A musical career spanning over 40 years creating some unforgettable soundtracks and mind-boggling dance moves are what we associate with the pop king Michael Jackson. His unparalleled record of hits in the 80s and 90s makes him one of the most iconic pop stars of all time.
15. Leave Me Alone
The song featuring in Jackson’s album Bad ranked the first position in Ireland and second in the UK and received the Grammy Award in 1990 for the Best Music Video. The song is a sharp retort to the rumors spread about Jackson through various tabloids particularly after Thriller’s success.
14. Black Or White
The powerful lyrics of the song is an appeal to the world for practicing racial tolerance. The song was composed jointly by Michael Jackson along with his producer Bill Bottrell which ranked him 12th as a solo singer. It was after the success of this album that Jackson’s fame as the King of Pop was acknowledged firmly.
13. In The Closet
The title of the song hints at a secret relationship between two lovers for which such a phrase was chosen which is suggestive of someone’s hidden sexual orientation. The female voice in this song was lent by Princess Stéphanie of Monaco who was accredited with the title of “Mystery Girl”. The song featured in Jackson’s album Dangerous which was released on April 9, 1992, and was composed by Jackson and Teddy Riley.
12. Don’t Stop get Enough
The song features in the first track of Jackson’s album Off The Wall which is a brilliant specimen of the singer’s creative control in a solo recording. The music video of the song stars Jackson dancing in a triplicate on stage which was considered innovative at that time.
11 Earth Song
When the song had not yet been released in the US it reached the top position in seven countries including the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Norway. It retained the number one position in the UK chart ranking (singles) for six weeks which is the longest stay for any song in the country.
10. Blood on The Dance Floor
The song composed by Michael Jackson and Teddy Riley won mixed reviews soon after its composition for its aggressive tempo, lyrical interpretations, and rendition. While J. Randy Taraborrelli stated that “Blood on the Dance Floor” as one of Jackson’s best renditions with his trademark oohing and grunts on stage, Stephen Thomas Erlewine made a negative remark as a “bleak reworking of ‘Jam and Scream'”. However, the single bagged the number one position in the UK, Spain, Denmark, and New Zealand.
9. They Don’t Care About Us
The protest song featuring in Jackson’s album History: Past, Present and Future Book I is one of his most controversial works. The first music video of the song was shot in various locations of Brazil and the second was shot inside a prison using footages that refer to violation of human rights.
8. Smooth Criminal
The song features as a linchpin in Jackson’s movie “Moonwalker” (1988) directed by Colin Chilvers. The lyrics were written by Jackson and included in his seventh album Bad which was released in 1987. It is in this film one gets to see Jackson’s extraordinary gravity-defying lean in a dance which he along with this group leans forward with their backs straight and feet flat on the floor. They remain in this apparently impossible position before coming back to their upright postures. In the words of the director, Colin Chilvers, “It was Michael’s movie and he was going to do exactly what he felt he needed to do to make it perfect.”
7. Rock With You
The song was composed by the keyboardist and songwriter of Heatwave, Rod Temperton which was his first-ever written song for the pop king. The song was recorded in 1979 and then released on July 16th of the same year. Having won an authorization of Platinum in the US and Silver in the UK the song ranked fourth as the greatest single of 1980.
6. Beat It
According to MTV ranking, this short film has been ranked 12th in 1999 among the greatest videos of all time. Michael Jackson wrote about this song in his autobiography Moonwalk, “I felt ‘Beat It’ should be interpreted literally, the way it is written…” The song was awarded the prestigious Grammy Award for the Best Record of the Year and Best Rock Vocal Performance.
The songs in this album render an edgier image of Jackson in which he depicts a real-life story of a man and his encounter with death in an attempt to escape poverty. The full video of “Bad” comes in 18 minutes short film whose script was written by novelist and scriptwriter Richard Price.
4. The Way You Make Me Feel
The song appears as the third single from Jackson’s famous album Bad which was released on November 9, 1987. One of the best performances of this song by Jackson was on the stage of 30th Grammy Awards. Since its release, the song appeared in the number of Jackson’s blockbusters and compilation albums. The song remained within the 10th and 20th positions in chart ratings across the world.
The bizarre theme of the video with a complex storyline and fear evoking narrative makes it one of the highest sold albums in music history and won its monumental success. The 13-minute video changed the whole idea of a music video transforming it into a cultural phenomenon. It is one of the works of MJ which showcases his most electrifying documentation of a song.
2. Billie Jean
Across the globe, about 10 million copies of the song were sold which ranked it among the blockbusting songs of all times. “Billie Jean” won the Grammy and American Music Awards and was ranked among the best songs in the magazine polls. The music video made from this song was the first-ever video made by a black artist to be telecast on MTV repeatedly.
1. Man In Mirror
The lyrics of the song were written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett. However, the background voices used in this song by Jackson were borrowed from the André Crouch Choir, The Winans, and Garrett. It is said that “Man In The Mirror” is one of Jackson’s personal favorite songs. The most striking feature of the music video of this song is Jackson is never seen throughout the video. Instead one comes across an assortment of clips of various news events and popular personalities.