King of Pop
"Wacko Jacko... Where'd that come from? Some English tabloid. I have a heart, and I have feelings. I feel that when you do that to me; don't do it. I'm not a wacko." Michael Jackson
1980s pop superstar Michael Jackson, whose trademark is his Moonwalk dance movement, exploded toward the mega stardom with his biggest selling album of all time, "Thriller" (1982). Launching his solo career with the worldwide best selling album "Off The Wall" (1979), Jackson later gained more acclaim with his massive hit albums, "Bad" (1987) and "Dangerous" (1991), the latter of which spawned probably the most aired and most remembered music video, "Black Or White." He was also recognized with his most expensive video, the futuristic "Scream," from the 1995 album, "History" (a duet with sister Janet Jackson).
The pop icon received the nicknames Jacko, and The Gloved One. Jackson has frequently drawn controversy, including his extensive cosmetic surgeries, his marriage with Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, and the child molestation charges brought against him. Wrong doings have been alleged to have taken place at Michael's Neverland Ranch in California, and now there are rumors of bankruptcy as well. The public and media keep raised eyebrows as the trial unfolds
"Everyone who knows me will know the truth, which is, that my children come first in my life and that I would never harm any child." Michael Jackson
On a more positive note, the pop phenomenon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Jackson has also organized food, medical aid, supplies, mentoring, vaccination and drug-abuse education programs in war area of Sarajevo. He also sponsors a Hungarian child's liver transplant organization.
The Jackson 5
Childhood and Family:
The seventh child of parents Joseph Walter Jackson (steel mill worker, manager for the Jackson 5) and Katherine Esther Jackson, Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana. Michael Jackson has six older siblings, Rebbie Jackson (a.k.a. Maureen Jackson, singer, born on May 25, 1950), Jackie Jackson (a.k.a. Sigmund Esco, born on May 4, 1951, former member of the Jackson 5), Tito Jackson (a.k.a. Toriano Adaryl, born on October 15, 1953, guitarist, former member of the Jackson 5), Jermaine La Juane (singer, bassist, born on December 11, 1954), LaToya (born on May 29, 1956), and Marlon David (born on March 12, 1957, former member of the Jackson 5). He also has two younger siblings, Randy Jackson (a.k.a. Stephan Randell, born on October 29, 1961, recording artist, former member of the Jackson 5) and Janet (singer, born on May 16, 1966). Born to a working-class family with a bad-tempered authoritarian father, Michael and his siblings were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses. Having shown a deep interest in music and dancing since his very early years, Michael and his siblings would sneak out of the house to practice music at their neighbor's house.
On May 26, 1994, Michael became headline news for marrying Elvis "The King" Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. The couple that tied the knot in the Dominican Republic, later divorced in January 1996. In the same year, on November 14, Michael exchanged wedding vows with Debbie Rowe (former nurse) in Sydney, Australia, but they later divorced on October 8, 1999.
Michael is the father of three: Prince Michael Jackson II (born in 2002) and Prince Michael Jackson I (born on February 12, 1997; mother: Debbie Rowe) and daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson (born on April 3, 1998; mother: Debbie Rowe).
Having a special interest toward music, Michael Jackson joined his four brothers, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon, in establishing an R&B musical group in the mid 60s. With Michael as the lead vocalist, the group won an Amateur Night competition at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York and subsequently landed their first contract with the local Steeltown label in 1967, with which they launched the local hit, "Big Boy."
In 1968, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers introduced the Jackson 5 to Motown Records, which landed them a contract and brought them to Los Angeles. Presented by Diana Ross in fall 1969, the group later was widely recognized with their No. 1 US hit singles, "I Want You Back" (1969), and "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There" (all in 1970). They eventually made 14 albums with the Motown Records.
Michael then initiated his solo career, producing four solo albums with Motown Records. His foremost solo hits including the debut LP "Got to Be There" (1971), and the 1972 hits, "Rockin' Robin," "I Wanna Be Where You Are," and the top hit "Ben."
The Jackson 5 changed their name to The Jacksons in 1976 when they left Motown Records to join Epic Records, with which they released 6 albums between 1976 and 1984.
While filming an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's novel, the musical The Wiz (1978, also starring Diana Ross), Michael met music producer and composer Quincy Jones. With Jones, Michael recorded his debut adult album, the highly praised Off the Wall (1979). The album went to the Top 10 hits list with the top hit singles "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" and "Rock With You" as well as received a platinum certification after selling seven million copies nationwide.
1982 was arguably Michael's most glorious year. In that year, his sophomore album Thriller was released, breaking records by spawning 7 Top 10 hit singles and becoming the world's best selling album (sold over 50 million copies in 2003). The album's hit singles including "Billie Jean," "Thriller," and "Beat It," all of which broke the music video history for being the first black music videos to be aired on MTV.
"Thriller" poled on the charts for over two years, peaked at No. 1 for 37 nonconsecutive weeks, and sold 25 million copies nationwide and 20 million worldwide. It also spawned other songs such as "Human Nature" and "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)." Meanwhile, Michael created a trademark while performing the Moonwalk dance movement on the special TV show, the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. In addition, Michael was handed a deal with Pepsi to be the company's spokesperson and by the end of 1983, his duet with McCartney, "Say Say Say," topped the single's charts.
The runaway success of "Thriller" netted him 8 awards at the American Music Awards and 8 Grammy awards (7 for Thriller and 1 for his narrative on The E.T. Storybook). It eventually received the Guinness Book of Records certification as the biggest selling popular music album of all time. Michael also earned the H. Claude Hodson Medal of Freedom at the NAACP Image Awards and the Presidential Special Achievement Award at the White House (by President Ronald Reagan).
After reuniting with his brothers in the next album Victory, Michael then teamed with Lionel Richie in writing the single "We Are the World" (1985). Sung by various singers, notably Harry Belafonte, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, the single sold 7 million copies in the US alone and became the fastest-selling single of all time. The cash was used to benefit the starving community in Africa.
In 1986, Michael graced the screen by starring in Francis Ford Coppola's most expensive film ever produced, the musical sci-fi Captain Eo (costarring Anjelica Huston), in which the songs "We Are Here To Change The World" and "Another Part Of Me" were included. The film continued to be shown in Disney theme parks until 1998.
"Bad" was released in 1987 and Michael initiated an extensive, highest-grossing international solo tour. The album spawned a string of hits on the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 charts, including "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "Bad," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man In The Mirror," and "Dirty Diana." It also produced the No. 11 "Another Part Of Me" and the No. 7 "Smooth Criminal." Despite the brilliant charting of its singles, "Bad" could not beat "Thriller" and only sold 8 million copies. On the silver screen, Michael starred in the disappointing musical film, Moonwalker, in 1988.
Under the Sony recording company, Michael, with the new title of King of Pop, launched "Dangerous" (1991). It produced such singles and music videos as "Who Is It," "Give In To Me," "Gone Too Soon" (an honor to young AIDS victim Ryan White), and "Will You Be There" (later become the Free Willy theme song). However, the album was more popular with the singles and videos like "Jam" (alongside basketball star Michael Jordan), "Remember The Time" (an Egyptian set, starring Eddie Murphy), "Black Or White," "In The Closet" (with supermodel Naomi Campbell), and "Heal The World," the latter of which was written to his charity organization with the same name. "Dangerous" shortly stayed in the top 10 and sold 7 million copies nationwide as well as 29 million copies worldwide.
Double-disc album "History" was released in 1995. The first disc consisted of Michael's fifteen greatest hits and the second disc introduced fifteen new singles. It spawned double hit singles and videos, "Scream" (a duet with sister Janet Jackson) and "You Are Not Alone" (debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart). "History" also produced other singles and videos, including "Childhood," "Earth Song," "Stranger In Moscow," and "They Don't Care About Us." The album gained average success in the US, staying at No. 1 for only two weeks, but gained more accomplishment in the UK, with the single "Earth Song" topping the chart for six weeks and selling over a million copies.
The remix album of some "History" tracks, "Blood on the Dance Floor," was released in 1997. Containing 5 new singles, the album became the biggest selling remix album of all time, though it gained more success in Europe but failed to achieve platinum. During that time, Michael also produced the short movie "Ghost," in which he sang the songs "Ghosts" and "2 Bad."
Following his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, Michael launched the album "Invincible," the most expensive album ever produced, to celebrate his 30th anniversary as a solo artist. It spawned considerably few singles, "You Rock My World," "Butterflies," and "Cry" (Europe). The album topped the U.S. charts in its first week release and sold 2 million copies nationwide, 12 million copies worldwide.
A prolific songwriter, Michael was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June 2002 and was awarded a Berlin Germany's Millennium Bambi 2002 Award. In the next year, he launched a new single, "One More Chance" (written by R. Kelly), the only new song on his Number Ones greatest hits album. For three weeks, the single stayed at No. 1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales chart.
As for his future plans, Michael was reported to be planning a world tour with music tycoon Charles Koppelman. The tour, temporarily called "Celebration," would take place sometime after his trial for the child molestation charges brought against him and if he is acquitted.
"I believe in perfection, and I try to create that in everything we do. We never seem to totally get there, but I believe in perfect execution. And when we don't get at least 99.9%, I get really upset..." Michael Jackson
Image Awards: Outstanding Performance in a Variety Series/Special,
Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, 2002
MTV Video Music: Dance Video, Scream, shared with sister Janet, 1995
Grammy: Music Video, Short Form, Scream, shared with sister Janet, 1995
American Music: Pop/Rock Male Artist, 1995
Special Billboard Music, cited with sister Janet, 1995
MTV Movie: Best Song, Will You Be There (from Free Willy), 1994
Image Awards: Special Award, Entertainer of the Year, 1994
CableAce: Best Performance in a Music Special or Series, Michael
Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour (broadcast on
American Music: Pop/Rock Album, Dangerous, 1992
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Single, Remember the Time, 1992
Billboard Music: Number One Worldwide Single, Black or White, 1992
Billboard Music: Number One Worldwide Album, Dangerous, 1992
American Music: International Artist, 1991
Cash Box: Video Pioneer Award, 1989
Special American Music Award, 1988
MTV Music Video: Vanguard Award, 1988
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Single, Bad, 1987
Grammy: Best Video Album, Making Michael Jackson's Thriller, 1984
MTV Music Video: Viewers Choice, Thriller, 1984
Grammy: Record of the Year, Beat It, shared with producer Quincy Jones, 1983
Grammy: Album of the Year, Thriller, 1983
Grammy: Best Pop Vocal Male Performance, Thriller, 1983
Grammy: Best Rock Vocal Male Performance, Beat It, 1983
Grammy: Best R&B Vocal Male Performance, Billie Jean, 1983
Grammy: Best New Rhythm and Blues Song, Billie Jean, 1983
Grammy: Best Recording for Children, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial,
shared with producer Quincy Jones, 1983
Grammy: Producer of the Year (non-classical), shared with Quincy Jones, 1983
American Music: Pop/Rock Single, Billie Jean, 1983
American Music: Pop/Rock Album, Thriller, 1983
American Music: Pop/Rock Male Artist, 1983
American Music: Pop/Rock Video, Beat It, 1983
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Album, Thriller, 1983
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Male Artist, 1983
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Video, Beat It, 1983
Special American Music Award, 1983
Grammy: Best R&B Vocal Male Performance, Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough, 1979
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Single, Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough, 1979
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Album, Off the Wall, 1979
American Music: Soul/Rhythm and Blues Male Artist, 1979