Michael Jackson Remembered on 53rd Birthday: His Biggest Hits

7:31 PM PST 08/29/2011 by Gary Trust, Billboard
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The King of Pop, who died in 2009, has the longest span of top 40 songs in the Billboard Hot 100's history, from "I Want You Back" to "Thriller" to "Bad" to posthumous single "Hold My Hand" featuring Akon.

Monday, Aug. 29, marks what would have been Michael Jackson's 53rd birthday.

While the King of Pop died June 25, 2009, his legacy lives on. Here is a look at the astounding dominance that Jackson exhibited on Billboard surveys.

WANNA BE STARTIN' SOMETHIN': Jackson was on his way to chart royalty right from the debut of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" on the Billboard Hot 100 dated Nov. 15, 1969, when Jackson was 11 years old.

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The act would become the first to send its first four entries to the Hot 100's summit:

"I Want You Back," Jan. 31, 1970 (one week at No. 1)
"ABC," April 25, 1970 (two weeks at No. 1)
"The Love You Save," June 27, 1970 (two weeks at No. 1)
"I'll Be There," Oct. 17, 1970 (five weeks at No. 1)

The Jackson 5 remains the only group to start so strongly. Since the act's launch, only Mariah Carey -- who in 1992 reigned with her cover of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" -- matched (and bested) the feat, when her first five singles topped the Hot 100 in 1990-91.

THRILLER: Jackson stands as the male artist with the most No. 1s in the history of the Billboard 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.

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Among all artists, only the Beatles (20 No. 1s) and Carey (18) have notched more leaders than Jackson. Below is a look at the male artists with the most Hot 100 No. 1s:

13, Michael Jackson
10, Stevie Wonder
9, Elton John
9, Paul McCartney
9, Usher
8, George Michael

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 at the summit Sept. 2, 1995.

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DON'T STOP 'TIL YOU GET ENOUGH: Thriller remains the album by a single artist with the most weeks at No. 1 (37, 1983-84) in the 55-year history of the Billboard 200. Only the West Side Story soundtrack reigned longer (54 weeks, 1962-63).

Here is a recap of the albums to lead the Billboard 200 the longest:

54 weeks, West Side Story soundtrack
37 weeks, Thriller, Michael Jackson
31 weeks, Calypso, Harry Belafonte
31 weeks, Rumours, Fleetwood Mac
31 weeks, South Pacific soundtrack

JUST CAN'T STOP LOVIN' YOU: Thriller also became the first album to send seven songs into the Hot 100's top 10. Here are their peak positions and dates on the Hot 100:

No. 2, "The Girl Is Mine" (Michael Jackson/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

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Only two other artists have subsequently accomplished the feat. Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. produced seven top 10s in 1984-86, as did Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 in 1989-91. (She would've likely had an eighth, as "State of the World" reached No. 5 on Hot 100 Airplay in April 1991. Because it was not a commercially-available single, however, it was not allowed to appear on the Hot 100, per chart rules at the time).

Michael Jackson narrowly missed repeating tallying seven top 10s from an album with Bad, the follow-up to Thriller. Six of the set's seven singles reached the top 10; sixth single "Another Part of Me" peaked at No. 11.

NOT 'BAD': Bad did, however, become the first album in the Hot 100's history to produce five No. 1s:

"I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (with Siedah Garrett) (one week), Sept. 19, 1987
"Bad" (two weeks), Oct. 24, 1987

"The Way You Make Me Feel" (one week), Jan. 23, 1988

"Man in the Mirror" (two weeks), March 26, 1988

"Dirty Diana" (one week), July 2, 1988

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Jackson stood alone with his fivefold record until two weeks ago, when Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" became the fifth Hot 100 leader from "Teenage Dream." Still, Jackson is the only male artist to manage the achievement.

ROCK WITH YOU: In addition to his command of the Billboard Hot 100 (48 total entries), R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Adult Contemporary and Dance/Club Play Songs, Jackson even crossed three songs over to Billboard's Album Rock chart at the height of "Thriller" hysteria.

Buoyed by Eddie Van Halen's guitar work, "Beat It" rose the highest, to No. 14, in 1983.

ANOTHER PART OF ME: "You Rock My World" spent a week at its peak of No. 10 on the Hot 100 the week of Sept. 22, 2001. While it stands as his sole top 10 on the chart in the '00s, it provided yet more evidence of Jackson's elite status on the Billboard post-Y2K.

With the song's rise to the top 10, Jackson became the only solo artist to post top 10 titles on the Hot 100 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).

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ONE MORE CHANCE: Even in 2011, Jackson has continued to set Billboard chart records.

"Hold My Hand," featuring Akon, the first radio single from Jackson's posthumous album Michael, soared 65-39 on the Jan. 1, 2011, Hot 100. The surge granted Jackson the longest span of top 40 hits in the Hot 100's history. At 39 years and two months, Jackson passed the 38-year, one-month span of top 40 placements logged by Santana.

Jackson first reached the top 40 as a solo act the week of Nov. 6, 1971, when "Got to Be There" rocketed 50 spots to No. 39. (He had already banked seven top 40 titles with the Jackson 5 by then).

"Hold My Hand" became Jackson's 38th top 40 entry on the Hot 100. Dating to his first week in the top 40, only four acts boast more such titles: Elton John (55), Lil Wayne (49), Madonna (48) and the Glee cast (46).

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