Michael Joseph Jackson is an American singer and dancer who began his career performing in the family band The Jacksons. Since 1972, he devoted himself to a solo career, quickly achieving unrivaled success. His sixth studio album, Thriller, has been the best-selling album of all time for more than 30 years, and Michael Jackson has become a pop legend.
CHILDHOOD: HUMILIATION AND FIRST GLORY
The boy, later recognized as the King of Pop, was born in the town of Gary, Indiana. The boy’s parents, Joseph Jackson and Katherine Vinta, married in November 1949. They were brought together by a love of music: the future father of the family was a bluesman, played the guitar, and his mother, half Indian, half mulatto, a native of the rural outback, was obsessed with country music.
19-year-old Catherine quickly realized that family life was by no means as rosy as in her fantasies. Joseph proved himself to be a real person, turning out to be an unsociable and even cruel person.
When Michael was born in 1958, there were already seven children in the Jackson family. Joseph’s strict disciplinarian approach to raising children was harsh: he humiliated his children both morally and physically. The singer’s brother Marlon said that his father dissolved his hands for the slightest offense. In an effort to accustom children to order, at night he put on a terrible mask, sneaked up under the windows of the nursery and roared in different ways (later Michael admitted that he was constantly tormented by nightmares as a child). The mother forced her sons to study the Bible and took them to meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses (banned in Russia).
Only in 1993, Michael Jackson told Oprah Winfrey in the studio that in those years he constantly cried and felt lonely, he was literally sick of communicating with his father.
In 1964, the brothers formed The Jacksons. The original line-up consisted of the elders Tito, Jeremy and Jackie, with Michael and Marlon acting as understudies, playing tambourine and congo. Later, Michael took the place of the backing vocalist, and also accompanied each performance with dancing. The strict father watched the band’s rehearsals with a belt in his hands and used leather weapons if he didn’t like something.
In 1966, it was decided to rename the group to “Jackson 5” (“Jackson’s Five”), and Michael became the lead singer. The young musicians won the city’s talent competition with the song “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, after which they went on tour in the Midwest, which lasted until 1968. Michael and his brothers performed in strip clubs for “blacks”, warming up the audience before the start of the show.
In 1970, the Jackson Brothers went national with their first singles to the top of the US Billboard chart. Even then, Michael riveted the attention of the public with eccentric dances, which he copied from Jackie Wilson and James Brown.
THE BEGINNING OF A SOLO CAREER
In 1973, the Jackson 5 became involved in a conflict with their record label, Motown Records. This did not prevent Michael from releasing 4 solo albums in collaboration with the label: the debut “Got to Be There” (1972), which sold over five million copies, “Ben” (1972), “Music & Me” (1973), and, finally, “Forever , Michael” (1975).
In 1976, the Jacksons signed a contract with CBS Records, after which they had to return the name “The Jacksons” – Motown retained the rights to “Jackson’s Five” for themselves.
In 1978, Michael Jackson took part in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with Diana Ross. The set brought him together with music director Quincy Jones, who took the talented singer who played the Scarecrow under his wing.
The first fruits of cooperation made themselves felt in 1979, when Michael Jackson presented the public with his fifth solo album “Off the Wall” (translated into Russian – “Alien to Conventions”). With the recording of the album, the musician was helped by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder . Four singles from the record hit the top of the Billboard Hot charts: “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, “Rock with You”, “She’s Out of My Life” and “Off the Wall”. The album has sold 20 million copies worldwide.
KING OF POP MUSIC
By the early 80s, Michael Jackson had already achieved phenomenal success, and ahead of the fans was waiting for a new album, Thriller. Work on it was carried out for 8 months; The album included 9 tracks, 4 of which Michael wrote himself.
The record was released in November 1982, and in just a year received the status of the best-selling album in history, keeping it for several decades. In the United States alone, fans of the black singer sold 26 million copies, and in the world this figure exceeded 109 million. The album topped the Billboard 200 for 37 weeks and stayed on the list for two years.
The album was a breakthrough in music and, in addition, broke the latest racial stereotypes in the pop industry: three videos of Michael Jackson (“Thriller”, “Billie Jean”, “Beat It”) got into MTV rotation, and the musician was invited to the White House meeting with Ronald Reagan.
In 1983, on the 25th anniversary of Motown Records, Michael Jackson debuted his famous “moonwalk” performance of “Billie Jean” for the first time, as well as a 14-minute clip for the song “Thriller”, which set new music video standards.
In 1984, Michael’s work was again at the top of the charts. This time the single “Say Say Say”, recorded together with Paul McCartney, got there. The following year, Jackson bought out a controlling stake in ATV Music Publishing, which owns the rights to most of The Beatles’ songs, which caused a quarrel with McCartney, who also claims securities.
In March 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie recorded the song “We Are the World”. All commercial proceeds, which exceeded $61 million, were given to help the starving children of Africa.
Michael Jackson’s seventh studio album (“Bad”, 1987) did not repeat the phenomenal success of the previous record, but still stayed on the first line of the Billboard 200 for 6 weeks, sold 29 million copies and gave the world several hits, including the composition ” I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Dirty Diana”, “Smooth Criminal” and “Man in the Mirror”.
Immediately after the release of the album, Michael Jackson went on his first international solo tour “Bad Tour”, visiting 15 countries with 123 concerts over the next three years. Jackson turned each performance into a brilliant show: he demonstrated crazy dance steps, communicated with the audience. During one of the London concerts, he got into the Guinness Book of Records – a record half a million spectators came to the performance.
In 1989, Elizabeth Taylor called Michael Jackson “the real king of pop, rock and soul music” during the Soul Train Music Awards. Fans shortened her phrase – “King of Pop”, and this nickname stuck with Michael forever.
In 1991, Michael delighted fans with new material by releasing his eighth solo album Dangerous. The release was preceded by the premiere of the video for the song “Black or White”, which topped the charts for 5 weeks.