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“She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one”

#30 Billie Jean Michael Jackson

[516] Writer: Michael Jackson. Producer: Quincy Jones
29 Jan 83 – 15 weeks on chart – #1 for one week from 05 Mar 83

Twenty down, thirty to go, and from now on there are no tied positions. Hurrah! Your World Of Chig Top 30 countdown starts here…and there will be more featured top tens, worst number ones and other stuff coming up very soon.

I wonder how many people would swear blind that ‘Billie Jean’ was number one for ages, but it wasn’t. In fact, its solitary week at the top was the only week that any of the six singles from ‘Thriller’ achieved in the UK, despite the album’s legendary success.

‘Billie Jean’ knocked off Kajagoogoo’s ‘Too Shy’ after two weeks on top, in its sixth week on the chart. The ‘Thriller’ album had been out for six weeks and this single was no instant success. It entered somewhere lower than #40, climbing #20, #17, #5, #2 and #1. But in the week that Jacko finally made #1, Bonnie Tyler was bounding up from #14 to #2 on only her second week in the top 40, so Michael was doomed. We’ve already seen Bonnie in our countdown, at #39, so this completes the first pair of consecutive #1s to make our Top 50. There are three such pairs which have made it, and we’ve had one track each from the other two so far.

The very same day that 'Billie Jean' made the top 40 was also the first time Prince did the same, as '1999' popped into the chart for a preparatory run, before being a really big hit the next year.

'Billie Jean' was also a US #1. In the UK, it was Michael’s second solo number one, out of seven so far (plus co-writing and singing on USA for Africa’s ‘We Are The World’). I say ‘so far’, but it’s hard to predict when his next will come – certainly not from his last album, 'Invincible' as the second single from it, 'Cry' didn’t even make the top 20, and the first, 'You Rock My World', was perceived as a huge failure because it didn't make #1. Jacko’s first solo #1 had been nearly two years before, with 'One Day In Your Life'. As a family group, The Jacksons had hit #1 just once, in June 1977, with ‘Show You The Way To Go’.

Michael is the seventh most successful UK chart act in terms of weeks on chart, some way behind Madonna (and about to fall even further behind next month when 'Die Another Day' enters at #1) and just ahead of Rod Stewart.

Will we be seeing Jacko again in our countdown?

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