Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Often referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contribution to music and dance made him a global figure in pop culture.
Aperformer since the age of five, Michael Jackson is one of the most popular singers in history. His 1983 album, Thriller, sold forty million copies, making it the biggest seller of all time. Through his record albums and music videos he created an image imitated by his millions of fans.
From the age of five Michael's amazing talent showed itself. His dancing and stage presence caused him to become the focus of the group. His older brother, Jackie, told Gerri Hershey in Rolling Stone, "It was sort of frightening. He was so young. I don't know where he got it. He just knew. "
Music fans the world over can mark June 25, 2009 as one of those eerie days that force them to recall exactly what they were doing in the moments before they heard tragic news. Michael Jackson died that day, at the age of 50, and the world was not ready to see him go.
The most famous site on these tours was the Apollo in New York, where the Jackson 5 won an Amateur Night show in 1967. Joe had invested everything he had in his sons' success, though of course any real recognition or profit would be his success as well. While on the circuit, Joe had come to know Gladys Knight, who was enjoying a string of small successes with Motown, America's pre-eminent black pop label.
"I rehearsed them about three years before I turned them loose. I saw that after they became better, they enjoyed it more." That isn't always how Michael remembered it. "We'd perform for him, and he'd critique us," he wrote in Moonwalk. "If you messed up, you got hit, sometimes with a belt, sometimes with a switch…I'd get beaten for things that happened mostly outside rehearsal.
I am not going to do anything sexual to a child. It's not where my heart is. I would slit my wrists first. I would never do anything like that. That's not Michael Jackson, I'm sorry. That's someone else."
Michael Jackson Interview 1993
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His 1982 blockbuster Thriller became the biggest-selling album of all time (probably his best-known accomplishment), and he was the first black artist to find stardom on MTV, breaking down innumerable boundaries both for his race and for music video as an art form.
Off the Wall made Jackson a star all over again. It produced four Top Ten singles, including the number one hits "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" and "Rock With You," and went platinum (it went on to sell over seven million copies); even so, Jackson remained loyal to his brothers and stayed with the group.
The megastar suffered a respiratory arrest in his Los Angeles home on June 25, 2009, and was pronounced dead after being brought to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Two months later, the Los Angeles City Coroner ruled Jackson's death a homicide.
Michael Jackson won 13 Grammys during his career, an impressive accomplishment, but most of those triumphs were part of an historic awards sweep. Winner of best album of 1983, "Thriller" set a new record for most victories. A few months earlier, the LP had set a new record for most nominations: 12.
Jackson sold more than 750 million records worldwide. He notched eight platinum or multiplatinum albums and 13 #1 singles, and had 47 tracks crack the Billboard Hot 100. He won 13 Grammy Awards, was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist) and received the American Music Awards' Artist of the Century Award.
For he was a pioneer of an increasingly salient aspect of the way we live now – a conspicuous repudiation of the responsibilities of adulthood, a horror of ageing, a desire to retreat into an illusion of perpetual youth and energy. His was a truly heroic effort, not to regain lost time in the laborious manner of a Proust and others obsessed with childhood, but not to lose it in the first place.
“He told us when he was younger he didn’t really have a childhood,” Paris said. “He would always be stuck in the studio while other kids were playing. He wanted us to have that.”
Jackson's seemingly charmed life started to change when a pyrotechnics accident during the filming of a Pepsi ad set his hair afire and burned his scalp. He got outpouring of sympathy after that and won a $1.5 million settlement from Pepsi, which he donated to charity.