The Albums: Off The Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987)
As Michael Jackson matured from the child star of the Jackson 5 to the superstar entertainer that would come to define and tower over multiple generations, he released three albums that displayed his nearly boundless capabilities as a singer, producer, and entertainer. With the help of mastermind Quincy Jones, Jackson set the formula with 1979's Off The Wall, a tight, ten song set mixing dance floor-filling mega-singles and ballads, hinting at the singer's predilection for genres outside of the pop-y R&B that made him and his siblings famous. Iconic album Thriller landed with a seismic impact in 1982, spawning an unparalleled slew of hit singles, combining pop, soul, rock, afrobeat, and funk, riding Jackson's magic touch to become the highest selling album ever. 1987's Bad largely mirrored Thriller's ambitious pop stew, leading to another impressive string of hit singles that maintained Jackson's impossible benchmark of blockbuster quality.