As fans worldwidehe 30th anniversary of the release of Michael Jackson's landmark album "Thriller," Billboard celebrates the late King of Pop's musical legacy. Chart Beat looks back at the astonishing dominance Jackson enjoyed in what has become a six-decade residence on Billboard surveys.
WANNA BE STARTIN' SOMETHIN': Jackson was on his way to chart royalty beginning with the debut of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" on the Hot 100 dated Nov. 15, 1969. At the time, Jackson was 11 years old.
The Jackson 5 would become the first act to send its first four entries to the Hot 100's summit:
Title, Date Reached No. 1, Weeks at No. 1
"I Want You Back," Jan. 31, 1970, one
"ABC," April 25, 1970, two
"The Love You Save," June 27, 1970, two
"I'll Be There," Oct. 17, 1970, five
The Jackson 5 remains the only group to start with four consecutive Hot 100 leaders. Since, only Mariah Carey (who in 1992 reigned with her cover of "I'll Be There") matched, and bested, the feat, when her first five singles topped the Hot 100 in 1990-91.
DON'T STOP 'TIL YOU GET ENOUGH: Jackson stands as the male artist with the most No. 1s in the 52-year history of the Hot 100. How synonymous have Jackson and the Hot 100 been? They were linked practically from the start. The first Hot 100 was dated Aug. 4, 1958. Jackson was born 25 days later.
Among all artists, only the Beatles (20 No. 1s) and Mariah Carey (18) have notched more chart leaders than Jackson. Below is a look at the male artists with the most Hot 100 No. 1s:
Total No. 1s, Artist
13, Michael Jackson
10, Stevie Wonder
9, Elton John
9, Paul McCartney
Jackson's last leader to date became the first song ever to enter the Hot 100 at No. 1. The R. Kelly-written and co-produced "You Are Not Alone" bowed atop the chart dated Sept. 2, 1995.
JAMS: Jackson likewise places atop the list of the male artists with the most trips to the Hot 100's top 10, an honor shared with another former musical child prodigy, Stevie Wonder:
Total Top 10s, Artist
28, Michael Jackson
28, Stevie Wonder
27, Elton John
25, Elvis Presley
22, Paul McCartney
REMEMBER THE TIME: "Thriller" remains the album by a single artist with the most weeks at No. 1 in the 54-year archives of the Billboard 200. Only the "West Side Story" soundtrack has reigned longer:
Weeks at No. 1, Title, Artist, Date Reached No. 1
54, "West Side Story," (soundtrack), May 5, 1962
37, "Thriller," Michael Jackson, Feb. 26, 1983
31, "Rumours," Fleetwood Mac, April 2, 1977
31, "South Pacific," (soundtrack), May 19, 1958
31, "Calypso," Harry Belafonte, Sept. 8, 1956
With sales of 29 million, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), "Thriller" ranks as the best-selling studio album in U.S. history. The set is tied with the Eagles' best-of collection, "Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975."
THRILLERS: Jackson's signature opus "Thriller" became the first album to generate seven Hot 100 top 10 titles. Here is a look at the songs' Hot 100 chart performances:
Peak Pos., Title, Peak Date
No. 2, "The Girl Is Mine" (Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney), Jan. 8, 1983
No. 1 (seven weeks), "Billie Jean," March 5, 1983
No. 1 (three weeks), "Beat It," April 30, 1983
No. 5, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," July 16, 1983
No. 7, "Human Nature," Sept. 17, 1983
No. 10, "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," Nov. 26, 1983
No. 4, "Thriller," March 3, 1984
Only two other artists have subsequently accomplished the feat. Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." included seven top 10s in 1984-86, as did Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814" in 1989-91. (Jackson's sibling would have likely housed an eighth top 10, as "State of the World" reached No. 5 on Radio Songs in 1991. Because it was not a commercially-available single, however, the track was not allowed to appear on the Hot 100, per chart rules at the time).
Michael Jackson narrowly missed repeating such sevenfold success with "Bad," the follow-up to "Thriller." Six of the set's seven singles reached the top 10; only the album's sixth single, "Another Part of Me," fell oh-so-short of the top tier, peaking at No. 11 in September 1988.
NUMBER ONES: "Bad" did, however, become the first album, and still only one by a male, in the Hot 100's history to yield five No. 1s:
Peak Pos., Title, Weeks at No. 1, Peak Date
"I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (with Siedah Garrett), one, Sept. 19, 1987
"Bad," two, Oct. 24, 1987
"The Way You Make Me Feel," one, Jan. 23, 1988
"Man in the Mirror," two, March 26, 1988
"Dirty Diana," one, July 2, 1988
(Janet Jackson came close to equaling her brother's accomplishment. "Rhythm Nation 1814" sported four No. 1s, while two tracks - "Rhythm Nation" and "Come Back to Me" - stopped at No. 2.)
In 2010-11, Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" became the second set to generate five Hot 100 No. 1s.
ROCK WITH YOU: In addition to his command of the Hot 100 (48 total solo entries), R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (52), Adult Contemporary (26) and Dance/Club Play Songs (24), Jackson crossed three songs over to Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart at the height of "Thriller" hysteria. Thanks to Eddie Van Halen's guitar work, "Beat It" rose the highest of the trio, to No. 14, in 1983.
HISTORY: When "You Rock My World" peaked at No. 10 on the Hot 100 the week of Sept. 22, 2001, Jackson became the only solo artist to post top 10 titles on the chart in each of the '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s. (And, that's not including the 17-8 rise of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" on the last Hot 100 of the '60s, dated Dec. 27, 1969).
Aerosmith is the only other act to collect top 10s in each decade from the '70s through the '00s.
INVINCIBLE: Jackson's catalog has continued to live on in the work of artists across various genres.
In 2008, Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music," featuring its sample of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," granted Jackson his highest writing credit on the Hot 100 since "Remember the Time" in 1992 (each peaking at No. 3), while two rock-centric covers reached the Hot 100's top 40: Alien Ant Farm's "Smooth Criminal" hit No. 23 in 2001 and Fall Out Boy's "Beat It," featuring John Mayer, climbed to No. 19 in 2008.
On the chart dated Feb. 27, 2010, Artists for Haiti's update of "We Are the World" bowed at No. 2, marking Jackson's highest-charting writing credit since "Black or White" totaled seven weeks at No. 1 in 1991-92.
As an artist, Jackson last appeared on the Hot 100 when "Hold My Hand," with Akon, rose at No. 39 the week of Jan. 1, 2011, granting Jackson yet another impressive honor: he's the only artist to grace the top 40 in the '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s and '10s.