What Genre Is Michael Jackson?

Michael Jackson, popularly known as the King of Pop, is widely recognized for his contributions to the pop music genre. However, his music also transcends into other genres like rock, soul, funk, and R&B, making him a versatile and influential figure in the music industry.

In the late ’70s, Michael Jackson stood out in the pop scene, carving a unique style and sound that set him apart from his contemporaries. He also skillfully integrated elements from rock, soul, disco, R&B, and funk into his music, creating innovative blends that had not been heard before. This genre crossover allowed him to reach a broader audience and carved his legacy in the music industry.

Exploring Michael Jackson’s Primary Genre: Pop

Holding the title of the King of Pop, Jackson redefined the genre with his unique melodies, catchy hooks, and intricate dance routines—elements that have become fundamental to modern pop.

Jackson’s primary association with pop music stems from his ability to craft music that appeals to a wide audience. He was able to emphasize melody over complexity, allowing his songs to remain accessible yet captivating. Songs like “Thriller” and “Billie Jean” showed his knack for amalgamating a catchy beat with a memorable melody, a staple in traditional pop.

Other unique elements in Jackson’s music, such as danceable beats and repetitive hooks, have become recognizable trademarks of pop music. However, it was his ability to inject depth and emotion into these formulaic structures that truly set him apart.

Michael Jackson’s Genre Crossovers

While Michael Jackson dominated the pop music scene, his creative instinct and innovative approach allowed him to weave elements from various genres into his music, creating a unique sound and taking him beyond the bounds of pop.

Jackson’s R&B influence was apparent across his discography. Stemming from his roots with The Jackson Five, songs like “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock with You” clearly displayed rhythm and blues nuances.

Also, disco elements were a recurring theme in Jackson’s music during the late ’70s and early ’80s. His 1982 album, “Thriller,” featured tracks with a disco groove, diversifying his musical soundscape. 

His exploration of Rock is notable in anthems like “Beat It,” where he collaborated with legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Another genre mixed in his tunes is funk, which is heard in classics like “Billie Jean” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

Thus, Michael Jackson’s music was not solely confined to pop. His ability and willingness to crossover into other genres exemplified his inherent talent and further transcended his influence within the music industry.

The Evolution of Michael Jackson’s Music Style

Michael Jackson’s music shows how creative and versatile he was as an artist. He started with The Jackson Five and later, as a solo artist, his music style underwent a significant evolution that is worth exploring.

In his early career, Jackson’s music was characterized by playful harmonies and catchy R&B melodies. As a member of The Jackson Five, he first entertained audiences with pop-R&B hits like “I Want You Back” and “ABC.”

As he took off on a solo career, his music started to incorporate a wider range of influences. His album ‘Off The Wall’ in 1979 marked the beginning of this shift with its disco-pop hybrids. The release of “Thriller” in 1982 marked a crucial turning point in Jackson’s style evolution. The album saw him push boundaries, blending pop with funk, rock, R&B, and even horror with its title track.

After “Thriller,” his music continued to evolve, taking on a darker, more introspective tone in later albums like “Bad,” “Dangerous,” and “Invincible,” displaying his ability to adapt to changing trends and tastes.


Delving into the vast and versatile musical landscape of Michael Jackson is exciting and inspiring. The King of Pop’s influence can be seen in the catchiness of his melodies, the intricacy of his dance moves, and the depth of his lyrics, all blended across diverse genres. Timeless classics like “Thriller” and “Billie Jean” remain cherished, offering fans an ever-evolving, fascinating musical odyssey.

Michael Jackson Featured Image by: Constru-centro, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons