June 18th, 2010
01:54 PM ET

Which MJ song was hottest on Billboard charts?

Billboard has released a list of Michael Jackson's 50 best-performing singles, and odds are the song that took the No. 1 spot isn't what you would guess.

Out of Jackson's vast discography, it was his 1983 collaboration, “Say Say Say” from McCartney’s “Pipes of Peace” album that took the top spot as the late pop icon's best-charting song. (And who could forget the accompanying music video, featuring the pair as traveling vaudevillians with Jackson’s sister LaToya as his love interest?)

Another Jackson/McCartney collabo, “The Girl Is Mine” - featured on Jackson’s 1982 record-breaker “Thriller" - came in at No. 10.

Billboard's tally featured songs from Jackson’s solo career as well as his work with the Jackson 5 and other artists. The singles were ranked by their performance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least.

So which songs other songs did fans buy till they couldn’t get enough? Taking spots 2 through 9, in order of rank are "Billie Jean" (1983), “I’ll Be There” (1970), “Beat It” (1983), “Rock With You” (1980), “Dancing Machine (1974), “Man in the Mirror” (1988), “I Want You Back” (1969), “ABC” (1970).

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Filed under: Celebrities • Music

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  17. Carol

    No one really knew the truth except MJ and kids involved. I do know if my child had been molested by a pedophile there would not be enough money to pay me off. Nor would my child be sleeping with a 40 year old man, even if I were in the house. This man (boy) was incredibly talented and in dire need of psychiatric help. The sick religion, loss of his childhood, that father, all added up to an incredibly sad life.

    June 20, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
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    June 20, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  19. TheresaG

    Ok, let's set aside the #1 song, gifted talent, and popstar status for just a moment....Michael was a great person and a fantastic humanitarian. He was the most ardent, vigilant advocate for children everywhere. During his lifetime, he gave away 300 million of his own $ to charities (most children's charities) and supported 39 charities (20% of his estate still does). He was humble and saw the face of God in children's faces. He opened his heart and home to hundreds of underprivileged, sick and dying children. I love children and am a teacher...that does not make me a pedophile. I sleep with my cat in my bed but that does not make me guilty of beastiality. I dare any of you media zombies to research the court facts and extortion attempt evidence, I dare you to research the man who is Michael Jackson...and then, only then, can you make ignorant comments about Michael's character. Get informed and get your mind out of the tabloids and media trash. This country and this world likes to take down giants. A bunch of self-serving, greedy people found Michael's Achillies heal...his love for helping children around the world because he was so hurt as a child. He was sensitive to their pain and wanted to help spare their pain....This is the truth! Sometimes things are true whether you believe them or not! Love you Michael...the person and then the popstar!

    June 20, 2010 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Mikealanso

      well written TheresaG!!!! I enjoyed reading your comment, very down to the point!!!!

      June 20, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  20. didya'llforget

    although he was a good artist he was also a PETIFILE!!

    June 19, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeanette

      you are a idiot for making a comment like that when it was not proven Knuckle Head!

      June 19, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Well, I'll be less judgemental and not call you an idiot. The word you're seeking, however, is PEDOPHILE, not petafile. And Jeanette is correct, he was never proven to be a child rapist. I'm sure that if he were alive today, he'd be busily trying to find the REAL child rapist, just as OJ is seeking the real killer of his ex-wife...

      June 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • V.

      Hey "didy'allforget" !! Who are you to say who or what Michael Jackson was ? Were you in the room when he "allegedly" touched children?
      Do you have picturees of this or films? Were you sitting at the table in the courtroom in 1993/1994 when he was accused?

      No. Of course you don't and were not there. You are just another stupid,ignorant person who believes that becasue they "think" something , then it must be a fact. You are just another person who sees news on TV,the internet or the newspapers and reach a decision without any solid facts behind it.

      He was "accused" of this , it was not proven and he was not found guilty of it. Neither you,myself or anyone has the right to say if he did do that or if he did not. You,me or anyone out there in the regular world , did not know Michael Jackson and have no right making a jusgement call onee way or the other.

      You cannot even make it an opinion because again,what do you base this opinion on?? Your gut feeling? BULL!

      Only MJ knew . As for his accuser in 1993 , hmmm.... isn;t it funny that his father would accept a cash settlement
      over "real justice" for his son? If he was so certain that Michael did what he said,why wouldn;t he have it proven that Michael did it and have him sent to prison?

      Oh well,that boy's dad died a few weeks after Michael did,so only that grown kid knows now! One day he will show up and set the record straight.

      June 20, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  21. R

    I am a huge Michael Jackson fan, and I can honestly say that I've never listened to the entire song of "Say, Say, Say" so I find it hysterical that this song was the "hottest on the billboard charts"... I am pretty sure that 99% of the human race knows Thriller, and not Say, Say, Say. But whatever.... Michael is forever the greatest.

    June 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  22. nicole

    This writer is either making up his own data or working for Paul McCartney! Thriller is the best selling album of all time, and Michael sang all his songs by himself. Michael doesn't need anybody to sell his album, because he is the "Best Entertainer" that ever lived!

    June 19, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  23. atti

    Begin the Beguine

    June 19, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  24. dino

    they have men in the church GOD need to stirke down before micheal.love u micheal

    June 19, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Dino, I completely agree with you. Pedophiles and abusers of children in the church (any church) are reprehensible and should pay a heavy price for their actions. However, just because there are other abusers of children held in esteem doesn't absolve this 'person' (he certainly doesn't meet the criteria to be called a 'man') from what he did, repeatedly. I've no objection to love of his music, it was truly from a gifted talent. The 'person', however, should have no allegiance.

      June 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  25. GD

    I always thought that "In my Bedroom blowing Bubbles" would be a hit, along with "Hey, Ma, there's a monkey on my back!! But audiences are fickle. Didn't he also have a song about "Jesus Juice"?

    June 19, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  26. Mona19595

    He had so many hit's, to me it would be hard to select his number 1 but if I had to I think it would be Billy Jean.......

    June 19, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  27. LD Battle

    'Rock with you,' shows the emergence of his growth from bubble gum to his new cross-over category, adult contemporary.
    What a true icon for generations!!

    June 19, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  28. Sam Davis

    Read the affidavit from the dentist's sony he molested and then tell me that any song he did matters. Just because he got off in court doesn't negate the mountain of evidence agains him. He clearly bought his way out of trouble. Quit defending a pedophile.

    June 19, 2010 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  29. Johnny Ola

    I thought his song "I really love young boys" was at the top of the charts.

    June 19, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  30. AtlantaJohn

    I was a club DJ in the 80's and I remember whenever I played Billie Jean and Wanna Be Starting Something the dance floor would be completely packed. Those two songs were beyond incredible.

    June 19, 2010 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  31. Docholliday

    Ohh. Oooh. Ouch. Nonsense. Morons can't spell. The facts are in, professing his loves for boys (this is not what SMART people do on national TV Duh!!
    Frankly, I can see him for what he was the "epitome" of the typical wealthy, media protected-class citizen. Person of color or not, he definitely fits the pedophile profile. Worship him all you want, but that won't change, black or otherwise. We "morons" know better. Hope this helps.

    June 19, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Thanks for the support for a viewpoint that is contrary to most on this blog. Fans of this 'person' are often (in my opinion) unwilling to see anything deeper than the talent, which he certainly had in great abundance. It's great that differing points of view are not only allowed in this country, but encouraged. What a great country in which we live!

      June 19, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Docholliday

    I think it was "I Love you Boy" ?

    June 19, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  33. KevinB

    Hitting the top of BB charts is no indication of how good a song is, only how often it is played on the radio and how many records it sold. There are so many people who will buy anything with any member of the Beatles on it, that gave the song a big boost in record stores and on radio.

    June 19, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  34. malcy

    Have you people forgotten his "Invincible" album?All the songs are good in it.

    June 19, 2010 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
    • shell517nj

      malcy...I agree, Invincible could have produced as many hits as Thriller. Unfortunately Michael severed his contract with sony and they failed to promote the album. Also Michael didn't tour for the album. big loss. great album.

      June 19, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  35. music656

    LOVE MJ forever

    June 19, 2010 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  36. Mike

    I like the one he did with Elton John, "Please Let Your Son Go Down on Me".

    June 19, 2010 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  37. likki

    wow man MJ is truly a legend. I got hooked up to his songs for almost a year since he died. No other artist could penetrate this long.. I wish he lived longer and made more songs. RIP MJ

    June 19, 2010 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  38. pascal

    Baidseny

    June 19, 2010 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  39. dm nash

    Surprising, maybe....but understandable. Look at the rest of the list...4 w/ his very popular brothers the Jackson 5/Jacksons too. Some of Michael's other hits would've also been competing with each in various formats as they were more dance mix/12' oriented and/or on his "top selling" album...so u wouldn't be buying the single per se. Add 2 that the buying power of McCartney/Beatles fans ( 2 out top 10 MJ sellers – hello?...) – which is partly why this collaboration happened in the first place – trading cred. After "Thriller" everyone was primed for the new single "Say, Say, Say" & the video was in heavy rotation on MTV. It had already been a few years since last McCartney album which had some popular singles off it and McCatney/Beatle fans were ready for new material. Take in the market of people that buy singles and not full length or people that are not that big a fan of either artist that just liked the song....and maybe a look at the music charts in general at that time give perspective.
    Lastly, consider this...MJ's BEST investment over the years was his purchase of THE BEATLES publishing.....that's how it ended up in commercials....that's how he refinanced his other fiascos...even as the estate is being settled, that's the asset! Never underestimate one of the most successful songwriters of all time McCartney & the Beatles! MJ knew.

    June 19, 2010 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  40. Glenda in Texas

    "Say Say Say" was a good song but plenty of his other songs were way better. I love and miss him so much unlike that idiot above.

    June 19, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  41. Renee

    Ben

    June 19, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  42. Fred Wilson

    In the video for Say Say Say, the article points out that Jackson’s sister LaToya was his love interest. I guess there are worst things than incest...at least he wasn't touching childr.... err, never-mind.

    June 19, 2010 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  43. bob gay

    who cares about this anymore the guy is dead. i guarantee michael doesnt care which track anyone thinks is his best, cause he is like dead and stuff.

    June 19, 2010 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Walter

      Hey "Bob". There's millions who care about it that wrere around long before you existed in this world.

      You don't like it? The don't post a response,this has absolutely nothing to do with you at all !

      Sorry also that you have such a heartless view of death and what Michael Jackson meant to millions + millions of people.

      You are ignorant and you should have kept your mouth closed (or in this case gone to a website with things you agree with.)

      June 20, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  44. khan

    Beat it? Thriller? WHAT? List is bull.

    June 19, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  45. Kenya

    There are SO MANY amazing MJ songs to choose from..I find it hard to believe this is #1...I guess it doesn't mean it's the most popular now.....it just hung around on the charts for awhile. RIP Michael Jackson.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Ralph Phillips

    I always liked the song, Do you remember the time, and you never hear anything about it. They even made a video of it, Whats up with that its a lot better than Say say say say say LOL

    June 18, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nightengale

      I agree. "Remeber the Time" is my all time favorite MJ song and video. I love the remake that Kris Allen did for American Idol last year. After that, I love Smooth Criminal. Neither song on this bogus list.

      June 19, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  47. boopieness

    Total BS. Biilie Jean kills it, say say say I would toss in the top twenty of his catalogue

    June 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Seeker

    LOL.. BS!
    Say, say, say.. a bunch of BS!

    Billie Jean, Beat it, Thriller... all come ahead of that lame song.. amazing how the surviving artist out of the two manages to ride this circus... shortly after the release of Say, Say, Say.. MJ bought ALL RIGHTS to Beatles songs!

    June 18, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Darslow

    I smell B.S. Although I liked Say, Say, Say... I can hardly believe that this song takes the cake out of all of his #1 hits. Something's not right here.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Weffie

    It's a simple statistical calculation. Don't forget that Say Say Say came out in late 1983 – the pump was primed and everyone was crazy about MJ. It spent more weeks in the top 10, and top 20 that's all. Nothing to get bothered about. It's not a bad song – just got overplayed and McCartney's voice gets tiresome unlike MJ's.

    June 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  51. SeptSpirit

    No way. I don't believe it. None of his songs were bad, but I can't fathom Say,Say,Say being #1. What's the politics behind this?

    June 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  52. sonylegend

    Kill the Artists Increase the Profits.....www.sonylegend.com for more details.... They try to discredt all the greats.... 2pac, MJ, Lennon etc....

    ONE LOVE
    MJ

    June 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Victor

    Thriller wasn't even in the top 10???

    How is that possible????

    June 18, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adrienne in MD

      I have to agree!!! I love, love, love Thriller. How dare they leave that out especially over Say, Say, Say!!!

      June 19, 2010 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Walter

      To all wondering why certain songs aren;t thought of as the biggest by Michael Jackson,again it's (supposed to be) based on Billboard's own rankings and charts of the 70s , 80s & 90s.

      Thriller on a general list of favorite MJ songs by a fan,would definetly be in the yop 10 or at the very least top 15. Since the "Thriller" single only reached #4 , Billboard by their sales and airplay stats of 1984 , would not rank it very high.

      Another example . My favorite sentimental song by MJ is "Will You Be There?" I'd personally rank it top 5 somplace. Billboard would not. They'd go maybe #25 or a bit higher.

      Billboard uses statistics. We the fans,record buyrs/listeners , use our hearts as well as our ears.

      June 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  54. shell517nj

    Don't believe everything you read. BB is delusional. better read "E onlines" couterpunch on this subject::

    "Say Say Say" What? Worst Michael Jackson hit was his best? lol.
    "http://ca.eonline.com/uberblog/b186580_say_say_say_what_worst_michael_jackson.html

    June 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • m.jones

      thanks shell I am 64 years old this year and not a huge MJ fan although I like some of his songs. As soon as I read the question I automatically said billy jean.

      June 19, 2010 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
    • tammy

      I think MJs best was his remake of "Little Boy Blue." My favorite lines were...

      "Little Boy Blue-balls
      let me blow your horn"

      Another MJ Great was his backing group "The Shower Stall Children."

      October 11, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  55. shell517nj

    Don't believe everything you read. haven't we learned anything from MJ's death, how one story is written and then everybody runs with it. Billie Jean was MJ's chart topper on BB's chart. Then they came up with some other explanation to credit say say say and if you read BB's cover story that was introduced with these findings you will throw up. HORRIBLE DISGRACE TO MICHAEL.

    June 18, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • hirsi12

      there are so many amazing,
      We are the world i thing that is the best.

      June 19, 2010 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Carolyn

      Thanks for correcting this misinformation.

      June 19, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Walter

      Sorry to burst the bubble here , but I own a copy of the Billboard Book Of Top 40 hits , whichin the back has a "record holders" section.

      "Billie Jean Spent 7 weeks at #1 and 24 weeks all together on the Hot 100 Chart.

      "Black Or White" spent only 20 weeks on the Hot 100. despite being #1 for 7 weeks,this puts it in 2nd place (for MJ solo only)

      "Say Say Say" was #1 for 6 weeks but spent 22 weeks on the chart,so overall it would go between "Billie Jean" and "Black Or White" because it has 2 more weeks on the chart.

      "The Girl Is Mine" had just over 20 weeks on the chart but only reached #2.

      "We Are The World" was #1 for 4 weeks but went up and then back down the chart so fast,it only ranked between #10 to #5 for biggest songss of 1985. besides,it was a group accomplishment,not just Michael's.

      Lastly , Billboard measured (back then) a single's success by how many weeks it lasted on the chart overall,not by how many weeks at #1. If they're saying that "Say-Say-Say is the biggest MJ song ever,they are contradicting their own record keeping.

      I followed the charts every wek back then and even kept record myself as a hobby. The really should re-think that.

      P.S. – Janet Jackson almost equals Michael for biggest #1 hit in the Jackson family......
      Her 1993 song ,"That's The Way Love Goes" , spent 8 weeks at #1 and 23 weeks on the chart

      June 20, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  56. brittany

    you need to look at the facts and evidence begore you judge him or anyone else. the media and the corruption in the courts are a disgrace. MJ was a good person. and i just pray that you look at the facts and know that he was set up and that the family wanted MONEY. thank you and God Bless

    June 19, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  57. bambina

    You, sir, are the epitome of idiocy and moronic stupidity. You were not there, you do not know. It would behoove you to shut your pie-hole and quit spewing forth venom about a dead superstar that you know nothing about.

    June 19, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  58. Daniel

    Bambina, try to not end a sentence with a preposition. How about "about whom you know nothing"? And thanks for calling me 'Sir.' That was very polite.

    June 19, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |

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