Michael Jackson's Top 50 Billboard Hits

A look back at the music that made Michael Jackson the undisputed King of Pop

In a career that spanned almost all 50 years of his life, Michael Jackson became a mainstay on the Billboard charts. It was his dominance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100, however, that entered him into the record books: As a solo artist, 13 of his singles went to No. 1 -- the most by a male artist -- and an additional four songs by the Jackson 5 also topped the chart.

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Here, Jackson's top 50 singles are ranked based on a track's performance on the Hot 100. (Nielsen SoundScan started tabulating sales data for Billboard in 1991; as many Jackson songs were released before then, a measurement based on strict sales numbers would be incomplete.) Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. (For all of the details on how this chart was compiled, scroll to the bottom of this page.)

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50

"Lookin' Through The Windows"

The Jackson 5

Hot 100 Peak Position: 16
Peak Date: August 26, 1972
Weeks On Chart: 10
Jackson's Billboard chart history began with a streak of extraordinary success, as the Jackson 5's first 20 entries on what's now known as R&B/Hip-Hop Songs all reached the top 10. This song marked the 10th top 10 in-a-row for the act on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, reaching No. 5 in 1972. On the Billboard Hot 100, the track peaked at No. 16. The title cut from the group's fifth studio album illustrated the maturation of Michael, then 13, from boy soprano to the tenor who would subsequently reign as the King of Pop.

49

"Torture"

The Jacksons

Hot 100 Peak Position: 28
Peak Date: October 6, 1973
Weeks On Chart: 13
The Jacksons' 1984 "Victory" album spawned multiple hits, including this funky rock number, which peaked at No. 17 on the Hot 100. While it was the second single from "Victory," it yielded the first music video produced for the album. Ironically, though Michael and Jermaine Jackson share lead on the song, neither appears in the clip, which was choreographed by Paula Abdul.

48

"Get It Together"

The Jackson 5

Hot 100 Peak Position: 28
Peak Date: October 6, 1973
Weeks On Chart: 13

In 1973, Michael and his brothers weren't begging girls to stick around just yet. In fact, the Jackson 5's funk-flavored pop single "Get It Together" featured sweet vocals delivering a not-so-sweet message: "Get up off your high horse, girl." The band wasn't messing around in its lyrics or on the charts. Although the song peaked at No. 28 on the Hot 100, it was a No. 2 smash for the group on Billboard's R&B songs chart.

47

"You Rock My World"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 10
Peak Date: September 22, 2001
Weeks On Chart: 20

The lead single from Jackson's 2001 studio album "Invincible" peaked at No. 10 on the Hot 100, marking the King of Pop's final top 10 hit on the tally to-date. Co-produced by Jackson and Rodney Jerkins, the song was ushered in by an unsurprisingly lavish music video directed by Paul Hunter. The clip features Chris Tucker as Jackson's comic foil, along with turns from Michael Madsen and Marlon Brando.

46

"Heartbreak Hotel"

The Jacksons

Hot 100 Peak Position: 22
Peak Date: February 14, 1981
Weeks On Chart: 16

"Heartbreak Hotel" was released June 17, 1980, and was the second single off the Jacksons' "Triumph" album. It peaked at No. 22 on the Hot 100. "One time Michael called me into a Hollywood studio to play a solo on a song that turned out to be 'Heartbreak Hotel,' " says Paul Jackson Jr., his longtime guitarist. "I asked him what kind of solo he wanted. The solo I played on the record is what he sang to me note for note."

45

"Corner Of The Sky"

The Jackson 5

Hot 100 Peak Position: 18
Peak Date: December 16, 1972
Weeks On Chart: 12

The Jackson 5 lent its soulful pop to the 1970s musical "Pippin" in the form of the track "Corner Of The Sky." In line with the musical's plot, "Corner Of The Sky" is about seeking out happiness in life ("But I won't rest/ 'Til I know I have it all"). The song, which also appeared on the Jackson 5's 1973 album "Skywriter," hit No. 18 on the Hot 100 and No. 9 on Billboard's R&B songs chart.

44

"Little Bitty Pretty One"

The Jackson 5

Hot 100 Peak Position: 13
Peak Date: May 27, 1972
Weeks On Chart: 9

Few songs show off artists' vocal chops as well as this one, and the Jackson 5 reinforced their timeless family harmonies on this well-loved doo-wop classic. Thurston Harris introduced the song to pop audiences in 1957 and it has since been recorded by a wide range of acts, including the Allman Brothers, Huey Lewis & the News and Aaron Carter. The Jackson 5's version of the song reached No. 8 on R&B songs chart and No. 13 on the Hot 100 in 1972.

43

"I Want To Be Where You Are"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 16
Peak Date: July 15, 1972
Weeks On Chart: 11

"I Wanna Be Where You Are" was released May 2, 1972, and appears on the album "Got to Be There." It was Jackson's third consecutive top 40 pop hit in the beginning of his solo career with Motown. The single peaked at No. 16 on the Hot 100 and would become one of Jackson's most covered songs, with Marvin Gaye, the Fugees and Jason Weaver doing their own renditions.

42

"Butterflies"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 14
Peak Date: January 26, 2002
Weeks On Chart: 20

In what remains his last studio album, "Invincible" in 2001 served as the long-awaited follow-up to 1991's "Dangerous." The former set featured three neo-soul-styled tracks, including "Butterflies." With the help of British duo Floetry on backing vocals, the single peaked at No. 14 on the Hot 100.

41

"I Am Love (Parts I & II)"

The Jackson 5

Hot 100 Peak Position: 15
Peak Date: March 22, 1975
Weeks On Chart: 14

1975's "I Am Love" by the Jackson 5 was part soulful ballad (led by Jermaine) and part Michael-fronted, danceable funk/rock. But no matter the musical style, the message was the same: the brothers weren't letting their loves get away. The song was the Jackson 5's last top 20 hit with Motown, reaching No. 15 on the Hot 100 in 1975. It also went to No. 5 on Billboard's R&B songs chart.

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How This Chart Was Created
The ranking of Michael Jackson's top 50 Billboard hits is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. For example, while "Billie Jean" spent one more week at No. 1 and two more weeks on the chart than "Say Say Say," Jackson's collaboration with Paul McCartney spent more weeks in the top 10 (13-11), the top 20 (16-12) and more weeks in the top 40 (18-17) than "Jean" did.
Prior to the Hot 100's implementation in 1991 of enhanced radio and sales information from Nielsen BDS and Nielsen SoundScan, songs had shorter reigns at No. 1 and shorter chart lives. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from Michael Jackson's entire recording career, earlier time frames were each weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those decades and the turnover rates that have occurred since the advent of Nielsen Music data.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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