The 100 Greatest Song Writers Of All Time – MJ #34

Sources: Rolling Stone | All Things Michael


Jackson’s innate musical genius could be heard on the earliest Jackson 5 chart-toppers. And he came into his own with the sterling disco pop of 1979’s Off the Wall and the monumental Thriller, where he got sole writing credit on “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” By Bad in 1987, he was getting a writing credit on nearly every song on the record. Jackson’s collaborators and co-writers marvel at the way his dance-floor classics sprang full-formed from their creator’s head. That, Michael said, was the only way he could write: “If I sat down at a piano, if I sat here and played some chords. . .nothing happens.” Even more remarkably, the singer imagined the full arrangements for these songs as he wrote them, working from the basic rhythmic elements all the way up to the smallest ornamentations. “He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part,” engineer Rob Hoffman recalls. “Had it all in his head; harmony and everything. Not just little eight-bar loop ideas. He would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills.”

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4 thoughts on “The 100 Greatest Song Writers Of All Time – MJ #34

  1. Michael was one of the most prolific songwriters of the 20th century & for 3 decades wrote countless iconic songs known the world over. Thanks to copious books, blogs & academic studies people are finally rejecting the tabloid garbage to realise how complex, powerful and visionary Michael was. A shame RS still hasn’t evolved that far.
    FTR, couldn’t agree more on Dylan but then he’s been RS’s god forever.

    • Not to mention that Michael is named by nearly every singer, dancer and entertainer as their idol and model for inspiration. I never hear them mention Dylan or any of others, yet they always at the top of RS and NME’s lists.

  2. How did I know that the Stones, the Beatles, Dylan and Springsteen – among dozens of others – would beat Michael out? Because it’s Rolling Rocker Stone. I gave up a long time ago on any of their polls. Their anti-MJ bias is so obvious that their credibility is zero. Just sayin…
    (not upset w/ you, of course. 🙂

    • No I agree. In fact, the entire list is bull in how they are ranked. There are far more superior songwriters than Bob Dylan. Songwriting ability aside, I’ve never cared for his voice. The same singers you mentioned always get such high praise, but none of them have ever beat Thriller in album sales and never will. I waited a day before I finally decided to post it because they didn’t shade Michael….at least this time.

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