He was dubbed “The King of Pop”. 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? I’ll give it a try.
(1) Beat It. Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Remember the opening beat? Somebody made a fortune selling copies of that red jacket he wore in the video. When the song came out, fans didn’t just want to be like Michael Jackson, they wanted to be Michael Jackson. The music sizzled and so did the choreography. Hey, how about that moonwalk?
(2) Billie Jean. The music video era had begun and in a big way. Michael was not only on the radio, he was up close and personal on Music Television. People imitated his dance moves at parties. Hair salons filled up with fans wanting the Michael Jackson curly perm look. But, who was Billie Jean? Was Michael singing from personal experience or was Billie Jean simply a figment of the song? All I know is no one could keep “Billie Jean” from rising to the top.
(3) Thriller. Halloween has never been the same since its release. Michael Jackson did the music video one better and created a short musical film, combining acting and singing. Getting Vincent Price, a horror icon from back in the day, to do a monologue sealed the deal. I wonder how many people played trick-or-treat as the ghoulish pop artist that year.
(4) Bad. New dance choreography and a new attitude sent this album platinum and the title single to number one. Michael still performed crotch-grabbing moves and raked in the bucks. Who’s bad? Michael Jackson.
(5) I Just Can’t Stop Loving You. This is one of my personal favorites. Michael Jackson was going through changes with his appearance, but his voice remained as magnetic as ever. His love ballads held a special place in my heart as a love struck teenager.
(6) Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. I was just a kid back then, but I still remember the tune. It played all the time on the radio. My uncle had the “Off the Wall” album. Michael Jackson still looked like himself back then. His musical sound was fresh and the beat-funky.
(7) Rock with You. This song played when I would go to the skating rink with my sisters on Friday and Saturday nights. Michael also tried out the big screen with his friend Diana Ross. The Wiz, the African-American version of The Wizard of Oz, made me one of Michael’s fans. Michael dazzled and inspired a whole new generation of followers.
(8) Man in the Mirror. Michael went introspective on this one. He wanted to challenge people to do what they could to change the mentality of the world. Michael changed his appearance in the mirror even more. I barely recognized him.
(9) Black or White. The song and the video were controversial. Parts of the video were censored because of their violent nature. Racism was still “Public Enemy #1” and society needed a wake-up call.
(10) Remember the Time. An all-star cast populated the music video/short film for this hit. Michael decided to go sexy with a supermodel. Way to go, Michael.
These are my Top Ten singles from the string of hits Michael Jackson has created over the last thirty-odd years. Is Michael’s career over? Who knows, but he has given us a lifetime of musical talent and entertainment that hasn’t been surpassed despite his stormy private and legal battles. His genius knew no bounds and the world is a better place for it.