It is already one year, since Michael Jackson passed away in a whirlwind of controversy and surprise. To mark this anniversary, Billboard magazine published a special issue entitled, ‘Rediscovering Michael Jackson’.
One of the things that struck my curiosity was their list of Jackson’s top-performing singles throughout his career on the Billboard charts. A seemingly complicated system was used to weigh the performance of each single he released, during his four decade career. The system took into account, the number of weeks at Number 1, the weeks spent in the Hot 100, the weeks in the Top 10, Top 20 and Top 40. The resulting Number 1 song was a surprise. The legend’s best-charting song was not ‘Billie Jean’, but the second duet, ‘Say Say Say’, recorded with Paul McCartney. The Top 5 songs were (in reverse order):
05. Rock With You
04. Beat It
03. I’ll Be There
02. Billie Jean
01. Say Say Say
‘Say Say Say’ was recorded at the end of 1982 and appeared on McCartney’s second solo LP, ‘Pipes Of Peace’ in 1983. The song was the second time that Mac and Jack worked together, after McCartney appeared on ‘The Girl Is Mine’ from Jackson’s seminal album ‘Thriller’. The song quickly shot to Number 1, became Jackson’s seventh Top 10 hit within a year and the video, featuring the duo as vaudeville performers who peddle a ‘miracle potion’, received a lot of airplay on MTV.
Follow this link to play play play a mix of Jackson’s five top-performing songs.