Ask Billboard: Michael Jackson, 'Back' To The Beginning

Michael Jackson sings at a concert August 27, 1984 in Buffalo, NY. Jackson, who was the lead singer for the Jackson Five by age eight, reached the peak of his solo career with 1982''s 'Thriller,' the best-selling album of all time and recipient of eight Grammy awards.

Joe Traver/ Liaison/ Getty Images

Including his hits with the Jackson 5, the King of Pop has hit the Hot 100's top 10 in six different decades

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20

MICHAEL JACKSON: 'BACK' TO THE BEGINNING

Hi Gary,

With Michael Jackson now having collected Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits in five decades, thanks to the 22-9 jump for "Love Never Felt So Good," if we count his Jackson 5 and Jacksons hits, as well, we can extend his span to six decades – just. "I Want You Back" reached the top 10 on the Hot 100 dated Dec. 27, 1969. (Here in the U.K., the song did not chart until 1970, thus narrowly denying him six decades of top 10 hits here, as well.)

Dating to "I Want You Back," Jackson would further extend his record span of Hot 100 top 10s by almost two years.

Here's another bit of Jackson trivia: In terms of individuals with the most top 10s as solo artists and as group members, Jackson, with 39 top 10 hits combining his solo career and his recordings with his brothers, has now moved ahead of Madonna's total (38) and leveled with George Harrison, who had 34 top 10s as a Beatle and five as a solo artist, for 39 total. Ahead of him are only John Lennon and Ringo Starr (41 each; 34 with the Beatles and seven without apiece) and Paul McCartney (56; a total still unlikely to be equaled, thanks to 34 with the Beatles and 22 in his subsequent career).

That also means that McCartney has (of course) scored top 10 hits in collaboration with the next four individuals below him in terms of most total Hot 100 top 10s (including the only artist from the U.S. in that top five): Jackson, Harrison, Starr and Lennon.

Also, for all four of the Beatles, "Free as a Bird" was their only top 10 (reaching No. 6 in 1996) since Nielsen BDS and SoundScan brought more accurate compilation methods to the Hot 100 in the early '90s. (Follow-up "Real Love" just missed out, peaking at No. 11). "Love Never Felt So Good" is Jackson's eighth top 10 hit of the Nielsen era.

Also, a nod to Elvis Presley's 25 Hot 100 top 10s (and, indeed, his lower chart entries), as he notched several more before the Hot 100 began under that name in 1958.

All the best,

Robin Carmody
Portland, Dorset, United Kingdom

Hi Robin,

Great observations about the King of Pop, whose appeal, of course, has always been worldwide. U.K. passion for Jackson clearly continues, and (self-promotion alert …), I was happy to appear on the London-based Monocle's Midori House program last week, discussing all things Jackson. You can listen to the archived audio here; my segment is about 43 minutes in and lasts about six minutes, as Tom Edwards and I chatted about what other artists could reach the top 10 after their passing, who might one day live on as holograms (!) and more.

Shout-out, too, to reader Alan Kase, who also pointed out on Twitter that Jackson's top 10 span expands to the '60s when including the Jackson 5's output. Dating to Dec. 27, 1969, through the latest Hot 100, dated May 31, 2014, Jackson's combined group and solo top 10 span is a record 44 years and five months.

Robin, your round-up of the acts with the most Hot 100 top 10s, combining group and solo careers, reinforces the impact of the Beatles, both during their years as an active band and beyond. The Fab Four, by the way, reached the Hot 100's top 10 in the '60s, '70s and '90s. Had "The Beatles' Movie Medley" climbed two spots higher than its No. 12 peak in 1982, they'd rank among the elite acts (Barbra Streisand, Cher, Aerosmith, Madonna, Whitney Houston) with top 10s in four different decades. Still, as McCartney, Lennon and Harrison all earned solo top 10s in the '80s, as Beatles/soloists combined, each has appeared in the top 10 in the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s.

Presley, meanwhile, reached the top 10 in the '50s, '60s and '70s. Honorable mention to Cheap Trick's cover of "Don't Be Cruel," which reached No. 4 in 1988. And, "A Little Less Conversation," credited to Elvis Presley vs JXL, peaked at No. 50 in 2002, but it did hit No. 1 for three weeks on the Hot Singles Sales chart.

As for other notable acts whose top 10 counts swell when mixing band and solo hits, they include … well, for starters, Jackson's duet partner on "Good," Justin Timberlake. The song is his 16th solo top 10 to go along with six as a member of 'N Sync, for 22 total top 10 trips. And, the two have been linked before: both Jackson and Timberlake first hit the Hot 100 in groups with songs called "I Want You Back." The Jackson 5's classic became their first of four career-opening No. 1s in 1970. 'N Sync's ode of the same name reached No. 13 in 1998.

Seven other group/solo superstars (including two from the U.K.): Diana Ross, with 30 top 10 visits (18 with the Supremes, 12 solo); Beyonce (25; 15 solo, 10 with Destiny's Child); Lionel Richie (22; 13 solo, nine with the Commodores); Phil Collins (21; 14 solo, seven with Genesis); Don Henley (16; 10 with the Eagles, six solo); Fergie (15; 10 with the Black Eyed Peas, five solo); and Sting (11; six with the Police, five solo).

Jackson has additionally made two other ascents to the Hot 100's top 10 with songs on which he didn't receive official artist credit. In 1984, Rockwell rose to No. 2 with "Somebody's Watching Me," which features not only Michael but also his brother Jermaine. (Rockwell is the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr. More specifically, he's the legendary exec's sixth child. His eighth? Skyler Gordy, aka Sky Blu of LMFAO.)

Jackson also helped heal the world by co-writing, with Richie, "We Are the World." USA for Africa's smash topped the Hot 100 for four weeks in 1985 and, best of all, has helped raise more than $75 million to fight poverty in Africa since.

NEXT: Luke Bryan makes (more) country chart history

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