5. Wanna Be Startin’ Something by Akon (f. MJ)
Stripping it down to the bare minimum, Akon (yes, the Smack That rapper) brought something new to Wanna Be Startin’ Something that had never been heard before — the lyrics.
Powerful words from Micahel Jackson are hard to miss, but on Wanna Be Startin’ Something, the King of Pop flies through the song’s prose so quickly, its power is lost. But who cares when you’re dancing your tail off?
Akon proves the man’s more than a hip-hop star on his Michael Jackson cover. By slowing the song down and illustrating the lyrics in the song’s infancy, Akon has done something for himself as well in the process — shown that he has fantastic vocal prowess while simultaneously paying tribute to Michael Jackson.
4. Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm
Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm is certainly the gold standard among Michael Jackson covers. Alien Ant Farm did not miss a beat in their cover of Smooth Criminal. Catching the songs’ unmistakably catchy riff, Alien Ant Farm brings a hard rocking dance hit to another level.
Think these guys were influenced by Michael Jackson? Just check out the many Michael moments throughout the video.
3. Chris Cornell does Billie Jean
Chris Cornell’s version of Billie Jean began as an underground sensation. Then, after what Cornell described as “a pull I couldn’t resist,” he recorded the track and the rest is history.
2. Beat It by Fall Out Boy
Michael Jackson has said of Beat It that he wrote it to be the type of rock song he wanted to hear. That it ended up being one of Jackson’s biggest hits is no mistake — America loves rock n’ roll.
Who else knows rock n’ roll? Pete Wentz and his bandmates in Fall Out Boy. Their cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It is one for the ages. It may not be the best of the best (it is difficult to better a classic), but Fall Out Boy manages to capture the Jackson spirit in melody and mind.
1. I’ll be there by Mariah Carey
Expecting something else?
When Mariah Carey put the Jackson 5 smash I’ll Be There on her Unplugged CD, the song had come full circle. I’ll Be There was one of the first songs that Carey adored and inspired her to become a singer.
Fast forward two decades and her recording of Jackson’s I’ll Be There spent weeks atop the Billboard charts and became a staple in Carey’s live performances. The fact that she opened the Michael Jackson memorial with the best cover of a Michael Jackson song is no accident. Jackson himself has said repeatedly that Carey’s vocal brilliance makes him proud to share that song.
Because we love this song and KT Tunstall is the bomb!
KT Tunstall, I Want You Back
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