(August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, dancer,and entertainer. Referred to as theKing of Pop,he is the most commercially successful and oneof the most influential entertainers of all time. His unique contributions to music, dance, andfashion, along with a highly publicized personal life, made him a prominent global figure in popular culture for over four decades.Alongside his brothers, he made his debut in 1964 as lead singer and youngest member of TheJackson 5, and later began a successful solo career in 1971. His 1982 album
(1995) also among the world's best selling albums. He is widely credited with havingtransformed themusic videofrom a promotional tool into an art form with videos for his songssuch as "Billie Jean", "Beat It" and "Thriller " making him the firstAfrican Americanartist toamass a strongcrossover following onMTV. With stage performances and music videos,Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as therobotandthemoonwalk.His distinctive musical sound, vocal style, and choreography, is credited withstretching across and breaking down cultural, racial, economic, generational, and global barriersthat has inspired countless pop,rock ,R&Bandhip hopartists.One of the few artists to have been inducted into theRock and Roll Hall of Fametwice,his other achievementsfeature multiple
—including the "Most SuccessfulEntertainer of All Time"—15Grammy Awards(including the "Living Legend Award" and the"Lifetime Achievement Award"), 26American Music Awards(24 only as a solo artist, includingone for "Artist of the Century", and 4 awards won posthumously)—more than any artist—, 17number one singles in the US(including the four as a member of the Jackson 5), and estimatedsales of up to 750 million records worldwide making him theworld's best selling artistinhistory. He was also a notable philanthropistandhumanitarianwho donated and raised over 300million dollars through support of 39 charities and his ownHeal the World Foundation.Jackson's personal relationshipsand life generated controversy for years. Hischangingappearancewas noticed from the late 1970s onwards, with changes to his nose and to the color of his skin drawing media publicity. He was accused of child sexual abusein 1993 though nocharges were brought, and in 2005 he wastried and acquittedwhen the jury ruled him not guiltyon all charges. He married twice, first in 1994 and again in 1996, and brought up three children,one born to asurrogate mother . While preparing for theThis Is Itconcert tour in 2009, Jacksondied at the age of 50after suffering fromcardiac arrest. He reportedly had been administereddrugs such as propofolandlorazepam,and his death was ruled ahomicideby the Los AngelesCounty coroner. His death triggered an outpouring of grief from around the world with hisglobally live broadcastmemorial serviceattracting an audience of up to one billion people;aswell as a huge surge in his album sales, resulting in him becoming the best selling artist of 2009with sales in excess of 8.2 million in the United States
where he became the first artist ever tohave 4 of the top 20 best-selling albums in a single year,and 29 million albums globally, wherehe had an unprecedented 8 of the top 25 best-selling albums worldwide.
Life and Career
Michael Jackson was born August 29, 1958 as the eighth of ten children inGary, Indiana, anindustrial suburb of Chicago, to an African American working-class family. His mother,Katherine Esther Scruse, was a devoutJehovah's Witness, and his father,Joseph Walter "Joe"Jackson, a steel mill worker who performed with an R&B band called The Falcons. Jackson hadthree sisters:Rebbie,La Toya, andJanet, and six brothers:Jackie,Tito,Jermaine,Marlon,Brandon (Marlon's twin brother, who died shortly after birth) andRandy.Jackson had a troubled relationship with his father,Joe Jackson. He stated that he was physicallyand emotionally abused during incessant rehearsals, with whippings, and name-calling, thoughhe admitted his father's strict discipline played a large role in his success. In one altercationrecalled by Marlon, Joseph held Michael upside down by one leg and "pummeled him over andover again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks". Joseph would also grab his sonsand push them with great force against the wall. One night while Michael was asleep, Josephclimbed into his room through the bedroom window, wearing a fright mask and screamed, inhopes to scare him. He said he wanted to teach the children not to leave the window open whenthey went to sleep. For years afterward, Jackson said he suffered nightmares about beingkidnapped from his bedroom. Joseph acknowledged in 2003 that he regularly whipped Jacksonas a child.Jackson first spoke openly about his childhood abuse in an interview withOprah Winfrey broadcast on February 10, 1993 live from around the world. He admitted that he had often criedfrom loneliness and would sometimes even vomit when he saw his father. Jackson's father wasalso said to have regularly made fun of Michael's physical appearance, and called him "fat nose"in public on multiple occasions. In fact, Michael Jackson's deep dissatisfaction with hisappearance, his nightmares and chronic sleep problems, his tendency to remain hyper-compliantespecially with his father, and to remain child-like throughout his adult life are in many waysconsistent with the effects of this chronic maltreatment he endured as a young child. In aninterview withMartin Bashir , later included in the 2003 broadcast of
, Jackson acknowledged that his father hurt him when he was a child, but wasnonetheless a "genius." When Bashir dismissed the positive remark and continued asking about beatings, Jackson put his hand over his face and objected to the questions. He recalled thatJoseph sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings rehearsed, and that "if youdidn't do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you".He showed talent early in his life, performing in front of classmates during a Christmas recital inkindergarten. In 1964, he and Marlon joined the Jackson 5 - a band formed by brothers Jackie,Tito, and Jermaine—as backup musicians playingcongasandtambourine. Jackson later began performing backup vocals and dancing; at the age of eight, he and Jermaine assumed lead vocals,and the group's name was changed toThe Jackson 5. The band touredthe Midwestextensivelyfrom 1966 to 1968, frequently performing at a string of black clubs known as the "chitlin'circuit", where they often openedstripteasesand other adult acts. In 1966, they won a major local talent show with renditions of Motownhits andJames Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)",led by Michael.The Jackson 5 recorded several songs, including "Big Boy", for the local record labelSteeltownin 1967, and signed withMotown Recordsin 1968.
magazine later described theyoung Michael as "a prodigy" with "overwhelming musical gifts," writing that he "quicklyemerged as the main draw and lead singer." The group set a chart record when its first four singles ("I Want You Back ", "ABC", "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There") peaked atnumber one on the