Singer-songwriter Michael Jackson's award-winning career as the “King of Pop” transformed the face of pop music and popular culture. He released the best-selling album in history, Thriller, in 1982. He died unexpectedly in 2009.
The Bio History of Michael Joseph Jackson began when he was born on the 29th of August 1958 in Gary, Indiana. He was the 7th of nine children. (brothers: Sigmund “Jackie”, Toriano “Tito”, Jermaine, Marlon, Steven “Randy”, and sisters Rebbie, Janet and La Toya Jackson.
Michael began his musical career at the age of 5 as the lead singer of the Jackson 5 who formed in 1964. In these early years the Jackson 5, Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and lead singer Michael played local clubs and bars in Gary, Indiana and moving further afield as there talents grew and they could compete in bigger competitions. From these early days Michael would be at the same clubs as big talented stars of there days, such as Jackie Wilson and would be learning from them even back then.
In 1968, the Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers discovered the Jackson five and from there they got an audition for Berry Gordy of Motown Records. The Jackson 5 signed for Motown and moved to California. Their first 4 singles, “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “The Love You Save”, and “I'll Be There” all made US Number 1 hits. The Jackson 5 recorded 14 albums and Michael recorded 4 solo albums with Motown.
The Jackson 5 stayed with Motown until 1976, wanting more artistic freedom they felt they had to move on and signed up with Epic. The group name Jackson 5 had to be changed as it was owned by Motown, so they reverted to The Jacksons as they had be known in the early days. Brother Jermaine married Berry Gordy's daughter and stayed with Motown. Youngest brother Randy joined in his place. The Jacksons had a number of hit records and in total made 6 albums between the years of 1976 and 1984.
In 1977, Michael made his first film debut when he starred in the musical ‘The Wiz’ playing Scarecrow with Diana Ross in the lead role of Dorothy. It was at this time Michael met Quincy Jones who was doing the score for the film.
Michael teamed up with Quincy Jones as his producer for his first solo album with Epic Records. The album titled Off The Wall was a big success around the world and the first ever album to release a record breaking 4 Number 1 singles in the US.
In 1982, Michael Jackson released the world's largest selling album of all time, Thriller. This album produced 7 hit singles, breaking yet again more records, and went on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide. Michael was keen to use music video or short films as he called them to promote his singles from the album. He worked with the best directors and producers, using the latest technology and special effects for the hit song “Billie Jean”.
The short film, ‘Thriller’ used the latest make-up artists technology combined with fantastic dancing and cherography, to produce a 14 minute video, with a start, a middle and an ending. So successful was this video that ‘The Making Of Michael Jackson's Thriller’ became the world's largest selling home video combined with soaring album sales. In 1983, Michael performed the now legendary moonwalk for the first time on the ‘Motown 25 years’ anniversary show. This performance alone set Michael undoubtable into the realm of a superstar.
On December 9th 1984 at the last concert of the Jackson's Victory Tour, Michael announced he was splitting from the group and going solo.
In 1987, Michael released his much awaited third solo album, titled Bad, and lauched his record breaking first solo world tour. 1988, Michael wrote his first autobiography, Moonwalk, talking for the first time on his childhood and his career. At the end of the 1980s, Michael was named ‘Artist Of The Decade’ for his success off of his Thriller and Bad albums.
In 1991, Michael signed with Sony Music the largest ever recording contract and released his fourth solo album, Dangerous. He toured the world again in 1992, taking his concerts to countries that had never before been visited by a pop/rock artist. Also, Michael founded the ‘Heal the World Foundation’ to help improve the lives of children across the world.
1995 saw Michael release a fifth solo album, HIStory, which was a double album, first half new material and second half half greatest hits. Michael toured again over a legs covering a 2 year period. In between legs of the tour on November 14th 1996, Michael married for his second time to Debbie Rowe who was a nurse that Michael had met in the treatment of his skin pigment disorder. Together they had their first child Prince Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. born on February 13, 1997 and a daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson born on April 3rd, 1998.
In 1997, Michael released the remix album Blood On The Dance Floor which also contained 5 new song linked with a 38min film Ghosts. This film Michael played 5 roles using the latest special effects and make-up artistry, combined with his dance and music.
In September 2001, Michael celebrated his 30th anniversary as a solo artist with two concerts to be held in New York, USA. Many artists such as Whitney Houston, Usher, Destiny's Child, Shaggy and many more performed their own and Michael's past songs. Michael then reunited with all of his brothers and performed their biggest hits. Michael then went on to perform some of his biggest hits solo.
In October 2001, Michael released the album Invincible, releasing only 2 singles including the big hit “You Rock My World”. Shortly after the albums release there were rumours of a rift with Sony Music and a clear lack of promotion of the album. The second single “Cry” was released with a very poor music video which did not feature Michael and no other singles were released.
In November 2003, a new single “One More Chance” was released as a single and was also a track on new compilation album Number Ones.
In March 2009, Michael announced a shock comeback tour at the O2 Arena in London to start in July 2009, initially for 10 dates but the total grew to a sold out 50 dates with over 750,000 tickets sold. All sold tickets sold out within minutes of being released.
While preparing for his comeback concert series titled This Is It, Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication on June 25, 2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring of grief and a live broadcast of his public memorial service was viewed around the world.
August 29, 1958
June 25, 2009
- When he was a child his favourite books included Rip Van Winkle and The Old Man and the Sea.
- He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (one for himself and one as part of the Jackson Five).
- In 1984, he won eight Grammys ‐ the joint highest amount ever won by one person in a single year.
- Jackson paid $47 million for the publishing rights to the Beatles back catalogue in 1985 and sold a share of to Sony in 1995 for $95 million.
- Thriller is the world’s best-selling record of all time with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.
- Jackson regularly wore a black armband to remind people of children suffering around the world.
- Jackson’s 13 number one hits on the US Billboard charts put him behind only Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Mariah Carey.