Number Ones

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Walmart #: 000793541
Number Ones
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About this item

Since Michael Jackson botched his first hits collection by pairing it with a new album of material in a double-disc set, making it considerably less attractive for those legions of listeners who want just a single disc of hits, it's both inevitable and welcome that he attempted another compilation a few years later. This second collection, Number Ones, was released in the wake of the 2000 blockbuster Beatles 1, which rewrote the rules of modern-day hits collections from major artists, since it not only contained a generous, representative cross section of hits, it had a specific focus and did gangbuster business. An avalanche of similar-minded compilations by other titans followed, notably Elvis' 30 #1 Hits and the Rolling Stones' Forty Licks, and MJ's Number Ones is part of that wave. For some artists, sticking to number one hits isn't a bad way to make a collection -- the Beatles are a perfect example, actually, since even if 1 didn't contain such seminal items as "Strawberry Fields Forever," it still offered a full, representative portrait of their career. Jackson doesn't fare so well by the number one rule. First of all, he doesn't strictly follow the number one rule, leaving behind the number one hit duet "Say Say Say" with Paul McCartney, substituting a 1981 live version of "Ben" for the original hit, adding "Break of Dawn," an Invincible album cut never released as a single, and including "Thriller," "Smooth Criminal," and "Earth Song," none of which hit number one, and the latter wasn't even released as a single in the U.S. (there is, of course, the requisite previously unreleased song, the OK slow jam "One More Chance"). Then, there's the fact that Thriller changed the business, inaugurating the era of the blockbuster album that rode the charts for years, spinning off hit singles every quarter. Thriller generated tons of hits -- six of its nine tracks hit the charts, but only two of them hit number one. Its successor, Bad, had seven of its 11 songs hit the charts (one other, the CD bonus cut "Leave Me Alone," was a staple on MTV), and of those, five peaked at number one. So, by sticking to number ones, and adding "Smooth Criminal," this collection skews very heavily toward Bad, at times playing like an expanded reissue with bonus tracks. This may be a fairly accurate reading of chart positions, but it doesn't result in a particularly representative collection, since the brilliant Off the Wall is granted only two songs, leaving behind such charting hits as "Off the Wall" and "She's Out of My Life" (both gold singles, mind you), and Thriller is represented by only three tracks, with such defining songs as "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Human Nature," "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)," and "The Girl Is Mine" being left behind. These two albums are the core of Jackson's legacy, and it simply feels wrong that Number Ones gives them short shrift. Dangerous also is neglected, providing just one selection, when on the whole it had far more memorable songs than HIStory or Invincible. But these problems are inherent with any collection that concentrates just on the charts, not the music that got the songs on the charts in the first place. And while Number Ones contains enough of the big songs to recommend it for those listeners who are looking just for a cross section of the biggest hits from Jackson's career, it is also true that the perfect Michael Jackson hits collection has yet to be assembled. Maybe next time, particularly if he's granted an entry into Sony's generally excellent The Essentials series. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

About this item

Since Michael Jackson botched his first hits collection by pairing it with a new album of material in a double-disc set, making it considerably less attractive for those legions of listeners who want just a single disc of hits, it's both inevitable and welcome that he attempted another compilation a few years later. This second collection, Number Ones, was released in the wake of the 2000 blockbuster Beatles 1, which rewrote the rules of modern-day hits collections from major artists, since it not only contained a generous, representative cross section of hits, it had a specific focus and did gangbuster business. An avalanche of similar-minded compilations by other titans followed, notably Elvis' 30 #1 Hits and the Rolling Stones' Forty Licks, and MJ's Number Ones is part of that wave. For some artists, sticking to number one hits isn't a bad way to make a collection -- the Beatles are a perfect example, actually, since even if 1 didn't contain such seminal items as "Strawberry Fields Forever," it still offered a full, representative portrait of their career. Jackson doesn't fare so well by the number one rule. First of all, he doesn't strictly follow the number one rule, leaving behind the number one hit duet "Say Say Say" with Paul McCartney, substituting a 1981 live version of "Ben" for the original hit, adding "Break of Dawn," an Invincible album cut never released as a single, and including "Thriller," "Smooth Criminal," and "Earth Song," none of which hit number one, and the latter wasn't even released as a single in the U.S. (there is, of course, the requisite previously unreleased song, the OK slow jam "One More Chance"). Then, there's the fact that Thriller changed the business, inaugurating the era of the blockbuster album that rode the charts for years, spinning off hit singles every quarter. Thriller generated tons of hits -- six of its nine tracks hit the charts, but only two of them hit number one. Its successor, Bad, had seven of its 11 songs hit the charts (one other, the CD bonus cut "Leave Me Alone," was a staple on MTV), and of those, five peaked at number one. So, by sticking to number ones, and adding "Smooth Criminal," this collection skews very heavily toward Bad, at times playing like an expanded reissue with bonus tracks. This may be a fairly accurate reading of chart positions, but it doesn't result in a particularly representative collection, since the brilliant Off the Wall is granted only two songs, leaving behind such charting hits as "Off the Wall" and "She's Out of My Life" (both gold singles, mind you), and Thriller is represented by only three tracks, with such defining songs as "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Human Nature," "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)," and "The Girl Is Mine" being left behind. These two albums are the core of Jackson's legacy, and it simply feels wrong that Number Ones gives them short shrift. Dangerous also is neglected, providing just one selection, when on the whole it had far more memorable songs than HIStory or Invincible. But these problems are inherent with any collection that concentrates just on the charts, not the music that got the songs on the charts in the first place. And while Number Ones contains enough of the big songs to recommend it for those listeners who are looking just for a cross section of the biggest hits from Jackson's career, it is also true that the perfect Michael Jackson hits collection has yet to be assembled. Maybe next time, particularly if he's granted an entry into Sony's generally excellent The Essentials series. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

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Specifications

Artist: Michael Jackson
Studio Label: CD
Edited: N
Format: CD
Enhanced: N
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 11/18/2003
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.19
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 0.4 x 5.02 x 6.22
Walmart No.: 793541
UPC: 0069699889982
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Track Listing

1. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
2. Rock with You
3. Billie Jean
4. Beat It
5. Thriller
6. I Just Can't Stop Loving You - Featuring Siedah Garrett
7. Bad
8. Smooth Criminal
9. The Way You Make Me Feel
10. Man in the Mirror
11. Dirty Diana
12. Black or White
13. You Are Not Alone
14. Earth Song
15. You Rock My World
16. Break of Dawn
17. One More Chance
18. Ben
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Customer reviews

Customer Reviews | 96 reviews | 4.8 out of 5

5.0 stars

96 reviews | 4.8 out of 5

5.0 stars

96 reviews | 4.8 out of 5

96%
Would recommend to a friend
5 stars
82
4 stars
8
3 stars
4
2 stars
1
1 stars
1
1-5 of 60 total reviews
96%
Would recommend to a friend

Age

Gender

Great Mix of MJ's songs
7/9/2009

Customer review by bab1984

5.0 stars 7/9/2009 by bab1984
by bab1984

I really liked this cd. The price was great. A really good mix of MJ's songs. He will be missed!! What talent!

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bab1984
sardis oh
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Age:35 - 44
Ownership:1 week or less
Gender:Female
Usage:Every day
King of Pop
8/20/2009

Customer review by Horselover1951

5.0 stars 8/20/2009 by Horselover1951
by Horselover1951

The CD is great! It was not long before I received it. I will have this CD for ever.

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Horselover1951
Nassau New York
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Age:55 - 64
Ownership:2 - 7 weeks
Gender:Female
Usage:Every few days
A MUST HAVE
7/9/2009

Customer review by kipb

5.0 stars 7/9/2009 by kipb
by kipb

Micheal Jackson was in a word GREATNESS Respect his legacy and buy

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kipb
LOUISINA
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Age:35 - 44
Ownership:1 week or less
Gender:Male
Usage:A few times per year
11/23/2009

Customer review by katzmom114

5.0 stars 11/23/2009 by katzmom114
by katzmom114

great for a colector

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katzmom114
moyock nc
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Age:45 - 54
Ownership:2 - 7 weeks
Gender:Female
Usage:Every few days
10/2/2009

Customer review by MsBear1

5.0 stars 10/2/2009 by MsBear1
by MsBear1

A great gift. it is so nice I had to buy it twice.

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MsBear1
Miami, FL
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Age:45 - 54
Ownership:2 - 7 weeks
Gender:Female
Usage:Every few days
1-5 of 60 total reviews See all
1-5 of 60 reviews

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