Wednesday 12/14/22 10am ET: Classic Greatest Hits LP: Michael Jackson – HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995)

HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I is the ninth studio album by the American singer Michael Jackson, released on June 20, 1995. It was Jackson’s fifth album released through Epic Records, and the first on his label MJJ Productions. It comprises two discs: HIStory Begins, a greatest hits compilation, and HIStory Continues, comprising new material written and produced by Jackson and collaborators. The album includes appearances by Janet Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, Slash, and the Notorious B.I.G. The genres span R&B, pop, hip hop, elements of hard rock and funk rock. The themes include environmental awareness, isolation, greed, suicide, injustice, and Jackson’s conflicts and common-ground with the media.

Starting in the late 1980s, Jackson and the tabloid press had a difficult relationship. In 1993, the relationship between Jackson and the press collapsed when he was accused of child sexual abuse. Although he was not charged, Jackson was subject to intense media scrutiny while the criminal investigation took place. Several of the album’s 15 new songs pertain to the child sexual abuse allegations made against him in 1993 and Jackson’s perceived mistreatment by the media, mainly the tabloids. Because of this, HIStory has been described as Jackson’s most “personal” album.

HIStory debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the United States, and in nineteen other countries. Six singles were released, including the protest songs “Earth Song” and “They Don’t Care About Us”. “Scream”, a duet between Jackson and his sister Janet, became the first song to debut in the top five of the US Billboard Hot 100, reaching number five. “You Are Not Alone” was the first song in history to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100; it was Jackson’s final number-one single on that chart. Though the album received generally positive reviews, the lyrics of “They Don’t Care About Us” drew accusations of antisemitism; Jackson said they had been misinterpreted and replaced them on later pressings of the album.

Jackson later embarked on the HIStory World Tour, which grossed $165 million (equivalent to $268 million in 2019), making it the highest-grossing solo concert tour of the 1990s. It was Jackson’s third and final concert tour as a solo artist. The album has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time, and one of the best-selling multi-disc albums of all time. In August 2018, it was certified 8× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It was nominated for five Grammy Awards at the 1996 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, winning Best Music Video – Short Form for “Scream”. Jackson won an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist at the 1996 American Music Awards.

  1. “Billie Jean” 4:54
  2. “The Way You Make Me Feel” 4:58
  3. “Black or White” 4:16
  4. “Rock with You” 3:40
  5. “She’s Out of My Life” 3:38
  6. “Bad” 4:07
  7. “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” 4:13
  8. “Man in the Mirror” 5:19
  9. “Thriller” 5:58
  10. “Beat It” 4:18
  11. “The Girl Is Mine” 3:42
  12. “Remember the Time” 4:00
  13. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” 6:06
  14. “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” 6:03
  15. “Heal the World” 6:25
  16. “Scream” 4:38
  17. “They Don’t Care About Us” 4:44
  18. “Stranger in Moscow” 5:44
  19. “This Time Around” 4:21
  20. “Earth Song” 6:48
  21. “D.S.” 4:49
  22. “Money” 4:42
  23. “Come Together” 4:03
  24. “You Are Not Alone” 5:45
  25. “Childhood” 4:28
  26. “Tabloid Junkie” 4:33
  27. “2 Bad” 4:50
  28. “HIStory” 6:38
  29. “Little Susie” 6:15
  30. “Smile” 4:56