Often considered the eccentric “King of Pop,” it should come as no surprise that Michael Jackson would reach out, from beyond the grave, and direct the release of his new album. According to Epic Records, a handwritten note from Jackson was discovered after his death. In the note, Jackson indicated that he wished that the 2007 song, “Hold My Hand” be released as the first single from his new album.
Many Jackson fans are already familiar with “Hold My Hand,” as it was leaked unto the internet in 2008. According to Akon, who performs the song with Michael Jackson, the two were “devastated about it,” as the song was yet unfinished. Now that it’s complete, Akon says “It has become an incredible, beautiful, anthemic song.” “Hold My Hand” was revealed, in it’s completed form, on Michael Jackson’s website Monday at 12:01 a.m. ET.
Michael Jackson’s first album in nine years will be released on December 14th. Titled “Michael,” this 10-track album will include a mixture of songs that Michael worked on recently, as well as some earlier tracks. Sony’s Music has a contract to release 10 more Jackson albums, produced from previously unreleased material, over the next 7 years. This is great news for fans of the late pop idol, who will be able to enjoy more of Jackson’s music, for many years to come.
Top 10 Michael Jackson Songs You Should Know
1. “Billie Jean” – Released in 1983, this is one of Jackson’s most memorable songs, filled with his unique vocal stylings as well as many of his trademark hiccups and howls. Inspired by a real life experience in which a fan accused Michael Jackson of fathering her child, this second single from the “Thriller” album spent 7 weeks at the top of the singles charts.
2. “Black or White” – My daughters grew up listening to this song and loved to dance with the video when they were small. Considered to be the second biggest hit of the King of Pop’s career, “Black and White” was a powerful anthem and a call for racial unity. Featuring a guitar solo by Slash, of Guns n’ Roses fame, and a starring role by child star Macaulay Culkin (of “Home Alone”) in the accompanying video, “Black and White” spent 7 weeks in the number one position on pop charts.
3. “Say Say Say” – Maintaining the #1 spot for 6 weeks, this popular duet with Paul McCartney was the second song Michael Jackson performed with the legendary member of The Beatles (the first being “The Girl is Mine” in 1982). Released in 1983, this was an infectious song and packed a creative video to help it along. I know I drove the local disk jockeys mad, calling in requests for this one.
4. “Beat It” – The third single to be released from the epic album “Thriller,” “Beat It” was a powerful song that featured an amazing guitar solo from Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Released in 1983, it roared onto the charts and became an immediate hit, remaining one of Michael Jackson’s best known songs of all time.
5. “Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson produced many great number one pop hits, but one of the most powerful and inspiring songs he ever wrote was “Man in the Mirror.” Released in 1988, it was the fourth #1 hit from the “Bad” album and was nominated for a Grammy Award for the Record of the Year. The lyrics packed in this song are nothing short of amazing.
6. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” – The first song that granted Michael complete creative control, as both a singer and a songwriter, “Don’t Stop” was released at the end of the disco era and yet has a timeless sound that still keeps it popular today. Mixing lots of great instuments with great vocals, this song supposedly shocked Jackson’s mother, a Jehovah’s Witness, who was surprised by its sexuality.
7. “We Are the World” – No list of top 10 Michael Jackson songs would be complete without the American answer to Band Aid’s “Feed the World (Let Them Know it’s Christmastime).” Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, this amazing song featured American artists that ranged from Bob Dylan to Cyndi Lauper.
8. “I’ll Be There” – While this number was performed by the Jackson 5 and featured both Michael Jackson and his brother, Jermaine, on lead vocals, it’s still considered one of Michael’s most memorable songs. Co-written by Berry Gordy, this would turn out to be the biggest hit for the Jackson 5 and helped to introduce the world to this young musical legend.
9. “Ben” – My daughter is a huge fan of the remake of “Ben,” starring Crispin Glover, but the original film was released in 1972 and featured this self-titled song, performed by Michael Jackson. Despite being a song about a rat, this is a very beautiful and moving piece, with a young Michael Jackson’s voice filled with emotion and yearning that transfers itself to the listener.
10. “Thriller” – Another must-have on any collection of Michael Jackson hits has to be the seventh and final single to be released off Michael Jackson’s record-breaking album “Thriller.” Featuring a voice-over from Hollywood legend Vincent Price, this song features creaking doors, howling in the distance and the sound of creepy footsteps. The mini-movie/video that accompanied it included a cast of dancing zombies that will never be forgotten.
This is but a sampler of the amazing music that Michael Jackson produced during his short lifetime. That we will have the good fortune to hear exciting new releases over the upcoming years is both amazing and uplifting. We look forward to seeing what the King of Pop has in store for us next.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Music/11/15/michael.jackson.single/index.html?section=cnn_latest – Breaking news from CNN about single release
http://www.billboard.com – Billboard – Song information