Welcome to Day 4 of my countdown of the Top 100 Songs by Members of the Jackson Family. Since we are now beginning the Top 40 portion today, please try to read this with Casey Kasem’s voice in your head. The only thing is that I am leaving out a long distance dedication. Sorry! So, on with the countdown.
40. Michael Jackson – “In the Closet” (1992 – Dangerous). Yeah, I’m surprised how high this one was ranked by vfmusic.com.
39. The Jackson 5 – “Never Can Say Goodbye” (1971 – Maybe Tomorrow). That’s right! The J5 did the original version, in ballad form, of a song that Gloria Gaynor made into one of the first Top 10 disco songs.
38. Janet Jackson – “What Have You Done for Me Lately” (1986 – Control). This is the song that ignited Janet’s career with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as her producers. Miss Jackson, welcome to the Minneapolis sound. It’s a match made in heaven.
37. JJ – “Someone to Call My Lover” (2001 – All for You). Sure, we are on the backside of Janet’s career, but she still can pull off a good pop/R&B song like this one.
36. MJ – “Man in the Mirror” (1988 – Bad). So, lyrically speaking, this song sounds like Michael’s most personal confessions. Then, we find out that this song was written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard. Personally, I was a little disappointed that Michael was not capable of this kind of personal reflection. Still, it’s a great song no matter who wrote it.
35. JJ – “I Get Lonely” (1998 – The Velvet Rope). Here is Janet’s “Let’s Get It On” in the age of Prince.
34. MJ – “Dirty Diana” (1988 – Bad). This is Bad‘s attempt at “Beat It”, with the guitar solo performed by Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens. I wonder what this song would have sounded like if Michael had used Dave Mustaine, Scott Ian or one of the other thrash metal guitarists for this solo?
33. JJ – “Let’s Wait Awhile” (1987 – Control). Here’s an ode to maintaining one’s virginity. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
32. JJ – “When I Think of You” (1987 – Control). This is Janet’s pure pop song and first number one. The video is an endearing Eighties relic.
31. JJ – “Miss You Much” (1989 – Rhythm Nation 1814). This is by far my favorite Janet song. I just cannot believe it is ranked so low!
30. JJ – “If” (1993 – janet.). Janet’s janet. album was so full of hits that I think the company kept running songs out to the radio stations hoping to boost album sales. It was all so easy back in the Nineties.
29. Luther Vandross & JJ – “The Best Things in Life Are Free” (1992 – Mo’ Money OST). Who knew that the big cuddly balladeer could be so much fun trading lyrics with Miss Jackson to a playful pop/dance beat, yet this seemingly mismatched duo pulled off one of the more fun songs of 1992.
28. MJ – “Got to Be There” (1971 – Got to Be There). That’s correct! Michael was on the soul side of bubblegum music back in the early 70s, and this little heartfelt ode to puppy love proves it.
27. JJ – “Escapade” (1990 – Rhythm Nation 1814). This may truly be Janet’s most fun video to watch, but only because the song is so endearing.
26. JJ – “Anytime, Anyplace” (1994 – janet.) Yet, another big hit song from Janet’s third LP done with Jam and Lewis.
25. MJ – “Bad” (1987 – Bad). So, remember “Weird Al” Yankovic’s parody of this song called “Fat”. My older son was two at the time, but he was with my wife and mother-in-law at a store in my wife’s hometown. Of course, this large woman passed by the trio, and my son begins to sing, “Because I’m fat! Shaamar! I’m fat!” Needless to say, my wife yanked him out of the store in total embarrassment. It wouldn’t be the last story like this that my boys went off script to write on their own.
24. MJ – “The Way You Make Me Feel” (1987 – Bad). Who’s idea was it to turn Michael into a stalker of a beautiful woman for the video? Like his ever-changing facial features wasn’t creepy enough, Mike’s best dance move for 1987 was to grab his crotch and do a couple Rocky Horror Picture Show pelvic thrusts around the young woman. And, yes, the song is great!
23. MJ & Paul McCartney – “The Girl Is Mine” (1982 – Thriller). This piece of pop schlock was released first from Thriller. I honestly wanted until I heard “Billie Jean” BEFORE buying this album. The song should have been re-titled “Your Beatles Songs Are Mine”, after Mike took Paul’s advice to buy rights to songs.
22. MJ – “Rockin’ Robin” (1972 – Got to Be There). Yet another song from Michael’s bubblegum era. Still, there’s a certain charming innocence in the song.
21. MJ & JJ – “Scream” (1995 – HIStory). This is the only song the two siblings ever recorded and released. It never really lived up to it’s expectations.
That’s 80 songs down and 20 to go. Tomorrow we will finish this whole thing off. So, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.