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Readers’ Poll: 5 Best Michael Jackson Songs

See which hit beat “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” for the top spot

Michael Jackson

Cliff Schiappa/AP

Michael Jackson's catalog is stuffed to the gills with megahits—heartrending ballads, funk-tinged dancefloor anthems, fusions of soul and rock that helped move pop forward. Rolling Stone's readers selected these five as his best.  

Readers' Poll: 5 Best Michael Jackson Songs
1

“Man in the Mirror”

A sparkling, gospel-tinged mantra of self-betterment that could be seen as the phrase "the personal is political" being transformed into a song, "Man in the Mirror" remains an inspirational touchstone of Jackson's catalog. Composed by Siedah Garrett (who dueted with Jackson on the Bad ballad "I Just Can't Stop Loving You") and Glen Ballard (whose production credits include Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" and Alanis Morrissette's "Jagged Little Pill")," "Man in the Mirror" spent two weeks at Number One on the Hot 100 after its initial release in 1988, and it reached Number Two on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart after Jackson's death in 2009. Jackson's vocal interplay with his backing vocalists, which include Garrett, the gospel group the Winans, and a choir conducted by American gospel pioneer Andraé Crouch, gives the song emotional heft that resonates nearly three decades after its initial release.