He is, without question, the quintessential musical artist of the past thirty years. His talent is unmatched. Michael Jackson had it “goin’ on” in the music industry. So, where do you begin naming the top ten songs for an artist that turned just about every solo album he recorded into platinum? Topyaps will give it a try.
10. Bad (1987):
The title track and intro kicks off the album nicely, though perhaps not as likable as Wanna Be Startin’ Something on Thriller. The beat is very catchy and follows a ‘how now brown cow’ rhythm. Some may find the chorus of ‘I’m Bad’ slightly laughable as Jackson attempting to state his masculinity was never going to be taken seriously.
9. Smooth criminal (1987):
The song Smooth Criminal tells the story of a character named Annie and how a smooth criminal strikes her down. The video is a smart, stylish fantasy and is exceptional due to its over the top choreography. The basic story is that Michael Jackson enters a smoky 30s-style warehouse nightclub. He is there to meet three of his friends. These friends being three children – Brandon Adams, Sean Lennon, Kellie Parker – who are also seen in the video. He leaves the club though after a criminal and his henchmen surround the club and kidnap one of the children, the end result being a small shootout!
8. Wanna be starting something (1983):
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ is a 1983 single released from Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum selling 1982 album Thriller. It was the first track on the album, and the fourth song released as a single, following “The Girl Is Mine”, “Billie Jean”, and “Beat It”. The song was originally written in 1979 and intended for his Off the Wall album but was not recorded until the sessions for Thriller in 1982.
7. Black or White (1991):
The video got a lot of hype. It premiered on MTV, BET, and Fox at the exact same time. It was perhaps the most controversial video ever recorded by Jackson. It shows him in the full length video dancing and destroying all things racist, including a swastika used by the Nazis. Jackson also performed some rather explicit crotch grabs in the video.
6. Man in the mirror (1988):
“Man in the Mirror” is a song by Michael Jackson. It peaked at number one in the United States when released as a single in early 1988 off his seventh solo album, Bad. It is one of Jackson’s most critically acclaimed songs and it was nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. The song peaked at number 8 in the UK Singles Charts in 1988, but in 2009, following the news of Jackson’s death, the song peaked at number two, behind Cascada’s “Evacuate the Dancefloor,” having re-entered the chart at 11 the previous week as his top song on the singles chart.
5. The way you make me feel (1987):
Michael Jackson wrote many of his hit song by himself, including “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” This is another example one he wrote, although it’s not nearly as personal as many of his compositions. According to the book Jackson’s Number Ones, he wrote this song after his mother Katherine asked him to write a song with “a shuffling kind of rhythm.”
4. Rock with you (1979):
“Rock With You” was released on November 3, 1979, as the second single from Michael Jackson’s fifth solo LP and breakthrough album, Off the Wall. Written by Heatwave group member and songwriter Rod Temperton, who also wrote Jackson’s song “Thriller”. The song helped Jackson score one of the first Billboard number-one singles in the 1980s. It reached number one on both the pop and R&B singles chart and became one of Jackson’s most-loved songs.
3. Beat it (1982):
Beat It is a hit single from Michael Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller. Beat It won Jackson two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. It was also nominated for Song of the Year along with Jackson’s Billie Jean. The song was ranked #337 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Beat It is also notable for its guitar solo, a guest performance by Eddie Van Halen.
2. Thriller (1982):
This is a rare Pop song with a horror theme. Halloween novelty songs like “The Monster Mash” had been around for a while, but this was the first hit song with year-round appeal containing lyrics about creatures of the night who terrify their victim. At the time, Michael Jackson was one of the least frightening people on Earth, so the video had to sell it. John Landis, who worked on the 1981 movie An American Werewolf In London, was brought in to direct. Landis had Jackson turn into a Werewolf in the video.
1. Billie Jean (1983):
The video showcased Jackson’s signature dance moves that he became famous for. His talents as a dancer helped make him a huge concert draw and a star on MTV. High-energy dancing was a huge part of his act, and artists like New Kids on the Block and his sister Janet followed his lead and made dance moves as big a part of their shows as singing. This trend continued as groups like ‘N Sync and The Backstreet boys followed suit. Jackson choreographed the dance moves himself.