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Jackson, Michael

Michael Jackson

1958-

Singer, songwriter, dancer

A powerfully creative and disciplined artist, Michael Jackson is a distinctive vocalist, an imaginative and original songwriter with a gift for turning his own experiences into powerful lyrics, and a dancer almost without peer. Keeping control over his own career, he ruled pop and rhythm-and-blues music charts throughout the 1980s. Jackson's private life has proven just as fascinating as his music and dance moves.

The lead singer of the beloved family group the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson was in his early twenties when Thriller catapulted him into the ranks of the rich and famous. He has never matched the success of Thriller, and in the 1990s his career suffered serious reversals, the most damaging of which may have been the accusations of child abuse leveled against the singer in 1993. By the late 1990s, the star of the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" seemed to have dimmed, especially after 2003, when he was arrested on a number of charges including ten counts of child molestation. But no one who remembered the explosion of his talent during the previous decade could doubt either his overall impact as a performer or his ability to once again seize the limelight.

Singing with the Jackson 5

Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in the steel-manufacturing center of Gary, Indiana, outside of Chicago. His father Joseph had played guitar in a local group called the Falcons; his mother Katherine was a country music enthusiast who instilled in her eight children a love of singing. Joseph, very demanding and rumored by his children to be an abusive man, aimed to turn his five male children—Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael—into musical stars. By 1964, before Michael's sixth birthday, he had formed them into the Jackson 5. The group played in local arenas and traveled throughout the Midwest performing before they were noticed. Attracting the attention of hit singer Gladys Knight and pianist Bobby Taylor—not Diana Ross as some have claimed—the Jackson 5 were signed in 1968 to the Motown label, whose roster of youthful black acts had reliably been generating hits for several years.

Michael's exuberant vocals defined such catchy Jackson 5 hits as "I Want You Back," "The Love You Save," "ABC," and "I'll Be There," all of which hit Number One in 1970. He released three albums for Motown as a solo artist, with singles such as "Ben," "Rockin' Robin," and "Got to Be There" reaching top chart levels. With Michael as lead vocalist and choreographer, the group toured extensively, giving audiences electrified shows that made the Jackson 5 more popular with each new show. Joseph Jackson and label founder, Berry Gordy, Jr., never saw eye to eye. Joseph always believed his sons could produce and write, but were limited by Motown's management. The Jacksons, minus Jermaine, left Motown after a dispute over artistic control and signed with CBS's Epic label in 1976.

Motown sued and the Jackson 5 lost its name. The brothers now known as The Jacksons—added to the group was youngest brother, Randy—went on to be successful on the Epic label with such hits as "Blame It On The Boogie," "Shake Your Body," and "Heartbreak Hotel," all of which were written by various Jackson brothers.

As the Jackson 5, the brothers appeared in their first TV special, Goin' Back to Indiana, an ABC network presentation that also starred comedians Bill Cosby and Tom Smothers. ABC also aired a Saturday morning animated series The Jackson Five which featured the Jacksons' singing voices. As The Jacksons, they performed in Las Vegas with their sisters Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet. (Incidentally, Janet in the 1990s would eclipse Michael in popularity.)

Striking Out as a Solo Artist

Michael sought to carve out a career independent of his siblings'. Though he made solo albums as a child on the Motown label, it was on Epic that Michael became a superstar in his own right. He played the Scarecrow in the 1978 film The Wiz (opposite longtime friend Diana Ross in the role of Dorothy), and during the making of the film met music executive and producer Quincy Jones.

Jones would become one of the architects of Jackson's grand successes, creating a light, sophisticated production style that effectively showcased Jackson's quiet yet intensely dramatic vocals. A musical eclectic since his jazz days in the early 1960s, Jones also encouraged Jackson to experiment with novel stylistic fusions. The first fruit of their efforts was Jackson's 1979 release Off the Wall, which mixed disco and ballad elements and spawned four Top Ten singles.

Jones also produced Thriller, the long-awaited follow-up to Off the Wall. Afterthe release of the mild novelty song "The Girl Is Mine" (a duet with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney) as the first single, the album's sales built slowly. But with subsequent single releases Jackson emerged spectacularly as a personality who could appeal to diverse audiences like no one else in American music had been able to for years. "Beat It," featuring rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen, crossed over to attain popularity even among fans of heavy metal music; "Billie Jean" drew on Jackson's own experience of unjust paternity accusations. Both songs reached number one, and "Billie Jean" made him the first artist to be number one on the pop single, pop album, R & B single, and R & B album charts simultaneously. Thriller went on to generate an unprecedented total of seven Top Ten singles. The album roosted atop Billboard magazine's sales charts for thirty-seven weeks, and at its peak was reported to be selling more than 500,000 copies every week.

Inspired Dance Moves

At a Glance …

Born Michael Joseph Jackson on August 19, 1958, in Gary, Indiana; son of Joseph (a heavy equipment operator and part-time musician) and Katherine (a sales clerk, maiden name Scruse) Jackson. Married Lisa Marie Presley, 1994 (divorced 1996); married Debbie Rowe, 1996 (divorced 1999); children: (with Rowe), Prince Michael Jackson Jr. and Paris Michael Katherine; (with unknown mother), Prince Michael Jackson II.

Career: Performing and recording artist, 1963-. Vocalist with the Jackson 5, 1963-76; group signed with Motown Records, 1969; signed as solo artist with Motown, 1972-.

Awards: Numerous Grammy awards for Thriller, including album of the year, record of the year, best male rock vocal performance for "Beat It", and best new R&B song for "Billie Jean"; Song of the Year for "We Are the World," 1986; special humanitarian award from President Ronald Reagan, 1984; American Music Awards, Special Award of Achievement, 1989; World Music Awards for Best-Selling American Artist, World's Best-Selling Pop Artist, and World's best-Selling Artist of the Era, 1993; Grammy Award, Living Legend Award, 1993; Best R & B Single for "Remember The Time," 1993; Bambi Award, for Pop Artist of the Millennium, 2002.

Addresses: Web—http://mjjsource.com.

In 1985 Jackson co-wrote the international famine-relief single "We Are the World," one of the biggest-selling singles of all time. It seemed that everything Jackson touched turned to gold or platinum. His videos for the Thriller album helped to put the Music Television Channel, or MTV for short, on the map. His videos also showcased his dance moves that were still being imitated well into the 1990s. His most famous move, the Moonwalk, became a dance craze. Jackson first displayed the Moonwalk in his video for his song, "Billie Jean." He also began wearing one glove that was covered with rhinestones. He was asked by Barbara Walters on the television show 20/20 why he wore one glove, Jackson replied, "Cooler than two." Glove aside, many were impressed with Jackson's style and moves. Jane Fonda in Time magazine, described his music as "A fresh, original sound. The music is energetic, and it's sensual. You can dance to it, work out to it, make love to it, sing to it. It's hard to sit still to."

Jackson could also count as fans of his dancing, such pros as Bob Fosse, Gene Kelly, and Fred Astaire, who was quoted in Time as saying, "My Lord, he is a wonderful mover. He makes these moves up himself and it is just great to watch…. I don't know much more dancing he will take up, because singing and dancing at the same time is very difficult. But Michael is a dedicated artist."

Jackson reunited with his brothers, including Jermaine, for a Motown 25 television special in 1983. Afterward, the Jacksons released another album, titled Victory, and then went on tour. Pepsi, who had signed Michael to a lucrative contract, decided to make a commercial with all the brothers performing. During production, an accident occurred and Michael's hair and scalp was badly burned, but he fully recovered. The tour was his swan song exit. After the end of the tour, Michael left the group and soon afterward, they disbanded.

Growing Popularity

His next album release, 1987's Bad, sold 22 million copies internationally, a disappointment only by the lofty standard Thriller had established. Bad included five number one singles: "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "Bad," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man in the Mirror," and "Dirty Diana." Dangerous, released in 1991 with new producer Teddy Riley at the helm, likewise topped 20 million in total sales. Dangerous produced "Remember The Time," that won R & B's best single at the Grammys. The album also featured kid rap duo Kriss Kross, rapper Heavy D, and Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

Jackson continued to produce videos. As his popularity grew, he was able to premiere each video during primetime television and MTV. Most videos were short form, that is, lasting the length of the songs, but some were long form, which included dialogue, and some were mini-movies.

His song "Thriller" began the tradition, and the video The Making of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' garnered sales in the millions. Most notable among the long form videos were "Bad"—which also starred an unknown actor by the name of Wesley Snipes—"Black or White," which featured Macauley Culkin of Home Alone fame, and the infamous crotch-grabbing dance routine, and also "Remember The Time," with comedian Eddie Murphy, basketball great Magic Johnson, and supermodel Iman. "Remember The Time" also featured Jackson's first on-screen romantic kiss and one of the best choreographed dance routines of the 1990s.

Jackson's songs "Smooth Criminal" and "Leave Me Alone" were featured in his film, Moonwalker. His other film, Captain Eo, was shown at Disneyworld and Disneyland theme parks. Although he was not given credit, Michael Jackson's voice appeared on the animated television series The Simpsons.

Personal Life Scrutinized

In the years following the release of Thriller, Jackson found himself subject to the isolation that artists in the top echelon of fame inevitably experience. A devout Jehovah's Witness, he adopted a disguise and went door to door to promote the religion shortly after the album was released. But the pressures of stardom eventually made it impractical for him to continue his religious activities, and he renounced his membership in the sect in 1987 after his video "Thriller" was condemned by the group. A public perception of Jackson as a curious recluse began to take shape about this time. He was a constant subject of stories in the nation's tabloid press. Some—such as the story that he slept in a levitating "hyperbaric chamber" for the purpose of extending his life span—were planted by Jackson's own operatives as a way of garnering publicity. Jackson's skin seemed to become progressively lighter, leading to rumors that he was bleaching his skin in order to appear white.

Jackson countered this rumor in a February 1993 interview with television talk show host Oprah Winfrey, claiming that he suffered from vitiligo, a skin disease. But public unease with the star increased markedly as a result of much more serious allegations that surfaced in August of that year. Jackson was accused of sexually molesting a thirteen-year-old boy at his Encino, California, compound, called Neverland. The singer had long enjoyed surrounding himself with children; in September, his sister La Toya claimed that he had sometimes spent nights together with them in his bedroom. Jackson strongly denied any wrongdoing, maintaining that he was the victim of an extortion plot on the part of the father of the thirteen-year-old. The case was settled privately for an undisclosed sum in January of 1994, and charges were dropped, but it cost Jackson a lucrative endorsement contract with Pepsi-Cola. He has continued to deny the charges.

Jackson's musical successes since the time of these allegations have been sporadic, but his personal life continued to provide surprises. In August of 1994 it was revealed that Jackson had married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of legendary rock and roll innovator and pop megastar Elvis Presley, ten weeks earlier in a ceremony in the Dominican Republic. The couple was amicably divorced in January of 1996; in November of that year, Jackson married Debbie Rowe, a nurse who had reportedly been artificially inseminated and was pregnant with the singer's child. A son, Prince Michael Jackson Jr., was born in early 1997, and the couple was graced with the birth of a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine, in April of 1998. The couple divorced in 1999, with Jackson receiving full custody of the children in the settlement. Jackson soon added another son, Prince Michael II, with an unknown woman.

Jackson's public outings with his children were eagerly followed by the press. Jackson covered his children's heads with cloth in public as a precaution against kidnapping, according to Jet. In 2002 Jackson brought on public scorn for holding his infant son over the edge of a fourth-floor balcony to show fans. Soon after, Jackson released a statement saying "I made a terrible mistake. I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children," as quoted in Jet.

Struggled to Stay on Top

Despite a $30 million marketing campaign, Jackson's 1995 release HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book I fell short of expectations with its sales of two million units domestically, twelve million internationally; controversies over the songs "Scream" and "They Don't Care About Us" (the latter contained an allegedly anti-Semitic lyric reference for which Jackson later apologized) and an award for song "You Are Not Alone," did not keep the album from dropping out of the U.S. Top Ten within weeks of its release. A 1997 album, Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, fared even worse, with little marketing and domestic sales in the hundreds of thousands; it consisted largely of remixes by various hit producers of songs from the 1995 HIStory release. Jackson seemed to be attempting to update his style to fit with the technology-driven musical trends of the 1990s.

During the late 1990s the singer was occupied with grandiose schemes to build entertainment complexes in such diverse locales as Poland, South Korea, Paris, and Detroit, where he joined with gambling magnate Don Barden to push for a proposed casino and amusement park. This effort fell through in Detroit, when the people voted no on their proposal to allow the two to bid for a casino license in August of 1998. His charitable foundation Heal the World was reported by People magazine to be cutting back on donations as Jackson's total income dropped from an estimated $65 million in 1989 to $20 million in 1997.

Jackson continued to release records on Epic in the early 2000s, including Invincible in 2001 and Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection in 2003. While Invincible cost $30 million to make, it only sold six million copies worldwide by mid-2002. Though the record label spent $25 million to promote the record, Jackson believed they did not provide support in promoting the record and were trying to sabotage his career. As Jackson's musical career continued to become more irrelevant, his income also fell further. In the early 2000s, it was reported that he heavily borrowed against his assets to maintain his lifestyle.

Alleged Molestation Goes to Trial

In February of 2003, an unflattering television documentary by British journalist Martin Bashir called Living with Michael Jackson was broadcast. In the program, Jackson defended as "loving" his practice of letting young boys sleep in his bed. In November of 2003, California authorities searched Jackson's Neverland Ranch, following allegations that he molested a young boy who had visited the Neverland Ranch and spent the night there several times. Jackson was booked on child-molestation charges that month and released on $3 million bail. Formal charges against Jackson were filed in December 2003. A grand jury indicted the 46-year-old pop star in April 2004 on charges of molesting the boy at the center of the trial, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold him and his family captive in 2003. The case remained in the public eye through 2004, with both sides allegedly leaking information. Because of the leaks and related issues, the judge issued a gag order for both sides. This order did not prevent some of the grand jury testimony of the young victim from being released shortly before the trial was to begin.

Jury selection began on January 31, 2005, and Jackson's trial started at the end of February. According to CNN.com, testimony and closing arguments lasted nearly 14 weeks before the jury got the case. "Prosecutors alleged that, following the broadcast of the Bashir documentary in 2003, Jackson and five associates plotted to control and intimidate the accuser's family to get them to go along with damage-control efforts, including holding them against their will at Neverland. The molestation charges relate to alleged incidents between Jackson and the accuser after the Bashir documentary aired. Jackson's lawyers, however, consistently portrayed the singer as a naive victim of the accuser's family, who, they claimed, were grifters—schemers—with a habit of wheedling money out of the rich and famous," CNN.com summed up. On June 13, 2005, the jury exonerated Jackson of all ten charges against him. If he had been convicted, he could have been sent to prison for nearly 20 years. As Jackson recuperated at his Neverland home, his fans wondered what the future would hold for him.

Michael Jackson described the importance of his music career to his personal life in his 1993 Grammy Living Legend Award acceptance speech: "My childhood was completely taken away from me. There was no Christmas, there was no birthdays, it was not a normal childhood, nor the normal pleasures of childhood…. But as an awful price, I can not re-create that part of my life. However, today, when I create my music, I feel like an instrument of nature. I wonder what delight nature must feel when we open our hearts and express our God-given talents." Millions of fans, young and old, black or white, are happy Michael Jackson chose to share those talents with the world. And after Jackson's trial, Michael Sands, a Hollywood media publicist related to People that Jackson's future still held promise. "He's still an icon, and his fans worldwide love him." Jackson seemed to agree, as he still referred to himself as the King of Pop.

Selected works

Albums, solo

Got to Be There, Motown, 1972.

Ben, Motown, 1972.

Music and Me, Motown, 1973.

Forever, Michael, Motown, 1975.

The Best of Michael Jackson, Motown, 1975.

Off the Wall, Epic, 1979.

Thriller, Epic, 1982.

Bad, Epic, 1987.

Dangerous, Epic, 1991.

HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book I, Epic, 1995.

Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, Epic, 1997.

Invincible, Epic, 2001.

Michael Jackson: The Complete Collection, Epic, 2004.

Albums, with the Jackson 5

Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, Motown, 1969.

ABC, Motown, 1970.

Third Album, Motown, 1970.

The Jackson 5 Christmas Album, Motown, 1970.

Maybe Tomorrow, Motown, 1971.

Goin' Back to Indiana, Motown, 1971.

The Jackson 5's Greatest Hits, Motown, 1971.

Looking Through the Windows, Motown, 1972.

Skywriter, Motown, 1973.

Get It Together, Motown, 1973.

Dancing Machine, Motown, 1974.

Moving Violation, Motown, 1975.

Joyful Jukebox Music, Motown, 1976.

The Jackson 5 Anthology, Motown, 1976.

The Jacksons, Epic, 1976.

Goin' Places, Epic, 1977.

Destiny, Epic, 1978.

Off the Wall, Epic, 1979.

Boogie, Motown, 1980.

Triumph, Epic, 1980.

The Jacksons Live, Epic, 1981.

Farewell My Summer Love, Motown, 1984 (recorded 1973, previously unreleased).

Victory, Epic, 1984.

Books

Moonwalk, Doubleday, 1988.

Films

The Wiz, 1978.

Sources

Books

Chandler, Raymond, All that Glitters: The Crime and the Cover-Up, Windsong Press, 2004.

Jackson, Michael, Moonwalk, Doubleday, 1988.

Jones, Bob, as told to Stacy Brown, Michael Jackson, The Man behind the Mask: An Insider's Story of the King of Pop, SelectBooks, 2005.

Lewis, Jel D., and Michael Jackson, comp., The King of Pop: The Big Picture: The Music! The Man! The Legend! The Interviews: An Anthology, Amber Books 2, 2005.

Perel, David, Freak!: Inside the Twisted World of Michael Jackson: New Information of Jackson's Indictment and Trial, HarperEntertainment, 2005.

Romanowski, Patricia, and Holly George-Warren, eds., The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, Fireside, 1995.

Taraborrelli, J. Randy, Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness, Birch Lane Press, 1991.

Periodicals

Associated Press, January 13, 2005.

Atlanta Journal, November 26, 1996, p. A14.

Billboard, March 30, 1991, p. 5.

Detroit Free Press, August 3, 1998, p. B2.

Jet, December 9, 2002, p. 16; January 19, 2004, p. 55.

Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1998, p. D1.

MacLean's, April 20, 1998, p. 11.

Newsweek, December 1, 2003, p. 38.

New York Sun, November 16, 2004, p. 19.

New York Times, March 20, 1996, p. D4; June 23, 1997, p. D6.

People, March 1, 1993, p. 46; September 6, 1993, p. 40; May 4, 1998, p. 6; July 22, 2002, p. 15; December 8, 2003, p. 84; January 12, 2004, p. 64; June 27, 2005, p. 57.

Time, March 19, 1984, p. 54; September 14, 1987, p. 85; December 1, 2003, p. 48.

Washington Post, August 2, 1994, p. F1; January 19, 1996, p. D1.

On-line

Michael Jackson, http://mjjsource.com/ (August 15, 2005).

"The Michael Jackson Trial," CNN, http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2005/jackson.trial (August 15, 2005).

Other

Barbara Walters' interview with Michael Jackson on 20/20 and Jackson's 1993 Grammy Award acceptance speech was found at the Michael Jackson Internet Fan Club at www.fred.net/mjj/.

—James M. Manheim, Ashyia N. Henderson, and Sara Pendergast

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Jackson, Michael 1958–

Michael Jackson 1958

Vocalist, songwriter, businessman

Became a Motown Topseller

New Independence in Career

Strong Sales Throughout the 1980s

Became a Sought After Recluse

Married Lisa Marie Presley

Selected discography

Sources

A powerfully creative and disciplined artist, Michael Jackson is a distinctive vocalist, an imaginative and original songwriter with a gift for turning his own experiences into powerful lyrics, and a dancer almost without peer. Keeping control over his own career, he ruled pop and rhythm-and-blues music charts throughout the 1980s. Jacksons private life was just as fascinating as his music and dance moves.

The lead singer of the beloved family group the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson was in his early twenties when Thriller catapulted him into the ranks of the rich and famous. He has never matched the success of Thriller, and in the 1990s his career suffered serious reversals, the most damaging of which may have been the accusations of child abuse leveled against the singer in 1993. By the late 1990s, the star of the self-proclaimed King of Pop seemed to have dimmed. But no one who remembered the explosion of his talent during the previous decade could doubt either his overall impact as a performer or his ability to once again seize the limelight.

Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in the steel-manufacturing center of Gary, Indiana, outside of Chicago. His father Joseph had played guitar in a local group called the Falcons; his mother Katherine was a country music enthusiast who instilled in her eight children a love of singing. Joseph, a very demanding and rumoredby his childrento be an abusive man, aimed to turn his five male childrenJackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michaelinto musical stars, and by 1964, before Michaels sixth birthday, had formed them into the Jackson 5. The group played in local arenas and travelled throughout the Midwest performing before they wre noticed. Attracting the attention of hit singer Gladys Knight and pianist Bobby Taylornot Diana Ross as some have claimedthe Jackson 5 were signed in 1968 to the Motown label, whose roster of youthful black acts had reliably been generating hits for several years.

Became a Motown Topseller

Michaels exuberant vocals defined such catchy Jackson 5 hits as I Want You Back, The Love You Save, ABC, and Ill Be There, all of which hit Number One in 1970. He released three albums for Motown as a solo

At a Glance

Born Michael Joseph Jackson August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana; son of Joseph (a heavy equipment operator and part-time musician) and Katherine (a sales clerk, maiden name Scruse) Jackson. Married Lisa Marie Presley, 1994 (divorced 1996); married Debbie Rowe, 1996; two children, Prince Michael Jackson Jr. and Paris Michael Katherine. Religion: Raised as a Jehovahs Witness.

Career: Performing and recording artist, 1963. Vocalist with the Jackson 5, 1963-76; group signed with Motown Records, 1969; signed as solo artist with Motown, releasing debut album Got to Be There, 1972; appeared in film The Wiz, 1978; released Epic Records debut Off the Wall, 1979; released Thriller, the best-selling album of all time, 1982; released Bad, 1987; published autobiography Moonwalk, 1988; established Heal the World foundation, 1989; released Dangerous, 1991; released History, 1995; released Blood on the Dance Floor, 1997; invested in and promoted entertainment centers and casinos with cable and casino mogul Don Barden, late 1990s.

Selected awards: Numerous Grammy awards for Thriller, including album of the year, record of the year, best male rock vocal performance for Beat It, and best new R&B song for Billie Jean; Song of the Year for We Are the World, 1986; special humanitarian award from President Ronald Reagan, 1984; American Music Awards, Special Award of Achievement, 1989; World Music Awards for Best-Selling American Artist, Worlds Best-Selling Pop Artist, and Worlds best-Selling Artist of the Era, 1993; Grammys, Living Legend Award, 1993, Best R & B Single for Remember The Time, 1993.

Addresses: Record company Sony/Epic Records, 550 Madison Ave., New York, BY 10022-3211.

artist, with singles such as Ben, Rockin Robin, and Got to Be There reaching top chart levels. With Michael as lead vocalist and choreographer, the group toured extensively, giving audiences electrified shows that made the Jackson 5 more popular with each new show. Joseph Jackson and label founder, Berry Gordy, Jr., never saw eye to eye. Joseph always believed his sons could produce and write, but were limited by Motowns management. The Jacksons left Motown after a dispute over artistic control and signed with CBSs Epic label in 1976.

Motown sued and the Jackson 5 lost its name. The brothers (minus Jermaine, who opted to stay with Motown), now known as The Jacksonsadded to the group was youngest brother, Randywent on to be successful on the Epic label with such hits as Blame It On The Boogie, Shake Your Body, and Heartbreak Hotel, all of which were written by various Jackson brothers.

As the Jackson 5, the brothers appeared in their first TV special, Goin Back to Indiana, an ABC network presentation that also starred comedians Bill Cosby and Tom Smothers. ABC also aired a Saturday morning animated series The Jackson Five which featured the Jacksons singing voices. As The Jacksons, they performed in Las Vegas with their sisters Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet. Incidentally, Janet in the 1990s would eclipse Michael in popularity.

New Independence in Career

Michael sought to carve out a career independent of his siblings. Though he made solo albums as a child on the Motown label, it was on Epic that Michael became a superstar in his own right. He played the Scarecrow in the 1978 film The Wiz (opposite longtime friend Diana Ross in the role of Dorothy), and during the making of the film met music executive and producer Quincy Jones.

Jones would become one of the architects of Jacksons grand successes, creating a light, sophisticated production style that effectively showcased Jacksons quiet yet intensely dramatic vocals. A musical eclectic since his jazz days in the early 1960s, Jones also encouraged Jackson to experiment with novel stylistic fusions. The first fruit of their efforts was Jacksons 1979 release Off the Wall, which mixed disco and ballad elements and spawned four Top Ten singles.

Jones also produced Thriller, the long-awaited followup to Off the Wall. After the release of the mild novelty song The Girl Is Mine (a duet with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney) as the first single, the albums sales built slowly. But with subsequent single releases Jackson emerged spectacularly as a personality who could appeal to diverse audiences like no one else in American music had been able to for years. Beat It, featuring rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen, crossed over to attain popularity even among fans of heavy metal music; Billie Jean drew on Jacksons own experience of unjust paternity accusations. Both songs reached number one, and Billie Jean made him the first artist to be number one on the pop single, pop album, R & B single, and R & B album charts simultaneously. Thriller went on to generate an unprecedented total of seven Top Ten singles. The album roosted atop Billboard magazines sales charts for thirty-seven weeks, and at its peak was reported to be selling more than 500,000 copies every week.

Strong Sales Throughout the 1980s

In 1985 Jackson co-wrote the international famine-relief single We Are the World, one of the biggest-selling singles of all time. It seemed that everything Jackson touched turned to gold or platinum. His videos for the Thriller album helped to put the Music Television Channel, or MTV for short, on the map. His videos also showcased his dance moves that was still being imitated well into the 1990s. His most famous move, the Moonwalk, became a dance craze. Jackson first displayed the Moonwalk in his video for his song, Billie Jean. He also began wearing one glove that was covered with rhinestones. He was asked by Barbara Walters on the television show 20/20 why he wore one glove, Jackson replied, Cooler than two. Glove aside, many were impressed with Jacksons style and moves. Jane Fonda in Time magazine, described his music as A fresh, original sound. The music is energetic, and its sensual. You can dance to it, work out to it, make love to it, sing to it. Its hard to sit still to.

Jackson could also count as fans of his dancing, such pros as Bob Fosse, Gene Kelly, and Fred Astaire, who was quoted in Time as saying, My Lord, he is a wonderful mover. He makes these moves up himself and it is just great to watch. I dont know much more dancing he will take up, because singing and dancing at the same time is very difficult. But Michael is a dedicated artist.

Jackson reunited with his brothers, including Jermaine, for a Motown 25 television special. Afterward, the Jacksons released another album, titled Victory, and then went on tour. Pepsi, who had signed Michael to a lucrative contract, decided to make a commercial with all the brothers performing. During production, an accident occurred and Michaels hair and scalp was badly burned, but he fully recovered. The tour was his swan song exit. After the end of the tour, Michael left the group and soon afterward, they disbanded.

His next album release, 1987s Bad, sold 22 million copies internationally, a disappointment only by the lofty standard Thriller had established. Bad included five number one singles: I Just Cant Stop Loving You, Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror, and Dirty Diana. Dangerous, released in 1991 with new producer Teddy Riley at the helm, likewise topped 20 million in total sales. Dangerous produced Remember The Time, that won R & Bs best single at the Grammys. The album also featured kid rap duo Kriss Kross, rapper Heavy D, and Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

Jackson continued to produce videos. As his popularity grew, he was able to premiere each video during primetime television and MTV. Most videos were short form, that is, lasting the length of the songs, but some were long form which included dialogue, and some were mini-movies.

His song, Thriller, began the tradition, and the video, The Making of Michael Jacksons Thriller garnered sales in the millions. Most notable among the long form videos were Badwhich also starred an unknown actor by the name of Wesley SnipesBlack or White, which featured Macauley Culkin of Home Alone fame, and the infamous crotch-grabbing dance routine, and also Remember The Time, with comedian Eddie Murphy, basketball great Magic Johnson, and supermodel Iman. Remember The Time also featured Jacksons first on-screen romantic kiss and one of the best choreographed dance routines of the 1990s.

Jacksons songs, Smooth Criminal and Leave Me Alone, were featured in his film, Moonwalker. His other film, Captain Eo, was shown at Disneyworld and Disneyland theme parks. Although he was not given credit, Michael Jacksons voice appeared on the animated television series, The Simpsons.

Became a Sought After Recluse

In the years following the release of Thriller, Jackson found himself subject to the isolation that artists in the top echelon of fame inevitably experience. A devout Jehovahs Witness, he adopted a disguise and went door to door to promote the religion shortly after the album was released. But the pressures of stardom eventually made it impractical for him to continue his religious activities, and he renounced his membership in the sect in 1987 after his video, Thriller, was condemned by the group. A public perception of Jackson as a curious recluse began to take shape about this time. He was a constant subject of stories in the nations tabloid press. Somesuch as the story that he slept in a levitating hyperbaric chamber for the purpose of extending his life spanwere planted by Jacksons own operatives as a way of garnering publicity. Jacksons skin seemed to become progressively lighter, leading to rumors that he was bleaching his skin in order to appear white.

Jackson countered this rumor in a February 1993 interview with television talk show host Oprah Winfrey, claiming that he suffered from vitiligo, a skin disease. But public unease with the star increased markedly as a result of much more serious allegations that surfaced in August of that year. Jackson was accused of sexually molesting a thirteen-year-old boy at his Encino, California compound, called Neverland. The singer had long enjoyed surrounding himself with children; in September, his sister La Toya claimed that he had sometimes spent nights together with them in his bedroom. Jackson strongly denied any wrongdoing, maintaining that he was the victim of an extortion plot on the part of the father of the thirteen-year-old. The case was settled privately for an undisclosed sum in January of 1994, and charges were dropped, but it cost Jackson a lucrative endorsement contract with Pepsi-Cola. He has continued to deny the charges.

Married Lisa Marie Presley

Jacksons musical successes since the time of these allegations have been sporadic, but his personal life has continued to provide surprises. In August of 1994 it was revealed that Jackson had married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of legendary rock and roll innovator and pop megastar Elvis Presley, ten weeks earlier in a ceremony in the Dominican Republic. The couple was amicably divorced in January of 1996; in November of that year, Jackson married Debbie Rowe, a nurse who had reportedly been artificially inseminated and was pregnant with the singers child. A son, Prince Michael Jackson Jr., was born in early 1997, and the couple, who often do not reside together, were graced with the birth of a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine, in April of 1998.

Despite a $30 million marketing campaign, Jacksons 1995 release HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book I fell short of expectations with its sales of two million units domestically, twelve million internationally; controversies over the songs Scream and They Dont Care About Us (the latter contained an allegedly anti-Semitic lyric reference for which Jackson later apologized) and an award for song You Are Not Alone, did not keep the album from dropping out of the U.S. Top Ten within weeks of its release. A 1997 album, Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, fared even worse, with little marketing and domestic sales in the hundreds of thousands; it consisted largely of remixes by various hit producers of songs from the 1995 HIStory release. Jackson seemed to be attempting to update his style to fit with the technology-driven musical trends of the 1990s.

During the late 1990s the singer was occupied with grandiose schemes to build entertainment complexes in such diverse locales as Poland, South Korea, Paris, and Detroit, where he joined with gambling magnate Don Barden to push for a proposed casino and amusement park. This effort fell through in Detroit, when the people voted no on their proposal to allow the two to bid for a casino license in August of 1998. His charitable foundation Heal the World was reported by People magazine to be cutting back on donations as Jacksons total income dropped from an estimated $65 million in 1989 to $20 million in 1997.

That has not stopped Jackson, though. Plans for an upcoming album release and tour are in the works. Michael will reunite with his brothers for another album to be released on his record label, MJJ Music, as well as tour as a group. Michael Jackson himself sums up his 35-year career in his 1993 Grammy Legend Award acceptance speech: My childhood was completely taken away from me. There was no Christmas, there was no birthdays, it was not a normal childhood, nor the normal pleasures of childhood.But as an awful price, I cannot re-create that part of my life. However, today, when I create my music, I feel like an instrument of nature. I wonder what delight nature must feel when we open our hearts and express our God-given talents. Millions of fans, young and old, black or white, are happy Michael Jackson chose to share those talents with the world.

Selected discography

(as solo performer)

Got to Be There, Motown, 1972.

Ben, Motown, 1972.

Music and Me, Motown, 1973.

Forever, Michael, Motown, 1975.

The Best of Michael Jackson, Motown, 1975.

Off the Wall, Epic, 1979.

Thriller, Epic, 1982.

Bad, Epic, 1987.

Dangerous, Epic, 1991.

HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book I, Epic, 1995.

Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, Epic, 1997.

(with the Jackson 5, on Motown)

Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, 1969.

ABC, 1970.

Third Album, 1970.

The Jackson 5 Christmas Album, 1970.

Maybe Tomorrow, 1971.

Goin Back to Indiana, 1971.

The Jackson 5s Greatest Hits, 1971.

Looking Through the Windows, 1972.

Skywriter, 1973.

Get It Together, 1973.

Dancing Machine, 1974.

Moving Violation, 1975.

Joyful Jukebox Music, 1976.

The Jackson 5 Anthology, 1976.

Boogie, 1980.

Farewell My Summer Love, 1984 (recorded 1973, previously unreleased).

(with the Jacksons, on Epic)

The Jacksons, 1976.

GoinPlaces, 1977.

Destiny, 1978.

Triumph, 1980.

The Jacksons Live, 1981.

Victory, 1984.

Sources

Books

Jackson, Michael, Moonwalk, Doubleday, 1988.

Romanowski, Patricia, and Holly George-Warren, eds., The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, Fireside, 1995.

Taraborrelli, J. Randy, Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness, Birch Lane Pres, 1991.

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal, November 26, 1996, p. A14.

Billboard, March 30, 1991, p. 5.

Detroit Free Press, August 3, 1998, p. B2.

Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1998, p. D1.

MacLeans, April 20, 1998, p. 11.

New York Times, March 20, 1996, p. D4; June 23, 1997, p. D6.

People, March 1, 1993, p. 46; September 6, 1993, p. 40; May 4, 1998, p. 6.

Time, March 19, 1984, p. 54; September 14, 1987, p. 85.

Washington Post, August 2, 1994, p. F1; January 19, 1996, p. D1.

Other

Barbara Walters interview with Michael Jackson on 20/20 and Jacksons 1993 Grammy Award acceptance speech was found at the Michael Jackson Internet Fan Club at www.fred.net/mjj/

James M. Manheim and Ashyia N. Henderson

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Manheim, James; Henderson, Ashyia. "Jackson, Michael 1958–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Manheim, James; Henderson, Ashyia. "Jackson, Michael 1958–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. (June 30, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2872100044.html

Manheim, James; Henderson, Ashyia. "Jackson, Michael 1958–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1999. Retrieved June 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2872100044.html

Jackson, Michael

Michael Jackson

Singer, songwriter, producer

The Jackson Five

After Thriller

Scandal in Neverland

Selected discography

Sources

Since his ascent from stardom to superstardom in the early 1980s, Michael Jackson has become the quintessential celebrity: adored the world over, turning the music industry on its ear with each new release, and making successful forays into new entertainment technologies. He has also been mired in controversy. By the time of his mammoth 1995 release HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book 1, Jackson had weathered speculation about plastic surgery and family infighting, as well as accusations of child molestation, attacks on perceived anti-Semitism in his lyrics, and suspicion that his marriage was an attempt to camouflage his real sexuality.

At the same time, the marketing campaign for HIStory was the biggest ever seen for an album; amid the hype, strangely enough, Michael Jackson was trumpeting the message that he resented intrusions into his privacy. All of this tended to overshadow the music; although many critics felt that his newest work paled next to the breathless innovations of his 1980s recordings, it was clear that Jacksons careerdespite the predictions of punditswas far from over.

The Jackson Five

It was a career that began quite early. Michael was born in Gary, Indiana, in the late 1950s; he and his brothers were assembled into a singing group when he was only five. Despite his extremely young age, he soon distinguished himself as a singer and dancer of prodigious ability. No mere child prodigy, Michael had a gift for vocal phrasingas well as a sensual powerthat was not only well beyond his years, but would have been astonishing in a performer of any age. After winning several talent contests, the Jackson 5, as the group was called, signed a recording contract with the trailblazing soul label Motown and proceeded to rule the charts in the late 1960s and early 70s with such hits as I Want You Back, Stop, the Love You Save, ABC, and Dancing Machine. By 1972 Michael had begun releasing solo albums, and sang the hit title song to the movie Ben.

Michael and the group (with the exception of brother Jermaine) left Motown in 1975, signing with Epic Records, which also gave Michael a solo deal. Two years later he starred in the film version of the hit musical The Wiz, which also featured singer Diana Ross and comic Richard Pryor. Quincy Jones, who produced the soundtrack album, became one of Michaels longtime friends and collaborators. 1979 saw the release of Michael Jacksons extraordinarily successful album Off the Wall; this record included the hit singles Rock With You and Dont Stop Til You Get Enough and eventually

For the Record

Born Michael Joseph Jackson, August 19, 1958, in Gary, IN; son of Joseph (a crane operator) and Katherine (a homemaker and sales clerk; maiden name, Corse) Jackson. Married Lisa Marie Presley, 1994 (separated).

Performing and recording artist, 1963. Vocalist with the Jackson 5, 1963-76; recorded first single with the group, c. 1967 for Steeltown Label; signed with Motown and released debut album Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, 1969; signed as solo artist with Motown, releasing solo debut Got to Be There, 1972; vocalist with The Jacksons, 1976-81; appeared in film The Wiz, 1978; released Epic solo debut Off the Wall, 1979; co-produced Thriller album, 1982; published autobiography Moonwalk and released accompanying film, 1988; moved to Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara, CA, 1989; accused of child molestation though charges were never substantiated, 1993; released new album/greatest hits package HIStory, the subject of largest marketing campaign in music industry history, 1995.

Selected awards Grammy Awards for album of the year for Thriller, record of the year and best male rock vocal performance for Beat It, best new R&B song for Billie Jean, and best male pop performance and best recording for children for E.T. The Extra Terrestrial album, all 1984; for best home video, The Making of Thriller, 1985; for song of the year for We Are the World, 1986; Living Legend Award, 1993; American Music Awards Special Award of Achievement, 1989, best pop/rock album, Dangerous, best soul/R&B single, Remember the Time,; NABOB Lifetime Achievement Award, 1992; World Music Awards for best selling American artist, worlds best selling pop artist, and worlds best selling artist of the era, 1993; first Michael Jackson Award from BMI performance rights organization, 1990, as well as BMI Awards for Black or White and Remember the Time as two of the most performed songs of the Year, 1993.

Addresses: Home Neverland, Santa Barbara, CA; Record company Epic Records, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022-3211.

sold some 10 million copies. The singer had matured into a dynamic adult entertainer, but he also began to make his mark as a songwriter, crafting durable pop that synthesized rock and disco.

Jacksons next album, Thriller, was a quantum leap for him both creatively and commercially. Produced by Jones, the recording spanned a number of pop genres cannilyenlistingrockguitaridolEddieVanHalentoplay a solo on Beat It, for example, guaranteed access to listeners Jackson might not otherwise have reached and fired numerous singles up the charts, notably the title track, the insinuating Billie Jean, and the raucous Beat It. The state-of-the-art videos that accompanied these singles, meanwhile, coincided with the sudden dominance of Music Television (MTV); Jacksons distinctive Moonwalk and overall visual panache (combined with brilliant choreography and lavish special effects) won him an even vaster audience. Thrillerwent on to become the best-selling album of all time and garnered 5 Grammy awards; Jackson also snagged a G rammy for his participation in the E. T.: The Extraterrestrial album for children. Jackson was also a crucial player in the all-star benefit project We Are the World, which sought to combat hunger in Africa. In addition to his epochal solo work, he continued working with his brothers as part of The Jacksons; their 1984 Victory tour was a landmark of the decade.

After Thriller

Michael Jackson ruled the 1980s. Though his album Bad performed less spectacularly than did Thriller, it was a colossal hit by any other standard. He also racked up both music industry awards and honors from the United Negro College Fund, the NAACP, and even the President of the United States. He had his occasional bad momentshis head was burned during the shooting of a commercial for Pepsi cola, for which he had a lucrative endorsement deal, and speculation abounded that he lightened his skin and had plastic surgery to make himself look more whitebut by and large his image as the worlds most beloved entertainer was undimmed. In 1990 the performance rights organization BMI presented the first Michael Jackson awardto its namesake.

His sister Janet Jackson announced that she had scored the biggest record deal in history early in 1991. One week later, Michael announced his new Sony contract, which made Janets look paltry by comparison. His 1991 release Dangerous, however, did not perform to expectations. Some controversy was generated by the fact that Jackson reportedly only granted his innovative Black or White video to MTV on the condition that the network refer to him as the King of Pop. A 1993 interview with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, an unusual step for the press-shy Jackson, helped boost sales. Over time, the album performed impressively; again, only the standards previously set by Jackson himself cast any doubt on its popularity. He was showered in laurels in 1993, including the Living Legend Award at the Grammys and, more controversially, the Humanitarian of the Year trophy at the Soul Train Awards.

Scandal in Neverland

Yet Jacksons reputation as an androgynous recluse who lived in a state of perpetual adolescencerumors of his life and hobbies at his home, Neverland, aboundedonly increased. He also earned the scorn of some self-appointed moral guardians when one of his videos showed him smashing a car window and grabbing his crotch more flagrantly than usual; he excised the footage as soon as the eyebrows were raised. Yet no one could have anticipated the charges that rocked the entertainment world in 1993.

A 13-year-old boy, identified only as a friend of the singers, asserted that Jackson had sexually abused him during his stay at Neverland. Jackson was on tour when the allegations were made public, and he promptly brought the series of performances to a halt, claiming exhaustion and addiction to painkillers. After extensive legal wrangling and much mud-slinging from both the boys family and lawyers and Jacksons defense team, Jackson opted to settle out of court for an estimated $20 million. Though he settled, Jackson denied any wrongdoing.

Despite investigation of a second boy who said hed slept in the same bed with Jacksonbut alleged no improper behavior on the entertainers partthe Los Angeles District Attorney brought his investigation to a close in 1994. Jacksons attorney said this was due to lack of evidence, though others claimed it was the boys refusal to testify that weakened the case. Meanwhile, longtime friends of Jacksons had issued passionate statements in his defense. I am mortified and disgusted by what has been reported with no evidence of anything untoward, fumed producer Bruce Swedien, as quoted in Rolling Stone. Michael is one of the most decent people I ve ever met in my life. These allegations are preposterous. Jacksons own public statement expressed confidence that he would be fully exonerated. I am grateful for the overwhelming support of my fans throughoutthe world, it concluded. I love you all.

Yet the scandal devastated Jackson and heightened speculation that his career was over. He lost his Pepsi endorsement as well as a deal to develop several films in which he hoped to star. They just pulled the plug when the scandal broke, noted director John Landis whod helmed the epic Thriller videoto Entertainment Weekly. Stopped it cold. The rumor-mongering over the alleged molestation continued, as the media and industry insiders played the age-old game of trying to pin down Michael Jacksons personal life.

In 1994 Jackson shocked the public againin a very different way. He and Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock innovator and cultural icon Elvis Presley, were married in the Dominican Republic. The unexpected union was the cause of further speculation: had Jackson married to divert attention from his alleged homosexuality and/or pederasty? Was he hoping to save his career by establishing himself as a normal and adult man? A very staged kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards added fuel to the fire.

Meanwhile, Michael Jackson returned to what he did bestmaking records. He commenced recording new tracks for an ambitious package that would include his greatest hits along with an albums worth of new material. He gathered a number of hot songwriters and producers and even recorded a duet with his sister Janet. Epic Records, the branch of Sony that handled his recordings, prepared for a massive media assault. Jackson and Lisa Marie appeared on a television interview with Diane Sawyer; the singer and his bride vehemently insisted that they had a sex life and planned to have children. Naturally, such urgency only encouraged those who felt that their public claims to normalcy were career propaganda. Even so, the interview earned astronomical ratings and helped prepare the way for the new albums marketing blitz. This included the sudden appearance of building-high statues of the performer, one of which is pictured on the cover of the disc.

When HIStory was released it met with mixed reviews. Writers for the industry trade journal Billboard were divided; columnist J. R. Reynolds felt that it boasts some of the artists best workand not just the classic singlesand complained only of the labels marketing overkill. Yet an unsigned review in the same issue called him a gifted musical careerist of negligible emotional maturity, and the latter trait increasingly overshadows the former as he struggles to contrive dubious monuments to himself. Jacksons over-the-top spectacles, combined with his anguished pleas to be shielded from prying eyes, struck many critics as the ultimate in hypocrisy. Others felt he was all over the stylistic map, lacking the cohesive musical vision hed shown in the previous decade. Rolling Stone called the 1995 collection an exhilarating, misconceived, often heartbreaking package. HIStorys ultimate goal is to position Michael Jacksons music as a planet, a genre, a law, a marketing budget unto itself.

Many in the industry wondered if Jacksons scandals would have a decisive negative impact on sales of the new record, but this appeared not to be a substantial problem. People dont give a st about something that happened a couple of years ago, insisted record executive Freddy DeMann to Entertainment Weekly. Any commercial obstacles HIStory faced, it seemed, would have to do with the material itself. Its not where music is headed, its where music has been, complained radio station music director Bruce St. James, quoted in Newsweek. The public, despite the media bombast, seemed to agree. The debut single, Screama raucous duet with Janet that was supported by a flashy science-fiction videoearned only a lukewarm reception, and HIStory dropped out of the top ten after only a few weeks.

Yet the record could scarcely be considered a failure, given that it was a double album and promised to issue singles for at least another year. One, the ballad Childhood, also appeared on the soundtrack of the family film Free Willy 2, promising an even wider audience. There will probably be nine singles, pronounced Epic executive David Glew to Billboard. That puts us through two Christmases I think this will be one of the biggest albums of all time, [but] we know it will take the full weight of this company. Meanwhile, many fans who didnt adore the new tracks would likely still invest in the package just to have Jacksons classic hits in one place.

Another scandal erupted immediately, however; it involved the presence of apparently anti-Semitic lyrics on the song They Dont Care About Us. Steven Spielberg, superstar filmmaker and stalwart defender of Jackson during his earlier travails, publicly criticized the lyrics, as did many other individuals and groups. Jackson announced that he harbored no prejudice toward anyone, though his remark that my lawyers are Jewish scarcely banished all doubt. A smaller ripple came from the revelation that Lisa Maries two children from her previous marriage were unhappy living at Neverland. The couple would divorce amicably in 1996.

Yet even when beset by rumor and scandaland such has been his situation for much of his careerMichael Jackson has masterfully translated adversity into greater fame. While many argue that his work has been uneven, his contribution to modern pop has been enormous. Indeed, Jackson redefined stardom for the video era, and popular culture would never be the same.

Selected discography

Singles, with the Jackson 5, on Steeltown Records

Im a Big Boy Now, c. 1967.

Youve Changed c. 1967.

We Dont Have to Be Over 21 (to Fall in Love), c. 1968.

Jam Session, c. 1968.

With the Jackson 5, on Motown

Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, 1969.

ABC, 1970.

Third Album, 1970.

The Jackson 5 Christmas Album, 1970.

Maybe Tomorro w, 1971.

Goin Back to Indiana, 1971.

The Jackson 5s Greatest Hits, 1971.

Looking Through the Windows, 1972.

Skywriter, 1973.

Get It Together, 1973.

Dancing Machine, 1974.

Moving Violation, 1975.

Joyful Jukebox Music, 1976.

The Jackson 5 Anthology, 1976.

Boogie, Natural Resources/Motown, 1980.

Farewell, My Summer Love (recorded 1973; previously unre-leased), 1984.

With The Jacksons, on Epic

The Jacksons, 1976.

Goin Places, 1977.

Destiny 1978.

Triumph, 1980.

The Jacksons Live, 1981.

Victory, 1984.

Solo

Got to Be There, Motown, 1972.

Ben, Motown, 1972.

Music and Me, Motown, 1973.

Forever, Michael, Motown, 1975.

The Best of Michael Jackson, Motown, 1975.

Off the Wall (includes Rock With You and Dont Stop Til You Get Enough), Epic, 1979.

Thriller (includes Thriller, Beat It, and Billie Jean), Epic, 1982.

Bad, Epic, 1987.

Dangerous (includes Black or White), Epic, 1991.

History: Past, Present, and Future, Book/ (includes Scream, Childhood, and They Dont Care About Us), Epic, 1995.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers&Shakers, Billboard, 1991.

Periodicals

Billboard, May 20, 1995, pp. 1, 13-14; July 1, 1995, p. 25.

Entertainment Weekly, June 16, 1995, p. 24; July 28, 1995, p. 16.

Los Angeles Times Calendar, July 2, 1995, p. 58.

Newsweek, November 29, 1993, p. 70; June 5, 1995, p. 75.

Rolling Stone, April 1, 1993, p. 17; October 14, 1993, p. 21; June 15, 1995, p. 24; August 10, 1995, p. 55.

Time, June 19, 1995.

Simon Glickman

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Glickman, Simon. "Jackson, Michael." Contemporary Musicians. 1997. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Glickman, Simon. "Jackson, Michael." Contemporary Musicians. 1997. Encyclopedia.com. (June 30, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3493500042.html

Glickman, Simon. "Jackson, Michael." Contemporary Musicians. 1997. Retrieved June 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3493500042.html

Jackson, Michael

Michael Jackson

Singer, songwriter

The Jackson 5 Was Born

Solo Stardom

Emergence of a Pop Icon

Rocked by Scandal

Attempted to Revive Music Career

Selected discography

Sources

A powerfully creative and disciplined artist, Michael Jackson is a distinctive vocalist, an imaginative and original songwriter with a gift for turning his own experiences into powerful lyrics, and a dancer almost without peer. Keeping control over his own career, he ruled pop and R&B music charts throughout the 1980s. However, beginning in the 1990s and continuing into the new millenium, Jackson’s erratic behavior overshadowed his music, and his private life made more headlines than his music did during that time.

Previously the lead singer of the beloved family group the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson was in his early twenties when Thriller catapulted him into the ranks of the rich and famous. He has never matched the success of Thriller, and in the 1990s and early 2000s, his career suffered serious reversals, the most damaging of which may have been the accusations of child abuse leveled against the singer in 1993. By 2000, the star of the self-proclaimed “King of Pop” seemed to have dimmed. But no one who remembered the explosion of his talent during the previous decade could doubt either his overall impact as a performer or his ability to once again seize the limelight.

The Jackson 5 Was Born

Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in the steel-manufacturing center of Gary, Indiana. His father Joseph had played guitar in a local group called the Falcons; his mother Katherine was a country music enthusiast who instilled in her eight children a love of singing. Joseph, very demanding and rumored—by his children—to be an abusive man, aimed to turn his five male children—Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael—into musical stars, and by 1964, before Michael’s sixth birthday, had formed them into the Jackson 5. The group played in local arenas and travelled throughout the Midwest performing before they were noticed. Attracting the attention of hit singer Gladys Knight and pianist Bobby Taylor—not Diana Ross as some have claimed—the Jackson 5 were signed in 1968 to the Motown label, whose roster of youthful black acts had reliably been generating hits for several years.

Michael’s exuberant vocals defined such catchy Jackson 5 hits as “ABC” and “I’ll Be There,” both of which hit number one on the charts in 1970. He released three albums for Motown as a solo artist, with singles such as “Ben,” “Rockin’ Robin,” and “Got to Be There” reaching top chart levels. With Michael as lead vocalist and choreographer, the group toured extensively, giving audiences electrified shows that made the Jackson 5 more popular with each new show. Joseph Jackson and label founder, Berry Gordy, Jr., never saw eye to eye. Joseph always believed his sons could produce and write, but were limited by Motown’s management. The Jacksons left Motown after a dispute over artistic control and signed with CBS’s Epic label in 1976.

For the Record…

Born Michael Joseph Jackson on August 19, 1958, in Gary, IN; son of Joseph and Katherine Jackson; married Lisa Marie Presley (a singer), 1994; divorced, 1996; married Debbie Rowe (a nurse), 1996; divorced, 1999; children: Prince Michael I., Paris Michael Katherine, Prince Michael II.

Vocalist with the Jackson 5, 1963-76; signed as solo artist with Motown, releasing debut album Got to Be There, 1972; appeared in film The Wiz, 1978; released Epic Records debut Off the Wall, 1979; released Thriller, one of the best-selling albums of all time, 1982; released Bad, 1987; established Heal the World Foundation, 1989; released Dangerous, 1991; released H/S- tory, 1995; released Blood on the Dance Floor, 1997; released Invincible, 2001.

Awards: Grammy Awards, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough,” 1979; Best Children’s Recording for “E.T. The Extraterrestial,” Album of the Year and Record of the Year for Thriller, Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Beat It,” Best New R&B Song for “Billie Jean,” 1983; Song of the Year for “We Are the World,” 1985; Best Music Video, Short Form, 1988; Best R&B Single for “Remember The Time,” Living Legend Award, 1993; Best Music Video for “Leave Me Alone,” 1989; Best Music Video for “Scream,” 1995. Other awards include: Special humanitarian award from President Ronald Reagan, 1984; American Music Awards, Special Award of Achievement, 1989; World Music Awards for Best-Selling American Artist, World’s Best-Selling Pop Artist, and World’s Best-Selling Artist of the Era, 1993; inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the Jackson 5, 1997; World Music Awards, Best Selling Pop Artist of the Millenium, 2000; inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo performer, 2001; American Music Awards, Artist of the Century, 2002; inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame, 2002; numerous Billboard Awards and American Music Awards.

Addresses: Record company—Sony/Epic Records, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022-3211. Website— Michael Jackson Official Website: http://www.michaeljackson.com.

Motown sued and the Jackson 5 lost its name. Michael filed a lawsuit in 2003 to regain the rights to the “Jackson 5” name, as well as millions in unpaid royalties he claimed he was owed, but the case was thrown out in court. After leaving Motown, the brothers (minus Jer-maine, who opted to stay with Motown), now known as The Jacksons, went on to be successful on the Epic label with such hits as “Blame It On The Boogie,” “Shake Your Body,” and “Heartbreak Hotel,” all of which were written by various Jackson brothers.

Solo Stardom

Michael sought to carve out a career independent of his siblings. Though he made solo albums as a child on the Motown label, it was on Epic that Michael became a superstar in his own right. He played the Scarecrow in the 1978 film The Wiz (opposite longtime friend Diana Ross in the role of Dorothy), and during the making of the film met music executive and producer Quincy Jones.

Jones would become one of the architects of Jackson’s grand successes, creating a light, sophisticated production style that effectively showcased Jackson’s quiet yet intensely dramatic vocals. A musical eclectic since his jazz days in the early 1960s, Jones also encouraged Jackson to experiment with novel stylistic fusions. The first fruit of their efforts was Jackson’s 1979 release Off the Wall, which mixed disco and ballad elements and spawned four top ten singles.

Emergence of a Pop Icon

Jones also produced Thriller, the long-awaited follow-up to Off the Wall. After the release of “The Girl Is Mine” (a duet with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney) as the first single, the album’s sales built slowly. But with subsequent singles, Jackson emerged spectacularly as a personality who could appeal to diverse audiences like no one else in American music had been able to for years. “Beat It,” featuring rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen, crossed over to attain popularity even among fans of heavy metal music; “Billie Jean” drew on Jackson’s own experience of unjust paternity accusations. Both songs reached number one, and “Billie Jean” made him the first artist to be number one on the pop single, pop album, R&B single, and R&B album charts simultaneously. Thriller went on to generate an unprecedented total of seven top ten singles. The album roosted atop Billboard magazine’s sales charts for 37 weeks, and at its peak was reported to be selling more than 500,000 copies every week.

In 1985 Jackson co-wrote the international famine-relief single “We Are the World,” one of the biggest-selling singles of all time. For a time, it seemed that everything Jackson touched turned to gold or platinum. His videos for the Thriller album helped to put the fledgling music video network MTV on the map. His videos also showcased his dance moves that were still being imitated well into the 1990s. His most famous move, the Moonwalk, became a dance craze. Jackson first displayed the Moonwalk in his video for his song, “Billie Jean.” Jane Fonda in Time magazine, described his music as “A fresh, original sound. The music is energetic, and it’s sensual. You can dance to it, work out to it, make love to it, sing to it. It’s hard to sit still to.”

Jackson could also count as fans of his dancing, such pros as Bob Fosse, Gene Kelly, and Fred Astaire. Astaire was quoted in Time as saying, “My Lord, he is a wonderful mover. He makes these moves up himself and it is just great to watch . I don’t know much more dancing he will take up, because singing and dancing at the same time is very difficult. But Michael is a dedicated artist.”

His next album release, 1987’s Bad, sold 22 million copies worldwide, a disappointment only by the lofty standard Thriller had established. Bad included five number one singles, including “Bad” and “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Dangerous, released in 1991 with new producer Teddy Riley at the helm, likewise topped 20 million in total sales. Dangerous produced “Remember The Time,” that won R&B’s Best Single at the Grammys. The album also featured kid rap duo Kris Kross, rapper Heavy D, and Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

In the years following the release of Thriller, Jackson found himself subject to the isolation that artists in the top echelon of fame inevitably experience. A devout Jehovah’s Witness, he adopted a disguise and went door to door to promote the religion shortly after the album was released. But the pressures of stardom eventually made it impractical for him to continue his religious activities, and he renounced his membership in the sect in 1987 after his video “Thriller” was condemned by the group. A public perception of Jackson as a curious recluse began to take shape about this time. He was a constant subject of stories in the nation’s tabloid press. Some—such as the story that he slept in a levitating “hyperbaric chamber” for the purpose of extending his life span—were planted by Jackson’s own operatives as a way of garnering publicity. Jackson’s skin seemed to become progressively lighter, leading to rumors that he was bleaching his skin in order to appear whiter.

Rocked by Scandal

Jackson countered this rumor in a February of 1993 interview with television talk show host Oprah Winfrey, claiming that he suffered from vitiligo, a rare skin disease. But public unease with the star increased markedly as a result of much more serious allegations that surfaced in August of that year. Jackson was accused of sexually molesting a thirteen-year-old boy at his Encino, California, compound, called Neverland.

The singer had long enjoyed surrounding himself with children; in September, his sister La Toya claimed that he had sometimes spent nights together with young children in his bedroom. Jackson strongly denied any wrongdoing, maintaining that he was the victim of an extortion plot on the part of the father of the thirteen-year-old. The case was settled privately for a sum of nearly $20 million in January of 1994, and charges were dropped, but it cost Jackson a lucrative endorsement contract with Pepsi-Cola.

A few months after the settlement, the media announced the secret marriage of Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of singer Elvis Presley. The marriage, seen by much of the public as a possible distraction from the still-fresh court publicity, took place on May 26, 1994, in the Dominican Republic. Jackson’s hopes that this would be the start of a life of tranquility were shattered when Presley filed for divorce in January of 1996. In November of the same year, Jackson married Debbie Rowe, his plastic surgeon’s nurse, in Sydney, Australia. Rowe gave birth to their son, Prince Michael Jackson, in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on February 12, 1997. The couple, who divorced in 1999, were graced with the birth of a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine, in April of 1998. Rowe, who later described the children as “gifts” she gave to Jackson, has no contact with her children. People quoted her as saying, “I had them because I wanted him to be a father . I didn’t do it to be a mother.”

Attempted to Revive Music Career

Though Jackson’s personal life continued to pique the public interest, reception to his music cooled considerably. Despite a $30 million marketing campaign, Jackson’s 1995 release HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book I fell short of expectations with its sales of two million units domestically, 12 million internationally. A 1997 album, Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, fared even worse, with little marketing and domestic sales in the hundreds of thousands; it consisted largely of remixes by various hit producers of songs from the 1995 HIStory release. Jackson seemed to be attempting to update his style to fit with the technology-driven musical trends of the 1990s.

Early in 2001 he was inducted as a solo artist into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and later that year he released his first album of all new material in ten years, Invincible. Additionally he made an appearance at the MTV Music Video Awards and appeared as a headliner in Washington, D.C., at a benefit concert for victims of terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, against the United States. However, despite these attempts at a musical comeback, Jackson’s curious lifestyle overshadowed his performance.

In early 2003, Jackson attempted to dispel rumors by opening his life up to the public eye. British journalist Martin Bashir followed Jackson around with a camera for eight months, gathering hundreds of hours of footage, which was ultimately edited into a two-hour television special. On film, Jackson speaks blithely of sleeping in beds with young children, introduces his third child, Prince Michael II (affectionately known as “Blanket” for the head covering he is always wearing), as the product of “a surrogate mother and my own sperm cells,” and alleges he only had plastic surgery on his nose in order to hit “higher notes.” These statements, coupled with other bizarre acts including dangling his youngest child off the third story balcony of a German hotel, had many wondering whether Jackson was fit to be a father.

Jackson expressed outrage at being “betrayed” by Bashir, as he told People. His brother Jermaine concurred, comparing the documentary to a “modern day lynching.” Jackson put together his own television special, culled from his own cameramen that taped Bashir taping Jackson, in an attempt to set the record straight. While it didn’t soothe all critics, some felt that the persecution of Jackson had gone on long enough. MSNBC writer Michael Ventre opined, “What he should do to again conquer the charts and make the public focus on his talent rather than his ‘idiosyncracies’ is to return to his roots. Take some blues and funk and rock and pop, mix in a large dose of passion, recruit Quincy Jones to produce, and release something that harkens back to the old days.”

Jackson returned to the studio in late 2003 with an unlikely collaborator—R&B hitmaker R. Kelly, who was also going through his own set of trying circumstances. Jackson cut a new Kelly-penned single, “One More Chance,” which was scheduled for release in November of 2003, the only new track on Number Ones, a collection of all his greatest hits of the past 25 years, and one more chance for Jackson to revive his music career.

Selected discography

Solo

Got to Be There, Motown, 1972.

Ben, Motown, 1972.

Music and Me, Motown, 1973.

Forever, Michael, Motown, 1975.

The Best of Michael Jackson, Motown, 1975.

Off the Wall, Epic, 1979.

Thriller, Epic, 1982.

Bad, Epic, 1987.

Dangerous, Epic, 1991.

History: Past, Present, and Future Book I, Epic, 1995.

Blood on the Dance Floor History in the Mix, Epic, 1997.

Invincible, Epic, 2001.

Number Ones, Epic, 2003.

With the Jackson 5

Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, Motown, 1969.

ABC, Motown, 1970.

Third Album, Motown, 1970.

The Jackson 5 Christmas Album, Motown, 1970.

Maybe Tomorrow, Motown, 1971.

Goin’Back to Indiana, Motown, 1971.

The Jackson 5’s Greatest Hits, Motown, 1971.

Looking Through the Windows, Motown, 1972.

Skywriter, Motown, 1973.

Get It Together, Motown, 1973.

Dancing Machine, Motown, 1974.

Moving Violation, Motown, 1975.

Joyful Jukebox Music, Motown, 1976.

The Jackson 5 Anthology, Motown, 1976.

The Jacksons, Epic, 1976.

Goin’Places, Epic, 1977.

Destiny, Epic, 1978.

Triumph, Epic, 1980.

Boogie, Motown, 1980.

The Jacksons Live, Epic, 1981.

Farewell My Summer Love, Motown, 1984 (recorded 1973, previously unreleased).

Victory, Epic, 1984.

Sources

Books

Jackson, Michael, Moonwalk, Doubleday, 1988.

Romanowski, Patricia, and Holly George-Warren, eds., The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, Fireside, 1995.

Taraborrelli, J. Randy, Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness, Birch Lane Press, 1991.

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal, November 26, 1996.

Billboard, March 30, 1991.

Detroit Free Press, August 3, 1998.

Europe Intelligence Wire, September 19, 2003.

Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1998.

MacLeans, April 20, 1998.

New York Times, March 20, 1996; June 23, 1997.

People, March 1, 1993; September 6, 1993; May 4, 1998; December 9, 2002; February 17, 2003; February 24, 2003.

Time, March 19, 1984; September 14, 1987.

Washington Post, August 2, 1994; January 19, 1996.

Online

“Jackson Picks Best for Ones” RollingStone.com,http://www.rollingstone.com/news/newsarticle.asp?nid=18774 (October 4, 2003).

Michael Jackson Official Website, http://www.michaeljackson.com (October 4, 2003).

James M. Manheim

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Jackson, Michael

Michael Jackson

Singer, songwriter, producer

For the Record

Selected discography

Videos

Compositions

Writings

Sources

Artfully clad in an outfit featuring his signature white socks, red leather jacket, and single, sequined white glove, Michael Jackson is widely recognized as one of the worlds top musical entertainers. In barely two decades he has grown from a five-year-old boy-wonder singing with his brothers to a legendary solo artist who dazzles audiences worldwide with his deftness as songwriter, producer, video pioneer, showman, and vocalist par excellence. With a knack for translating tunes from almost any genrerhythm-and-blues, pop, rock, soulinto success, the prodigy defies all labels. Jackson is a half-mad and extraordinary talent, marveled Mikal Gilmore in Rolling Stone, with the ability to combine [his] gifts in an electrifying, stunning way that has only been equalled in rock history by Elvis Presley.

Born into a black, working-class family in Gary, Indiana, Jackson was the seventh of nine children, all of whose lives were shaped by their parents insistence on firm discipline. The Jackson parents, however, were also musical. Joe Jackson, a crane-operator for U.S. Steel, sang and played the guitar with a small-time group known as the Falcons, and Katherine Jackson played the clarinet. Both believed that encouraging their children to pursue their musical interests was a good way to keep them out of trouble.

By the time he was five years old, Michael, together with his four older brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon), had formed a rhythm-and-blues act called the Jackson Five. Initially enlisted to play the bongos, Michael revealed himself as such a little dynamo that he soon became the groups leader, even at a young age able to mesmerize audiences with his singing and dancing. The group won their first talent competition in 1963, gave their first paid performance in 1964, and had proven themselves a popular local act by 1967. Although primarily imitative at this stage, with their work rooted in the tradition of such musical greats as the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, and James Brown, they were good enough to cut a couple of singles for Steeltown Records, an Indiana label.

They were also good enough to compete, in 1968, at Harlems Apollo Theatre, then the most prestigious venue for launching black musicians. Their riveting performance brought them so many national engagements that Joe Jackson left his job to manage his sons act. It also captured the attention of Motown Records, in its golden days as the United Statess premier black recording label. Before long, the young musicians signed with Motown and moved to California when the label relocated its headquarters there.

Under the strict guidance of the Motown magnates, the Jackson Five propelled themselves into the public eye

For the Record

Full name, Michael Joseph Jackson; born August 19, 1958, in Gary, Ind; son of Joseph (a crane operator) and Katherine (a homemaker and occasional sales clerk; maiden name, Corse) Jackson. Education: Attended schools in Indiana and California. Religion: Jehovahs Witness.

Vocalist with the Jackson Five, 1963-76, recording first singles, 1967-68, began performing nationally as opener for other artists, 1968, signed with Motown, c. 1968, released first album, 1969, started appearing on television, 1970, including The Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand, and the Andy Williams Show, first worldwide concert tour, 1972; vocalist with the Jacksons, 1976-1981, signed with Epic, recording first album for that label, 1976, made a thirty-six-city tour, 1981; made Victory reunion tour with his brothers, 1984; co-organizer of U.S.A. for Africa famine relief effort, 1985.

Solocareer, including work as a vocalist, songwriter, producer, video artist, and actor, 1972, recorded first solo album, Got to Be There, 1972, made songwriting debut with Shake Your Body (Down to the Grave) on the Destiny album, 1978, with later credits including Beat It, Billie Jean, and Wanna Be Startin Somethin, co-produced Thriller album, 1982, established himself as a significant video artist with the Thriller videos, 1983, made first solo concert tour, 1987.

Also appeared in film version of Broadway musical The Wiz and involved with the 3-D film fantasy Captain Eo. Engages in philanthropic work, including efforts to help eliminate world hunger, establishing a burn center in Los Angeles, Calif., and supporting the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and a camp for children suffering from cancer.

Awards: Winner of numerous awards, including twelve Grammy Awards (eight in 1984); named number one recording artist of 1983 by Billboard magazine; winner of eight American Music Association Awards in 1984, winner of two special American Music Association Awards, 1989;The Guinness Book of World Records lists Thriller as the biggest-selling album of all time.

Addresses: Home 4641 Hayvenhurst Ave., Encino, Calif. 91436.

with their first Motown single, I Want You Back. Released in November, 1969, the recording reached number one on the charts in early 1970 and eventually sold more than one million copies. It was quickly followed by other hit singles like ABC, the Grammy Award-winning pop song of 1970, as well as similarly successful albums. Even a Jackson Five television cartoon program was created to showcase the groups music. By the time the Jackson Five took their version of bubblegum soul, as their music was now called, on worldwide tour in 1972, they were a smashing success, especially among the teenybopper set. Indeed Michael, the little prince of soul, was barely a teenager himself and had become not only a millionaire, but an international sex symbol ready to launch his solo career.

The rising star premiered as a solo artist with the 1972 album Got To Be There, earning him a Grammy Award as male vocalist of the year, and followed it with the gold album Ben, thus beginning a steady stream of solo recordings. With his first solo tour more than a decade away, however, the young Jackson still directed most of his energy into the groups work. The Jackson Five, in fact, made another breakthrough in 1973 with the single Dancing Machine. Succeeded by the epynomous album, the sophisticated recording introduced a disco beat that broadened the groups audience.

As members of the Jackson Five matured, so did their music, and they eventually outgrew the agenda Motown had established for them. They were eager for greater artistic control, and when their contract with Motown expired in 1976 they signed with Epic renamed as the Jacksons (Jermaine dropped out of the group while youngest brother, Randy, joined it).

Although frustrated by the creative restrictions placed on their first two albums for the label, the Jacksons were finally given control with Destiny, an album marking Michaels songwriting debut. The risk proved fruitful both for the recording company and for the artists. Featuring the funkier sound the entertaining brothers favored, the 1978 album went platinum and spun off two hit singles. In 1980 the group duplicated the feat with Triumph, written and produced by Michael, Jackie, and Randy, and in the summer of 1981 they embarked on the enormously successful thirty-six city tour that produced The Jacksons Live, the groups last album together.

As the Jacksons disbanded to pursue individual interests, Michael exploded onto the music scene as an independent artist, outstripping the success of his own multiaward-winning album of 1979, Off the Wall, as well as shattering almost every other record in recording history. His landmark album was Thriller, unleashed in 1982. It was a sensation that appealed to almost every imaginable musical taste and established Jackson as one of the worlds pre-eminent pop artists. The album went platinum in fifteen countries, gold in four, and garnered eight Grammys; its sales exceeded thirty-eight million copies worldwide, earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest-selling album in recording history; it spun-off an unprecedented seven hit singles; and it enabled Jackson to claim the spotlight as the first recording artist to simultaneously head both the singles and albums charts for both rhythm-and-blues and pop.

The extraordinary Thriller also generated a frenzy among the heartthrobs fans, dubbed Michaelmania by the media, and its remarkable success sealed the musicians reputation as brilliant and a rock phenomenon; one critic even went beyond superstar to call Jackson a megastar. But success has also brought the artist under intense scrutiny, both by his admirers and the communications industry, and each new achievementfrom his innovative video work to his astonishing 1984 reunion Victory tour with his brothers to his latest, most startling album, the 1987 Bad has only seemed to fuel the lust for information.

Indeed, for someone who has been in the limelight since the age of five, Jackson has seemingly by magic kept his private life private. Writing for Macleans, Gillian MacKay reported that he has astonished his fans by shedding his lively, button-cute image and transforming himself into a mysterious, otherworldly creature perpetually posing behind a mask. So intensely private is this star that he rarely interacts with the media.

His silence, however, has tended to stimulate conjecture, and the tabloids are notorious for speculating about him. One day there are rumors that he has lightened his skin with chemicals and taken female hormones to maintain his falsetto voice quality, while the next day gossip columns question his sexual identity and charge that he has extensively remodeled his body with plastic surgery. He is also infamous for what has been described as a certain weirdness or quirki-ness, although many dismiss the charge as nonsense. As Jacksons friend, producer Quincy Jones, was quoted in the stars defense by People: [Michael is] grounded and centered and focused and connected to his creative soul. And hes one of the most normal people Ive ever met.

Dissecting the Jackson mystique is a task that even seems to have eluded more serious journalists. Most view him as a paradox. He is both superstar and devout Jehovahs Witness, a man whoas neither drinker, smoker, nor drug experimenter, has eschewed much of the glamorous life for healthy living. Some see him as a man-child living in his own realitylike one of his heroes, Peter Pan, refusing to grow up. Others, like Newsweeks Jim Miller, find him a stunning live performer, but also a notorious recluse. Hes utterly unlike you and me, with a streak of wildfire that unpredictably lights his eyes.

Theories aside, admirers and detractors alike agree, as Gilmore concluded, that Jacksons success is based on his remarkably intuitive talents as a singer and dancertalents that are genuine and matchless and not the constructions of mere ambition or hype. It is this talent, coupled with the stars hard work and often touted perfectionism, that has enabled Jackson to cross virtually every music line ever drawn.

Jackson, in fact, has been credited with resuscitating a languishing music industry and with practically eliminating barriers barring blacks from mainstream music venues. More than one critic has imbued him with a chameleon-like capacity for being all things to all people and thus pleasing everyone. In a review for People, Gary Smith related the artists musical conquest to his ability to create a portable dream, explaining that in this dream world his androgyny does not threaten the virile, his youth does not threaten the old. His blackness does not threaten the white, for nothing seems quite real and all is softened by fragility and innocence.

Although the music idol himself might be eccentric or enigmatic, his achievements are very real. With the completion of his first solo tour, a long, triumphant venture begun in September, 1987, Michael Jackson seems to be at the peak of his powers, a hero living the American Dream. Indeed, experts who appoint Frank Sinatra as the star of the 1940s, Elvis Presley as the star of the 1950s, and the Beatles as the stars of the 1960s have already named Michael Jackson the star of the 1980sand speculate that he will claim the 1990s as well.

Selected discography

Single releases for Steeltown Records; With the Jackson Five

Im a Big Boy Now, c 1967.

Youve Changed, c 1967.

We Dont Have to Be Over 21 (To Fall in Love), c. 1968.

Jam Session, c. 1968.

LPs; With the Jackson Five

Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five, Motown, 1969.

ABC, Motown, 1970.

Third Album, Motown, 1970.

The Jackson Five Christmas Album, Motown, 1970.

Maybe Tomorrow, Motown, 1971.

Goin Back to Indiana, Motown, 1971.

The Jackson Fives Greatest Hits, Motown, 1971.

Looking Through the Windows, Motown, 1972.

Skywriter, Motown, 1973.

Get It Together, Motown, 1973.

Dancing Machine, Motown, 1974.

Moving Violation, Motown, 1975.

Joyful Jukebox Music, Motown, 1976.

The Jackson Five Anthology, Motown, 1976.

Boogie, Natural Resources/Motown, 1980.

Farewell My Summer Love (recorded, 1973; previously unreleased), Motown, 1984.

Also released numerous anthologies since 1980.

LPs; With the Jacksons

The Jacksons, Epic, 1976.

Goin Places, Epic, 1977.

Destiny, Epic, 1978.

Triumph, Epic, 1980.

The Jacksons Live, Epic, 1981.

Victory, Epic, 1984.

LPs; Solo

Got to Be There, Motown, 1972.

Ben, Motown, 1972.

Music and Me, Motown, 1973.

Forever, Michael, Motown, 1975.

The Best of Michael Jackson, Motown, 1975.

Off the Wall, Epic, 1979.

Thriller, Epic, 1982.

Bad, Epic, 1987.

Also narrator for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial Storybook, MCA, 1982. Other recording credits include the soundtrack to the documentary film Save the Children; the soundtrack from the movie The Wiz, MCA, 1978; and, in collaboration with an all-star ensemble of the top American recording artists collectively known as U.S.A. for Africa, We Are the World, Columbia, 1985.

Videos

(With the Jacksons) Blame It On the Boogie, 1978.

Dont Stop Til You Get Enough, 1979.

Rock With Me, 1979.

(With the Jacksons)Triumph, 1980.

(With Paul and Linda McCartney)Say, Say, Say, 1983.

Billie Jean, 1983.

Beat It, 1983.

Thriller, 1983.

Bad, 1987.

Smooth Criminal, 1988.

Moonwalker, 1989.

Compositions

Has written and co-written numerous songs, including Shake Your Body (Down to the Grave), 1978, Beat It, 1983, Billie Jean, 1983, Wanna Be Startin Somethin, 1983, (with Lionel Richie) We Are the World, 1985, Bad, 1987, I Cant Stop Loving You, 1987, and The Way You Make Me Feel, 1987.

Writings

Moonwalk (autobiography), Doubleday, 1988.

Sources

Books

Bego, Mark, Michael, Pinnacle Books, 1984.

Bego, Mark, On the Road With Michael, Pinnacle Books, 1984.

Brown, Geoff, Michael Jackson: Body and Soul, an Illustrated Biography, Beaufort Books, 1984.

George, Nelson, The Michael Jackson Story, Dell, 1984.

Latham, Caroline, Michael Jackson: Thrill, Zebra Books, 1984.

Machlin, Milt, The Michael Jackson Catalog, Arbor House, 1984.

Periodicals

Ebony, June, 1988.

Essence, July, 1988.

Jet, May 16, 1988.

Macleans, July 23, 1984.

Newsweek, July 16, 1987.

People, June 11, 1984; July 23, 1984; August 27, 1984; September 14, 1987; October 12, 1987; March 28, 1988.

Rolling Stone, March 15, 1984; September 24, 1987; October 22, 1987; May 19, 1988.

Time, July 16, 1984; September 14, 1987.

Nancy H. Evans

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Evans, Nancy. "Jackson, Michael." Contemporary Musicians. 1989. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Evans, Nancy. "Jackson, Michael." Contemporary Musicians. 1989. Encyclopedia.com. (June 30, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3491900045.html

Evans, Nancy. "Jackson, Michael." Contemporary Musicians. 1989. Retrieved June 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3491900045.html

Jackson, Michael

MICHAEL JACKSON

Born: Gary, Indiana, 29 August 1958

Genre: Rock, Pop, R&B

Best-selling album since 1990: Dangerous (1991)

Hit songs since 1990: "Remember the Time," "Black or White," "You Rock My World"


Since his first years as a performer, singing with his brothers in the 1970s pop outfit the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson has ranked as one of the most distinguished and innovative voices in popular music. A naturally talented singer, with the inbred ability to draw upon a rich legacy of R&B and pop vocalizing, Jackson had revealed himself as an intuitive stylist by the age of eleven. On his first hit single with the Jackson 5, "I Want You Back," he displayed an indebtedness to great R&B vocalists such as Smokey Robinson and Jackie Wilson, while forging his own energetic, charismatic style. As an adult, Jackson continued to define trends and break down barriers, releasing Thriller (1982), the best-selling album in recorded history, and pioneering the development of music videos. Although Jackson's albums have proved extremely influential, they have been issued years apart; his prolificacy is low for an artist of such importance. Also, his work since the mid-1990s has been overshadowed by scandal and controversy, to the point where the press has depicted his life and career as a grotesque joke. This development does not detract, however, from the vast contribution Jackson has made to modern pop music.


With the Jackson 5

The fifth son of Joe and Katherine Jackson, Michael was raised in Gary, Indiana. His father's harsh disciplinary tactics and the devout Jehovah's Witness beliefs of his mother contributed to what he would later describe as a sad, difficult childhood. By 1962 Joe, a steelworker and former musician, had organized his three eldest sons into a family singing group. Soon, young Michael joined the lineup, his mature vocals augmented by an uncanny ability to mimic the nimble-footed dance moves popularized by R&B star James Brown. By 1969 the Jackson 5 had signed with Detroit's famed Motown Records and released the number one pop and R&B hit "I Want You Back." The single was backed with a version of R&B group Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' 1960 song, "Who's Lovin' You," on which eleven-year-old Michael bends and twists his vocals in homage to the R&B vocal tradition.

Throughout the early 1970s the Jackson 5 scored major hits, including "The Love You Save," "Never Can Say Goodbye," and "Dancing Machine," before moving to Epic Records in 1976. Now known as the Jacksons, the group released Destiny (1978), an acclaimed album they largely wrote and produced. The success of Destiny allowed Michael to pursue his solo career while remaining with the group. Working with producer and arranger Quincy Jones, he gained renewed stardom with Off the Wall (1979), a classic collection of pop, R&B, and disco that spawned four Top 10 singles.


1980s Superstardom

Thriller (1982) cemented Jackson's status as the biggest pop star of the 1980s. Defining the decade in the same way that the music of Elvis Presley represented the 1950s, the album remained on the pop charts for more than two years, selling 25 million copies in the United States alone. Sporting dense, insistent production by Jones, Thriller contains instantly identifiable hits such as "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and the title track, featuring a ghoulish spoken part by horror movie star Vincent Price. The music videos for Thriller set the songs within cinematic narratives, thereby altering the way music would be marketed; after Thriller, a song's video would become as important as the song itself. Videos for "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "Thriller" were wildly popular, making Jackson the first African-American artist played with regularity by cable network MTV. Although it took five years to deliver, Thriller 's follow-up, Bad (1987), was nearly as successful, spawning four number one pop hits, including "Man in the Mirror" and "The Way You Make Me Feel." By this point, the media had begun to speculate upon Jackson's eccentricities: his rumored nose jobs, attempts to lighten his skin, and his development of Neverland, a large personal ranch in California that he filled with exotic animals and rides. In late 1991, after another nearly five-year hiatus, Jackson released Dangerous.


Turmoil in the 1990s

In 1993 Jackson was accused of molesting a thirteen-year-old boy who had made frequent visits to the Neverland Ranch. Although he eventually settled the case out of court for an estimated $18 to $20 million, the negative publicitycombined with escalating reports of his plastic surgery and skin lighteningdamaged Jackson's reputation. The next year, he married Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie, although the union dissolved after nineteen months. In 1995 Jackson released the sprawling HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book 1 containing one compact disc of greatest hits and another of original material. On songs such as "Tabloid Junkie," Jackson lashes out at the press: "With your pen you torture men / you'd crucify the Lord." Similarly angry songs such as "They Don't Care about Us" give the "Present" section of HIStory an unsettling air of paranoia. Near the end of 1996, Jackson married nurse Debbie Rowe. Although he would have two children with Rowe, the union dissolved in 1999.

In 2001 Jackson released Invincible, his first album of all-new material in a decade. Proving his ability to change his sound with the times, Jackson enlisted the services of trendy R&B producer Rodney Jerkins, who imbues tracks such as "Unbreakable" and "Heartbreaker" with a flashy modern edge. While Invincible scored high on the album charts, debuting at the number one position, its singles did not perform as well, with only one song, the thumping "You Rock My World," reaching the Top 10. The album features some of Jackson's toughest rhythm tracks to date, but critics observed that none of the songs are particularly distinctive or memorable, a factor contributing to its disappointing commercial impact.

By the summer of 2002 Jackson was waging an acrimonious battle with his record label, Sony. In interviews, Jackson charged Sony with not promoting Invincible, claiming the company had asked him for a $200 million reimbursement in marketing costs. The fight became more heated once Jackson described Sony chairman Tommy Mottola in a press conference as "racist" and "devilish." As evidence of Jackson's declining importance, many music starsincluding Mariah Carey and Ricky Martinrushed to defend Mottola. In the following months, the press continued to scrutinize Jackson's unusual behavior, giving special attention to an incident at a German hotel in which he dangled one of his children over a balcony while greeting fans. In 2003 Jackson was the subject of a British Broadcasting Company documentary, Living with Michael Jackson, that he later denounced as an inaccurate and distorted portrayal.

Despite the public speculation upon his ever-diminishing nose and unconventional personal life, Jackson remains a seminal figure in the development of contemporary pop music. Epitomizing the former child performer unable to grasp the reality of the adult world, Jackson has channeled his personal troubles into a rich and enduring body of work.

Spot Light: Dangerous

By the end of 1991 Michael Jackson had not released an album in nearly five years. His previous album, Bad (1987), was a hit that nonetheless suffered by comparison with the overwhelming success of Thriller (1982). For Dangerous, released in December 1991, Jackson hired producer Teddy Riley, known for the bouncy, rhythmic "New Jack Swing" sound he developed with artists such as Keith Sweat. Riley's aggressive, funky approach revitalizes Jackson; singing against a matrix of tricky, unpredictable beats and rhythmic hooks, Jackson brings a new degree of vocal toughness to "Why You Wanna Trip on Me," "She Drives Me Wild," and the hit, "Remember the Time." Despite the high-tech production, Jackson's basic approach has not changed from his earlier work. On "Remember the Time," he builds his performance gradually, layering vocal parts with each rhythmic shift in the arrangement. By the song's end, he is sparring vocally with the propulsive background, employing a complex set of shouts and trills. "Black or White" features a bright, rock-influenced guitar part and lyrics that emphasize racial acceptance. The song's positive message was undercut by controversy arising from its video, the end of which features Jackson breaking car windows and grabbing his crotch. Balancing this depiction of violence is "Heal the World," a highly orchestrated tribute to children that critics found syrupy and trite. Despite these inconsistencies, Dangerous preserved Michael Jackson's status as the "King of Pop," a title he would hold until scandal unhinged his career later in the 1990s.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Got to Be There (Motown, 1972); Forever, Michael (Motown, 1975); Off the Wall (Epic, 1979); Thriller (Epic, 1982); Bad (Epic, 1987); Dangerous (Epic, 1991); HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book 1 (Epic, 1995); Invincible (Epic, 2001). With the Jackson 5: Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 (Motown, 1969); ABC (Motown, 1970); Lookin' through the Windows (Motown, 1972). With the Jacksons: Destiny (1978).

WEBSITE:

www.michaeljackson.com.

david freeland

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Freeland, David. "Jackson, Michael." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Freeland, David. "Jackson, Michael." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (June 30, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3428400256.html

Freeland, David. "Jackson, Michael." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. 2004. Retrieved June 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3428400256.html

Jackson, Michael

Michael Jackson

Born: August 29, 1958
Gary, Indiana

African American entertainer, singer, and songwriter

Aperformer since the age of five, Michael Jackson is one of the most popular singers in history. His 1983 album, Thriller, sold forty million copies, making it the biggest seller of all time. Through his record albums and music videos he created an image imitated by his millions of fans.

Career planned in advance

Michael Joe Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, on August 29, 1958, the fifth of Joe and Katherine Jackson's nine children. The house was always filled with music. Jackson's mother taught the children folk and religious songs, to which they sang along. Jackson's father, who worked at a steel plant, had always dreamed of becoming a successful musician. When this failed to happen, he decided to do whatever it took to make successes of his children. He tried to control his children's careers even after they were adults. The struggle for the control of the musical fortunes of the Jackson family was a constant source of conflict.

The Jackson boys soon formed a family band that became a success at amateur shows and talent contests throughout the Midwest. From the age of five Michael's amazing talent showed itself. His dancing and stage presence caused him to become the focus of the group. His older brother, Jackie, told Gerri Hershey in Rolling Stone, "It was sort of frightening. He was so young. I don't know where he got it. He just knew. "

Discovered by Motown

The Jacksons' fame and popularity soon began to spread. While performing at the Apollo Theater in New York City's Harlem neighborhood in 1968, Motown recording artist Gladys Knight (1944) and pianist Billy Taylor discovered them. Later that year singer Diana Ross (1944) became associated with the boys during a "Soul Weekend" in Gary. With Ross's support, the Jacksons signed a contract with Motown Records. Berry Gordy (1929), the famous head of Motown, took control of the Jacksons' careers.

By 1970 the group, known as the Jackson Five, was topping the charts and riding a wave of popularity with such hits as "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There," each of which sold over one million copies. The group also appeared on several televised specials, and a Jackson Five cartoon series was created. Gordy quickly recognized Michael's appeal and released albums featuring him alone. These solo albums sold as well as those of the Jackson Five. The group managed to survive Michael's voice change and a bitter break with Motown Records in 1976, but as the Jackson family they continued to fight with each other and with their own father.

In 1978 Michael Jackson appeared in The Wiz, an African American version of The Wizard of Oz. He sang the only hit from the film's soundtrack album ("Ease On Down the Road") in a duet with the star, Diana Ross. His success as the Scarecrow was a preview of what was to come in his videos, for Jackson seemed to care most about dancing. (He later dedicated his autobiography [the story of his one's own life] to dance legend Fred Astaire [18991987], and the autobiography's title, Moonwalk, refers to a dance that Jackson made popular.)

Unbelievable success

While working on The Wiz, Jackson met producer Quincy Jones (1933). They worked together on Jackson's 1979 album Off the Wall, which sold ten million copies and earned critical praise. In 1982 Jackson and Jones again joined forces on the Thriller album. Thriller fully established Jackson as a solo performer, and his hit songs from the album"Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "Thriller"made him the major pop star of the early 1980s. The success of Thriller (with forty million copies sold, it remains one of the best-selling albums of all time) and the videos of its songs also helped Jackson break the color barrier imposed by radio stations and the powerful music video channel MTV. By 1983 Jackson was the single most popular entertainer in America.

In 1985 Jackson reunited with Quincy Jones for USA for Africa's "We Are the World," which raised funds for the poor in Africa. Jackson's next two albums, Bad (1987) and Dangerous (1991), were not as hugely successful as Thriller, but Jackson remained in the spotlight throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. In 1992 he founded "Heal the World" to aid children and the environment. In 1993 he was presented with the "Living Legend Award" at the Grammy Awards ceremony and with the Humanitarian (one who promotes human welfare) of the Year trophy at the Soul Train awards.

Rocked by scandal

Despite Jackson's popularity and good works, he became the subject of a major scandal (action that damages one's reputation). In 1993 a thirteen-year-old boy accused Jackson of sexually abusing him at the star's home. Jackson settled the case out of court while insisting he was innocent. The scandal cost Jackson his endorsement (paid public support of a company's products) contract with Pepsi and a film deal. His sexual preference was called into question, and his public image was severely damaged.

In 1995 Jackson was criticized following the release of his new album HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I. One of the songs on the album, "They Don't Care About Us," seemed to contain anti-Semitic (showing hatred toward Jewish people) lyrics (words). To avoid further criticism, Jackson changed the lyrics. He also wrote a letter of apology to Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, who had protested the lyrics.

Marriage and fatherhood

In 1994 Jackson shocked the world when he married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of the late (deceased) rock legend Elvis Presley (19351977). Many felt that the marriage was an attempt to improve his public image. In August 1996 Jackson and Presley divorced. In November 1996 Jackson announced that he was to be a father. The child's mother was Debbie Rowe, a long-time friend of Jackson. They married later that month in Sydney, Australia. On February 13, 1997, their son, Prince Michael Jackson, Jr., was born in Los Angeles, California. The couple's second child, daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, was born in 1998. Rowe filed for divorce from Jackson in October 1999.

Jackson and his brothers were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1997. Later that year another album, Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, containing new versions of songs from HIStory along with five new songs, was released. The album received good reviews, and the world continued to be fascinated by the talent and career of Michael Jackson.

In 2000 Jackson's promoter sued him for $21.2 million for backing out of two planned concerts the previous New Year's Eve. In 2001 Jackson, while delivering a lecture at Oxford University in England to promote his Heal the Kids charity, described his unhappy childhood and proposed a "bill of rights" for children that would provide for the right to an education "without having to dodge bullets." Later that year Jackson was again elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time as a solo performer. Jackson also released a new album, Invincible, in October 2001.

For More Information

Grant, Adrian. Michael Jackson: The Visual Documentary. New York: Omnibus Press, 1994.

Graves, Karen Marie. Michael Jackson. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 2001.

Jackson, Michael. Moonwalk. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Marsh, Dave. Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream. New York: Bantam, 1985.

Nicholson, Lois. Michael Jackson. New York: Chelsea House, 1994.

Wallner, Rosemary. Michael Jackson: Music's Living Legend. Edina, MN: Abdo & Daughters, 1991.

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Jackson, Michael Joseph

Michael Joseph Jackson, 1958–2009, American performer, b. Gary, Ind. Jackson was an extremely successful pop singer, superb dancer, and talented composer who often conveyed an androgynous image and ambiguous sexuality. Offstage, he became known for various alleged eccentricities, for his sharp business acumen, and for a physical appearance that changed radically over the years—his body becoming rail-thin, his skin progressively whitening, and, as a result of multiple plastic surgeries, his facial features undergoing marked changes.

As a child in the 1960s and 70s he was the dominant voice and youngest member of the Jackson Five, a pop group that included five brothers and scored its first big hit in 1969. A decade later, with his solo albums Off the Wall (1979), and the even more successful Thriller (1982), which sold over 30 million copies, Michael Jackson became one of the world's leading musical stars. He created a unique style that mingled rhythm and blues with pop and became widely known as the "King of Pop." Jackson also did much to usher in the era of pop celebrity, becoming famous for his packed concerts, his glittering military-style outfits, his sequined white glove, and his "moonwalk" dance steps. His recording success continued with the albums Bad (1987) and Dangerous (1991), both of which sold over 20 million copies.

In 1993 Jackson was charged in a civil suit with sexual abuse of a minor, a charge he denied. The suit was settled out of court in 1994, and no criminal charges were filed. Jackson's much-publicized double album HIStory (1995) was criticized as petty, maudlin, and paranoid and garnered comparatively disappointing sales. Reaction to his next album, Invincible (2001), was mixed. Jackson was indicted in another sexual abuse case in 2004. The trial, in 2005, was marked by sensational testimony and spellbound media coverage, and ended in Jackson's acquittal on all charges. Subsequently, he largely disappeared from public view, but was in rehearsal for a comeback tour when he died.

See biographies by J. R. Taraborrelli (1991) and R. Sullivan (2012); study by M. Jefferson (2006).

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Jackson, Michael

Jackson, Michael (1958– ) US pop singer and songwriter. At age five, he was the youngest member of his brothers' singing group, The Jackson Five. His albums, Got to Be There (1971) and Off the Wall (1979), launched a major solo career that peaked in the 1980s with elaborate worldwide concert tours and top-selling albums, such as Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), and Dangerous (1991).

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