Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American recording artist, dancer, singer-songwriter, musician, and philanthropist. Referred to as the King of Pop, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contribution to music, dance, and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. The seventh child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5, then the Jacksons in 1964, and began his solo career in 1971.
In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. The music videos for his songs, including those of “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, and “Thriller”, were credited with transforming the medium into an art form and a promotional tool, and the popularity of these videos helped to bring the relatively new television channel MTV to fame. Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. His other records, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world’s best-selling.He was also inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the first (and currently only) dancer from the world of pop and rock ‘n’ roll. Some of his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records; 13 Grammy Awards (as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award); 26 American Music Awards (more than any other artist, including the “Artist of the Century”); 13 number-one singles in the United States in his solo career (more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era); and the estimated sale of over 750 million records worldwide.
PERSONAL LIFE AND DEATH
Aspects of Jackson’s personal life, including his changing appearance, personal relationships, and behavior, have generated controversy. In 1993, he was accused of child sexual abuse, but the case was settled out of court and no formal charges were brought. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further sexual abuse allegations and several other charges after the jury ruled him not guilty on all counts. While preparing for his concert series This Is It, Jackson died of acute propofol intoxication on June 25, 2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest. Before his death, Jackson had been administered drugs including propofol and lorazepam. The Los Angeles County Coroner declared his death a homicide, and his personal physician pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson’s death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and as many as one billion people around the world reportedly watched his public memorial service on live television. In March 2010, Sony Music Entertainment signed a $250 million deal with Jackson’s estate to retain distribution rights to his recordings until 2017, and to release seven posthumous albums over the decade following his death.
Jackson throughout his career transformed the art of the music video and paved the way for modern pop music. Daily Telegraph writer Tom Utley described Jackson in 2003 as “extremely important” and a “genius.” For much of his career, he had an “unparalleled” level of worldwide influence over the younger generation through his musical and humanitarian contributions. Jackson’s music and videos, such as Thriller, fostered racial diversity in MTV’s roster, helped to put the relatively new channel into public awareness, and steered the channel’s focus from rock to pop music and R&B, shaping the channel into a form that proved enduring. Jackson’s work continues to influence numerous hip hop, rock, pop and R&B artists, including Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Usher, Green Day, Britney Spears, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Ludacris, among others.
HONORS AND AWARDS
Michael Jackson was inducted onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1980 as member of The Jacksons and in 1984 as solo artist. Throughout his career he received numerous honors and awards, including the World Music Awards’ Best-Selling Pop Male Artist of the Millennium, the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award and the Bambi Pop Artist of the Millennium Award.In 2010, Jackson was inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the first (and currently only) dancer from the world of pop and rock ‘n’ roll. His awards include many Guinness World Records (eight in 2006 alone), 13 Grammy Awards (as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award), 26 American Music Awards (24 only as a solo artist, including the “Artist of the Century”, but not the poll of “Artist of the ’80s”)—more than any artist—, 13 number one singles in the US in his solo career—more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era—and estimated sales of up to 750 million records worldwide, making him the world’s best selling male solo pop artist.
- Got to Be There (1972)
- Ben (1972)
- Music & Me (1973)
- Forever, Michael (1975)
- Off the Wall (1979)
- Thriller (1982)
- Bad (1987)
- Dangerous (1991)
- HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995)
- Invincible (2001)
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