Michael Jackson’s Birthday: Songs That Should Have Been Hits

A day like today, in 1958, the King of Pop was born. We remember him with his best songs that were never hits.

When Michael Jackson passed away, a piece of the engine that makes the world beat died. Beyond the character, perhaps controversial, perhaps misunderstood, he was a amazingly talented musician.

Before reaching adulthood, he was already a legend. Singer and songwriter of numerous hits, he knew muddy their musical quality with the scandals caused by their strange behavior. His songs, his voice, his dance and his melodies are unforgettable.

We all know his hits like Beat It, Smooth Criminal, Billie Jean either thrillerbut, what happened to those songs that, being equally good, never reached number 1? Here are his songs that were never successful, but deserved it. Listen to them, because they are so little known that they don’t even have a video.

Get On The Floor (1979) (Off The Wall)

The wonderful bass of Louis Johnson (from the duo Brothers Johnson) governs this invitation to dance at the height of the record. Quincy Jones’s elaborate production wraps a contagious chorus with a sensual Michael Jackson, who changes tone effortlessly.

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This Time Around (1995) (HIStory)

For his compilation album history, Michael Jackson decided to unload all his fury seeking to free himself from the control that his supposed friends and relatives exercised over him at that time. Although this theme was released as a single, it went unnoticed by the public, but not by critics. James Hunter, from the magazine rolling stoneHe called it «dynamite.» she has the appearance of the late The Notorious BIG in one of his two collaborations with the artist.

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Why You Wanna Trip On Me (1991) (Dangerous)

Co-written and co-produced by Teddy Riley (the creator of the “new jack swing“ style), this track, with a deaf percussion and a guitar funkyshows us a challenger Michael, who wonders again and again why the media dedicated themselves to attacking him when there are bigger problems in the world.

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Come Together (1988) (HIStory)

This cut, composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for the album abbey roadis the closest of the Beatles to heavy metal.

It is not gratuitous that Aerosmith had made a cover of this subject in 1978. Michael Jackson, who was owner of the rights to the songs of the Liverpool Quartetmade his own version that fit like a glove and that was presented for the first time in his film Moonwalkerfrom 1988. It was published as the B-side of the single Remember The Timeand is included on the compilation album history.

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The Lady In My Life (1982) (Thriller)

This Michael Jackson ballad manages to be a simple, sensitive and delicate song, without falling into kitsch or being too ostentatious or sugary (a mistake that Jackson would make with many of his ballads). David Paich and Steve Porcaro (of Toto) handled keyboards, and the late Jeff Porcaro (also of Toto) was their drummer. This is the perfect closing for a perfect album. In 1995, rapper LL Cool J used this theme in his hit hey loveralong with Boyz II Men.

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Unbreakable (2001) (Invincible)

Initially intended as a single but never released as such, this energetic cut of the album invincible It was going to have a music video, according to rumors, directed by George Lucas, in which Michael would jump off a building to become a being of fire. Images are not necessary, since Unbreakable, a theme as strong as it is mechanical, burns by itself. The collaboration with The Notorious BIG is the icing on the cake.

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She Drives Me Wild (1991) (Dangerous)

Just like in the classic Detroit Rock Cityfrom Kiss, Michael starts this song with the noise of a car engine, and talks about a woman who drives him crazy. Never had a King of Pop been heard so full of anger and lust, with a leading voice ripped and full of power. The rap is in charge of the group Wreckx-N-Effect (without credit).

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I Can’t Help It (1979) (Off The Wall)

Michael Jackson not only flirted with rock (guitarists Eddie Van Halen and Slash collaborated with him), he also flirted with jazz, as is evident on this track. In this Stevie Wonder composition, Michael plays with his voice like a child with a new toy. That this theme had not been a success is one of the greatest mysteries of Pop. In 1993, the rappers of De La Soul used it for their single Breakadawnwhich Jackson would later use for his single Break Of Dawnof 2001.

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Baby Be Mine (1982) (Thriller)

The two cuts of the album thriller that were left out of the popularity lists (this and The Lady In My Life), they deserved to be hits. Baby Be Mine It’s a romantic song about desire, with both dreamy and nostalgic arrangements by producer Quincy Jones, Toto musicians, bassist Louis Johnson, the great David Foster and Jackson himself. Baby Be Mine evidence all the sophistication and sense of perfection characteristic of the artist’s music.

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We appreciate the advice of André Didyme-Domeformer director and former programmer of the Javeriana Estéreo Rock Strip, for the production of this special.