Post Date: June 06, 2017
It’s rather easy to state that Michael Jackson had no other option in life but to be Michael Jackson. That’s a lot of why, for many, he’s unarguably the best pop star of all time. It can also be argued that Michael gave his life to music, and in devoting the entirety of his being to being the ULTIMATE pop icon, he became a timeless and epic representation of our emotional connection to music. Especially in the 25 year era between 1970-1995, there may have been no better artist at making club-ready dance music. Given that Decades Nightclub is in the Panorama Productions family of clubs, and that were observing the eighth anniversary of his untimely demise, we decided to compile a list of his most impacting and club-ready pop hits.
Once Michael and the rest of his musical brothers left Motown for Epic Records in 1975, the quintet moved in a decidedly more disco-oriented direction with their sound. The blend of pop melodies as well as Michael’s angelic voice allowed for “Enjoy Yourself” to hit the top ten of the pop charts, top five of the R & B charts, and was written by the Philadelphia-based iconic disco production pair Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
20 years after singing backup vocals on the aforementioned “Enjoy Yourself,” “Scream” is a duet between Janet and Michael Jackson. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had a hand in numerous hits for Janet, but for Michael this was their first hit creation for the “King of Pop.” This one is both intriguing and notable because it’s one of the few times in Michael’s career that he actually addressed the stress associated with his stardom.
Quincy Jones produced a song about zombies that features Michael Jackson as the lead vocal and a rap from noted horror movie actor Vincent Price. On the surface this seems like the most ridiculous idea ever. In actuality, the execution was so cinematic in scope that it deserved the 14-minute short film-as-video which accompanied its release. If you know the video’s related choreography (and you know the choreography), you’re certain to do it as much as possible.
The Jackson brothers’ final massive Motown hit was a song that actually inspired Michael Jackson as a choreographer inventing the robot. Celebrating a woman whose moves are “automatic and systematic,” (which we should assume means “amazing”), this is a timeless jam that really strikes at the heart of soul, disco, and pop in an unmistakably “Jackson”ian way.
Following up 1984’s Thriller was quite the task for the “King of Pop,” and in a manner similar to “Beat It,” “Bad” blends rock guitars and dance-ready funk in an exciting manner for what was the follow up to the mega successful Thriller album’s first number one single. As well, the full scale ensemble gang dancing is again similar to “Beat It,” as across the board, Jackson used established standards to re-set his own bar for excellence.
Disco and soul combine magnificently on the biggest hit from MJ’s 1979 breakout album Off The Wall. Less crossover aimed and more R & B market driven, the song has endured the decades and is one of the more beloved dance-ready ballads of all time. Feeling the heat, riding the boogie, and sharing the beat of love…timeless notions that have endured.
Quincy Jones on production. Van Halen’s lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen with a blistering solo. A video that features a full scale choreographed gang fight. “Beat It” is remembered for many things, its pioneering style allowing it to win the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1984. Literally a song that was nearly a top-ten hit worldwide, it’s another example of a song that’s set a standard that will likely never be equaled.
Epic Records refers to Michael Jackson’s 1991 hit as “a rock ‘n’ roll dance song about racial harmony.” The song’s pop appeal was immediate, as 40% of the top 40 radio stations in America immediately added the song to constant peak-hour rotation, and worldwide, the song was a #1 smash in 20-plus countries. As far as dance-friendly Jackson songs, it’s again another rock-soul heater that impressively eclipsed the previous success of “Beat It” and “Bad.’
There’s Michael Jackson fanatics who will gladly argue that Off The Wall is a better album than Thriller. One of the key pieces of this argument involves believing that “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” is a better-sounding single than “Thriller” and “Beat It,” two singles that it actually bests on this list. As far as a grooving club jam, this one could also represent MJ at his disco era best, moreso than anything else on this countdown.
The Moonwalk. The bassline. The Pepsi commercial. The fact that the song has a groove that is unmistakably from the 80s, but timeless because it arguably represents the best work of that or any era.