What are the 10 Best Songs Produced By Quincy Jones? There are plenty to choose from since Quincy Jones’s career has covered more than 70 years now (so far) and, according to MusicRadar, his musical accomplishments are almost too many to count. Not only has he produced three major hit songs for the King of Pop, the late great Michael Jackson, but he also produced the greatest ever worldwide charity song “We Are the World”. That particular song was the catalyst for raising some big bucks for Ethiopian famine victims; a wonderful song for a very worthy cause.
This music-biz genius also produced “Thriller” in 1982, MJ’s best-selling album of all time and that’s on top of winning 28 Grammy awards to date. In addition, he happens to be the very first African-American to ever receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. He’s clearly the quintessential composer, film and TV producer, music producer, and songwriter, i.e. somebody who can simply do it all and do it well. So, in honor of such a great musical talent, here’s a list of what we think are the 10 best songs of all time that Quincy Jones produced from #10 (not the best but still great) to #1 (the absolute best ever):
10. “The Look of Love”- Lesly Gore (1964)
This popular 60s song was written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, produced by Quincy Jones, and became a Top 40 hit in 1964 for Lesley. Billboard predicted that it would be a really fast chart climber and indeed it was, reaching #27 on the Billboard Top 100 in the US.
9. “The Woman in Me”- Donna Summer (1982)
“The Woman in Me” is Ms. Summer’s third single from her 10th studio album and it reached # 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. According to The Guardian, the song was written by John Bettis, this popular single was released in a special version on a 12” blue- vinyl-picture-disc that featured the same artwork as the album cover only it was printed on a large paper label.
8. “Man in the Mirror”- Michael Jackson (1988)
This was a big-time musical milestone across the entire record industry and marked the very first time that any artist ever had four #1 hit singles that came from just one album. Released on January 9, 1988, it was on the charts for a full 17 weeks and spent two of those weeks at #1.
7. “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough”- Michael Jackson (1979)
This was MJ’s #1 hit from his “Off the Wall” album as well as his second release as a solo artist. And, it reached #1 after only one week on the charts, remaining on the charts for a full 21 weeks. It also went platinum, winning the King of Pop the coveted Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
6. “You Don’t Own Me” – Lesly Gore (1963)
This song was Ms. Gore’s second hit single and was actually released at basically the same time that The Beatles took America by storm. So, unfortunately, her feminist ballad was never quite able to knock “I want to Hold Your Hand” out of the coveted #1 position on the charts. The song was definitely a great one, however, and was even successfully covered during later years by both Joan Jett and Dusty Springfield. It was also the center of a major scene in a classic movie called “The First Wives Club”. The film starred Bette Middler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton who sang the song in that iconic scene. It was truly unforgettable.
5. “It’s My Party” – Lesly Gore (1963)
This was one of the four hit singles that Quincy Jones produced for Lesley. It hit the number one spot besides being her very first release. This unforgettable song was also Quincy Jones’s first hit single as a producer. With its excellent pop and r&b beat, this tearjerker offers some unique and truly dramatic lyrics that offer a different approach to teen heartbreak and angst. In addition, it was recorded when Lesley was only 16 and was one of the tunes that assisted Quincy Jones with breaking into mainstream music.
4. “Hot Stuff” – Donna Summer (1979)
Donna Summer’s raw performance, the smart songwriting, and its combination of disco and rock made it a big hit at the close of the 70s, This song was also used in several major motion pictures, including “The Full Monty” in 1997, “Superstar” in 1999, and “The Martian in 2015. But, for a really good laugh, check out the 1998 YouTube video of Prince Charles dancing to “Hot Stuff” here.
3. “Bad”- Michael Jackson (1987)
“Bad” was nominated in 1988 for numerous Grammy Awards, which included Best R&B Vocal Performance (Male), Album of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance (Male). It won the award for Best Engineered Recording (Non-Classical). The “Bad” music video was actually shot in 1987 using the downtown Brooklyn subway station as the set. That iconic music video was directed by the great Martin Scorsese.
2. USA For Africa: “We Are the World”- Various Artists (1985)
In 1985, Jones produced and conducted the charity song “We Are the World”, which raised funds for victims of famine in Ethiopia. Inspired by the Christmas song by Band Aid, Lionel Richie and MJ wrote this tune and, of course, performed on it as well. So, who sang on it along with them, and exactly how many were there? Everyone from Tina Turner to Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Harry Belafonte, Diana Ross, Huey Lewis, and even Dan Aykroyd was brought onboard to sing along. Altogether, there were 21 soloists, 24 in the chorus, and 9 instrumental players.
Quincy said that he had to put up a sign that said “Check your egos at the door” because there were so many major stars on-hand for the recording of the song. “We Are the World” received a number of honors, including one American Music Award and three Grammy Awards, as well as a People’s Choice Award. More importantly, the song, its promotions, and related merchandise helped raise $63 million+ (i.e. $156 million today) for humanitarian aid to both Africa and the US.
1. “Thriller”- Michael Jackson (1982)
The “Thriller” album from 1982 was Michael Jackson’s best-selling all-time album, having sold an estimated 70 million copies (or more) worldwide. And to date, it has also won a total of 28 Grammy awards. To this day, it’s still the bestselling album of all time. The “Thriller” single literally caught fire when it was released and became MJ’s greatest work as well as a true cultural phenomenon. Who could ever forget the first time they saw the “Thriller” music video on MTV? It’s a mesmerizing classic that will never be forgotten. It was directed by the great John Landis, who directed numerous hit movies from “An American Werewolf in London” to “The Blues Brothers”, turning it into an almost 14-minute-long musical horror movie. The video also allowed Michael to have a shot at indulging all of his monster-movie fantasies.
What TV Movies & Major Motion Pictures Were Scored by Quincy Jones?
Some of the other major milestones in Quincy Jones’s career include the amazing films and TV movies that he scored. And, according to Moviefone, here are a few of them:
- “Who Needs Forever?” (1966)
- “In The Heat of the Night” (1967)
- “’In Cold Blood” (1967)
- “They Call Me Mr. Tibbs!” (1970)
- “The Getaway” (1972)
- “Roots” (1977)
- “The Wiz” (1978)
- “The Color Purple” (1984)
Decide For Yourself, Too
So, in answer to the question, “What are the ten best songs produced by Quincy Jones?” we certainly hope that you agree with our assessment even though it’s exceptionally difficult to try to choose from the many musical numbers that he produced since they’re all so good. Your best bet is just to listen to them all and perhaps come up with your own ten best.