9. You Are Not Alone (1995)

Michael Jackson You Are Not Alone Single Cover

This track was composed by R&B star R.Kelly who, after presenting the demo to Jackson, co-produced it with him before later covering it himself. It appeared on MJ's 'HIStory' album and earned him a Grammy nomination on its release and while it peaked at number one in several countries, the UK particularly favoured it with 2 weeks atop the charts. It's a beautiful song with a touching message, but it hasn't been without controversy. Aside from regularly being criticized for the video's scenes of semi-nudity with him and his then wife Lisa Marie Presley, it has also been the subject of plagiarism when Belgian composers Eddy and Danny Van Passel accused R.Kelly of stealing their tune. The court passed a judgement whereby the rights for the track were given to the Van Passels and any airplay of the MJ track was banned, however it is a verdict that is only recognised in that country.
Watch the video for You Are Not Alone

8. Beat It (1983)

Michael Jackson Beat It Single Cover

'Beat It' has to be Jackson's biggest rock song of his career. Featuring on his 'Thriller' record, the song includes a guitar solo from Van Halen's Eddie Van Halen and is often lauded as a pioneer in 'black rock' music. It won MJ two Grammy awards and helped him achieve a top 5 position on the charts at the same time as 'Billie Jean' which is a particularly rare feat. The song remained at number one for 3 weeks in the US plus a further week in Spain. One of the most shocking things about this seminal hit is the video which he had feature around 80 real members of notorious rival gangs the Crips and the Bloods to not only add realism, but also to make some kind of peace among them just like the song suggests. 'Beat It' has been covered many times, most notably by rock bands Fall Out Boy and Pierce the Veil. will.i.am remixed it for 'Thriller 25', but it was not much liked by critics.
Watch the video for Beat It

7. Ben (1972)

Michael Jackson Ben Single Cover

'Ben' was MJ's first ever number one solo hit, recorded when he was just 14 for the film of the same name. It was originally written for Donny Osmond to sing, but he was unavailable due to touring commitments. But Jackson surprised everyone by winning a Golden Globe for the track and hitting number one for one week in the US plus a further 8 weeks in Australia. Notable covers of the song feature on Boyzone's album 'A Different Beat' and Connie Talbot's 'Over The Rainbow' album; Faith No More even performed it on their tour while many parodies have also been made including on 'The Simpsons' and 'The Wayans Bros.'.

It may come as a surprise to some that 'Ben' is above 'Beat It' on our list, but we would like to note that while the US gave the latter 3 weeks atop the charts, Australia knocked it below 'Ben' when it achieved massive popularity overseas.
Watch the video for Ben

6. Rock With You (1979)

Michael Jackson Rock With You Single Cover

Not as well-known as some of his major hits, but much loved among many devoted fans, this was widely seen as one of the last big disco hits. It appeared on his 'Off the Wall' album and was written by Rod Temperton from Heatwave who also wrote 'Thriller'. As well as being re-released in 2006, it continues to be covered by a variety of artists including Brandy, Chuck Loeb and Ashanti with Chris Brown, Kelly Clarkson and Mariah Carey also performing it on tour. It topped the charts for 4 weeks in the US and 1 week in Spain.
Watch the video for Rock With You

5. Earth Song (1995)

Michael Jackson Earth Song Video

'Earth Song', from album 'HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I', is the biggest number one hit for Jackson in the UK topping the charts for 6 weeks but it surprisingly failed to chart at all in the US. MJ had a history of releasing songs of global importance (such as 'Heal the World', 'Man in the Mirror' and 'Beat It' as we've mentioned) but 'Earth Song' has got to be the first that directly addressed the issues of environment and animal cruelty. The video was a thought-provoking montage shot in four regions and won Jackson a Grammy nomination in 1997. It has been covered by the band Fossils and by Charice & Ne-Yo and remains one of Europe's Michael Jackson favourites.
Watch the video for Earth Song

Next page: 'Billie Jean', 'Black or White' and others