Our Favorite Songs

3 minute read

Alicia Keys, Musician
“I Can’t Help It”
I just love the bass line and chords of that song; it just puts you in an immediate zone — that yearning and that desire that’s in his voice. I believe Stevie Wonder wrote that song, and it’s just a beautiful culmination of the emotion of music

A.R. Rahman, Oscar-winning composer
“Man in the Mirror”
You look in the mirror and change yourself, and then the world will change. I love that thought

Stevie Wonder, Musician
“Human Nature”
When I first heard it I was over at Quincy [Jones’] home and we danced to the music. It was magical

Sheryl Crow, Singer-songwriter and former Jackson backup singer
“I’ll Be There”
His sweet young voice had the understanding that made you believe he knew what he was singing about

Lenny Kravitz, Singer-songwriter
“Lookin Through the Windows”
This song is complex, the chord changes are beautiful, the range in which Michael sings on that track is phenomenal

Jesse Jackson, Minister and activist
“We Are the World”
That, to me, was an autobiographical song. We are red, yellow, black, white. We live in a multiracial, multicultural world, so let’s act that way

Spike Lee, Director-producer
“I’ll Be There”
I loved him as a solo artist — I had a big Afro like he did, and I hoped that the girls would like me the way they liked him — but I have a special place in my heart for the stuff he did with the Jackson 5

John Mayer, Singer-songwriter
“P.Y.T.” (Pretty Young Thing)
I’m listening to it in my head. It’s got tension and release, it goes loud, it goes quiet. It sort of makes a complete circle

General Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State
The spirited lyrics, the dancing and the joy of watching these five handsome, clean-cut youngsters pouring their hearts out moved me then and moves me now. It was the early ’70s, a time of war, a time of political turmoil, a time of the counterculture and domestic unrest. They made us smile with their freshness and their cute ‘fros. We tapped our feet, felt good watching them, and our cares left for a few minutes

Anjelica Huston, Actress and Jackson’s co-star in Captain EO
It’s the one I like to think of him singing, because it’s him at his most fiery and strongest

See TIME’s full Michael Jackson coverage.

Watch TIME’s video “Appreciating Michael Jackson, the Musician.”

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