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Best of Michael Jackson, greatest HITS

Updated on September 23, 2015

With a career spanning five decades and ten solo albums it's perhaps impossible to create a definitive list of Michael Jackson's best songs but nevertheless I've had a go.


If any single song signaled that Michael Jackson's legacy as one of the top pop artists of all time would be secure, it was "Billie Jean." The song remains a pop milestone and masterpiece. It was written by Michael Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones. Inspired by a real life experience in which Jackson was accused of fathering a baby of one of his fans, the slight sense of paranoia, instantly memorable bass line, and Michale Jackson's trademark vocal yelps and hiccups combined to make "Billie Jean," the second single from Thriller , a keystone in Michael Jackson's career. It spent seven weeks at the top of the pop singles chart in 1983.


It had been four years since the album Bad generated five consecutive #1 singles and some in the music industry wondered if Michael Jackson would maintain his commercial clout when Dangerous was released in 1991. All of those questions were soon answered as the lead single "Black Or White" became the second biggest hit single of Michael Jackson's career staying at #1 or seven weeks. All stops were out on celebrity participation with Guns 'n Roses' Slash contributing a guitar solo and Home Alone's Macaulay Culkin starring in the accompanying video. The song itself is a powerful plea for racial unity.

 BEAT IT 1983

The album Thriller, was already a smash hit, and "Billie Jean" was an acknowledged classic. Then the third single from the album, "Beat It!," tore down any remaining walls for Michael Jackson as a recording artist. Featuring a blistering guitar solo from rocker Eddie Van Halen and accompanied by a video that tore down barriers for black recording artists at MTV, "Beat It!" was an instant hit.

 BAD 1987

The title song from Michael Jackson's Bad was the second consecutive #1 hit from the album. It was originally conceived as a duet with Prince. "Bad" was accompanied by an 18 minute short film as its music video. It only took the song six weeks to hit the top of the charts.


Accompanied by a gospel choir, "Man In the Mirror" is known as one of Michael Jackson's most uplifting hit songs. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Released in January of 1988, the song was the fourth consecutive #1 hit from the album Bad.


The first time Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney teamed up on "The Girl Is Mine" in 1982 it was a smash success hitting #2 on the pop singles chart. The pair went back to the studio with Beatles producer George Martin for "Say Say Say" and the result was an even bigger hit staying at #1 for six weeks


The Way You Make Me Feel" was the third #1 hit from the album Bad. Reportedly, Michael Jackson recorded the song in response to a request from his mother Katherine to record a song with a shuffling rhythm. Michael Jackson performed the song live at the 1988 Grammy Awards.


Produced by Quincy Jones, Thriller was the title track to the multi-million selling album of the same name. Thriller's 14 minute video was considered to be a milestone in the art of the music video and was applauded for its production values and storyline. 'Thriller' is also largely credited with defining MTV as a powerful force among youth culture and at one point in 1982 the channel was showing the video twice an hour to satisfy demand.


The video for 'You Rock My World' was the last to feature Michael Jackson (a video for Cry was later released but Jackson refused to appear in the video personally due to lack of budget). Comedian Chris Tucker co-stars alongside Jackson as the pair compete for the affections of the girlfriend of a gangland boss.


Featuring his sister Janet Jackson, Scream was written as a direct response to the press coverage of the accusations of child molestation made against him in 1993. The single is perhaps most famous for its video which remains as the most expensive ever made costing a whopping £5,000,000 to produce.


Taken from the album Off The Wall

Introducing the world to Jackson's trademark falsetto voice, 'Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough' became Jackson's first US number one single since his 1972 hit 'Ben'. The music video was Jackson's first as a solo artist and features the singer in a fetching white tuxedo whilst breaking out some crazy dance moves.


is the third single from HIStory: Past, Present and Future , Book I. It is a ballad that incorporates elements of blues, gospel and opera.

Jackson: "I remember writing Earth Song when I was in Austria, in a hotel. And I was feeling so much pain and so much suffering of the plight of the Planet Earth. And for me, this is Earth's Song, because I think nature is trying so hard to compensate for man's mismanagement of the Earth. And with the ecological unbalance going on, and a lot of the problems in the environment, I think earth feels the pain, and she has wounds, and it's about some of the joys of the planet as well. But this is my chance to pretty much let people hear the voice of the planet. And this is "Earth Song." And that's what inspired it. And it just suddenly dropped into my lap when I was on tour in Austria."


Taken from the album Bad


Michael does one of his most memorable dance moves in themusic video for 'Smooth Criminal,' where he seemingly defies gravity, leaning forward without bending his knees and keeping his heels firmly in place. While he used wires for the video, his team patented a special type of shoes in 1993 that he wore for his stage performances. Before Michael leaned forward, the shoes would become attached to the stage through special pegs, thus leaving concert fans wondering, "How did he do that?"


Taken from the album Bad

The song contains a fast-paced beat intertwined with Jackson's lyrics about a woman named Annie, who has been attacked in her apartment by a "smooth" assailantThe phrase at the end of the chorus -- "Mama-se, mama-sa, mama-ma-coo-sa" -- is taken from a 1973 song 'Soul Makossa,' by Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango. "Makossa" means "dance" in Duala, a Cameroonian language. Jackson has never lip-synched this song on any of his tours since 1984.

What is your favorite Michael Jackson song?

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      7 years ago

      Love all these songs!


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