Michael Jackson’s Six Albums From 1979 Through 2001

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Off The Wall (1979) - This album really established Jackson as a solo artist. Prior to Off The Wall he was known primarily as the young singing star in The Jackson Five. He had actually already released four solo albums to this point, with the most successful being 1972′s Ben which included his first solo hit single (the title track which hit #1) and was released when Jackson was actually only 12 years old. Off The Wall was released when Jackson was only 19 years old which is really astonishing considering the legendary songs it includes. The album opener “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough” was written by Jackson himself (MJ doesn’t get enough credit for his abilities as a songwriter.) The album included two #1 hits, the previously mentioned Jackson penned “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough” and “Rock With You.” Off The Wall has sold over 20 million copies worldwide since it’s release nearly 30 years ago today. In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine ranked Off The Wall 68th in their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Thriller (1982) - While Off The Wall established Jackson as a solo star, Thriller established Jackson as a legend. It has sold an incredible 109 million copies around the world and is the biggest selling studio album in US history (28 million copies to date.) Surprisingly, given the legendary status of the album and how many copies it has sold, it only produced two #1 hits (“Billy Jean” and “Beat It”) but on the other hand it’s pretty incredible that seven of it’s nine songs reached the top 10 on the US singles charts. “Baby Be Mine” & “Lady In My Life” were the only two songs that were not hit singles on the album. Along with the music, the album is also well known for the music videos that were produced for it’s hit singles. The most memorable video of all was made for the title track “Thriller.” It’s likely the most famous music video in history. Thriller was ranked #20 in the previously mentioned Rolling Stone magazine list.

Bad (1987) – Bad often gets overlooked in comparison with Thriller but in some ways it was Jackson’s most commercially successful album. While it hasn’t sold nearly as many copies as Thriller (10 million in the US to date and 30 million worldwide) it did produce an incredible five #1 singles in the US: “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror,” & “Dirty Diana.” Two more songs were also hits: “Smooth Criminal” hit #7 and “Another Part of Me” hit #11. Bad was ranked #202 on the Rolling Stone list of greatest albums.

Dangerous (1991) – Dangerous was a far more successful album than most give it credit for. It was actually the fastest selling album of Jackson’s career at it’s release. It sold over 300,000 copies in it’s first week alone in the United States and over 4 million copies were shipped in the US in just the first two months. While it included only one #1 single (“Black or White”) it did have a total of 8 songs that reached the top 10 in either the US or the UK (and in many cases, in both.) “Remember The Time” reached #3 in both the US & the UK while “Give in to Me” & “Heal the World” both reached #2 in the UK.

HIStory (1995) – This album included two discs. One disc was a new studio album (featuring 15 new songs) and the other disc was a “greatest hits” collection up to that point. “You Are Not Alone” hit #1 on the singles charts. “Scream” featured his sister Janet Jackson and hit #5. While this album clearly comes after Jackson was past his commercial and creative peak, it has actually been certified 7X multip platinum in the US.

Invincible (2001) – Definitely Jackson’s least successful studio album as an adult and also his last (at least while he was alive.) That being said, it still reached #1 in the US & the UK and sold over has sold over 10 million copies worldwide to date. A lot of people would be pretty pleased with that, but obviously Michael Jackson is held to a higher standard due to his previous successes. The album included two top 20 singles: “You Rock My World” reached #10 & “Butterflies” reached #14.

Posthumous Albums – There were reports of the upcoming release of an album that was rumored to be titled 7EVEN in 2007 & 2008 but that album never materialized. There has also been reports that Jackson recorded over 100 songs that have never been released and that he purposely was holding the songs back to be released after his death. Now that he has passed away (on June 25, 2009) many questions arise: Will these songs be released as new studio albums? And if so, when? Did he he just record songs that were to be pieced together as albums later? Or did he actually record full albums to be released after his death?

About the Author

Jake Topp recommends this Music Blog for more cool music articles. It includes many more articles on Michael Jackson.

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