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

20

"Never Can Say Goodbye"

The Jackson 5

Hot 100 Peak Position: 2
Peak Date: May 8, 1971
Weeks On Chart: 12

Not many 12-year-olds can maturely depict a romantic situation like Michael did in the Jackson 5's hit single, "Never Can Say Goodbye." Michael describes a situation where he is incapable of leaving his partner, no matter how close he gets. "There's that same unhappy feeling/ There's that anguish/ There's that doubt," Michael expertly croons in the ballad. The song struck a chord with a relating crowd, charting at No. 1 on Billboard's R&B songs chart and No. 2 on the Hot 100.

19

"Rockin' Robin"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 2
Peak Date: April 22, 1972
Weeks On Chart: 13

Michael Jackson's cover of "Rockin' Robin" by Bobby Day reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 and Billboard's R&B songs chart in 1972. 13-year-old Michael brings playfulness to the classic, with more advanced production including a bird-like melody. The star keenly reports on a popular local songbird, "All the little birdies on Jaybird street/ Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet" -- not dissimilar from the effect Jackson's singing had on his audience.

18

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (1 week)
Peak Date: October 13, 1979
Weeks On Chart: 21

While Michael had first topped the Hot 100 apart from the Jackson 5 with the ballad "Ben" at age 14 in 1972, his second No. 1 and first on Epic Records set in motion his monumental rise to superstardom as a solo performer, while introducing fans to a more mature artist in both sound and lyrical content. This song ushered in Jackson's "Off the Wall" album and became the first of the set's four Hot 100 top 10s.

17

"Dirty Diana"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (1 week)
Peak Date: July 2, 1988
Weeks On Chart: 14

In the world of stalky, creepy women in Michael Jackson's lyrics, "Dirty Diana" is right up there with "Billie Jean" and Susie from "Blood on the Dance Floor." The R&B/rock tune about a groupie gone all sorts of wrong features Steve Stevens on guitar and became the "Bad" album's fifth and final No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1988. With the song's coronation, Jackson set a record that still stands for most Hot 100 No. 1s (five) from one album. (Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" equaled the mark with five No. 1s in 2010-11.)

16

"Got To Be There"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 4
Peak Date: December 11, 1971
Weeks On Chart: 14

Smartly capitalizing on the group's immense success, Motown Records released Michael's debut single while the Jackson 5 was still enjoying chart achievements with its third album. "Got to Be There" peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100 dated Dec. 11, 1971, the same date as the debut of the Jackson 5's "Sugar Daddy," which would later peak at No. 10.

15

"Bad"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (2 weeks)
Peak Date: October 24, 1987
Weeks On Chart: 14

Although braggadocious at first listen, Jackson's "Bad" was actually inspired by a real-life story about a boy who went off to a private boarding school and was murdered out of jealousy when he returned back home. The track was helmed by longtime producer Quincy Jones and released as the second single from the "Bad" album. The song peaked at No. 1 on the Hot 100, staying there for two weeks.

14

"I Just Can't Stop Loving You"

Michael Jackson with Siedah Garrett

Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (1 week)
Peak Date: September 19, 1987
Weeks On Chart: 14

Despite the majority of uptempo tracks on "Bad," Epic introduced the follow-up album to "Thriller" with a sleek, sultry love song. This duet with Quincy Jones protégé Siedah Garrett soared to No. 1 on the Hot 100 in its seventh week in September 1987. The cut scaled Adult Contemporary even more quickly, reaching the summit in four weeks to become Jackson's second of two career leaders on the list, following "The Girl Is Mine," with Paul McCartney, in 1982-83.

13

"Black Or White"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (7 weeks)
Peak Date: December 7, 1991
Weeks On Chart: 20

The pop music landscape was shifting in late 1991, with Nirvana introducing grunge and rap gaining a larger foothold. Jackson's appeal, however, proved impenetrable with the first single from "Dangerous." Featuring guitarist Slash, "Black or White" tallied seven weeks atop the Hot 100, matching "Billie Jean" for Jackson's longest reign. The song's video remains memorable for its pioneering use of morphing technology and subsequently deleted scenes of Jackson violently smashing car windows against a backdrop of racist graffiti.

12

"The Way You Make Me Feel"

Michael Jackson

Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (1 week)
Peak Date: January 23, 1988
Weeks On Chart: 18

The third single from "Bad" became the album's third consecutive Hot 100 No. 1 in January 1988, marking Jackson's only set to yield more than two toppers ("Bad" would eventually yield a record five Hot 100 leaders; see No. 17, "Dirty Diana"). In 2005, veteran pop crooner Paul Anka stamped a lounge spin on the song on his jazz-inflected covers album, "Rock Swings."

11

"The Love You Save/ I Found That Girl"

The Jackson 5

Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (2 weeks)
Peak Date: June 27, 1970
Weeks On Chart: 13

Jackson knew all about growing up too fast and trying to preserve youth. That's why it comes as no surprise that 1970's "The Love You Save," by the Jackson 5, finds him, along with brother Jermaine, warning a "fast" girl to slow down atop an uptempo production. "The Jackson 5 was the only group in history to have their first four singles go to [No. 1]," Motown founder Berry Gordy wrote in the introduction to "Moonwalk." "For Michael, it was the inspiration to break all the rest [of the chart records]. And he did."

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