Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer and songwriter. He reached incredible heights of fame and became one of the most recognized musical figures of all time. In the United States, he has had 13 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. He has also sold a total of over 400 million records, making him one of the biggest selling artists of all time. Also, he has received over six hundred world-renowned rewards, making him the artist with the most awards won in history. He was also the first artist to have a top ten single in five decades – from the 60’s to the 2010’s.
Early Years and Jackson 5.
Jackson’s music career began in 1964, where he was part of a group consisting of his pothers, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon, and himself – The Jackson 5. The group had a string of hits, including I Want You Back, ABC and I’ll Be There.
Whilst Jackson’s career as a solo artist began in 1971 with the disbanding of the Jackson 5, it wouldn’t be until over a decade later that he’d become a global sensation. Still, he had a number of hit singles, including Don’t Stop ‘Till You get Enough from his 1979 album Off The Wall.
Height of Popularity from Thriller to History
Jackson’s solo career was not considered a real success until much later. Some critics assumed that his career would have been over - like many child stars of the same era – due to being unmarketable as an adult. However, 1982 saw the singer release Thriller, which catapulted him towards being one of the biggest music stars in the world. The album has since become the biggest selling album of all time. The album included a string of hits, including Billie Jean, Beat It and the Title song from the album, Thriller. Thriller became of particular note in music history as the video was shot as a full-length feature, with a video full with plot-line, acting and a run-time of around 15 minutes.
This would create a chain of events leading to the music video being seen as an artistic medium in and of itself – and Jackson would later push the envelope when he recorded a duet with his sister Janet, Scream, which would be the most expensive music video in history.
Jackson would go onto release Bad in 1987 – again, containing a string of huge hits including Bad, Man In The Mirror and Smooth Criminal. All had accompanying videos which were high budget productions. He would later follow up Bad with History – which had a more humanitarian theme. Songs included the Earth Song, and They Don’t Really Care About Us, whose themes included the environment as well as social inequality. The latter would draw controversy due to the use of the word “kike,” which is an anti-Semitic slur. The singer intended no offence, he would later make statement declaring.
Invincible and After
By the late nineties, Jackson’s image was being damaged by allegations of paedophilia, as well as speculation about his plastic surgery and general mental stability. He bought the Neverland ranch as homage to the Neverland of the Peter Pan novel – about a boy who never grew up.
The speculation about Michael Jackson’s personal life didn’t stop his next album, Invincible, from being a success; it topped the charts in over 13 countries and sold more than thirteen million copies worldwide.
This was shortly followed by the birth of his third child – again, Jackson would find controversy after almost dropping the new-born off a balcony with fans below. The singer referred to the incident as a mistake.
Then, his music career was derailed by accusations against his person, which are mentioned more thoroughly in the section below on his personal life. He would release no more music between the early 2000’s and his death in 2009.
Jackson, spending many years out of the spotlight after his string of court appearances for indecent sexual assault, announced he would play a final set of concerts in 2009. The singer announced the “This is it” tour amid concerns over his health.
The singer was found dead at his home by medics at 2.26pm on the 25th June 2009. The death sparked uproar and then grief-stricken outpourings across the world. The singer was found to have died of an overdose of a cocktail of drugs, including propofol and benzodiazepine. These were later found to have been administered illegally – and the doctor, Conrad Murray, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Michael Jackson. He served two years’ imprisonment for the death.
A live memorial was held shortly after – and attended by many celepities. It is thought that the service was poadcast to over a billion people worldwide. Following his death, Sony Music Entertainment bought the rights to distribute Michael Jackson’s music for a reported $250 million from the Jackson estate. The death coincided with a marked increase in sales of both Jackson’s back catalogue as well as songs from his time in the Jackson 5.
Michael Jackson drew a lot of attention for his appearance, which changed considerably over the years. His skin colour lightened – which the singer claimed was due to vitiligo – and his face showed signs of cosmetic surgery; particularly in the jaw, nose and cheekbones.
Also drawing infamy were his repeated sexual abuse investigations. Rumours circulated starting in the early to mid-nineties, and then he was formally charged and received a court hearing in 2005. Jackson was indicted and later found innocent of nine charges of indecent sexual assault – making him completely innocent of all charges against him.
Jackson was a humanitarian, setting a record for a celepity with the most endorsements/patronages of charities – being a major contributor to 39 in total.
Even after death, Michael Jackson is successful. In fact, Forbes lists him as a the highest-earning celepity who is no longer alive – his estate made $140 million in the last year to earn him the spot, which he has earned for the past five years in a row.