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Top 10 Most Inspiring Michael Jackson Music Videos

posted by Douglas Howe

MichaelJacksonVideos.jpgBack when making music videos was an art form and a must for anyone hoping for chart-topping releases, Michael Jackson took it to another level. VH1 celebrated him with a full weekend of retrospective videos and provided viewers the chance to post thoughts and memories at vh1.com. It was really worth setting the TiVO for this retrospective. I suspect there will be a rush to buy Michael’s video albums, all of which can be found on Amazon.com.

Working with directors such as John Landis and Michael Scorcese, and co-stars like Eddie Murphy, Iman, Magic Johnson, McCauley Culkin, and Bart and Homer Simpson, many of Jackson’s videos were actually like mini-movies. Here’s my top 10 list of Michael Jackson’s most inspiring videos, with the disclaimer that my top picks aren’t necessarily his most famous ones. [Note: Click on the links below to watch most of the music videos on YouTube.] 

10. “Rock With You” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (Album: Off the Wall) These were the first of his adolescent/adult videos as he stepped out from the child star days of the Jackson 5.

9. “Liberian Girl” (Album: Bad). This is a beautiful song which most have never heard of, with cameos by everyone from John Travolta to Olivia Newton-John, Steven Spielberg to Quincy Jones, Dan Akyroyd to Steve Guttenberg, Whoopie Goldberg to Carl Weathers, Billy Dee Williams to Paula Abdul, and that’s just the beginning of the list.

8. Tie between “Thriller” (Album: Thriller) and “Bad” (Album: Bad). The songs themselves didn’t do much for me but the long version mini-movies were a historic achievement.

7. “Dirty Diana” (Album: Bad). One of the very, very rare pieces of Michael Jackson live concert footage (or at least simulated live concert footage!)

6. Tie between “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” (Album: Thriller). I thought these were better and deeper songs than the over-marketed “Thriller,” and they were great long videos rather than mini-movies.

5. “Earth Song” (Album: HIStory, Past Present and Future, Book 1). One of his latest music projects with substance, if you can call 1995 the latest!

4. Tie between “Jam” and “Who is It” (Album: Dangerous). The former is a pristine video where Michael is at the absolute height of his dance moves–and he’s also shooting hoop with Michael Jordan and looking pretty natural doing it! The latter is sort of a greatest hits compilation of Jackson’s best moves on film, an inspiration for all who rooted for Michael through all his challenges.

3. “Leave Me Alone” (Album: Bad). Perhaps the most honest and autobiographical song Michael ever made, essentially a child-like request from the schoolyard boy to the paparazzi bullies on the playground, with a great tribute to Elizabeth Taylor in the middle of it.

2. “Smooth Criminal, Version 2” (Album: Bad). Great song and greater video, a classy, colorful and sophisticated flick with near flawless choreography and some of the more amazing moves ever seen on TV. There are those who’ve said Michael was more comfortable playing strong and masculine versions of a “Bad” guy, a monster and a criminal in his most notable films. He is at his best and most believable in this one.

1. “We Are The World” (for USA for Africa). The sheer magnitude of this project, the all-star cast of stars from the 70s and 80s, and the cause make this his #1. His charitable work didn’t stop there though, as “Heal the World” (Album: Dangerous) helped to launch his charitable foundation.

 

Honorable Mentions:

- “Black or White (Album: Dangerous) with the controversial (at the time) panther dance.

- “You Are Not Alone” (Album: HIStory, Book 1) with Lisa Marie Presley, the first song to ever debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

- “The Way You Make Me Feel” (Album: Bad), especially the nine and a half minute long version. – “Say, Say Say” with Sir Paul McCartney and “They Don’t Really Care About Us” (Album: HIStory, Pt. 2), a Spike Lee joint.

- “You Rock My World” (Album: “Invincible”) with Marlon Brando, Chris Tucker, and Michael Madsen, a really good mini-film and a nice song, but, unfortunately, this fell during the time when controversies in Michael’s icon-hood overshadowed his 10th studio album.

 

What are your favorite Michael Jackson music videos? What would your top 10 list be?



  • J

    Why done you all let the man rest in peace. You didn’t care while he was living and now you care, now that’s is wrong,wrong,wrong.

  • Marc

    you left out “man in the mirror” and “heal the world”.
    how can “smooth criminal” be inspiring??

  • Your Name

    I just wanted to say that I A up in Christrian home but every now and then I would listen to his music and look at videos. I like Beat It and Thriller, and Remeber the Time, You Rock My World and there were som others I want to name. All of the videos were excellent. I like all the technology and the costumes were outrageous!!!His music was about bringing peace and love to the world. Micheal Jackson is a pop music icon

  • Your Name

    The writer of this blog is clearly not a true fan of MJ. Those of us who are know that you are criticizing some of his best work in your so called ‘Top 10′ and we his real fans know it is impossible to choose between his videos and songs. I know three generations of family that can tell you Thriller is a classic. His talent cannot be matched.

  • Shandra Kinsey

    Michael Jackson was the king of pop, it’s a shame that when someone die they bring out all the bad things. What about all the good things that he did. USA for Africa was one of the things he did, ya’ll didn’t add “Man in the Mirror” in these songs,that was a very uplifting song, and the video was excellent. “Thriller”, I did a dance to that in High School in the 80′s. No one will be able to match his talent. May God be with his family and his 3 kids. Let him rest in peace and the media needs to quit bad mouthing him. MICHAEL JACKSON YOU WILL BE MISSED!!!!!

  • Katja

    One of his best videos was “Scream”, his duet with Janet. It’s about how the rumors and gossip make them want to scream. Very futuristic vid. It was made in 1995 but looks brand new in 2009.

  • Becky

    I agree about the Scream video and I saw where it was one of the most expensive of his videos to make also. I loved all of his videos and music. I just can’t believe he is gone. He will be missed and there will never be another like him. His music, his singing, dance moves, just not enough words to describe how I feel, only that my heart hurts and I feel so bad for his loneliness throughout his life. He deserved to have hapiness and his father should be put in his place when it comes to this album name that he is already talking about and also should have no contact with Michael’s children. He’s the reason for most of michael’s problems and I sure hope he is stopped before his greed gets too far gone. He said nothing about being sad for the loss of his son – only that they lost a super star and then went on about a record label…..how sad is that? I feel sorry for Mrs. Jackson also. May God let her live long enough to enjoy the lives of her grandchildren and give them some hapiness and where are the other siblings that are young and could be helping these kids? This is such as sad family. I said a prayer for Michael and I will for the children and family, as well. I hope and pray that his legacy lives on and that his dad doesn’t embarrass Michael any more than he already has by his selfishness and greed and let him Rest In Peace now. What a tragic ending to a life of a great humanitarian and a wonderful musician and in my book, a beautiful soul.
    God Bless, Becky

  • Your Name

    It is so tragic that Michael is dead . The world will mourn him forever.I remember the first time that I saw him perform He was so cute with his brothers.Now he is standing up there saying I made it.Hey People I am with my father in heaven. He was a wonderful pop icon. But I believe that he was a very lonely man.And because of that I felt sorry for him. My prayers go out to his family and children especially.What a sad moment for poor little Paris when she said that she just loved him so much,and how she cried! Michael You will never be forgotten The world Loves you!
    I pray that you look down on your children Lisa

  • Chasic

    My favorite Michael Jackson music video is “Will You Be There?” It was also featured in the first Free Willy movie. The day that Michael Jackson died, I watched the news about him on CNN. The information was overwhelming for me. I went to my computer and found myself searching for the “Will You Be There?” video. This video showed the spiritual side of Michael Jackson especially when he was praying at the end.
    He is safely resting in the arms of Jesus.
    RIP Michael! Jesus loves you very much.

  • Edna Patti

    I am so very sorry for Michael Jackson’s family. May God be their comfort. Especially his children
    If Michael was a Christian and beiieved in God, he is with Him now. No
    more pain or sorrow for Michael.I believe he was a wonderful singer, and I know he will be sorely missed. REST IN PEACE,MICHAEL and may GOD BLESS youe family.

  • Michael Jackson Tips

    Michael Jackson’s Birthday Tribute! All his Best Videos in HD! http://su.pr/1g3fGG

  • Anne

    Stranger in Moscow isn’t on there. >:|
    That video is super inspiring.

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