Forget Thriller: Off the Wall Was His Best
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2009 12:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – It’s no exaggeration to say that Michael Jackson “made a more profound impact in the arenas of soul, R&B and dance-pop than any other singer or songwriter in history,” writes Jim DeRogatis in the Chicago Sun-Times. But while many fans reach for Thriller, “widely considered the best-selling disc of all time,” DeRogatis and other “hardcore fans” cast their lot with 1979’s Off the Wall.

With Off the Wall, Jackson “pioneered the mix of funk, disco, pop, soul, jazz and rock that he polished for mainstream consumption on Thriller.” Superstar collaborators including Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney “clearly viewed the then-20-year-old star as a peer,” DeRogatis writes. Even “Ben”—Jackson’s 1972 ballad about “a killer rat from a B-grade horror film”—is “more moving than anything on Thriller.”