According to mid-week reports, Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror is on course to be UK #1 this weekend.
Man in the Mirror was was only a moderate hit in the UK when it was released in spring 1988, peaking at #21 and becoming the only single from Bad not to reach the UK top 20 on first release.
However, just two days after MJ's death, the song charted at number 11 in the official UK Singles Chart, and also made number one on the official UK Download Chart. It is expected to head a UK top 10 next week that also includes Billie Jean, Smooth Criminal, Thriller and Beat It.
MJ albums also dominate the Amazon UK bestseller chart (see right), with 14 of the top 20 positions taken by MJ releases.
Man in the Mirror was the finale on the Dangerous World Tour (which I was lucky enough to see in August 1992), accompanied by a stuntman dressed as MJ flying out of the arena with a jetpack.
So why are the public turning to Man in the Mirror in the days following MJ's death? It's an oversized, heartfelt self-help anthem that is both introspective and outward-looking. While its sentiments may be dismissed as vague and corny by some, others will view its simplistic, positive message as emblematic of MJ's childlike idealism. Above all, it reminds us that MJ was a man who wanted to change - however layered with irony that notion has now become - and that behind the spectacle and glamour was a real person. It is to that vulnerable person that the bewildered public are paying their respects.
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