smooth R&B number, "Remember the Time", featured elements of not only new jack swing but also funk, while "Who Is It" and "Jam" had stronger funk elements.

Lyrics for the songs' subject matter were more varied than in Jackson's previous records. Though he often talked of the subject of racial harmony in some of his songs with his brothers, The Jacksons, Dangerous was the first of these albums in which he talked openly of racism, which was the main topic with the hit song, "Black or White". Other social commentary topics that Jackson had never touched as a solo artist including poverty and inner city life were discussed in the song "Why You Wanna Trip on Me", in which he compared social ills to his own alleged publicized eccentricities that were covered in the press at the time asking critics and tabloid media why were they focusing on him when other more social problems were going on. He addressed similar issues in the album's opening track, "Jam", which included rapping from Heavy D. "In the Closet" had originally been set as a duet between Jackson and Madonna though this recording never happened and focused on two lovers carrying on a discreet affair without being open about the affair. The album also included songs of other personal nature especially in songs such as "She Drives Me Wild", "Remember the Time", "Can't Let Her Get Away", "Who Is It" and "Give In to Me". The social commentary "Heal the World" was in the middle of the number of personal songs. "Gone Too Soon", written by Larry Grossman and Buz Kohan, was written and recorded for Ryan White following White's death from AIDS in 1990. The title track's lyrics were compared to that of "Dirty Diana" with the song focusing on a seductress.


The album was released on November 26, 1991. After its first week of release, it debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200, staying there for four weeks, spanning two different calendar years. Sales of the album were shipped for seven million under two months, making this the fastest-selling album ever for Jackson in the United States, breaking the sales record he had held for Bad, which had shipped seven million in four months. The album was certified seven-times platinum for sales of seven million copies alone in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[10]

Globally, Dangerous dominated worldwide charts debuting at number-one in the United Kingdom while also reaching number-one in seven other territories including Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. It was also a huge success in Asian countries. Sales of the album eventually reached over 35 million copies worldwide.[2][3][4][11][12]


Similar to how Jackson's label had approached the Bad album, expectations again were raised high for the Dangerous album. In September 1991, Jackson netted a deal to have his videos air on the Fox TV network alongside regular music-video channels, MTV, BET and VH-1. The eleven-minute "Black or White" video debuted on November 14, 1991 and was seen in 27 countries and reportedly watched by a record 500 million viewers, said to be the most to ever watch a music video.[13] The airing and later controversy of the video helped the sales of Dangerous, as did the broadcasting of two other Jackson videos for "Remember the Time" and "In the Closet". Jackson's first HBO concert special, Michael Jackson: Live in Bucharest, also helped in the sales of Dangerous after it aired in October 1992, reviving sales of the album. After several weeks of tapering off again, Jackson made personal appearances in early 1993 including the American Music Awards and Grammy Awards, the latter in which he accepted the Grammy Legend Award from his sister Janet, and the much talked about interview with Oprah Winfrey, helping to return the album to the top ten.


The album's leading track, "Black or White", was an instant number-one hit upon its release that November, debuting at the top of the charts several weeks after it was released, staying there for seven weeks. It would be his only number-one single from the album on the pop charts. Jackson had four top ten singles in the United States from the album including "Remember the Time", which peaked at No. 3 but reached number-one on the R&B chart, his first R&B number-one since "Another Part of Me" nearly four years earlier; "In the Closet", which peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100, but also reached number-one.

The last top ten single for the album was "Will You Be There", which reached number seven and was boosted by an appearance on the Free Willy soundtrack, helping to boost more sales from Dangerous. "Who Is It" peaked at number fourteen, while "Jam" and "Heal the World" would both peak at the top thirty on the Hot 100 respectively, Jackson's lowest pop showings since early 1979; and the overseas-only singles, "Give In to Me" and "Gone Too Soon" with "Give In to Me" reaching the top five in the UK, Netherlands, Australia and hitting the top of the charts in New Zealand, while "Gone Too Soon" was more moderately received, charting within the top forty.

The singles success of Dangerous was more successful overseas than in Jackson's native United States: in the UK alone, seven of the singles from the album all reached the UK top ten, just like Bad achieved by 2009. This was a record for any studio album in the UK until Calvin Harris broke this in 2013.[14]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[15]
Robert Christgau A−[16]
Entertainment Weekly B−[17]
Q 4/5 stars[18]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[19]
Virgin Encyclopedia 4/5 stars[20]

Dangerous was well received by most critics. Robert Christgau gave Dangerous a grade of A-, saying it was Jackson's "most consistent album since Off the Wall". Alan Light of Rolling Stone described Jackson during the thesis of the album as "a man, no longer a man-child, confronting his well-publicized demons and achieving transcendence through performance" and that album rose to "the impossible challenge set by 'Thriller'."[21] Stephen Thomas of Allmusic described the album as "a much sharper, riskier album than 'Bad'."[22] Dangerous received four Grammy nominations including three for Jackson including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Best R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song while Teddy Riley and Bruce Swedien won the Grammy for Best Engineered Album - Non Classical.[5][23]


Organization Country Accolade Year Source
National Association of Recording Merchandisers United States Definitive 200 albums of all time developed by the NARM (ranked 115) 2007 [24]

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Jam" (featuring Heavy D) Michael Jackson, René Moore, Bruce Swedien, Teddy Riley 5:39
2. "Why You Wanna Trip on Me"   Teddy Riley, Bernard Belle 5:25
3. "In the Closet" (featuring Princess Stéphanie of Monaco) Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley 6:32
4. "She Drives Me Wild" (featuring Wreckx-n-Effect) Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley; rap lyrics by Aqil Davidson 3:42
5. "Remember the Time"   Teddy Riley, Michael Jackson, Bernard Belle 4:01
6. "Can't Let Her Get Away"   Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley 5:00
7. "Heal the World"   Michael Jackson 6:25
8. "Black or White" (featuring L.T.B.) Michael Jackson; rap lyrics by Bill Bottrell 4:16
9. "Who Is It"   Michael Jackson 6:34
10. "Give In to Me" (featuring Slash) Michael Jackson, Bill Bottrell 5:29
11. "Will You Be There" (Theme from Free Willy) Michael Jackson 7:39
12. "Keep the Faith" (featuring The Andraé Crouch Singers) Glen Ballard, Siedah Garrett, Michael Jackson 5:57
13. "Gone Too Soon"   Larry Grossman, Buz Kohan 3:24
14. "Dangerous"   Michael Jackson, Bill Bottrell, Teddy Riley 7:00

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1991 US Billboard 200 1
Norwegian Albums Chart
Australian ARIA Albums Chart
Brazilian Top 100 Albums Chart
French Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
1992 US Billboard 200
Norwegian Albums Chart
Australian ARIA Albums Chart
Brazilian Top 100 Albums Chart
German Albums Chart[25]
1993 New Zealand Albums Chart
2009 Czech Albums Chart[26] 2
Polish Albums Chart[27] 6
Mexican AMPROFON Top 100 Albums[28] 6
Brazilian Top 10 CD ABPD[29] 4
2010 Czech Albums Chart[26] 39

End-of-decade charts

Chart (1990–1999) Position
Austrian Albums Chart[30] 8
US Billboard 200[31] 44

Sales and certifications

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[32] 10× Platinum 700,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[33] 4× Platinum 200,000x
Brazil (ABPD)[34] Gold 1,000,000[35]
Canada (Music Canada)[36] 6× Platinum 600,000^
Chile (IFPI)[37] 5× Platinum 125,000
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[38] Platinum 61,896[38]
France (SNEP)[39] Diamond 2,000,000[40]
Germany (BVMI)[41] 4× Platinum 2,000,000^
Indonesia 500,000[42]
Italy (FIMI)[43] 650,000[44]
Japan (RIAJ)[45] 2× Platinum 400,000^
Malaysia (RIM)[46] 7× Platinum 175,000
Mexico (AMPROFON)[47] 2× Platinum+Gold 600,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[48] 3× Platinum 300,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[49] 6× Platinum 90,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[50] 6× Platinum 600,000^
Sweden (GLF)[51] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[52] 5× Platinum 250,000x
Thailand 300,000[53]
United Kingdom (BPI)[54] 6× Platinum 2,010,069[55]
United States (RIAA)[56] 7× Platinum 7,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

See also


  1. ^ "Dangerous".  
  2. ^ a b "Michael Jackson's Life & Legacy: The Eccentric King Of Pop (1986–1999)". MTV. MTV. July 6, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Levis, Mike: Asia Pacific: The Media at Large, page 68. Billboard magazine (May 20, 1995).
  4. ^ a b "Michael Jackson: The Numbers, An Exclusive Look Into The Lifetime Sales Of The King Of POP". Retrieved 2013-07-09. 
  5. ^ a b "Grammy for Bruce Swedien & Teddy Riley". Grammy. Retrieved February 25, 2009. 
  6. ^ Carter, Kelley L. (August 11, 2008). "New jack swing".  
  7. ^ Sony Music (2001). "Michael Jackson Dangerous Review". Sony Music Entertainment. Archived from the original on December 4, 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2008. 
  8. ^ Jeans (1993). "Peligroso regreso". Michael Jackson: Un mito indescifrable (in Spanish). Revista Jeans. p. 7. En "Black or white" Michael Jackson solicitó la participación del guitarrista de Guns N' Roses, Slash, para darle a esta canción de hard rock una línea más agresiva, además cuenta con la participación de Tim Pierce en la guitarra heavy metal; y el resultado es una mezcla de hard rock, dance y rap 
  9. ^ Ramage, John D.; Bean, John C.; Johnson, June (2001). Writing arguments: a rhetoric with readings. Allyn and Bacon. p. 491.  
  10. ^ "Gold and Platinum".  
  11. ^ "Michael Jackson BBC Obituary".  
  12. ^ "Michael Jackson sulla sedia a rotelle".  
  13. ^ Phalen, Tom (1991-11-16). "Living | Jackson Alters His New Video | Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  14. ^ Newsbeat
  15. ^ "Review: Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" Album".  
  16. ^ "Robert Christgau Reviews – Dangerous (Michael Jackson Album)".  
  17. ^ "Entertainment Weekly Reviews".  
  18. ^ "Q Magazine Reviews".  
  19. ^ "Rolling Stone Reviews". Rolling Stone. 
  20. ^ "Review".  
  21. ^ "Dangerous". Rolling Stone. January 1, 1992. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Dangerous - Michael Jackson : Songs, Reviews, Critics, Awards : AllMusic". Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Grammy Awards 1993". Rock On The Net. Retrieved September 12, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Top 100 of the Definitive 200". TimePieces. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche". Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b ds. "Čns Ifpi". Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLIS – Official Retail Sales Chart". OLIS. December 27, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  28. ^ Mexican Albums Chart Week 29 – 2009
  29. ^ July 6 – July 12, 2009
  30. ^ "Best-selling Albums". (in Austrian). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  31. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade – The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s.  
  32. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2011 Albums".  
  33. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Michael Jackson – Dangerous" (in German).   Enter Michael Jackson in the field Interpret. Enter Dangerous in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  34. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Michael Jackson – Dangerous" (in Portuguese).  
  35. ^ "Rock And Roll". Archived from the original on 2010-08-06. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  36. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Michael Jackson – Dangerous".  
  37. ^ "Récord de Ana Gabriel" (in Spanish).  
  38. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
    • "Michael Jackson" (in Finnish).  
    • "Kultalevyjen myöntämisrajat" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. 
  39. ^ "French album certifications – Michael Jackson – Dangerous" (in French).  
  40. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes de CD/Albums depuis 1968 :" (in French). Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Michael Jackson; 'Dangerous')" (in German).  
  42. ^ Krishna Sen and David T. Hill. Media,Culture and Politics indonesia. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  43. ^ "Italian album certifications – Michael Jackson – Dangerous" (in Italian).   Select Album e Compilation in the field Scegli la sezione. Select Week -- and Year ----. Enter Michael Jackson in the field Artista. Click Avvia la ricerca
  44. ^ "E' Claudio Baglioni il Jackson italiano". La Stampa. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  45. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > November 1996 > Highest Certified International Albums/Singles (Mar '89 - Sep '96)".  
  46. ^ "Michael Jackson award".  
  47. ^ "Certificaciones 2009".  
  48. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Michael Jackson – Dangerous" (in Dutch).  
  49. ^ "Latest Gold / Platinum Albums". Radioscope. 17 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. 
  50. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE.  
  51. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish).  
  52. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Michael Jackson; 'Dangerous')". Hung Medien. 
  53. ^ Business Review. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  54. ^ "British album certifications – Michael Jackson – Dangerous".   Enter Dangerous in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  55. ^ "Michael Jackson sales special". music week. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  56. ^ "American album certifications – Michael Jackson – Dangerous".   If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
Achtung Baby by U2
US Billboard 200 number-one album
December 14, 1991 – January 10, 1992
Succeeded by
Nevermind by Nirvana
Preceded by
We Can't Dance by Genesis
UK number one album
November 30, 1991 – December 6, 1991
Succeeded by
Greatest Hits II by Queen
Preceded by
Achtung Baby by U2
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
December 8, 1991 – January 17, 1992
Succeeded by
Soul Deep by Jimmy Barnes
Preceded by
Waking Up the Neighbours by Bryan Adams
Swiss Albums Chart number-one album
December 1, 1991 – December 21, 1991
Succeeded by
Greatest Hits II by Queen
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