Michael Joseph Jackson ( August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009 ), nicknamed the “King of Pop” , was an American musician and one of the most commercially successful entertainers . His unique contribution to music and dance, and his private life, made him a prominent figure in popular culture for four decades.
He has twice been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame , holds several records in the Guinness Book of Records – including “Most Successful Entertainer Ever” – 13 Grammy Awards , 13 singles that have been No. 1 on the US charts, and an estimated total sales figure of over 750 million plates. He was a significant multi-million dollar philanthropic and humanitarian sponsor to 39 charities and also made contributions through his own Heal the World Foundation .
Jackson began his solo career in 1971, following his debut in 1964 as a member of The Jackson 5 . His 1982 album Thriller is to this day the best-selling album ever, just as four others – Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995) – are among the best-selling. He made a number of advanced dance steps such as the robot and the moonwalk very popular. He is widely recognized for having changed the music video from being an advertising tool to an art form and the videos to songs like ” Billie Jean “, ” Beat It”and Thriller made him the first African-American to gain a large number of fans via MTV .
Jackson’s privacy created some controversy. His changing appearance could be seen from the 1980s, and especially changes in nose shape and skin color created media coverage. In 1993, he was accused of abusing children , although no legal charges were filed. He married in 1994 and 1996 and had three children, one of whom was born to a foster mother . In 2005, he was indicted and acquitted of charges of pedophilia. Jackson died of cardiac arrest at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles , California . His memorial service was broadcast live worldwide.
1958–75: Early Life and Jackson 5 (The Jacksons)
Jackson was born as the eighth of nine children on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana , an industrial suburb of Chicago , into an African-American family. His mother, Katherine Esther Scruse , was a devout Jehovah’s Witness , and his father, Joseph Walter “Joe” Jackson , was a steelworker who performed with an R&B band called The Falcons. Jackson had three sisters, Rebbie , La Toya and Janet , and five brothers, Jackie , Tito , Jermaine , Marlon and Randy . 
Jackson had a troubled relationship with his father. Jackson jr. has stated that he was physically and mentally abused by being subjected to incessant trials, being whipped and being called nicknames, although he believed that his father’s discipline formed the basis of later success.  During an altercation, recounted by Marlon, Joseph held him upside down in one leg while “beating him again and again with his hand, striking him in the back and on the buttocks”. Joseph could also find himself straining legs or pushing Jackson into walls. One night while Jackson was sleeping, Joseph crawled into his room through the bedroom window and screamed while wearing a scare mask. He said he wanted to teach the children that they should not leave the window open when they go to bed. Jackson himself has later stated that for several years after he had nightmares about being kidnapped from his room.  Joseph confirmed in 2003 that he had whipped Jackson while he was still a child. 
The first time Jackson spoke openly about the abuse in his childhood was in an interview with Oprah Winfrey , which aired on February 10, 1993. He stated that he had often cried out of loneliness and would sometimes vomit when he saw his father. In an interview with Martin Bashir posted on February 3, 2003 as Living with Michael Jackson , he covered his face with his hands and started crying when he talked about the abuse as a child. He remembered that Joseph was sitting in a chair with a belt in his hand while he and the other siblings were practicing and that “if you did not do it the right way, he would tear you to pieces, really come after you” .  
Jackson showed his talent when, as a five-year-old, he performed in front of his classmates at a Christmas carol night. In 1964, he and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers – a band formed by brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine – as background musicians playing conga and tambourine . Jackson later began singing support vocals and dancing; at the age of eight, he and Jermaine became lead singers, and the group changed its name to Jackson 5 .  The band toured extensively in the Midwest from 1966 to 1968, often appearing in a number of black clubs known as “the chitlin ‘circuit “, where they were often the opening band for striptease sessions .or other adult entertainment. In 1966, they won a major local talent contest with their editions of Motown hits and James Brown ‘s ” I Got You (I Feel Good) “, led by Michael. 
Jackson 5 recorded several songs, including ” Big Boy ,” with local record label Steeltown in 1967, and signed with Motown Records in 1968.  Rolling Stone later described the young Michael as “a prodigy” with “overwhelming musical abilities” and that he “quickly emerged as the central draw and lead singer.”  The group set a hit list when its first four singles (” I Want You Back “, ” ABC “, ” The Love You Save ” and ” I’ll Be There “) became No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 . During Jackson 5’s early years, Motown’s PR department claimed Jackson was nine years old – two years younger than he was – to make him appear cuter and more approachable. 
From 1972, Jackson released four solo albums through Motown, including Got to Be There and Ben , released as part of the Jackson 5 franchise, creating successful singles such as ” Got to Be There “, ” Ben ” and a remake of Bobby Days ‘ Rockin “Robin “. Jackson 5’s sales numbers began to decline in 1973, and band members were furious that Motowns strictly and constantly denied them control of the music, or to provide input. Although they received several top 40 hits, including the top 5 disco single ” Dancing Machine ” and the top 20 hit ” I Am Love “, Jackson 5 left the company in 1975. 
1976–81: Switched to Epic and Off the Wall
Jackson 5 signed with CBS Records in June 1975, working for Epic Records . For legal reasons, the group changed its name to The Jacksons . After the name change, the group continued to tour internationally and released six more albums between 1976 and 1984. From 1976 to 1984, it was Michael Jackson who wrote most of the group’s songs, including songs like Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground), This Place Hotel and Can You Feel It]  .
In 1978, Jackson played the scarecrow in the film musical The Wiz , which is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz  . Quincy Jones arranged the music for the film and he subsequently entered into an agreement with Jackson to produce his solo album Off the Wall . In 1979, Jackson broke his nose during an advanced dance routine. His subsequent nose surgery did not go quite as planned; he complained of breathing problems. that would have an impact on his career. He was referred to dr. Steven Hoefflin , who performed Jackson’s second nose operation and subsequent surgeries. 
Jones and Jackson produced Off the Wall together. Among the songwriters were Jackson, Heatwaves Rod Temperton , Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney . The album was released in 1979, and was the first album to have four top 10 hits in the United States, including the hit singles ” Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough ” and Rock with You .  It became number three on the Billboard 200 and sold over 20 million copies worldwide.  In 1979, Jackson was engaged to Uri Geller ‘s wedding, but arrived two hours late, leaving a company of, among others,Barry Gibb , Dave Stewart and Liverpool ‘s mayor had to have their wedding dinner before the ceremony, instead of the other way around.  In 1979, Jackson also got to know 13-year-old Terry George of Leeds . Then the singer called him at exactly 9pm three times a week, and once Jackson had masturbated during a phone call. In 1981, the two met again in England. Then the contact ceased, but in 1993 the story found its way to English Sunday newspapers, where George to his dismay appeared on the front pages. 
In 1980, Jackson won three awards at the American Music Awards for his solo career: 1) Favorite Soul / R & B Album, 2) Favorite Male Soul / R & B Artist and 3) Favorite Soul / R & B Single for “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” . That same year, he also won Billboard Music Awards for Top Black Artist and Top Black Album , as well as a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Voice Performance, also for “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”  Despite its commercial success, Jackson felt that Off the Wall should have made a far greater impression, and he was determined to exceed expectations with his next release.royaltyrate : 37 percent of album revenue. 
1982–83: Thriller and Motown 25
In 1982, Jackson contributed to the history book with the song “Someone In the Dark” for the movie ET ; the record won a Grammy for Best Album for Children.  That same year, Jackson released his second Epic album, Thriller , which became the most commercially successful album ever. The album remained in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 for 80 weeks and in 37 of them it was in first place. It was the first album to have seven Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles, including ” Billie Jean “, ” Beat It ” and ” Wanna Be Startin ‘Somethin’ .”  Thriller was certified for 28 million sales by the RIAA, which gave it dual diamond status in the United States.  It is the best-selling album ever with 110 million copies sold worldwide.  Jackson’s attorney John Branca stated that at the time, Jackson had the highest royalty rate in the music industry: he received about $ 2 for each album sold. He also earned record profits from the sale of CDs and The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller , a documentary produced by Jackson and John Landis . The documentary, which had been funded by MTV, sold over 350,000 copies in just a few months. Various items were also sold, such as dolls by Michael Jackson, which appeared in stores in 1984 at a price of $ 12.  Biography writer J. Randy Taraborrelli writes that ” Thriller stopped selling as a leisure item – as a magazine, a toy, tickets to a hit movie – and began selling as a staple for households.” 
Time described Jackson’s influence at the time as: “Star of records, radio, rock video. A one-man rescue team for the music industry. A songwriter who puts a decade of beat. A dancer with the most artful food on the street. A singer who cuts through all boundaries of taste and style and also color “.  The New York Times wrote that “in the world of pop music there is Michael Jackson and there is everyone else”.  On March 25, 1983, he appeared live on the television show Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever , both with Jackson 5 and alone, where he sang “Billie Jean”. His performance, which was the first time he used his special dance style moonwalk , was seen by over 47 million viewers, and was compared toElvis Presley’s and The Beatles ‘ appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show .  The New York Times said, “The moonwalk he made famous is an appropriate metaphor for his dance style. How does he do that? As a technician he is a great illusionist, a true mime artist. His ability to hold a leg as soon as he slides while the other bends and looks like it does, perfect timing is required. ” 
1984–85: Pepsi, We Are the World and Business Career
In November 1983, Jackson (along with his brothers) and PepsiCo entered into a $ 5 million deal that broke all previous records for payment by celebrities’ participation in commercials . Jackson’s manager had first contacted Coca-Cola , which offered a deal worth a million US $, but Jackson instead made a push at PepsiCo, which was looking for someone to front its New Generation campaign. It paid off big, and for the next decade, Jackson and Pepsi were closely linked.  However, the agreement with Pepsi came to cost Jackson dearly in terms of health, as during filming in Los Angeles in January 1984 , his hair caught fire in front of 3,000 people in attendance. He danced to Billie Jean, when he got too close to a pyrotechnic device that went off too early. It caused second-degree burns to his scalp and loss of some of his hair. His jacket was also ignited. However, he did not sue Pepsi, which paid him one and a half million US dollars in damages, which Jackson donated to Brotman Medical Center, which had treated him, and which set up a Michael Jackson Burn Center , which, however, had to close in 1987 .  Later it was found out that it was that pomade, Jackson came in his hair that had been ignited. He received treatment to hide the scars, and his third nose operation shortly after. It later emerged that the pain Jackson suffered from the burn was prolonged and made him addicted to prescription pills. His hair also never really came back,  so he started going with the wig when he showed up outside. After his death, it could be found that his scalp was badly scarred and there was hardly any hair on the sides. 
On May 14, 1984, he was invited to the White House to receive an award from US President Ronald Reagan for his support of projects that help people overcome alcohol and drug abuse.  Jackson won eight Grammy Awards that year. Unlike later albums, Thriller was not promoted on any official tour, but the 1984 Victory Tour , with The Jacksons as its main name, performed much of Jackson’s new solo material for more than two million Americans. He donated his $ 5 million share of the Victory Tour to charity.  He and Lionel Richiewrote in 1985 the charity single We Are the World , which was released worldwide to help poor people in the United States and Africa. It became one of the world’s best-selling singles ever, with nearly 20 million copies sold and millions of dollars donated to relief efforts. 
While working with Paul McCartney on the two hit singles The Girl Is Mine (1982) and Say Say Say (1983), the pair became good friends. McCartney told Jackson how enormously he earned on music catalogs; about 40,000,000 US $ annually of other people’s songs. Jackson then began trading in rights to other people’s music. In 1985, ATV Music , the owner of thousands of music copyrights , including the Northern Songs catalog containing most of the Lennon -McCartney compositions recorded by The Beatles , went on sale.  Jackson was immediately interested in the catalog, but was warned of fierce competition. Excited, he jumped around and said ” I don’t care. I want those songs. Get me those songs, Branca! [His lawyer]”. McCartney tried to persuade Yoko Ono to go with him in a joint bid, but she refused, so he withdrew. Jackson eventually beat the other competitors in the negotiations, which lasted for ten months, and bought the catalog for $ 47.5 million.  
1986–87: Appearance, Gossip Magazine, Bath , Autobiography, and Film
Jackson’s skin had a medium-brown color throughout his youth, but from the early 1980s it began to become paler. The change was widely covered by the media, and rumors surfaced that he was bleaching his skin.  According to J. Randy Taraborrelli’s biography, in 1986 Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus ; the vitiligo disease made his skin partly lighter, and the lupus was improving ; both diseases made him sensitive to sunlight. The treatments he used against the diseases made his skin lighter, and when added to the make-up he used to hide blemishes, he could appear very pale. The structure of his face also changed: several surgeons wondered if he had had more nose surgeries, a lift of the forehead, thinned lips and cheekbone surgery. 
He lost weight in the early 1980s due to a change in diet and his desire to have “a dancer’s body”.  Witnesses said he was often dizzy and speculated that he was suffering from anorexia . Periodic weight loss became a recurring problem later in Jackson’s life.  Some medical experts have stated that he suffered from dysmorphophobia , a psychological condition in which one does not like his appearance and has no idea how others view one.  He received his fourth rhinoplasty in 1986, and had a cleft in his chin.  
Jackson became the main topic of an increasing amount of sensational news. In 1986, The National Enquirer published a series of photographs showing him lying in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber , claiming he was sleeping in the chamber to delay his aging.  When Jackson bought a chimpanzee called Bubbles from a laboratory, it was reported as an example that he was slowly losing touch with reality.  In 2003, Jackson claimed that Bubbles had been trained to use the toilet and to clean his own bedroom.  It was later reported that Jackson had offered $ 1,000,000 for Joseph Merricks ‘ “Elephant Man” bones. The news gradually became part of the public consciousness, and provided inspiration for the nickname “Wacko Jacko”, which was often abbreviated to “Jacko” in the gossip press. Despite Jackson maintaining that the ‘news’ was pure fabrication, a 2004 biography said people close to Jackson had leaked rumors to the press as a promotion.  Jackson remarked to a reporter:
Citat Why not tell people I’m an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They will believe whatever you say because you are a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, said “I’m an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight” people would say “Oh, man, him Michael Jackson is crazy. It rattles for him. You can not believe in a single word coming out of his mouth. ”