09/21/2012 10:29 am ET Updated Nov 21, 2012

Is 'Bad' Michael Jackson's Best Album?

In a 1987 Rolling Stone cover story, David Handelman and Michael Goldberg observed that Michael Jackson felt immense, self-imposed pressure while crafting "Bad." Obviously, this stress was understandable: After all, how does someone follow up "Thriller," a superlative album that featured seven top-10 hits, sold over 38 million copies and netted seven Grammy Awards?

The short answer is, you can't equal such freakish success. Even Stevie Wonder told Rolling Stone that the King of Pop shouldn't be too hard on himself: "You can't think about what people will like; you go crazy doing that. If it's possible for him to sell 50 million records, let that happen. But if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world. It's just records." Still, that didn't mean the driven Jackson -- whom Martin Scorsese called "a perfectionist" in the same story - couldn't try.

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