This page lists the album chart runs of Michael Jackson. A list of songs by Michael Jackson can be found here. The albums are listed with the most widely successful first.
From the hype put out by his record company and fans one might have thought that Michael Jackson was at least in the top 10 artists of all time. He had what is probably the world's biggest selling album, was the greatest song act in 1983 and the greatest album act in 1982. However his second biggest album was outside the all-time top 100. However despite his long career, he failed to have consistent hits, his years at the very top were really quite limited. His high position in the list of artists is clearly an artifact of the chart data available. He was, of course, one of the The Jackson 5.
In addition to the above listed albums Michael Jackson also contributed to the following entries:
Previous Comments (newest first)
24 Jan 2018
Double Listing - The Essential
#10 & #46 are the same.
Data fixed, thanks
27 Sep 2016
Double Listing - This Is It
#7 & #17 are the same.
Data fixed, thanks
9 Feb 2016
Neil Diamond v Michael Jackson
Could expand or explain on Elvis Presley's hits or gold records. I confess I am not sure which era is which anymore but he and/ or Neil Diamond must surly be on a list BEFORE Michael Jackson! They certainly have more voice range than Michael ever did to my mind!
2 May 2015
I have no problem with the facts
It is true that Michael Jackson had a very very small discography - I mean only 5 studio albums in 3 decades. He released 1 album every 5 years and that's why he 'seems' to be less successful than 2 or 3 more artists during his peak decade. However, you do not apparently consider chart runs per /attendance into account either. Neither the awards. Nor the viewership.
To say that Michael Jackson was a one hit wonder is pure and utter ignorance. Bad was the first album to have 5 hot 100 #1s - the only one for more than 2 decades. It sold more than 25 million records (confirmed sales only ) while Dangerous sold more than 23 million records (confirmed sales only that means estimates are not taken into account) worldwide making the latter the best selling new jack swing album of all time. His HIStory album was another big hit, selling more than 15 million albums (confirmed sales only) worldwide and is the best selling double album of all time. Blood on the dance floor with more than 4.5 million records sold worldwide (again confirmed sales only) remains the best selling remix album of all time. He sold out 50 concerts in 2009 in the O2 arena - 1 million tickets in less than 6 hours.
Now I do believe his record sales are exaggerated - but not unlike theBeatles' and Elvis' (1 billion and 1.5 billion records sold respectively which are much more laughable). No one gives a damn about them but MJ.. Everyone likes to gang up on MJ. I would advise you to tone down the way you discredit MJ fans because they take a lot of things into account. (Not just talking about the hype - but the facts as well ;) )
At no time have we ever claimed that Michael Jackson was a "one hit wonder", our ranking places him in the all time top 20 artists of all time. He did participate in two "one hit wonder" acts, "Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson" (whose sole hit was "Scream") and "The Jackson 5, Mick Jagger & Michael Jackson" (whose sole hit was "State of Shock").
We have never targeted MJ fans. We welcome any discussion that uses reasonable facts to support an argument and presents it in an articulate way, such as your post above.
We do, however, strongly dislike those that makes ridiculous claims without justification and anyone that insults us, threatens us or tells us without justification, for example, that our results are "the most ridiculously stupid list ever", anyone who behaves like that deserves to be ridiculed. Unfortunately badly behaved posters (to this site at least) seem to cluster round certain acts (MJ being one, but by no means the only one).
We hope to discredit anyone that is ignorant, aggressive or wrong, whoever they are a fan of.
18 Jan 2015
DoDouble Listing - The Essential Michael Jackson
#11 & #14 are the same.
Data fixed, thanks
11 Jul 2011
I fail to understand why the Beatles and Elvis Presley and a myriad of other early artists are in the listing at all.
The inclusion of these causes light to blind speculation. Personally, I would recognise the contribution of Crosby, Presley or the Beatles, but should not attempt to calculate number of hits.
I would personally select a decade where there were more charts to top. As a person with no skills or the where with all to conduct such research, I would suggest 1970 as a starting point.
As always the research done here is inherently biased towards certain artists, but then again all lists are biased, as you rightly pointed out.
Though, I can't seem to find the website. I read somewhere that the unexaggerated sales of Jackson's Thriller was around 69.1 million. I am certain it was between 60-70 million and somewhat certain that it was the late 60's. Now, I didn't find out how that figure was found out. Anyway, it seems to correspond comewhat with your range.
Before the 1950s most people got their music from the radio and movies. The fact that there were few record sales and no contemporary regular charts doesn't mean that Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong had no success, it just makes measuring it a challenge. Remember also that a significant proportion of all the music sold in 2010 was first recorded before CDs existed, the success of the Beatles on iTunes shows that.
We have more than 20 charts available for every year since 1938, from 1955 to 2008 there are more than 50 charts each year, and no single year has more than 130 charts. Now some of the charts from the 1940s are pretty unreliable, however combining them together increases the reliability of the results. Our estimate is that combining the results of 7 charts at least doubles the reliability of the results. So depending on how much potential error we're willing to tolerate we could start serious analysis in 1920, 1938 or 1955. Starting after 1967 (when 100 charts were available) would not significantly increase the reliability of the results.
The two largest English speaking music markets (the US and UK) both had established weekly charts by 1958, combined together those two have been responsible for about 50% of all music revenue for each of the last 10 years (at least). We can see good arguments for starting analysis in 1952 (the year regular charts started in the UK), 1955 (the year record sales took off in the USA) or 1958 (the year the Billboard chart became fully established).
Starting any analysis in 1970, the year that the Beatles broke up, would seem to us to be a strange approach. But if that makes sense to you, the go for it, the spreadsheet data is available here, if you find any interesting results we'd be happy to hear about them.
As for the sales numbers, our experience has been that all the estimates of sales volumes which quote actual sources end up with similar numbers for the sales of "Thriller". People that use the higher number usually do so without providing any justification for this extraordinary claim.
10 Apr 2010
Michael Jackson was undeniably the biggest and most successful artist of the 80s! Why is he at #4?? His album Thriller sold 100 million copies and become the biggest selling album of all time! He also won 8 Grammy awards in a single night. Also he released Bad in '87 which was very successful. And I think he should have been mentioned in the 90s section. This is the most ridiculously stupid list I've ever seen. It was made by someone that knows nothing about this.
No, despite your outburst, by our metrics Michael Jackson was not the most successful artist of the 1980s. While he had some years of enormous success he failed to sustain it, for example he had no solo hits in 1985.
In our lists Michael Jackson is the 9th placed artist of the 1990s, we feel that qualifies as "being mentioned".
Thriller may have been the biggest selling album of all time, however quoting the widely discredited 100 million sales claim just confirms that are not being objective in your comments.
On this site actual facts are more important than mere opinion, and by that we mean anyone's opinion including our own.
The decade rankings were calculated with data from external sources that can be easily verified and the metrics used are clearly described. The calculation is automated and cannot be "adjusted" for any reason.
If you disagree with the result you either feel that the data is in some way invalid or that the metrics are unfairly emphasising particular acts. Tell us which data is wrong or which alternate metric should be used, then we'll take your comments seriously.
Saying this is the "most ridiculously stupid list I've ever seen" just makes you sound like a petulant teenager (except of course few modern teenagers are Michael Jackson fans)
24 Nov 2009
Am I seeing something wrong? I count 4 Jackson albums in your top 100. I don't see that many from any other artist, of course I just tabbed thru quickly.
You raise an interesting point. We feel that the "standard" list is too heavily dependant on the input charts that are available. There are about 4 times as many entries for the 1980s as there are for the 1960s, so more recent music is scored too highly.
So when contrasting acts and releases across the years we feel that it is better to compensate for this modern bias. The "real list" of top albums adjusts the scores to give what we feel is a better comparison across the years. In this list Michael Jackson has an entry at number 2, his next album is at number 47.
There are some good reasons for not adopting this approach for the standard lists. The way this adjustment is made works well for acts and releases that are at the top of the list. But it is not clear that it works so well for later, less widely supported, entries. In addition the simplicity of the standard score makes the standard list more transparent. Also it could be argued that the larger number of entries after 1980 reflect the fact that more people are interested in that era, hence music from then should be over emphasised.
In the standard list Michael Jackson does have four albums in the top 100, however The Beatles, Madonna and U2 all have six. If we were to believe that this list was a good measure of success then "REM" (with two entries) would have to rate better than The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Radiohead, Dire Straits and Guns & Roses (who all have just one). We suspect there are few people that would be prepared to argue for that view.
Of course you are free to disagree with our analysis, that is why we make the standard data available in CSV form. If you have a different way to summarise the data that illustrates an alternate view we would be interested to hear from you.
5 Sep 2009
Artist of 1980.
Michael Jackson should be the most successful artist of the 1980s having produced the most successful albums of all time. He also holds a record in the Guinness Book of World Records as The Most Successful of All Time.
First of all by any reasonable criteria Michael Jackson certainly didn't produce more than one album in the all time top 10, so the when you say "albums" you should rather use the word "album".
Secondly having the most successful album of an era is just one of the measures that are used here. Michael Jackson had 2 songs in the "1980s 100 songs" list, against Madonna's 5. He had 2 albums in the "1980s 100 albums" list, against Madonna's 3.
Finally even if we agreed that Michael Jackson's position in the "top artists of the 1980s" was too low we couldn't directly do anything about it within the rules of the website. The way that "success" is measured here is clearly defined and strictly follows a mechanical process, no-one gets to "adjust" the values later whatever their opinions. Even if one of the administrators wanted to boost his rating they couldn't, the best they could do would be to change the scoring mechanism. Prince, Madonna and U2 all had more number 1s in more countries than Michael Jackson in the 1980s, that is why they end up higher.