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Smooth Criminal Release Date Updates and Other Details

Smooth Criminal Release Date Updates and Other Details

Smooth Criminal Release Date Updates and Other Details

Exploring the Legacy of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”

Introduction to “Smooth Criminal”

Released on November 14, 1988, “Smooth Criminal” quickly became one of Michael Jackson’s most iconic tracks. Featured on his seventh studio album, ‘Bad’, the song showcases a blend of pop and R&B genres, masterfully produced by Quincy Jones alongside Jackson himself. The narrative of the song revolves around a mysterious and dangerous figure, and it is renowned for its compelling lyrics and innovative sound.

The Making of a Hit

“Smooth Criminal” was not just a song but a narrative masterpiece that painted a vivid picture of a suspenseful scene involving an attack. The song was initially developed from an earlier piece titled “Al Capone”, which later evolved into the track we know today. Recorded between November 1986 and April 1987 at Westlake Studio D in Los Angeles, the song features a dynamic range of vocals from Jackson, spanning from G3 to C6. The iconic chorus line, “Annie, are you OK?” was inspired by Resusci Anne, a mannequin used in CPR training, adding a layer of intrigue and engagement to the lyrics.

Chart-Topping Success

Upon its release, “Smooth Criminal” climbed the charts, securing a spot at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching number two on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart. The song’s international appeal was undeniable, hitting number one in several countries including Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Spain. Its success was further cemented with a double platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), highlighting its widespread acclaim and popularity.

Revolutionary Music Video

The music video for “Smooth Criminal”, directed by Colin Chilvers, is a spectacle of dance and visual effects, featuring the famous “anti-gravity lean” that defied physics. Premiering on MTV in October 1988, the video takes place in a 1930s gangster setting, paying homage to Fred Astaire’s “The Band Wagon”. The innovative lean, achieved with the help of special shoes and harnesses, showcased Jackson’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of music video production.

Critical Acclaim and Legacy

Years after its release, “Smooth Criminal” continues to be celebrated by critics and fans alike. Described by Rolling Stone as a perfect blend of R&B groove and rock edginess, the song is often cited as one of Jackson’s greatest works. Its influence extends beyond music, featuring in the 1988 film ‘Moonwalker’ and various video games, immortalizing Jackson’s artistic vision.

Re-releases and Covers

In 2006, “Smooth Criminal” was re-released as part of Jackson’s ‘Visionary: The Video Singles’ boxset. The song has also been covered by various artists, including the notable 2001 rendition by Alien Ant Farm, which brought a rock interpretation to the classic hit. This version itself topped charts, showcasing the song’s versatile appeal across different musical genres and generations.


“Smooth Criminal” stands as a testament to Michael Jackson’s genius, combining his talent for storytelling with groundbreaking musical innovation. Decades later, the song remains a significant part of his legacy, continuing to thrill and engage audiences around the world.


When was “Smooth Criminal” released?
“Smooth Criminal” was officially released on November 14, 1988.

What album is “Smooth Criminal” from?
It is from Michael Jackson’s seventh studio album, ‘Bad’.

What inspired the chorus “Annie, are you OK?”
The chorus was inspired by Resusci Anne, a mannequin used in CPR training.

How did Michael Jackson perform the anti-gravity lean?
The move was performed using specially designed shoes and harnesses that allowed Jackson and his dancers to lean forward at gravity-defying angles.

Has “Smooth Criminal” been covered by other artists?
Yes, one of the most famous covers was by Alien Ant Farm in 2001, which became a hit on its own.

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