The Way You Make Me Feel

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For the song by Ronan Keating, see The Way You Make Me Feel (Ronan Keating song).
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Bad
Released November 9, 1987
Format CD single, 7", 12"
Recorded 1987
Genre Rhythm and blues
Length 4:58 (Album version)
4:26 (single version)
7:54 (12" edit)
6:44 (video clip version)
Label Epic
Writer(s) Michael Jackson
Producer(s) Quincy Jones
Michael Jackson (co-producer)
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Bad"
(1987)
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
(1987)
"Man in the Mirror"
(1988)
Bad track listing
"Bad"
(1)
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
(2)
"Speed Demon"
(3)
HIStory Begins track listing
"Billie Jean"
(1)
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
(2)
"Black or White"
(3)
This Is It track listing
"Smooth Criminal"
(5)
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
(6)
"Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)"
(7)
Music sample
A 25-second sample of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel", which talks about Michael trying impress a woman.

"The Way You Make Me Feel" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. Released by Epic Records in November 1987, it was the third single from Jackson's seventh studio album Bad. Written and composed by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones (and co-produced by Jackson), the song is credited as being a rhythm and blues song.

Aside from appearing on Jackson's Bad album, the song has also been featured on the first disc of Jackson's compilation album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I in 1995, Number Ones in 2003, The Ultimate Collection in 2004, The Essential Michael Jackson in 2005, Visionary: The Video Singles in 2006 and This Is It in 2009. "The Way You Make Me Feel" has been covered by multiple recording artists since its release.

The song received positive reviews from some contemporary critics. "The Way You Make Me Feel" became Bad's third consecutive single to peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and charted mainly within the top ten and twenty internationally. A music video for "The Way You Make Me Feel" was released at the time showing Jackson pursuing and dancing with a woman. Since the music video's release, it has become influential on other artists' material. The song has been performed on all of Jackson's world concert tours as a solo artist, and was planned to have been performed during the This Is It concerts from 2009 to 2010. Notable live performances of the song by Jackson include a performance at the 1988 Grammy Awards ceremony.

Background and composition[edit]

"The Way You Make Me Feel" was recorded by Michael Jackson in 1987 for his seventh studio album Bad, which was released the same year it was recorded. Epic Records released the song as the third single from the album in November that year. "The Way You Make Me Feel" was written and co-produced by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones.[1] Before the recording of Bad, Jackson had written over sixty songs for the album, with plans of releasing a three disc album, but after Jones convinced Jackson to make Bad a one disc LP, "The Way You Make Me Feel", as well as ten other songs were selected for the album.[2] According to Bad 25, a documentary about the 25th anniversary of Bad's release, the song and subsequent video was intended to show another aspect to public's perception of Michael Jackson in addition to his reputation as a lover (I Just Can't Stop Loving You) and being streetwise (Bad) they wanted to show him as a flirt or able to pick up girls.

"The Way You Make Me Feel" has been featured on multiple greatest hits and compilation albums by Jackson since the song's release,[3] including the first disc of Jackson's two disc compilation album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I in 1995, Jackson's greatest hits album, Number Ones in 2003 and the This Is It compilation album in 2009.[3]

Musically, "The Way You Make Me Feel" is a rhythm and blues song[4] composed of blues harmonies.[5] The song's opening lyrics are "Hey, pretty baby with the high heels on".[6] "The Way You Make Me Feel"'s lyrics pertain to being in love, as well as the feeling of loving someone. Throughout the song Jackson's vocal range spans from B3 to A5.[6] The song is played in the key of E major.[6] "The Way You Make Me Feel" has a mid-tempo[7] of medium rock and has a metronome of 120 beats per minute.[6] The song follows in the chord progression of C—E♭/C—C—C/E♭ in the first line, when Jackson sings "Hee-hee! Ooh Go on!" and continues on the same progression in the second line, when Jackson sings "Girl! Aaow!".[6]

Critical reception[edit]

"The Way You Make Me Feel" generally received positive reviews from contemporary music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, a writer for Allmusic, listed "The Way You May Me Feel" as well as the album's title track, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and "Man In The Mirror" as being a 'track picks' from Bad.[8] Erlewine commented that out of all of Bad's songs, "only three can stand alongside album tracks from its predecessor" which were "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel," and "I Just Can't Stop Loving You".[8] Jon Pareles, a writer for The New York Times, commented that Jackson's songs, "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "say nothing more personalized than their titles".[9]

Richard Cromelin, a writer for The Los Angeles Times, described "The Way You Make Me Feel" as being a "loping shuffle".[10] David Sigerson, a writer for Rolling Stone commented that "The Way You Make Me Feel" was "nearly as good" as being the third best song on Bad.[11] Greg Quill, a writer for the Toronto Star, commented that "The Way You Make Me Feel" was to a "lesser extent in the love songs" because the song dealt "more with surrender than conquest or self-gratification."[12] Rickard Harrington, a writer for The Washington Post, commented that on songs like "The Way You Make Me Feel," Jackson "sings the way he dances".[13]

Chart performance[edit]

"The Way You Make Me Feel" generally charted within the top ten and top twenty positions on music charts worldwide. The song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart's issue date of December 26, 1987.[14] After charting within the top ten for five weeks, the song peaked at number one on the Hot 100 on January 23, 1988.[15] "The Way You Make Me Feel" became the album's third consecutive single to reach number one on the Hot 100. "The Way You Make Me Feel" also charted on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Charts, peaking at number nine, and on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi Single Sales chart at the peak of number three.[16] The song also charted at number one on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart and Dance Club Play Singles chart.[16]

The song entered the United Kingdom singles charts at number sixteen on December 5, 1987.[17] The following week the song moved up thirteen spaces to number three, which was the song's peak position.[18] The song stayed at its peak position for two consecutive weeks, and remained on the country's chart for ten weeks, before falling out of the top 100 positions, only to re-enter the charts two weeks later.

The song peaked at number two on New Zealand music charts on January 17, 1988,[19] and remained on the chart for a total of eleven weeks in 1987 and 1988.[19] In the Netherlands, the song debuted on the chart at number twenty on November 28, 1987.[20] Two weeks later the song charted at its peak position, at number six.[20] "The Way You Make Me Feel" debuted at number fourteen on Switzerland charts on December 13, 1987; the following week, the song charted at its peak position at number eight.[21] The song charted within the top thirty positions for ten consecutive weeks from 1987 to 1988.[21] The song debuted on French music charts on December 26, 1987 at number 47, and eventually peaked within the top thirty positions at number 29.[22] The song charted within the top 50 positions for ten consecutive weeks on the country's chart.[22] The song has sold over 1.1 million digital copies.[23]

"The Way You Make Me Feel" re-entered music charts worldwide after Jackson's music was re-issued for the Visionary album. The song debuted on the Spanish Singles Chart at number one on April 9, 2006.[24] The song remained on the country's chart for ten weeks.[24] In Italy, the song debuted within the top ten, peaking at number seven, on April 6, 2006; after two weeks, the song charted out of the top 100 positions.[25] "The Way You Make Me Feel" re-entered Dutch charts on April 1, 2006 at number 24.[20] The song re-entered French music charts on April 1, 2006 at number 59; the song remained within the top 100 positions for two consecutive weeks.[22]

Following Jackson's death, his music experienced a surge in popularity.[26] The song re-entered Dutch charts for the third time on July 4, 2009, at its peak position at number 40; the song remained on the chart for four consecutive weeks in 2009.[20] The song charted within the top ten, peaking at number six, on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs on July 11, due to digital download sales.[27] The song debuted on Swedish charts at number 30 on July 3, and peaked at number 24 the following week.[28] On July 4, the song re-entered the United Kingdom charts at number 47, and peaked at number 34 the following week.[29]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "The Way You Make Me Feel" was directed by Joe Pytka and produced by Michael Nesmith. It was choreographed by Vincent Paterson. The short version of the video is seven minutes and fifty-four seconds long and the full version is nine minutes and thirty-three seconds long. The video begins with a group of males trying to pick up women, but they don't get any luck. One of the males (Michael Jackson) is told to go home and don't hang around with the other guys anymore. When the male walks home, an elderly man (played by Joe Seneca), who is sitting on the steps of his house, tells him to just be himself. The male notices a female, played by model/dancer Tatiana Thumbtzen, walking down the streets alone.

Shortly after the male walks out of an alley and stands in front of the female while she's walking down the street, although she ignores him and keeps walking. He gets her attention by shouting, and then begins singing "The Way You Make Me Feel" to her while also dancing. Uninterested, she walks away. He follows her, having been cheered on by his friends to pursue her. Another dance routine begins, involving the males friends, which leads to the male pursuing the female throughout the neighborhood. The video ends with the male eventually winning the female over, and embraces her, while a fire hydrant is spraying out water. The videoclip also features an appearance by his sister La Toya as one of Thumbtzen's friends.

The music video was released on October 31, 1987,[30] and received one nomination at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards Ceremony.[31] The video, alongside Jackson's '"Bad" video, was nominated for Best Choreography, but lost to Jackson's younger sister Janet's video "The Pleasure Principle".[31]

The music video was included on the video albums: Video Greatest Hits – HIStory (long version on DVD and short version on VHS), Number Ones (short version), Michael Jackson's Vision (long version) and the Target version DVD of Bad 25 (long version).

The introduction of the full version of the video also samples the Roy Ayers 1985 song "Hot" from his You Might Be Surprised album.

Live performances[edit]

Five males standing next to each other. The male to the farthest left is wearing a red hand band and a red checkered shirt with grey pants. The male to the second left is wearing a red hat and a white shirt. The male in the center is wearing a blue jacket and black pants with a white belt. The male to the second right is wearing a white hat and a white shirt and blue pants. The male to the farthest right is wearing a blue bandana and blue pants.
Jackson performing "The Way You Make Me Feel" in his signature outfit for the song in 1988 during the Bad World Tour. During performances of the song Jackson would do a dance routine that included four dancers in the background.

"The Way You Make Me Feel" was performed by Jackson on all three of his world concert series tours as a solo artist as well as during award shows. For a majority of the songs performances, Jackson would wear a blue dress shirt with a white t-shirt and black pants with a white belt. The song was first performed in concert by Jackson during the encore of the second leg of his Bad World Tour from 1987 to 1989. A live version of the song is available on the DVD Live at Wembley July 16, 1988.

He performed "The Way You Make Me Feel" at the 1988 Grammy Awards Ceremony,[32] during which Jackson wore his signature outfit and his signature black fedora, while doing a dance routine with four other dancers, and performed the song along with another one of his songs, "Man in the Mirror". This performance was staged and choreographed by Vincent Paterson.[32]

Tatiana Thumbtzen, who appeared in the short film for The Way You Make Me Feel, joined Jackson in some concerts of his Bad World Tour, and performed the song with him, strutting across the stage whilst he pursued her. However, she was fired from the tour by Jackson's manager after an incident during one of the performances in which she approached Jackson and kissed him onstage.

"The Way You Make Me Feel" was also performed during the first leg of Jackson's Dangerous World Tour from June 1992 to November 1993. The tour was supposed to be longer, but was canceled due to Jackson's health concerns and stress from the child sexual abuse accusations made against him.[33][34] The next performance of the song was during select dates of Jackson's world concert series tour, HIStory. The song was performed during selected concerts from September 1996 to June 1997. The last performance of the song was at the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special in 2001 at Madison Square Garden on September 7 and September 10, 2001. The video footage from the performance (which included Britney Spears) was featured on CBS in November 2001, as a two-hour television special.

Since March 2009, Jackson was preparing to perform "The Way You Make Me Feel'" during his This Is It concert series from 2009 to 2010.[35] Following Jackson's death in June of the same year, video footage of Jackson rehearsing the song was featured in the 2009 concert documentary film, Michael Jackson's This Is It.[36] The video rehearsal footage was also featured on the films DVD in January 2010.[37]

Cover versions and influences[edit]

"The Way You Make Me Feel" has been covered by multiple artists since its release, and the song's music video has been influential on other artists' material as well.

  • In 1989, German comedian Otto Waalkes parodies the music video in his film Otto – Der Außerfriesische.[38]
  • In 2003, the music group Shakaya covered "The Way You Make Me Feel" and released their version as a non-album single. The song only charted on Australian charts, peaking at number 21 on the country's music charts.[39]
  • After Jackson's death in June 2009, John Legend and a visibly emotional Stevie Wonder did a cover of the song as a tribute to Jackson at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert held at Madison Square Garden for a HBO television special in December 2009.[citation needed] Wonder has also covered the song regularly since, notably at Bestival 2012 on the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom.
  • In December 2009, Stacey Solomon, a contestant on the X Factor in the United Kingdom, performed a cover of the song during the show's semi-finals, which received mixed opinions from the show's judges.[40][41]
  • In January 2010, The Jonas Brothers band member Nick Jonas performed the song during a concert at the Warner Theatre in promotion for his Nick Jonas & the Administration album.[42] Dave McKenna, a writer for The Washington Post, commented on Jonas' performance of the song that "whatever spots of trouble his ambition got him into" citing Jonas' "falsetto faltered" cover of "The Way You Make Me Feel", as well as another song, were able to be "carried through" by Jonas' band members.[42]
  • In February 2010, Whitney Houston performed "The Way You Make Me Feel", along with Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", during her I Look to You Tour.[43][44]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Official versions[edit]

  • Album Version – 4:59
  • Album Version #2 – 4:58 – Full-length version of the single remix sans the finger snap after the second verse.
  • 7" Re-Mix – 4:26
  • Album Version #2 (Edit) – 4:26 – Attempt at re-creating the original 7" version.
  • Instrumental – 4:26
  • Dance Extended Mix – 7:52
  • Dance Remix Radio Edit – 5:22
  • Dub Version – 5:02
  • A Cappella – 4:29

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1987) Position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[64] 92
Chart (1988) Position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[65] 86
Italy (FIMI)[53] 43
US Billboard Hot 100[66] 35
Order of precedence
Preceded by
"I Want to Be Your Man" by Roger Troutman
US Billboard Hot Black Songs number-one single
December 26, 1987 – January 16, 1988 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Love Overboard" by Gladys Knight & the Pips
Preceded by
"China in Your Hand" by T'Pau
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
December 3, 1987 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues
featuring Kirsty MacColl
Preceded by
"Got My Mind Set on You" by George Harrison
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
January 23, 1988 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Need You Tonight" by INXS
US Cash Box number-one single
January 23, 1988 (1 week)
Preceded by
"What Have I Done to Deserve This?" by Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
January 30, 1988 (1 week)
Succeeded by
You Can Dance by Madonna (all cuts)
Preceded by
"Bad" by Michael Jackson
Spain number-one single
April 9, 2006 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Dirty Diana" by Michael Jackson

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