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Michael Jackson was born on this date in 1958. He was a Black singer and entertainer.
One of nine children from Gary, Indiana, he grew up in a strict, working-class family where he showed an early interest in music, as did most of the family. Jackson’s mother sang frequently, and his father played guitar in a small-time R&B band, while his older brothers often sang and played along with their father's guitar. At age 5, he and his brothers were the "Jackson 5." They played in New York and Philadelphia and were "discovered" by Gladys Knight and pianist Billy Taylor at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. By age 11, Jackson was a Superstar. At age 13 he went solo and had his first #1 hit at 14 with "Ben."
Before he could vote, he was a millionaire and solo recording artist. By the time he was old enough to drink alcohol, he was recording the brightest and best pop-dance songs. At 25, he was the biggest recording star in the world. While Jackson didn't write all of his songs, he wrote most of them and those he didn't, he made his own when he sang them.
Jackson and Diana Ross starred in The Wiz, which was produced by Quincy Jones. Jackson and Jones began working together on more mature, funky pop tunes, which ultimately vaulted Jackson to super stardom. With Jones producing, Jackson recorded "Off The Wall" (1979), which included four top 10 hits: "Rock With You," "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough," "She's Out Of My Life" and the title track. "Don't Stop," earning him a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal, Male.
But four years later, Jackson was to make Grammy history, sales history, chart history, and dance history. In 1983, with Jones, Jackson created the pop-dance disc, "Thriller," which eventually sold a phenomenal 45 million worldwide, beginning with the Paul McCartney duet "The Girl Is Mine." The record ultimately generated an unprecedented seven top 10 singles. Jackson also set new standards in videos with "Beat It," which paved the way for other Black artists on MTV, and the auspicious "Thriller" video, a horror film short with voice work by Vincent Price. The Moonwalk became the next big dance step, and Jackson sipped Pepsi for money, received an award from then-President Ronald Reagan, toured the globe with his brothers for Victory, co-penned the number one hit "We Are The World," starred in his bizarre 3D short, "Captain Eo," and purchased the ATV music publishing catalog, which featured 250 Lennon/McCartney songs.
If 1987s "Bad" had not been preceded by "Thriller," it certainly would have been received better and had more impact. Following the exceptional 1983 album, "Bad" fell short of expectations (as everything else would), and although it was nominated for several Grammy Awards, the album received only one. Not to slight its importance in the clubs and charts, Jackson had five hits including "Bad," "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "Dirty Diana," and "Man In The Mirror," and the record sold over 22 million copies worldwide.
But in the 1990s, Jackson was plagued with troubles. Moving to his dream estate, Neverland, with Ferris wheels and wild animals, he seemed to lose touch with reality and was reliving a childhood he never had--complete with children's parties. Ironically, Jackson's first album of the new decade was "Dangerous," which sold 20 million copies worldwide and was released on his own label, MJJ. Reportedly, Jackson insisted MTV and BET refer to him as the "King Of Pop" when introducing his video for "Black And White," which Jackson later denied, but it was his rumored involvement with children that caused much more than controversy.
For years he had donated millions of dollars to charities that primarily aided children. Yet a 13-year-old boy told his psychiatrist that Jackson had fondled him in 1993. Jackson denied the accusation and settled out of court even though the police proved nothing. He became addicted to painkillers, Pepsi ended the 10-year business relationship, and in 1994, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley; a questionable marriage that ended in divorce. Also in 1993, Jackson received the Living Legend Grammy Award.
Further music from him includes HIStory Past Present & Future, 1995, Blood On The Dance Floor, 1997, Best Of Michael Jackson, 2000, Vol. 1-Greatest Hits, and Invincible 2001. Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001. The same year, plans were made for a mammoth concert at NYC's Madison Square Garden to celebrate his 30th anniversary as a solo artist.
On November 19, 2003, authorities issued an arrest warrant for Jackson on multiple counts of child molestation. They asked the pop superstar to turn in his passport and surrender. He was acquitted in 2005. Michael Jackson died of Cardiac Arrest on June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles.
by Michael Jackson
Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., New York, USA
ISBN number: 0-7493-1338-2
The Associated Press
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