Michael Jackson’s best songs touched the lives of people all over the world. To pay tribute to the King of Pop, we’re counting down the top Michael Jackson songs of all time, rated by AOL Radio listeners.
10. ‘Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough’
This Michael Jackson song was his debut single from ‘Off The Wall’ and the first solo recording that he had creative control on.
09. ‘Rock With You’
The second single off his breakthrough album, ‘Off the Wall,’ the song ended up being one of the last big hits from the disco era, hitting No. 1 on both the Pop and R&B charts.
The song was originally set to be a duet between Jackson and Prince, but Prince declined and told Jackson and producer Quincy Jones that “it would be a hit without [him].”
The full music video of the song (part 1 and part 2) is an 18-minute short film with Jackson portraying a young man named Daryl who once was “bad” and he tries to prove to his old friends that he still has an edge after spending time in his prep school.
07. ‘Man in the Mirror’
Composed by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett, the song’s background vocals feature Garrett, gospel quartet The Winans and the Andrae Crouch Choir.
When Jackson played ‘Man in the Mirror’ in 1992 on his Dangerous World Tour, and his stuntman Kinnie Gibson dressed like him and flew out of the arena wearing a jet pack.
06. ‘Smooth Criminal’
Michael does one of his most memorable dance moves in the music 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 registered a special type of shoes in 1993 that he used for his stage plays. Before MJ leaned forward, the shoes would become attached to the stage through its special pegs, thus leaving concert fans wondering, “How did he do that?”
05. ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’
MJ wrote this song in response to his mother, Katherine Esther, who wanted him to write a song with a “shuffling kind of rhythm.” In 2001 for his 30th-anniversary concert, and he performed the song alongside Britney Spears.
But, CBS cut her from the footage and her performance did not air.
04. ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”
The 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. MJ has never lip-synched this song on any of his tours since 1984.
03. ‘Beat It’
For the 25th anniversary re-release of ‘Thriller,’ a remix was composed and titled ‘Beat It 2008,’ which featured additional vocals by Fergie, although a spoof song released in 1984 by “Weird Al” Yankovic which was much more popular.
That spoof, ‘Eat It,’ was recorded with MJ’s permission and won a Grammy award for Best Comedy Recording. You can check out the video spoof here.
02. ‘Billie Jean’
This Michael Jackson song was almost removed from ‘Thriller’ after a disagreement occurred between producer Quincy Jones and Jackson. The video brought MTV into the mainstream by a black artist, and it was reportedly the first video of the channel aired.
MTV named the 14-minute-long video the greatest music video of all-time. ‘Thriller’ was the seventh and final single released from the album of the same name. The real name for the song was ‘Starlight Love.’
Which MJ Songs Are Your Favorite?
Tell us what would make your list of the Top 10 Michael Jackson Songs in the comments. Plus, check our list of the Top Michael Jackson Albums, as well as Michael Jackson’s ranking on our Best 80’s Songs.