Michael Jackson

American singer, songwriter, and dancer (1958–2009)

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and philanthropist. He is considered as one of the greatest and most influential music artists in history. His contributions to music, dance, and fashion for over four decades, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture. Jackson influenced artists across many music genres. Through stage and video performances, he popularized complicated dance moves such as the moonwalk and the robot. He is the most awarded individual music artist in history. Because of his influence and fame, he is known as the "King of Pop".

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson.
Jackson performing in 1993
Michael Joseph Jackson

(1958-08-29)August 29, 1958
Gary, Indiana, U.S.
DiedJune 25, 2009(2009-06-25) (aged 50)
Cause of deathCardiac arrest induced by acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.
Other namesMichael Joe Jackson
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • dancer
  • record producer
  • philanthropist
Years active1964–2009
Lisa Marie Presley
(m. 1994; div. 1996)

Debbie Rowe
(m. 1996; div. 2000)
  • Michael Jr.
  • Paris
  • Prince Michael II
FamilySee Jackson family
AwardsFull list
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • piano
  • bass
  • drums

Jackson started his professional career performing with his older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon in The Jackson 5 in 1964. In 1971, he started a solo career while also being a member of The Jackson 5. During that period, he released four solo studio albums Got to Be There (1972), Ben (1972), Music & Me (1973), and Forever, Michael (1975). He released the best-selling album of all time, Thriller in 1982, with estimated sales of 60 million copies worldwide. The video for "Thriller" showed him dancing like a zombie and other dancers around him were zombies as well. "Thriller" includes famous songs like "Beat It" and "Billie Jean". The popularity of these videos helped bring the television channel MTV to fame. Jackson wrote other well-known songs such as ''Bad'', "Black or White", "Heal the World", and "Earth Song". Through music videos and live performances, he is known for popularizing dance moves such as the robot and the moonwalk. He won many awards and broke records. Guinness World Records says he is the most successful entertainer of all time. Jackson is also remembered for giving money to charities and pioneering efforts in charitable fundraising in the entertainment industry. Jackson traveled the world attending events honoring his humanitarianism, and, in 2000, the Guinness World Records recognized him for supporting 39 charities, more than any other entertainer. He is one of the best-selling music artists in history, with worldwide sales approaching 400 million records.

His other studio albums, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995), and Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix (1997) also rank among the world's best selling albums. He released his last studio album Invincible in 2001.

Aspects of Jackson's personal life, including his changing appearance, personal relationships, and behavior, generated controversy. He was accused of child sexual abuse in 1993, but the case was settled out of court. In 2003, Jackson was charged with child sexual abuse by Garvin Arvizo. In 2005, Jackson was found not guilty of all charges. While preparing for his comeback concert series, This Is It, Jackson died of an overdose of propofol on June 25, 2009, after having a cardiac arrest at 50 years of age. Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. On July 7, there was a memorial service for Jackson. It was on television and approximately 1 billion people watched it. This made it one of the most-watched funerals ever.[1]

Life and career




Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, at St Mary's Mercy Hospital in Gary, Indiana to a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. He was the eighth of Katherine and Joe Jackson's ten children.[2] Jackson's father Joseph was a steel mill worker.

On January 1, 1964, Jackson and his brother Marlon joined their older brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine's band, The Jackson Brothers, in the band's first public performance. Jackson was five years old.[3]

When Jackson was 8, he started being the band's main singer with Jermaine. The group's name then changed to The Jackson 5. The group won an important talent show in 1966. In 1968 they were signed to a famous record label called Motown Records. Their first Motown single "I Want You Back" was No.1 in the US.

In 1971, Jackson released his first song singing on his own, "Got to Be There" from his album "Got to Be There". It reached No.4 in the Billboard 100. Three more singles were released from the album.

On August 4, 1972, his second single Ben was released. The single "Ben" was his first solo No.1.

In 1974, Jackson hosted the first American Music Awards with Donny Osmond, Rodney Allen Rippy, and Ricky Segall.

In 1975, The Jackson 5 left Motown. They were signed to CBS Records in June 1975. On CBS Records they changed their name to The Jacksons.



In 1976, The Jacksons got their own TV show on CBS. The show was cancelled in March 1977.

On October 24, 1978, a movie called The Wiz was released. The movie was a remake of The Wizard of Oz with all black actors. Jackson acted as Scarecrow.

On December 17, 1978, The Jacksons' twelfth album was released. It was the first album they had produced. Jackson wrote the album's second single "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" with Randy Jackson. It reached No.7 in the US Hot 100.

In December 1978, Jackson started making his first solo album on Epic Records, Off the Wall with Quincy Jones. It was released on August 10, 1979. The album got good reviews and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

The Jacksons' thirteenth album Triumph was released in 1980.



[4] In 1982 Jackson made "Somewhere in the Dark" for the E.T. soundtrack. It won a Grammy for Best Recording for Children in 1984. That year Jackson won seven other Grammys for his album Thriller.

On October 18, 1982, the first single from Thriller, "The Girl Is Mine", was released. It was sung with Paul McCartney. Some people thought that the album wasn't going to be very good because of the song.

Jackson's sixth solo album Thriller was released on November 30, 1982. Jackson didn't do a tour for the album. This album went on to become the best-selling album of all time.

In 1983 Jackson made three songs with Freddie Mercury.[5]


Michael Jackson signing a poster in 1985

"Somebody's Watching Me", a single by Rockwell with Jackson singing on the chorus, was released January 14, 1984. It reached number one in Spain and France.[6]

On January 27, 1984, Michael and other members of the Jacksons filmed a Pepsi Cola commercial. Michael's hair caught on fire and he was rushed to hospital.[7] Pepsi gave Jackson $1.5 million. He gave it to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California. In May 1984 "Farewell My Summer Love", a song that Jackson made it 1973, was released as a single. It reached number seven in the UK Singles Chart.

The Jacksons' album Victory was released on July 2, 1984. Between July and December 1984 Jackson toured with his brothers. He won eight awards at the 1984 American Music Awards, the most anyone has ever won at once. He also won Best International Solo Artist and Best International Album at the BRIT Awards.

Jermaine Jackson released his tenth album, Jermaine Jackson. Michael sang on a song from the album, "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming' (Too Good to Be True)". It was nominated for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 1985 Grammy Awards.

In August 1985, Jackson bought music publisher ATV Music for $47.5 million.[8] They owned the rights to The Beatles.

Jackson wrote "We Are the World" with Lionel Richie in 1985. The song was recorded by USA for Africa. It was released as a single around the world to make money to give to starving people in Africa. It sold over 20 million copies. It also won four Grammy Awards.



In August 1987, Bad was released. Jackson wanted it to sell 100 million copies. It has sold over 45 million copies.[9] Five of the album's seven singles were No.1 in the US. They were "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana". Until Katy Perry's success with her 2010 album Teenage Dream, Jackson was the only musician to ever have had that many singles from one album be No.1. From September 1987 to January 1989, Jackson did the Bad World Tour. This was the first tour that he did on his own. In 1988 Moonwalk, a book that Jackson wrote about his life, was published. It took Jackson four years to write. The book sold 200,000 copies.[10] Jackson then released Moonwalker, a movie he made. In 1989 some video games about the movie were released by U.S. Gold.

In 1986, Disneyland and EPCOT started showing a short film called Captain EO that had Jackson in it. Jackson sang "You Were There" at Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th birthday. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for it.

The Jacksons released their last album 2300 Jackson Street in 1989. Michael sang on the album's second single 2300 Jackson Street with his brothers and two of their sisters, Janet and Rebbie. Michael was also in the music video for the song.

Jackson won the Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form in 1989 for "Leave Me Alone".[11]



Jackson's eighth studio album Dangerous was released on November 26, 1991. It was produced with Teddy Riley. It is a new jack swing album. It was Jackson's first album to have a rapper on it. Nine singles were released from the album. On June 27, 1992, Jackson started the Dangerous World Tour. All of the money Jackson made from the tour was given to charities such as the Heal the World Foundation, having grossed $100 million, Jackson performed to 3.5 million people in 70 concerts. The tour was supposed to last until Christmas 1992. However, Jackson ended the tour on November 11, 1993, because he was ill and needed to go to the hospital. Jackson performed at the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII in January 1993.



HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, Jackson's ninth studio album, was released July 16 1995. The album has two discs. The first disc is a collection of some of his greatest hits. The second disc is fifteen songs recorded in late 1994 and early 1995. Thirteen of the songs are new. Two of them are cover versions. In August 1995 the album's single "You Are Not Alone" became the first single ever to go straight to No.1 in the US.[12] HIStory won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The video for the single "Scream" went in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most expensive short film ever made. In 1996, he started his HIStory World Tour and ended in 1997. Jackson performed 82 concerts in five continents, 35 countries, and 58 cities to over 4.5 million fans, and grossed a total of $165 million, becoming Jackson's most successful tour in terms of audience figures. Jackson released a short film called Ghosts in 1997. He wrote it with Stephen King.



In 1997, Blood on the Dance Floor was released. It is the best-selling remix album ever made.[13] There were five new songs on the album. The album's first single was a new song called "Blood on the Dancefloor". The album and its first single were No.1 in the UK.



Jackson won Artist of the 1980s at the American Music Awards in 2000.

On October 30, 2001 Invincible, Jackson's last studio album, was released. The album got good and bad reviews. It was No.1 in 12 countries and sold 13 million copies around the world. But compared to Jackson's earlier albums, it was unsuccessful. The album's first single "You Rock My World" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Jackson won his 22nd American Music Award for Artist of the Century in 2002.[14]

On November 17, 2003, an album called Number Ones was released. It is a collection of Jackson's hits. There is also a new song on the album called "One More Chance". It was released as a single. It reached number one in three countries. The album was released as a DVD too.



In 2006, Sony released twenty of Jackson's popular singles on video.

In March 2009, Jackson told the press that he was going to do a tour called This Is It. He said that he might stop making music after this. Jackson practiced his singing and dancing for the tour in Los Angeles with Kenny Ortega. Jackson died of an overdose of Propofol on June 25, 2009, after having a cardiac arrest, and his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

During an Interview on YouTube during the BBC UK Show featuring "Michael Jackson's This Is It" Michael talked about the future of his career and that he "may" be retiring after his "This Is It" Tour, but he wasn't sure if he would or not. However, due to his death in 2009, the show was cancelled. Some show-goers who paid for tickets wanted refunds but the Jackson Estate did not provide any.

Jackson's voice changed from boy soprano to spinto tenor between 1971 and 1975. He sang 'come on' wrongly on purpose so that it sounded like 'shamone'. Jackson had a three-octave vocal range.[15] He is the most well-known musician to use the 'vocal hiccup'. He first used it in 1973 on "It's Too Late to Change the Time" on The Jackson 5's G.I.T.: Get It Together album.

Personal life


Jackson lived a well-publicized personal life even though he tried to stay private. He was often in celebrity and tabloid magazines. Later in his life, he was in magazines because of his personal life more than for his music.

Marriages and children


He was married to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley in 1994, before divorcing her in 1995 and marrying nurse Debbie Rowe in 1996. Three months after Rowe and Jackson's marriage she gave birth to a son, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. The next year she gave birth to a daughter, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson. The couple divorced in April 2000.[16] Prince Michael II was born on February 21, 2002. Jackson never said who the mother was. He is better known as Blanket. When Blanket was 8 months old Jackson held him over a balcony. Blanket has a towel over his head. At the time, people did not know that he was called Blanket. Jackson made a public apology after people were upset.[17] After Jackson died, his mother Katherine was made the guardian of his children. In August 2012, Jackson's cousin TJ was made the children's co-guardian.[18]



Bubbles (born 1983) is a common chimpanzee, known for being the one-time pet of American recording artist Michael Jackson. Jackson bought the animal from a Texas research facility in the 1980s. The animal was a frequent travel companion to the singer, whose attachment to the animal led to media mockery and, among other factors, to a public perception of Jackson as an eccentric. The chimp, for example, was permitted to use Jackson's personal toilet.[19] Their human-animal bond, as well as the entertainer's other alleged eccentricities, contributed to the media epithet "Wacko Jacko", a nickname Jackson would eventually come to despise.[20] The media often focused on Bubbles, rather than on Jackson's music, and published many false stories regarding the animal. One such story was an allegation that Bubbles was not a single ape, but one of several.[21][22]

Claims of sexual abuse


In 1993, he was accused of child molestation, but there was no trial; the case was settled out of court.

In 2003, he was accused a second time of child molestation. This happened after a documentary called Living With Michael Jackson was shown on TV. In the documentary, Jackson held hands with a 12-year-old boy called Gavin Arvizo and said that he shared his bed with children.[23] His accuser was Gavin Arvizo. He was 13 years old when he made the allegations. This time Jackson went to court and was found not guilty of fourteen charges in 2005.

In May 2013, a dancer called Wade Robson appeared on the Today show. He alleged that Jackson sexually abused him for 7 years. Prior to this, Robson had vehemently defended Jackson, including twice under oath.[24]

Appearance and health


Over the years, his changing facial appearance and lightening skin color attracted much attention. From childhood, Jackson had afro hair. His hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in 1984. Jackson got second-degree burns to his scalp. Jackson started taking painkillers for the very bad pain caused by the burns. Jackson always wore a hairpiece or wig in his later years that blended with his natural hair. His autopsy found that his scalp was tattooed black so that it blended in with his wigs.

He claimed to have had only a little plastic surgery to his face. He said that puberty, weight loss and his vegetarian diet had changed his face.[25] People said that Jackson bleached his skin to make it lighter. In a television interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993 he said he had a rare skin condition called vitiligo. When Jackson died, the autopsy found that he did have vitiligo. This disease made many white spots on Jackson's skin. Jackson used makeup and medication to even out his skin color to treat his vitiligo. This made Jackson appear to have a lightening skin tone. Jackson also had an immune condition called discoid lupus. Dr. Richard Strick said that this "had destroyed part of the skin of his nose".[26] Jackson's nose was the body part that people talked about most. Many plastic surgeons have tried to make a hypothesis on what surgery Jackson might have allegedly had but the singer repeatedly denied having extensive surgeries and admitted only to a limited number of procedures though the change in his appearance was drastic that a lot of people refused to believe it.

Jackson was allegedly addicted to prescription drugs. In 2009 he died from an overdose of an anesthetic called Propofol. He was given Propofol for his insomnia. The insomnia was a side effect of Jackson's addiction to Demerol.[27] Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray said that Jackson took the overdose himself. Though Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter and served a prison sentence after Michael Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide by the coroner. Propofol is used as anesthesia for major surgeries and requires heavy monitoring including nurses and medical equipment, none of which were present at the time Conrad Murray administered the drug. The recommendation for a higher level of care to safely administer this drug was also noted in his autopsy, with great detail noting how dangerous the circumstance was. Michael Jackson was known to have an injury to his lung, which was cited in the autopsy report to further exacerbate his likelihood for complications with a drug like Propofol. Meaning he was at a higher risk for respiratory failure.

In his autopsy, it was found that he had an enlarged prostate and osteoarthritis. His lips were tattooed pink.[28] He used a skin-bleaching cream called Benoquin to treat his Vitiligo.

Jackson was physically abused by his father when he was a child. He would also call Jackson "big-nose". As a teenager, Jackson had acne. In Living With Michael Jackson, Jackson told Martin Bashir how he went home and cried after a woman called him ugly because of his acne. Some medical professionals have said that they think Jackson had body dysmorphic disorder. The disorder is often triggered by appearance-related bullying. Some people think that Jackson had anorexia nervosa. In 1984, Jackson weighed 105 pounds. He was 5"9 tall. This would have made his BMI 15.5, which is very underweight.[29] He weighed 112 lbs. when he died. This is in the unhealthy range.[30] A biographer called Ian Halperin wrote that Jackson had a rare genetic disease called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.[31] He also wrote that Jackson's genetic disease had caused him to lose 95% of the vision in his left eye.[32]

Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray said that he thought Jackson was "legally blind" and had phlebitis.[33][34]

Jackson was announced dead at age 50 on June 25, 2009 at 2:25 pm at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.[35] It is thought that he went into cardiac arrest, which means his heart stopped.[36] At 4:36 pm local time, the Los Angeles coroner confirmed Jackson's death.[37] However, he was unresponsive by 12:15, even though he was not proclaimed dead at the time of hospital arrival, he already passed on by 1pm. Jackson died just two months before his 51st birthday. Rumors and news of Jackson's death broke web records causing a cyberspace traffic jam. The circumstances of his death and the outpouring of grief which was experienced around the world were on record scales never seen before.[38] His death gave Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo the most page views they had ever encountered.[39][40] Jackson arrived at the hospital not showing any signs of life.

Memorial service


A memorial service was held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on July 7, 2009. It began with a reading of a letter by Smokey Robinson of comments by Nelson Mandela, Diana Ross and other close friends of Michael Jackson who could not be at the memorial.[41] Mariah Carey sang I'll Be There at the memorial service, followed by a speech given by Queen Latifah. Lionel Richie performed "Jesus is Love". Berry Gordy, Motown founder, spoke next, offering condolences. Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson also spoke, with Magic describing the event as a "celebration of Jackson's life and works" rather than a funeral. Jennifer Hudson sung Will You Be There accompanied by a music video. Reverend Al Sharpton then gave a speech about how Jackson kept rising and "never stopped". John Mayer played the guitar as he did in Michael Jackson's song Human Nature. This was followed by Brooke Shields speaking. Jermaine Jackson, Jackson's older brother, then performed Smile, Michael's favorite song written by comic drama legend Charlie Chaplin. This was proceeded by speeches by Martin Luther King III and Bernice King. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was the next person who spoke at the memorial service, claiming "people are innocent until proven guilty," (reminding those who accused Jackson of unproven child molestations) saying that Jackson's humanitarian efforts need to be praised. Usher then sang "Gone Too Soon," followed by a montage of old videos of Jackson himself. Shamim sang next, with Kenny Ortega introducing him afterward. Kenny Ortega explained that Michael Jackson saw the Staples Center as his home, a reason for the funeral service to be held there. This was followed by Kenny Ortega doing a tribute to him, including We Are the World and Heal the World. The service ended with speeches by members of his family, including Jermaine, Marlon and daughter Paris who broke into tears and said that "Daddy was the best father anyone could have" and also that "I will miss him" then she left the microphone and turned into Janet Jackson's arms. The memorial lasted over 2 hours.



At first, Michael Jackson's custom-made quarter-million dollar golden casket, nicknamed "The Promethean" was not expected to appear at the memorial service, however, due to a change in the family's plans the casket was taken to the memorial service.[42]

Viewing parties were held all over the world for the broadcast, including at several movie theaters, in Times Square, the Apollo Theater, Raleigh, and Berlin.[43] The broadcast was replayed a few times the next day. An estimated 1 billion people tuned into the farewell concert.

Over 3,000 police officers were assigned to the event, the largest amount assigned to a single event since the 1984 Summer Olympics.[44] It cost the City of Los Angeles 1.4 million dollars.[45] His funeral took place in Glendale California on September 3, 2009, 9 weeks after he died. He was laid to rest at 9:45 pm in the mausoleum, above the ground. Mother Katherine decided on burial details but some family members and friends wanted him buried below ground in the mausoleum. Jermaine Jackson wanted him buried on Neverland ranch.[46]



Although he died in 2009, Jackson is still often in the news. His music is also still popular.



Jackson won Entertainer of the Year at the 2009 Soul Train Awards. That year he also won five American Music Awards.[47]

On October 26, 2009, a two-disc album called Michael Jackson's This Is It was released. The album's only single "This Is It" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2011. On October 28, 2009 Michael Jackson's This Is It was released. It was a documentary movie. The movie showed recordings of Jackson's rehearsals for his This Is It tour. Jackson died before he could do the tour. It made $72,091,016 in the United States. It has made $261,183,588 around the world. It got good reviews from movie critics. On 26 January 2010 the movie was released on DVD. It sold over a 1.5million copies in the US in the first week it was released. This was more than any other music DVD had sold in its first week.[48]

Jackson won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. His children, Prince and Paris collected the award for Jackson.

A video game called Michael Jackson: The Experience was released in November 2010 for the Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and Wii.



In April 2011 Mohamed Al-Fayed, who was friends with Jackson when he was alive, showed the public a 7ft 6in statue of Jackson outside Craven Cottage football stadium. A lot of people did not like the statue. In July 2013 Fayed sold his football club to Shahid Khan. In September 2013 Khan chose to have the statue was removed. It was given back to Fayed.[49] Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson, a book written by Joseph Vogel about Jackson's life, was published in 2011.

Jackson was voted as the Greatest Singer of All Time by people who did a poll on NME.com.[50]

In 2011 there was a criminal trial for Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray. Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter of Jackson. He was sentenced to four years in prison. On October 28, 2013, Murray was released from prison. He was interviewed by 60 Minutes. He said that he did not think that Jackson's death was his fault in any way. The journalist Liz Hayes asked Murray if he thought that Jackson was a pedophile. Murray stared at her for 13 seconds and would not give an opinion. He said that he would not answer because he did not want to make anything up.[51]

An extinct species of hermit crab was called Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni after Jackson in January 2012.[52]

Bad 25, a documentary movie about Jackson's album Bad, was released in August 2012.

In 2012 he sold almost 8 albums in the United States. He is thought to have sold 2 albums around the world in 2012. His estate makes $1 a year.[53]



Jackson made more money than any other dead celebrity in 2013.[54]

In May 2013 Wade Robson said that Jackson sexually abused him from the age of 7 to 14. In 2005 he had been a defense witness for Jackson's child molestation trial.[55] In June 2014 there will be a hearing where it is decided whether Robson can sue Jackson's estate over the abuse.[56]

In November 2013 Billboard magazine's issue, 44 did a cover with Michael on it. It said 'Life After Death'. Inside the magazine there was an article about the success of Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.[57]

In January 2014 a judge ruled that Jackson's family could not have another trial against AEG Live.[58] Xscape was released on May 9, 2014.[59]

Recent releases


Jackson recorded several songs before his death. He had recently released a compilation album called Michael, featuring remixed songs and new songs such as "Hold My Hand" a duet between him and popular singer Akon, and "Monster", a strong song with lots of attitudes and a hint of dislike for the paparazzi. Also "(I Like) The Way You Love Me", "Keep Your Head Up", and "Much Too Soon". In 2014, he released the second posthumous album, Xscape which includes the songs "Love Never Felt So Good" featuring Justin Timberlake, "Slave to the Rhythm", and "A Place With No Name".





Documentaries after death


Concert tours





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