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Song of the Moment: Man in the Mirror

By Steve Rhodes

While "Billie Jean" is probably Michael Jackson's landmark song, and Thriller his landmark record, "Man in the Mirror" has an intimate, autobiographical yet universal quality about it that marks as an anthem of sorts and an appeal of the sort Jackson rarely made; let's just say few of his songs had a "message." And while the song annoys quite a few people I know, it's always secretly been a favorite of mine. While the dance-funk-soul of Off The Wall was probably Jackson at his Michael Jackson-y best, this song, too, I think represents something about him. I was surprised, however, to learn that, like many of his songs, he didn't write it.

Released: 1987

Album: Bad

Length: 5:18 (album), 5:03 (single)

Words & Music: Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard

Charts: No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks.

Wikipedia: Garrett had the idea for the song when she was driving to the recording session for "I Just Can't Stop Loving You." On her way, she saw a face in the mirror of her car, and this gave her the idea to write a song titled 'Man In The Mirror' as an addition to Jackson's upcoming album.

Songfacts: This song is about making a change and realizing that it has to start with you. (thanks, Shayna - Pensacola, FL)

Lyrics:

Ooh ooh ooh aah
Gotta make a change
For once in my life
It's gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

As I turned up the collar on
A favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin' my mind
I see the kids in the street
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer's disregard
A broken bottle top
And a one man's soul
They follow each other
On the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change, yey
Na na na, na na na, na na na na oh ho

I've been a victim of
A selfish kinda love
It's time that I realize
There are some with no home
Not a nickel to loan
Could it be really pretending that they're not alone

A willow deeply scarred
Somebody's broken heart
And a washed out dream
(Washed out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that change

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah)
I'm asking him to change his ways, yeah
(Change)
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change
You gotta get it right, while you got the time
'Cause when you close your heart
(You can't close your, your mind)
Then you close your mind

(That man, that man, that man)
(That man, that man, that man)
(With the man in the mirror, oh yeah)
(That man you know, that man you know)
(That man you know, that man you know)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change)
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself then make that change

(Na na na, na na na, na na na na)
Ooh
Oh yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
(Na na na, na na na, na na na na)

Oh no
Oh no, I'm gonna make a change
It's gonna feel real good
Sure mon
(Change)
Just lift yourself
You know, you got to stop it yourself
(Yeah)
Oh
Make that change
(I gotta make that change today, oh)
(Man in the mirror)
You got to, you got to not let yourself, brother oh
Yeah
You know that
(Make that change)
(I gotta make that make me then make)
You got, you got to move
Sure mon, sure mon
You got to
(Stand up, stand up, stand up)
Make that change
Stand up and lift yourself, now
(Man in the mirror)
Make that change
(Gonna make that change, sure mon)
(Man in the mirror)
You know it, you know it, you know it, you know
(Change)
Make that change

The Original Video:

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Live Montage

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Previously in Song of the Moment:
* Iron Man
* The Story of Bo Diddley
* Teach Your Children
* Dream Vacation
* When The Levee Breaks
* I Kissed A Girl
* Theme From Shaft
* Rocky Mountain High
* North to Alaska
* Barracuda
* Rainy Days and Mondays
* Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
* Baby, It's Cold Outside



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Posted on July 7, 2009


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