Updated:
Original:
Year
1996

Michael Jackson earns his 12th and final solo #1 with “You Are Not Alone”

Billboard Hot 100.

Jackson’s incredible run of chart-topping hits began in 1972 with the release of his fifth single, “Ben,” from the motion picture of the same name. A touching ballad about a sensitive boy’s devotion to a rat, “Ben” may seem a strange pop-cultural artifact in retrospect, but it raised few eyebrows at the time, when it made Jackson the third-youngest recording artist (after Stevie Wonder and Donny Osmond) to earn a solo #1 hit. It would be another seven years before Jackson again reached the top of the pop charts, but when he did, it marked the beginning of a 10-year run as great as any in pop history.

“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock With You” were Jackson’s second and third #1 hits, both from the Quincy Jones-produced 1979 album Off The Wall, a triumphant release that would be dwarfed by the success of the 1982 follow-up album, Thriller. Thriller yielded Jackson’s fourth and fifth chart-topping hits in “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” while becoming one of the biggest-selling albums of all time and causing Time magazine to call Michael Jackson “A one-man rescue team for the music business.” Five years later, Jackson anointed himself the “King of Pop” and released the album Bad, which gave him his sixth through 10th #1s with “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror” and “Dirty Diana.” “Black or White,” from the album Dangerous, became his 11th chart-topper in 1991.

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