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Concerts Pop

10 Duets, Covers, and Tributes Commemorating Michael Jackson

June 25, 2015 by Will

Michael Jackson Videos

The world lost Michael Jackson six years ago today, and on the anniversary of his death, fans around the world remember his unforgettable role in shaping modern music. Jackson created 11 solo albums, won 13 GRAMMYs, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; but it’s his soulful voice, honest lyrics, and mind-bending dance moves that resonate with musicians and fans alike.

In recognition of Jackson’s legacy, we’ve gathered videos of some of our favorite musical tributes to the late, great “King of Pop.”

Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney: “Say Say Say” (1983)
This collaboration between two of 20th century music’s biggest legends became a No. 1 hit when it debuted in 1983. Featuring an unlikely combination of jangling guitar, horns, harmonica, synthesizers, and jaunty percussion, this single proved that the two stars’ distinctive styles could play nice.



Willie Nelson: “She’s Out of My Life” (1984)
One year later, Willie Nelson proved that Michael’s music was heartfelt enough for country. In this gentle, emotional take on “She’s Out of My Life,” the piano and atmospheric guitar actually dial back on the whole “country” vibe—but the harmonica that comes in at the end is a true Nelson touch.



The Jacksons ft. Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger: “State of Shock” (1984)
This song was actually recorded by The Jacksons, but it puts Michael and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger front and center. Thumping beats and wailing guitars bridge the gap between 80s rock and pop, and the voices of the two larger-than-life performers complement each other perfectly.



Madonna: “Billie Jean/Like a Virgin” (1985)
During her huge 1985 tour, Madonna couldn’t resist mashing up this smash hit from the fellow stylistic chameleon with a smash hit of her own: “Like a Virgin.” In this early, great medley, one single flows into another and both shine in Madonna’s invigorated, electrifying performance.



Mariah Carey: “I’ll Be There” (1992)
Mariah brings out the gospel-influenced ballad that sits at the heart of this early Michael Jackson classic. Her iconic performance on MTV Unplugged in 1992 features a backing chorus—similar to the one used in the original song—and a guest verse from a passionate young vocalist.



Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson: “Scream” (1995)
This is one of Janet’s most famous music videos, and a rare example of the brother-sister duo collaborating as adults.


Fall Out Boy: “Beat It” (2008)
Pop punk rockers Fall Out Boy began performing this cover "by accident"—and in 2008, they decided to make it official by forging an unlikely pairing with crooner John Mayer. Their take brings an even harder edge to the original 1982 classic, and pays homage to the original music video to boot.



Chris Brown: “Michael Jackson Tribute” (2010)
Chris Brown performed a different kind of tribute at the 2010 BET Awards. Set to a medley of “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Do You Remember,” “Smooth Criminal,” and “Billie Jean,” the performance showcases Brown tackling Jackson’s signature dance moves… and sporting a few of his signature outfits.


Taylor Swift: “I Want You Back” (2011)
While on tour in 2011, Swift (then known mostly as a country singer) belted out this soulful cover of the Jackson 5 classic.


Justin Timberlake: “Love Never Felt So Good” (2014)
This choreographed tribute is basically the definition of joyful. Timberlake sings a verse, but mostly shares the floor with a whole crowd of amateur dancers—adults and children—and combines classic moves with clips of Michael Jackson performances. We dare you to watch it without smiling.


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