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Ranking Michael Jackson's music videos of the '80s: 'Liberian Girl' to 'Thriller'




It's been a year, Michael, and scarcely a day goes by when we don't all think of you. Sometimes it's because your family is battling in the newspaper headlines. Other times, it's because one of your classic tunes comes on the radio.

But usually, it's when we see your music videos, the greatest gifts you left behind. It's hard to watch any of them today without a swelling of sadness inside. We wonder what could have been.

In the meantime, I offer this humble ranking. It's your music videos from the '80s, of course, and I even included a few gems from the late '70s. I'm sure you'd disagree with some of the placements.

Most importantly, I wish for you the peace you rarely had on Earth.


17. LIBERIAN GIRL (1989): It features more star cameos than Oscar night, but they're sadly wasted on a song and video that doesn't stick with you 30 seconds after it's over. Watch it

16. COME TOGETHER (1988): From the Moonwalker movie. It's one thing to buy the Beatles catalog, another to cover one of their classics. Watch it

15. SPEED DEMON (1988): Remember Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park? Moonwalker and its videos are worse. Watch it

(1988): Half live, half music video. Pretty typical '80s video plot, which is beneath M.J. Watch it

13. THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL (1987): Another bloated video featuring Michael, a girl and an alley. Great song though. Watch it

12. ROCK WITH YOU (1979): I love cheesy laser effects and disco strings. I make no apologies. And if I could fit into Michael's sparkly outfit and sway my hips that way, I'd be one happy man. Watch it

11. BAD (1987): Blasphemy to put this in the middle of the list, but I never was a huge fan of the song or the video. It's too much like Beat It, and I still picture Weird Al's Fat when I watch it. Watch it

10. BILLIE JEAN (1983): A classic yes, but look more carefully and, aside from the lighted sidewalk, what really appeals to you? Watch it

9. SAY SAY SAY (1983): It has a BEATLE IN IT! M.J. and Paul McCartney could be drowning puppies and I wouldn't care. Watch it

8. ANOTHER PART OF ME (1988): From M.J.'s Disney attraction Captain EO, the music video combines EO and live footage. A song that doesn't get enough airplay for sure. Watch it

(1980): Before M.J. made the best music videos this planet will ever see, he made the simplest ones. And sometimes that's perfect. Especially for this weeper. Watch it

6. DON'T STOP TIL YOU GET ENOUGH (1979): Nothing captures the turn of the decade like this time capsule. Big bow tie. Blurry video background. And M.J. just being M.J. Now I know where I learned to dance. Watch it

5. MAN IN THE MIRROR (1988): Good luck finding the original video, which scarcely features Jackson. Instead it shows a variety of historical figures who made a difference. Watch it

4. LEAVE ME ALONE (1989): The most irritating song on this list, by far, but topical, especially today. Watch it

3. BEAT IT (1983): Impossible to find online, but that's okay, you know it by heart. So instead, here's the Weird Al version, which is freaking brilliant. Watch it

2. SMOOTH CRIMINAL (1988): Easily one of my favorite videos of all time. The song is overproduced, but this video makes up for it. Watch it

1. THRILLER (1983): As if you had to ask. Watch it

[Last modified: Friday, June 25, 2010 10:30am]


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