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Just how heavily did radio turn to the music of Michael Jackson after the news of his death? In the three days before Jackson died on Thursday, the title song from his “Thriller” album had been played 22 times on U.S. radio, satellite and cable music channels; by Sunday night it had logged more than 3,000 spins, according to the Nielsen BDS radio airplay monitoring service.

Eight Jackson songs were played more than 2,000 times each from Thursday through Sunday. A report issued Monday by Nielsen BDS tracked 20 songs by Jackson, either solo or with the Jackson 5. All 20 exceeded 1,300 plays apiece through Sunday.

Most popular was “Billie Jean,” which registered 3,916 spins, followed by “Thriller,” 3,548; “Rock With You,” 3,343; “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” 2,984; and “Beat It,” 2,810, edging out “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by just two spins.

-- Randy Lewis

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