|Single by Michael Jackson|
|from the album Bad|
|Released||April 18, 1988|
|Format||CD single, 7", 12"|
|Genre||Pop rock, hard rock heavy metal|
|Length||4:52 (original version)
4:40 (single version)
Michael Jackson (co-producer)
|Michael Jackson singles chronology|
"Dirty Diana" is a song by American songwriter and recording artist Michael Jackson featuring guitarist Steve Stevens. It is the ninth track from Jackson's seventh studio album, Bad. The song was released by Epic Records on April 18, 1988 as the fifth single from the album. The song presented a harder rock sound similar to that of "Beat It" from the album Thriller. "Dirty Diana" was written and co-produced by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones. The songs lyrics pertain to groupies. "Dirty Diana" has a moderate tempo and is played in the key of G minor.
"Dirty Diana" was generally well received by contemporary music critics. The song was also a commercial success worldwide in 1988, charting at number one on the United States Billboard Hot 100. The song also charted within the top ten in multiple countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Italy and New Zealand. "Dirty Diana" was the fifth and final number-one single on the Hot 100 from Bad. In 2009, after Jackson's death in June, the song re-entered charts, mainly due to digital download sales. A music video for "Dirty Diana" was filmed in front of a live audience and was released in 1988.
Background and composition
"Dirty Diana" was written and co-produced by Michael Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones. It appeared on Jackson's seventh studio album, Bad. The song was released by Epic Records on April 18, 1988 as the fifth single from Bad. After "Beat It", "Dirty Diana" was the second hard rock song of his solo career, more specifically a hard rock ballad, with lyrics about a persistent groupie. Jackson hired Billy Idol's guitarist Steve Stevens to back him on the track. Initial reports at the time suggested the song was a poke at his close friend Diana Ross, however this was later denied. In fact, Ross started using the song as an overture at her concerts shortly before she appears on stage. In an interview from the special edition of Bad, Jones later confirmed that the song's lyrics were about groupies. Jackson also confirmed this during an interview with Barbara Walters, adding that it was not about Diana, Princess of Wales, though he was told personally by the Princess that it was her favorite among his songs.
The lyrics to "Dirty Diana" pertain to a persistent groupie.
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In his Bad review, Los Angeles Times' Richard Cromelin describes clearly "Dirty Diana" as a hard rock song, he says about it, "'Dirty Diana' is trying to be this year's 'Beat It' − a hard-rock song about a tenacious groupie that's sent into orbit by a Steve Stevens guitar solo". All Music Guide's Stephen Thomas Erlewine also considers "Dirty Diana" as a hard rock song, observing on the album that, "This meant that he moved deeper into hard rock, deeper into schmaltzy adult contemporary, deeper into hard dance – essentially taking each portion of Thriller to an extreme" and qualifying the track as the, "misogynistic 'Dirty Diana'".
Jon Pareles, a writer for The New York Times viewed "Dirty Diana" as a song about a "groupie who latches onto the narrator, mixes the sexual fears of 'Billie Jean' with the hard-rock lead guitar of 'Beat It'". In his Bad review, Thom Duffy, music critic for the Orlando Sentinel, described "Dirty Diana" as a heavy metal ballad, saying that, "Dirty Diana, a tale of a maliciously seductive fan, finds Jackson doing credible heavy-metal rock wailing", which, the critic said, was, "accompanied by a solo from Steve Stevens, the guitarist from Billy Idol's band". Philadelphia Inquirer also described "Dirty Diana" as a heavy metal ballad, the newspaper said, "Plus, to tap the rock crowd (in the style of the 'Thriller' crossover smash 'Beat It' with Eddie Van Halen), Michael cut a heavy metal-tinged 'Dirty Diana' featuring Billy Idol's guitar sizzler Stevie Stevens". "Dirty Diana" is written in common time and moves at a moderate tempo of 104 beats per minute. Jackson's vocals are sung on a range of Bb3 to G5. The instrumentation consists of guitar and piano, and is played in the key of G minor.
Critical and commercial reception
"Dirty Diana" received mixed reviews by contemporary music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, a writer for Allmusic, felt that "Dirty Diana" and "Man in the Mirror" were "showcasing Jackson at his worst" on Bad. Jon Pareles described "Dirty Diana" as 'reducing" Jackson to a "terrified whimper". Davitt Sigerson of Rolling Stone gave the song a more positive review, though calling it a "filler", she still commented that the song, along with "Speed Demon" is what makes Bad "richer, sexier, better than Thriller's forgettables". Sigerson noted that "Dirty Diana" was a "substantial recording" because of its "insubstantial melody." Jennifer Clay of Yahoo! Music commented that while Jackson's edgier image was a "little hard to swallow", the image, musically, worked on the songs "Bad", "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana", but was not "to the degree of Thriller".
"Dirty Diana", similar to Bad's previous singles, charted within the top twenty and top ten worldwide. It peaked at number one on the United States Billboard Hot 100 on July 2, 1988, after nine weeks on the chart. "Dirty Diana" was the album's fifth consecutive single to peak at number one on the Hot 100. Internationally, "Dirty Diana" charted within the top thirty positions on several music charts. The song peaked at number one on the Spanish charts, where it stayed for one week only. The song also charted within the top five in Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, peaking at number two, three and five respectively. The song entered the United Kingdom charts on July 16, 1988 at number fourteen, and the following week the song went to number four, where it stayed for two weeks.
"Dirty Diana" peaked at number six in Italy, number seven in Austria, and charted at number nine in France. The song charted at number seventeen in Norway, as well as charting within the top thirty, peaking at number twenty-nine and thirty, in Sweden and Australia respectively. Following Jackson's death in June 2009, his music experienced a surge in popularity. In July 2009, "Dirty Diana" saw a strong chart surge, mainly due to digital download sales. The song charted at number eighteen on the French Digital Singles Chart on July 4, 2009. On July 12, the song peaked at number thirteen on the Swiss Singles Chart. "Dirty Diana" re-entered the United Kingdom charts on July 4, 2009 at number fifty, and the following week peaked at number twenty-six; the song began falling off the charts in the following weeks.
The five-minute music video for the song was directed by Joe Pytka. This music video won the "Number One Video In The World" at the 2nd World Music Awards held on April 14, 1989. It is featured on the DVD albums Number Ones, Michael Jackson's Vision and the Target version DVD of Bad 25.
The woman who appears in the video is model Lisa Dean, chosen over hundreds just for the "legs" part. She also passed away in 2009, due to cancer.
Live performance video
A second seven-minute long accompanying video of a live performance (which should not be confused with the actual music video) was filmed in early 1988 in front of a live audience during Jackson's show in Madison Square Gardens (Steve Stevens Playing Guitar). The video starts with the screen saying "Pepsi Presents Michael Jackson Tour 1988" in front of a white background for forty seconds. After showing a black screen, Jackson can be seen from a distance performing in front of an audience with the only source of light being blue lights. During Jackson's performance he is dressed in a white button down shirt, black pants and has metal and leather belts on his pants while singing and dancing. In between Jackson's performance from a distance, there are clips of him performing up-close while singing into a microphone, as well as clips of his guitarist Jennifer Batten performing behind him. Jackson then begins dancing and singing to the woman before walking down a cat-walk and dancing near guitarist Steve Stevens. Jackson's performance is then shown from a distance again and the video ends with Jackson finishing his performance and the lights turning blue.
"Dirty Diana" was performed during Jackson's Bad World Tour concert series from 1987 to 1989, but only in the second leg, as the 10th song in the setlist. According to Jackson in an interview with Barbara Walters, "Dirty Diana" was scheduled for a live 1988 performance at Wembley Stadium during the Bad World Tour; however, Jackson felt the song would be an insult to Diana, Princess of Wales, who was in attendance, so he had it removed. After Diana informed him the song was actually one of her personal favorites, Jackson re-added the song to the set list. This performance can be seen on the DVD Michael Jackson: Live at Wembley July 16, 1988. This Is It concert series choreographer, Kenny Ortega, stated in an interview that "Dirty Diana" was going to be performed by Jackson for the concerts from 2009 to 2010. Ortega said that Jackson had planned to rehearse the song before he died. The set up for the song would include an expert pole dancer who would lure Jackson onto a giant steel bed on which she performed acrobatic feats.
Credits and personnel
"Foolish Beat" by Debbie Gibson
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
July 2, 1988
"The Flame" by Cheap Trick
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1. Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson – “Scream” "Although the song failed to top the Billboard Hot 100 where it peaked at #5, it was a breakthrough for both artists as it stood as a climax for the Pop/Rock musical direction with which they both previously experimented (Michael’s “Dirty Diana”, Janet’s “Black Cat”)."
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