Flashback: Michael Jackson at the 1988 Grammys
Here's proof that Michael Jackson was robbed at the Grammy ceremony held in 1988 when he gave such a wow-pow performance of record of the year nominee "Man in the Mirror" that audience members including Billy Joel, Little Richard and Stevie Wonder leaped to their feet, cheering. He lost the top Grammy that year to Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy," a bouncy, feel-good novelty tune so popular that Vice President George H.W. Bush tried (unsuccessfully) to appropriate it for his presidential campaign.
The other losing nominees: "Giving You the Best That I Got" (Anita Baker), "Fast Car" (Tracy Chapman) and "Roll with It" (Steve Winwood).
Maybe Michael Jackson didn't really have much hope of winning, since "Man in the Mirror" wasn't up for best song (bestowed to songwriters; best record goes to recording artists). Usually, that's required. In fact, "Man in the Mirror" was his only Grammy bid that year. Its parent disc, "Bad," had been released during the previous Grammy eligibility period, reaping five nominations, including best album. It lost them all. Thus Jackson was skunked at the Grammys two years in a row. But just a few years earlier, he'd swept the music industry's highest honor, setting a new Grammy record for "Thriller."
Below, Jacko's socko turn at the 1988 Grammycast.